Walking Holidays – Seven Key Tips For Beginners

Hiking & Walking Tips with Mallorca hikingTom Oxby is one of our guest writers and today we have another excellent checklist he has created for those of you thinking of taking your first Walking Holiday:

Walking Holidays are a great way to explore the world. Whether you are on a trail in your country or visiting another you are sure to meet like minded people. If this is the first of your walking holidays you may be wondering where to start but by following these tips you can easily be on the trail.

Tip 1 – Planning – There are two options; using a tour operator or planning the walking holiday yourself.

Booking through a tour operator can be a great choice for your first walking holiday. They arrange the accommodation, some meals and experienced guides. Depending on the destination and tour operator one hike may be offered each day or several hikes requiring different levels of experience. Before booking check on the level of experience required as a multi-day hike along the Inca Trail in Peru varies from a walk in the English countryside.

If planning the walking holiday yourself you will need to arrange accommodation, transportation to the hike starting location, detailed maps and guides. There is lots of information about adventure travel.

Tip 2 – Equipment – You will require a pack (rucksack), hiking boots, hiking socks, poles, water bottles, rain wear, jacket, hat and other clothing which will depend on your walking holiday destination. Additional items may include sunscreen, insect repellent, first aid kit, digital camera and bear spray if visiting western North America.

Tip 3 – Training – You need to start a program of walks to get and keep in shape prior to your departure on your walking holidays. Break in your hiking boots and test all the equipment to ensure it is comfortable and working properly. Are you using the hiking poles properly?

Tip 4 -Transportation – Arrange for your flight and any other transportation needs such as train passes or rental cars. Book early and you may qualify for a better price, especially if a discount or charter airline flies to your destination.

Trains or local buses may be required to get from the airport or train station to the walking holiday starting location. It rail transportation is required to connect to your route consider a rail pass. Often rail passes include discounts to museums, attractions and local buses as well.

Tip 5 – Documentation – Check requirements for passports, visas and vaccinations. Vaccinations, where required, sometimes need to be taken well in advance of departure. Travel insurance with medical coverage should be considered. If you purchased a walking holiday from a tour operator travel insurance is usually mandatory.

Tip 6 – Accommodation – If you have booked with a tour operator this is included in your walking holiday package. If planning on your own you will need to book a hotel, bed and breakfast or hostel in advance. Accommodation in popular areas such as Zermatt in Switzerland; Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies and the Lake District in England can be difficult during high season. Consider traveling in shoulder seasons which are not as busy and prices are generally cheaper. The final option is camping along the way.

Tip 7 – Finishing touches – You are now down to the final details of your walking holiday. If traveling to a foreign country consider learning a few phrases of the local language, it goes a long way with the local citizens. Take photo copies of all your documentation with you and if traveling to a foreign country obtain local currency in advance. Depending on your destination you may need to purchase snacks for the trail in advance as well.

Your first walking holiday should be exciting, so follow these tips and have wonderful hike.

Tom Oxby is a recognised expert writer for Hiking and Cycling holidays and you can visit his webpage here: www.walking-holidays.org