I can see the problems that might arise from using a SIM card phone as described by Ansimp, so the best bet would be to bring an I phone or other make of Android and make use of the Internet wherever possible, plus you will be able to use the Co Pilot program mentioned in earlier posts.
One thing we haven't asked is what you might need to use the phone for, will you be needing to be in constant contact with work or other? Or is the need for a phone purely for emergency calls in and out?
We do of course have "real phones" still in Europe and many will accept credit cards in payment for calls, so that may cover you in an emergency and a lot of us have land lines with tariffs that allow us cheap calls to overseas, so if you end up with members of this fine forum, they will probably allow use of their house phones.
If you have an Ipad or similar, it is common for folks to use that to make Skype calls to home, which can of course give picture as well as sound. Again, phones can be loaded with Skype time before you come so that cheap calls can be made to home. Tablets are common place to see around the place now and every tom Dick and Harry seems to have one. ( I am Pete so I don't have one!!!:ROFL
How much you can keep in touch with home may depend on how remote you are. In towns and Cities it will be easier than out in the middle of nowhere.
As Ansimp mentioned, travel insurance is important and make sure it will cover you for the duration of your relatively long trip, some only cover for something like 30 days travel, or at least ours do.
Breakdown cover is something else to consider, most UK insurance companies offer European breakdown as part of our vehicle cover, but separate cover can be bought from organizations like the AA or RAC or GEM all of whom do European cover, but usually for limited time periods, so you may need to take one specifically for the duration of your tour. Without cover you may be stranded by the side of the road in case of break down or accident and with no one to help. Using someone local may cost a smalll fortune.
Just to fill up your list of things to think about, here are a list of quirky laws that apply in some European countries......
In most countries it is law to ride with headlights on on bikes.
In most European countries it is law to carry Hi Viz jackets to be worn if broken down, on motorbikes.
In France, they have recently introduced a law that says that motorcyclists must have regulation specific hi viz stickers of a certain size on their helmets. These must be of a permanent sort that cannot be removed without damage to the helmet. Allegedly the police are not going to prosecute if riders don't have them, but I wouldn't trust the French police further than I could throw them!!! ( worth doing a google search on that one!!)
In Spain, if you normally wear glasses for riding, you must be carrying a second pair with you.
In some European countries it is a legal requirement to carry a first aid kit.
In most European countries, there is a thing called the "Samaritan Law" requiring anyone witnessing an accident to stop and provide whatever assistance they can.
DOT approved helmets are not technically legal in Europe, they must carry the relevant European standard markings.
In nearly all European countries you must carry a spare bulb kit for your motor vehicle, including motorcycles.
In most European countries you must carry your vehicle documents with you, including driving licence, when you are driving/ riding. This for us requires us to carry, registration document for the vehicle, a valid MOT certificate and tax disc on the bike.
In case anyone is in any doubt, helmets are a legal requirement to be worn in all European countries now.
This covers most of the European countries and to be honest if you complied with the above, I doubt you would get into any trouble, but if you travel outside the EU then you would need to check with that countries laws pertaining to motorcycles.
Technically in France you are also supposed to carry a breathalyzer kit, but they have decided not to prosecute if drivers are found not to have one now, because of the complexity of their own law. You may consider it prudent to still buy a cheap one or two of them, if travelling through France.
Many countries apply instant fines for some offence and you will be expected to pay in cash by the road side. They do not generally accept card payment and may escort you to a bank to get the cash out.
In some countries you must obtain a permit before entering and using their road systems, Austria and Switzerland if memory serves me right. I believe you can order in advance or otherwise purchase at a border crossing.
Driving in some countries with alcohol in your blood will get you banned from riding and likely as not your vehicle confiscated and for those that permit a small level of alcohol, it is low. In the UK we have a low level that is tolerated, but if you are found to be over you will be banned from driving for a year as a minimum and sometimes more. I can't tell you the exact levels permitted because I don't drink and drive so have no need to know. It is definitely no more than a couple of pints of beer or a couple of glasses of wine. :?
I don't want to worry you, but I may think of more things later, but for now that should be more than enough to chew on!!! :shock::ROFL: