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Mar 23

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Are ‘Walking Holidays’ The New Cool Thing?

trekking holidays and walking vacations

Active travel is the new adventure travel.

Active Travel Gains in Popularity

Walking holidays are grabbing the attention of fashion-conscious globe-trotters as a way to combine sightseeing with exercise, while reaching locations that many tour operators simply don’t offer.

In the UK, Get Walking Day has become so popular that it is now Get Walking Week, and urges everybody to get out on foot during one week in May.

But many people will be looking to take their annual summer holiday around that time – making an international walking holiday an ideal option.

Whether you choose to trek the Himalayas, explore the jungles of South America, or check out the wildlife of South Africa, there are plenty of exotic locales to choose from that will offer you the trip of a lifetime.

Popular Destinations

road trip

Find your dream destination

Every continent has its attractions for walking holidays, even including glacier walks in Antarctica.

In Australasia – or Oceania, if you prefer – the epic New Zealand scenery that defined the Lord of the Rings trilogy (and which is doing the same for The Hobbit) has revitalised the country’s tourism sector.

Africa offers leafy wildlife reserves, not only in the interior of the continent, but right up to the coast, with forests a short walk from the beach in some places.

South America has everything from mountain trails to jungle tracks, with Incan ruins the icing on the cake for those with a love of archaeology.

In North America, the Appalachian Trail was brought to global attention by the travel writer Bill Bryson, and is just one of several traditional routes followed by US trekkers.

And across the continuous land mass of Europe and Asia, mountain ranges such as the Alps and the Himalayas make high-altitude walking holidays an excellent option.

The ‘perfect’ destination is a matter of personal taste, but our world offers every conceivable option, from sun and sand to snow and ice, spectacular waterfalls and dense jungle, sun-bleached beaches and desert backdrops.

Get the Gear

hiking boots

Good boots are essential trekking gear.

Depending on your destination, you may need to invest in (or hire) some specific equipment to make sure that your route is accessible, and that you are safe.

The obvious example is if you are trekking at high altitude, where snow and ice are potentially a hazard.

With the right equipment – ranging from warm clothing to spiked footwear – you can keep your grip underfoot, while keeping the cold out.

Similarly, if you are walking in a particularly warm climate, you may need clothing that keeps you cool and protects you from the sun; in rainforests, a waterproof backpack could mean the difference between staying soaked after a downpour, and having dry clothes to put on.

Alongside all of the basics, there are the gadgets that many walkers love to take along with them.

Pedometers help you to keep track of just how many steps you have taken – and, if you know your stride length, how many miles you have covered.

GPS systems can take this a step further, using satellite technology to pinpoint your position to within a metre, anywhere on the Earth’s surface.

Again, it’s a matter of personal taste whether you want to surround yourself with gadgetry, or simply slip on a sturdy pair of walking boots and head out into the wild to get properly back to basics.

Counting the Benefits

The clear benefit of walking holidays is the health aspect – you’re guaranteed to get some good exercise, whether it’s fairly low-impact on a clear hiking trail, or the harder-hitting task of climbing a mountain or clearing your own route through undergrowth.

You may find you save money, especially if you already have all of the necessary equipment for the kind of walking holiday you are embarking upon.

The scenery will change continually throughout your journey – which should make a refreshing change if you’ve previously only been on package holidays where you’re stuck in the same resort or on the same stretch of beach.

And in many cases, you can dictate the pace at which you travel, giving you the chance to spend a little extra time in any particularly spectacular setting, compared with the relentless pace of many driving holidays or coach tours.

Who’s Going Walking?

family hiking holiday

The family that hikes together…

Walking holidays have universal appeal, as you often don’t need any special training to simply step out of your door and go for a hike – and even in snowy settings, walking is often easier than learning to ski or snowboard.

In many cases, hiking – and particularly backpacking – holidays are preferred by younger people, who may be better able to carry any equipment on their backs.

You don’t have to be muscle-bound in order to head out on a hiking trip, however, and many tour operators can help you to get out on foot without having to carry a tent or large amounts of food with you.

For older generations, especially retirees, walking holidays are a chance to catch up on missed opportunities from earlier in life.

If you’ve taken early retirement and are wishing you’d travelled more when you were young, it’s never too late – and a walking holiday is an ideal option if you’re not keen on sailing, skiing or jeep safaris.

Attached Images:

This post was contributed by Shakti Himalaya.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/03/23/are-walking-holidays-the-new-cool-thing/

6 comments

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  1. Ross-Barry Finlayson

    Great topic Kevin.Coming from Aotearoa/New-Zealand, we are outdoors people and are never too far from a track. In ’93, on the eve of my departure for a months cycle holiday of Ireland,I was given the following piece of advice; “The best way to see Ireland is to keep off the main roads”. I followed that advice and I saw, experienced and met parts of Ireland many others wouldn’t. I still use that quote to this day, whether I am advising people about travel back home or here in Japan.

    1. trailsnet

      I wholeheartedly second your advice. Stay off the main roads as much as possible and stay off the side roads if there’s a trail available. I would also add that you see exponentially more when you experience some place on the seat of a bicycle or while hiking than you do from within a car. When I go back to the places that I used to visit by bus or automobile and explore them by bike, it’s as if I’m in a whole new place. I see new things that I never knew existed. I’m definitely hooked on walking tours and bike vacations. Thanks for your input, Barry!!

      1. Ross-Barry Finlayson

        Kevin. The amazing thing also, when you return to the same place, the new things you see, that you didn’t notice the first time(s). Since I have had my new video-camera I am seeing some really great stuff.

        1. trailsnet

          Have fun with your new camera, Barry. Warning: Those things burn up the hard-drive space on your computer. I just spent a couple hours today deleting movies from my Mac because I am running out of storage space. My computer is about six years old and doesn’t allow me to add new memory cards, and I’m too cheap to buy a new one. So I’m jettisoning movies & photos to save room.

          1. Ross-Barry Finlayson

            Ahead of you there my friend. Once my videos have been uploaded onto YouTube,I delete them. I did consider downloading them onto disc, but then I thought, what use would that be? My photo, after a while I move to Picasa Web Albums. I think,once the novelty of the new camera wears-off,I won’t use it as much.

  2. trailsnet

    Good thinking Barry. I think I’ll do that w/ the videos left on my hard-drive.

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