Walking holidays is by no means a new concept – pilgrims used to go on long walking journeys hundreds of years ago, discovering new places and looking for spiritual answers. However, even with various amazing holiday options easily accessible today, thousands of people still choose to spend their time off on Camino de Santiago Tours. Walking holidays are not only invaluable for self-exploration, relationship building and recharging mentally but also incredibly rewarding once completed. If you’d like to give walking holidays a go, here are some tips on how to plan one.
Plan a detailed itinerary
Planning the itinerary of your walking holiday is arguably the most difficult part of this process, which is why many travellers tend to use a walking holidays travel agency that does everything for them. Your itinerary for your chosen walking route should be as detailed as possible: you should plan exactly how many kilometres you will be walking each day, which towns you will be sleeping in, what tourist attractions you’d like to spend more time exploring (e.g. detouring from your route).
This is certainly not a situation where you can simply divide the total length of your route by the amount of days of your holiday – how much you walk each day can differ quite a bit. For example, there may be a part of your route that is relatively easy, the paths are flat and there are no attractions to see. You would then estimate that you can walk much more that day than, say, if the part of your route is difficult, lots of steep ascents and descents as well as tourist attractions along the way that you would like to explore.
Therefore, you should really take your time when planning your itinerary. You need to be realistic with your abilities to walk long distances while also considering other important things which are explained below.
Sort out transportation
Due to how strict your walking itinerary will be, you will have absolutely no time to waste figuring out such things as transportation. For example, if you’re walking the Camino de Santiago from Porto, on day 1 of your journey, you must be in Porto, ready to start the route and complete the length set to walk. Starting your route late or in the wrong location could mean messing up all of your plans. So, make sure you have a guaranteed transport to the start of the route and from the finish point.
Depending on where and when you decide to go on your walking holiday, showing up to a local hotel or a B&B may not be an option. Certain Camino de Santiago routes, for instance, get hundreds of thousands of walkers every year so, as you can imagine, the hotels along the way can get pretty busy.
Pre-booking all of your accommodation for each day of your holiday is key, as you won’t have to worry about where you will be sleeping that night, spoiling the enjoyment of your holiday. Again, this is where your itinerary must be realistic and accurate, ensuring that you can successfully make it to your hotel on time.
Consider all scenarios
Contingency planning is another key way to ensure that you are able to fully relax during your walking holiday. This is concerned with thinking of the different scenarios that may happen and how you will solve them. For example, if your digital GPS programme runs out of battery, make sure you have a replacement or a physical map with the route on it to follow.
In other scenarios, a person from your group may get injured or otherwise unable to complete the route. Are you prepared for the situation with a first aid kit? Do you have an emergency number you can call to have them picked up from anywhere on your route? Try to consider these things and prepare for them in advance.