Australians love to visit the beautiful countries that make up Southeast Asia. We recently visited a few of the islands in the Philippines. It was amazing; we saw stunning waterfalls, spectacular sunsets, pristine beaches and friendly villages. We were able to see so many places and do so many activities because we had the freedom and flexibility of riding scooters. Scooters are an absolute game changer when travelling. We didn’t need to wait for public transport, haggle with taxis, walk long distances in crazy heat – we just hopped on our scooters and did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted! We have put together some of our top scooter travel tips, let us know what you think!
Tip 1: Hire the scooter
For around $10-$12 AUD a day, we were able to hire a great little 100-125cc rocket of a scooter. Depending on how many days you hire the scooter for, you can usually negotiate a fair rate.
There are always lots of places to hire a scooter, so walk around a bit and have a look at the quality of the scooters you may be hiring. The two key things to look for are,
- A brand name you recognise (anything Italian, Taiwanese or Japanese is a winner)
- The scooters don’t look raggedy or like they have been dropped plenty of times
Tip 2: Check over your scooter
Have a quick check over the scooter you are about to hire. While you can’t be too precious about what you are hiring (don’t expect a brand new Vespa GTS 300 SS), the scooter should still be roadworthy. The key things to check are;
- The brakes are in working order
- The horn works
- You have both rear-view mirrors
- The brake lights and blinkers work
- The tyres aren’t worn down completely
Tip 3: Head straight to a petrol station
Nine times out of ten, the scooter you hire will have little to no fuel in the tank. Take it straight to the petrol station to fuel up and get your tyres pumped up while you are there. Our best advice is to ask the petrol station attendant to top up the tyre pressure for you. The locals know best, so it is best to do what they do and run your scooter with less tyre pressure than you would normally be used to (this is because of the road conditions).
Tip 4: Helmets
Wear the helmet they provide you (make sure you ask for a helmet just in case they forget to give you one).
Even better tip? Bring your own helmet that passes the Australian/European Standards that you know has not been damaged in any way (and also fits your head!). We recommend either the RXT Challenger ($89) for the price or the Bell Shorty ($115) for the smaller size.
Once you are done using the helmet, do what we did and give the helmets to one of the local families – they really appreciate it. Plus, now you have more room in your bags for all the shopping you did while on holidays!
Tip 5: Getting around town
One of the best things you can do is download the Google Maps app on your phone. You can download “Offline Maps” for the local area so you can use your maps as normal even without wifi or internet data.
This was a game changer when exploring the local area without getting lost. We would not have discovered the beautiful waterfalls on the little islands otherwise.
To be the ultimate pro, bring along the Corazzo Nomad to put your phone in for directions. We wish we brought one of these to save us from pulling over on the side of the road constantly to check we were going in the right direction. Plus, you have the added bonus of storing your water bottle, hotel key, sunscreen and local currency in the pocket.
Tip 6: Use your horn
Unlike Australia where honking your horn means “You idiot”, a little honk of the horn politely means “Hey, just letting you know that I am here”. Honk when you are overtaking or going around a sharp corner.
BONUS Tip 7: Travel Insurance (Submitted by Jenny & Mary)
Make sure to get travel insurance that covers riding a scooter for your cc range. Make sure to read the fine print to make sure you are covered.
Hiring a scooter is an amazing way to see a new place and gives you so much flexibility and freedom to go and do what you want, when you want.
What do you think? Have you hired a scooter overseas? What is your ultimate scooter travel tip?