Regular vacations are so last season. A walking vacation is now the talk of the town. This is a vacation where you walk from point A to point B. No, it’s not a hike.
A walking vacation allows vacationers to fully immerse themselves in the culture of the country they’re visiting. Since the pace is slow, you have the time to explore obscure villages, and you can learn about other cultures in detail.
You won’t be eating a five-course dinner, but you will be strolling down dirt paths. If you’re in it for the ethereal experience, then you’re in for a good time. It puts you in touch with nature.
If this intrigues you, then you need to know how to prepare for the trip.
Training Is More Important Than You Think
You might walk every day, but you still need to train if you’re going on a walking vacation.
Walking to get about the day is drastically different than walking for five to eight hours in a day with minimal rest. Without training, you can maybe manage to keep up for two days, but on the third day, you may be exhausted.
Training will also help you gauge your limits. Once you get into the habit of walking daily, you can recognize the signs of your body telling you to stop. It’s imperative to know this.
If you’ve bought yourself new shoes for the vacation, training will also help you to break them in. It will help your feet get accustomed to the shoes and the habit of walking in them. This will help keep blisters away.
The Training Timeline
Your training should be done on flat roads and inclines. Start with a 30-minute walk on day one, and slowly increase that pace every week. Ideally, you should begin your training at least three months before your vacation starts.
As you increase your walking time, also increase the pace of your walk and the distance. If you’re able to find uneven surfaces to walk on, that is ideal.
Wear comfortable and shockproof socks even during your training period.
As you move into the second month of your training, try to walk for one or two hours twice a week. Take water in a backpack so you can grow accustomed to the feeling of walking with a weight on your back.
One month before your holiday, start doing practice walks with all of your gear on. This includes food, water, and other things you intend to carry. At this point, you should be able to continuously walk for at least one hour.
Cut back a bit on your training during the final three days before your vacation. This will give your legs the chance to recuperate for the big journey.
Book Your Trip
The order may seem jumbled to you, but it is important that you start training as early as you can. So yes, after you’ve started training, book your trip.
There are many popular trails that walking vacationers love to take. You can consider booking through a travel site, and you will likely get the value of an experienced guide if you do it this way.
The downside to this is that you may be forced to travel in a group. This means you can’t keep the pace you want to. This is another reason why beginning your training beforehand is helpful. It will give you the best chance to increase your stamina.
If you’re vacationing in a safe country, you can even pitch tents where you stop. This is the cheapest option, but this will entail lugging your camping equipment along.
Map Your Route
Once you’ve determined your starting point, you need to know where you’re going, and where you’d like to stop.
If you’ve booked the trip through an agency, you don’t need to fret about this part. They will take care of the fine print. But, if you’re doing the planning yourself, you need to whip out your map and start marking the spots.
The route is largely determined by the distance you can walk in a day. If this distance is 12 miles, start looking for hotels from the 10-mile mark. It’s safer to plan to stop before you need to, rather than push yourself to your limit each day.
Buy Travel Insurance
Though a walking tour is a relatively safe activity, it is better to be prepared. A walking vacation could result in a badly sprained ankle or even worse, a muscle tear.
Even if you can’t protect your limbs, you can protect your bank account.
Every month, thousands of travelers like you use Insubuy to find travel medical insurance and travel insurance plans. You can easily compare plans and buy one in no time. So, save time by hopping onto the website and shopping for the international insurance plan that fits your needs.
Gather Your Gear
This is how it usually goes: you’ll buy a bunch of gear immediately after you’ve booked the trip, then you’ll forget about your packing list. Then, you will fret and binge-shop a week before the trip.
It’s good for your sanity if you don’t do this.
Make your list immediately after you’ve booked the trip. Include things you already have in this list as well. That way, it’ll double as a shopping and packing list.
These are the things you’ll need:
• A Map
Remember to take a digital and a physical map. You’ll never know when your phone or GPS will give out. If you want to be extra careful, you can take a waterproof map.
• More Socks Than You Need
Socks will be your lifesaver on this trip, and they don’t add too much weight to your bag.
Socks will protect your feet on the road. It is this layer of fabric that is working overtime to protect your feet from blisters.
Since you’ll be walking for a long time, your feet will sweat, which will result in wet, smelly socks. Because of this, you may need to change your socks multiple times a day.
• A Strong Pair of Walking Shoes
If you want to come back home from vacation blister-free, a good pair of shoes is imperative.
Ensure you break your shoes in before your trip. We’ve all heard horror stories of what happens when you walk in new shoes. It can be a painful experience
• A Daypack That Can Do It All
Your backpack needs to be lightweight and waterproof. Try to buy one that has multiple compartments. You’ll definitely want to keep your stinky clothes separate from the clean ones.
It is extra handy if the pack can fold down when it’s not in use. Concealed pockets and zip locks come in handy if you’re going to be amongst civilization.
• The Perfect Water Bottle
The perfect water bottle is not too big, but not too small. You want it to be able to hold enough water without needing constant refills. But, too big a bottle will also add weight to your pack.
A one-liter bottle is the perfect size. If you’re traveling to a country with unsafe water, you will also need a water purifier.
• First-Aid Kit
A drugstore pre-made kit is a good option for your walking vacation. But, you might have to add a couple more items to it:
- Sunscreen is crucial. Walking is mostly done in the daytime, when the sun will be bearing down on you. Getting sunburnt will put a damper on your vacation. You also might want to pack some aloe vera in case you do suffer from a sunburn.
- Bug spray is another must-have in your first-aid kit. With all the sweat and stink you would have gathered, insects will love you. It’s better to keep them at bay.
- Blister cream is the third essential in your first-aid kit. Though proper socks and good shoes are meant to prevent blisters, it’s better to have a backup on hand.
Remember to be easy on yourself during a walking trip. Some days you may not reach your goals, and that’s okay. The experience you gain is the real takeaway.
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