Do you look forward to taking a walk every day? If so, you may well be thinking about making your next vacation one that involves walking. The fact is that once you incorporate walking into your daily routine, it’s hard to imagine going too long without stretching those legs!
Of course, there are plenty of holiday destinations where you know you’ll be able to take a walk each day. But if you’re thinking about elevating walking to the central stage on your vacation, then it’s wise to plan carefully to get the best possible experience.
Not surprisingly, there’s plenty to think about before you book anything if you want to be sure of having a really successful vacation. Besides, there’s nothing like the anticipation of an exciting trip to get you through the dark winter months!
Actually, knowing you have a walking holiday organised can be a wonderfully motivating factor in the months ahead. So, read on for a few tips on what to look out for when planning your walking vacation.
Firstly, you need to decide whether you’re sufficiently confident in your map-reading skills to go-it-alone. If you prefer to hand over the homework to someone else, then a guided group tour may be more suitable.
Enjoy the luxury of leaving the organising to an expert, while you make new friends with like-minded fellow walkers.
A walking holiday also presents an excellent opportunity to pursue other interests. If you’re a foodie, you may enjoy learning about an area’s food and wine selections by chatting to local producers. Or perhaps you like visiting hideaway villages or ancient ruins?
On our walking tours in Italy, you get the chance to do a little bit of everything, from wine-tasting and cookery classes, to visiting some of Italy’s most beautiful villages and gardens.
How high can you climb? And how far can you walk? Actually, it’s more a matter of how far you want to walk. A walking holiday doesn’t need to be overly strenuous, and picking the right level for you is very important.
This should be one which keeps you in your comfort zone but also provides the odd buzz of adrenaline. So, check the grading of your tour carefully, not just the distance, but also the daily ascents and descents, to make sure that you’re going to enjoy, rather than endure, the daily hikes.
A walking vacation is one you can feel as comfortable doing on your own as with a partner or a friend. If you have a partner who’s less enthusiastic about hiking than you, perhaps a friend (or group of friends) might be a better companion.
At Hedonistic Hiking, the tours are fairly evenly split between solo travellers, couples and small groups of friends and are extremely sociable, so there are no worries about fitting in.
When it comes to location, there’s clearly no easy answer. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that, when it comes to European walking holidays, a mountain-based tour will probably involve steeper gradients than one in say, Tuscany.
If you prefer to cover a greater distance, without any big highs or lows, or aren’t overly keen on heights, then steer clear of mountainous regions. Also, do some research into how accessible the starting and drop off points for each tour are, and whether you can catch a direct flight there.
Once you’ve booked your flights, extending your trip by a few more days, or even a week or two, often makes financial sense. Add on a city break or some beachside relaxation to really get the most out of your trip.
Or, if you’re a real hiking fanatic, why not book two separate tours, with a week or so of relaxation in between the two?
Once you’ve booked your trip, you’re ready for the next stage of planning!
If you’re not already a keen walker, it’s a good idea to gradually get used to doing walks of a similar length to those you’ll be doing on the tour. Cycling, swimming and other aerobic exercise is also beneficial, and Pilates-based exercises are great for stretching.
Top of the list is making sure that you have comfortable walking boots that you’ve worn in before your trip.
If your tour includes two or more hotel stays, the less luggage you have, the easier your packing and re-packing will be!
What do you think would make a walking holiday exciting for you? Have you ever been on a walking holiday? Which location would you like to visit? Please share your thoughts and comments with our wonderful community.
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