Are you dreaming of escaping the normal routine and setting out on a walking holiday? Whether you’re planning one for the next month, or hoping to go away on a walking holiday next year, there are many things that are essential to have a really great walking holiday. One of the biggest decisions you will have for your walking holiday is whether to use a company or to do your walking holiday independently. There are a ton of reasons why using a company can make your walking holiday so much more enjoyable, so in my opinion which company you choose is a big factor too. It’s really important that you dress for the weather and are realistic about the weather conditions, especially if you think you may be walking in the evenings when temperatures drop.
1. A Great Walking Holiday Company
There are two main ways to do a walking holiday – one is to just set off with a map and a spirit of adventure, the second is to go through an organized company that will provide you with ample support, route planning and some even take your luggage from hotel to hotel, so you can be free to really enjoy your walking holiday. While there’s not necessarily a better or worse way to do a walking holiday, I think it’s really important to ask yourself how much support you’ll want and need for your trip. Going on a professionally curated walking holiday means that the trip has been designed to give you incredible vistas, a level of challenge that’s appropriate for your fitness abilities as well as on call support should you have any issues along the way. For me personally, that’s a priceless service that allows me to just focus on my vacation and enjoying the time with my family. Walking holidays in the UK are a wonderful way to see more of this beautiful country without the hustle and bustle of a traditional tour. You can move at your own pace, stopping to enjoy any beautiful landscapes you see along the way. Personally I find walking holidays to be the perfect way to detox and destress from the normal work life.
2. Appropriate Clothes for the Weather
The first thing you need to do is check the weather forecast for the length of your trip, but no matter what it says you’re going to need to pack at least a shell jacket to protect you from the rain. There’s nothing worse than a surprise shower catching you off guard. I suggest that you also consider choosing to take fast wicking pants and t shirts to help keep you feeling dry if you’re sweating or it’s a really humid day. These types of clothes can be quite pricey, so look into your area to see if you have an outlet store where you can purchase these things on a discount sale. One thing many people forget to think about is socks – I think they can really make the difference and cushion your foot a lot more, so be sure to buy good quality socks that are comfortable!
3. A Good Quality Camera
Many of us rely on our smartphones as our cameras and while there’s nothing wrong with that, you might be surprised to find that the quality isn’t really good enough if you want to print the photos out. If you don’t own a good quality camera, it may be worth asking to borrow one for the trip. I have a Canon Gx7 Mark ii and I love the size and portability of it. I used to have a full on DSL camera, but found that for traveling it was often heavy and bulky. My smaller camera is much more manageable and easy to just fit in a bag while out for the day. Do some research to see what fits into your budget if you’re looking to buy a new camera, but if you’re not wanting to spend a lot, sometimes it’s better to just ask to borrow one for the trip!
4. Appropriate Footwear
This is probably the single most important item for a walking holiday. You’re going to want hiking bikes or sports shoes that provide adequate protection. I prefer to use hiking boots that go up past the ankle, as that helps prevent twisting your ankle when you land incorrectly. There are many brands of hiking boots to choose from with varying price points. I suggest reading some reviews online before committing to any particular brand as they tend to be quite an investment. If you’re on a budget, why not consider buying a pair of second hand boots? Often people buy hiking boots and only use them once or twice, meaning that you can find yourself a real bargain and save some good money. When choosing your hiking shoes, be sure that there is enough space to wear thicker socks. Sometimes people make the mistake of trying them on with thin, ankle style socks and end up getting a size too small. Take along the boot socks that you plan to use with your shoes when you try them to be sure you’re getting the right fit. If you want a more thorough guide to hiking boots, check out this post on how to choose the right hiking boots.
5. First Aid Supplies
No one wants to think about getting a giant blister, or a pounding headache while on holiday, but it can happen. It’s really important that you bring along a basic first aid kit with you to help you incase anything goes wrong. I suggest having some bandaids, some antiseptic wipes, pain killers, blister protection such as Compeed, some gauze, and a sterile needle. Why the needle? Well it can serve a few purposes – if you wind up with a splinter, you’ll be so glad you thought to bring one along as you will be able to easily remove it. Likewise, if you find yourself with a giant blister from wearing shoes that weren’t worn in properly, then you can relieve the pressure and discomfort. If you don’t have a needle with you, you’ll struggle to do either of those things and could actually do more harm or give yourself an infection. If you’re lucky, you might not need anything from your first aid kit, but if you have one you can rest assured if something small bothers you, you’ll be able to handle it. Make sure to bring a bottle of sunscreen and keep it in your first aid kit. Be sure to apply it frequently, as per the directions. Many people make the mistake of applying sunscreen in the morning and forgetting about it, but with sweat, heat and water, sunscreen melts away and so does the protection.
Walking holidays are such a fun way to travel, you get to see more, spend more time in nature and create special memories with your loved ones. These top 5 essentials will ensure that you have a fun and unforgettable walking holiday adventure!