4 pointers for a successful walking vacation

June 19, 2015

Walking vacations are a great way to slow down and enjoy a destination at a relaxing pace. Whether you are joining an organized tour or setting out on your own journey, here are four tips to get you started.

4 pointers for a successful walking vacation

1. Pack smart

Before you hit the road, be sure to pack the essentials for your trip. Depending on your destination, these may include the following items:

  • A broad-brimmed hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglasses
  • Clothes suitable for varied weather
  • Rain gear
  • A map and compass (if necessary)
  • A good water bottle with lots of water (especially in hot countries)

2. Plan ahead

A great holiday starts with a great plan.

  • Remember that sightseeing by foot is likely to involve more walking than you would normally do at home, and you may be carrying more than you are used to. Plan with this in mind to avoid exhaustion.
  • Buy a good pair of comfortable shoes with rubber soles. They're essential for city sightseeing. It's easy to forget how tiring and hard on your feet it can be to walk on hard surfaces when you're exploring a city.
  • Check out city walking tours. They can be a good way of familiarizing yourself with a place and are often run by local people with specialized knowledge.
  • When planning your day, take into account the distance you'll walk while exploring attractions such as art galleries, as well as the time and distance between destinations on your route. The kilometres can add up very quickly.
  • Try to be selective when seeing the sights, otherwise you may be overwhelmed by cultural overload and foot fatigue. The Louvre Museum in Paris, for instance, contains more than a million works of art displayed in 13 kilometres of galleries. If you have time, it may be better to make several short visits rather than try to tackle it all in one day.
  • Read guidebooks or do online research (on credible sites) if you're concerned about your personal security. Some cities have districts that aren't safe to walk through, particularly at night.

3. Follow the rules of the road

Common sense and respect for your surroundings are an important part of staying safe when on a walking holiday.

  • If you're walking alone, always tell someone where you're going and when you expect to be back.
  • Respect other people's property: don't trespass and remember to leave gates as you find them.
  • Be cautious before entering fields containing livestock. Goats and bulls, and sometimes cows, can be aggressive.
  • Watch out for dogs. Carry a stick with you, or pick up a large stone if you see a dog approaching you in a threatening manner. As a rule, keep back from unknown dogs unless an owner or tour operator invites you to engage with them.

4. Care for your tired feet

Happy feet make for happy walking.

  • After a hard day's walking or sightseeing, soak your tired feet in a warm bath of lavender tea.
  • If you develop a blister, apply a compress of soothing lavender oil to the area – it will help the blister go down and its antibacterial properties can help prevent infection.

Exploring on foot is a wonderful way to see a destination from a different perspective, so why not skip the bus or rental car on your next vacation? With a bit of preparation and an open mind, you can walk your way into a memorable holiday.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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