All About Hiking Holidays! Find Adventure And Excitement!
Introduction – Escape On Hiking Holidays!
Do Hiking Holidays provide Adventure and Excitement? Have you ever thought about escaping the usual holiday destinations like beaches and shopping malls? If you fancy escaping your daily routines, either by yourself or in a group for a short while; or discovering healthier, more unique locations; then try hiking holidays. The idea of hiking holidays is not new and in its simplest form can be considered as a picnic in nature which includes some hiking activity.
Whether you call them hiking holidays, walking holidays, hiking vacations, trekking trips or some other term, in many respects they are just like other types of holiday. However, the major distinguishing feature of a hiking holiday is that it provides you with the opportunity to enjoy great outdoor environments.
Hiking holidays are holidays which provide you with more opportunities to have fun outdoors. Just as with most other types of holiday, hiking also enables you to have some great times and get away from your daily routine. Hiking holidays are especially suitable for people who love outdoor activities.
Hiking holidays are not climbing on mountains but they could involve such an activity if you were so inclined. With mountain climbing, the environments you encounter are usually quite harsh, whereas with a hiking holiday, it is usually more leisurely. On the other hand, at times you may have to “rough it” a little, by climbing trails and ascending steep inclines, depending on the holiday you choose. Read the following sections to find out more:
Example St Ives, Cornwall Hiking Holidays Video
My hiking holiday in St Ives Cornwall with Holiday Fellowship (HF) Holidays was a great experience. St Ives is a delightful resort town with a maze-like old fishing area. It’s a perfect centre from which to discover the surrounding region. The HF Holidays’ Hiking Leaders were great. During the day hiking they guided us in a caring and considerate way, and also pointed out places of interest. There were 5 days of hikes and the hiking time was around 5 to 7 hours each day. We spent our free day taking a look around St Ives.
Contents On Hiking Holidays
Use the following guide to find out more about hiking holidays:
- Introduction – Escape On Hiking Holidays
- Benefits Of Hiking Holidays
- What Type Of Hiking Holiday?
- Planning For Your Hiking Holidays
- Summary On Hiking Holidays
Benefits Of Hiking Holidays
A holiday which includes hiking can be great for adventure, fun and excitement with the following major benefits:
- Fresh Air – How often do we make time to enjoy the great outdoors? Spending time out of doors on a regular basis can enhance your health and feeling of well-being. Although you may cough a little initially as your lungs eliminate the impurities that you normally breathe in daily, fresh air cleans your lungs. When you breathe deeply, you get more oxygen to your cells and that increases your energy for hiking.In addition, the extra oxygen improves brain clarity and you can think better than you could before. Fresh air therefore promotes: a healthier mind; cleaner lungs; and a calmer constitution. Hiking holidays offer the opportunity to take a deep, refreshing breath. After your hiking holidays your cheeks will have a healthy glow for a while due to the fresh air in your blood. Enjoy hiking in the great outdoors and obtain your measure of fresh air.
- Natural Exercise – Hiking or walking is a natural activity and is therefore considered natural exercise. Even a short hike around a local park can strengthen your existing muscles and help build new muscles. The basic activity of walking can help improve overall flexibility, develop cardiovascular fitness and improve balance. A benefit of your greater level of fitness is that your everyday life will be enhanced. In your everyday life you should find it easier to: bend over to pick things up; keep pace with your children; and breathe easier. When you exercise outdoors in fresh air you get an increase in aerobic benefit. Clean air helps improve your breathing technique which means increased stamina. More oxygen to your muscles reduces lactic acid build-up in the muscles which leads to cramping. Going on regular hiking holidays and taking regular exercise in your daily home life can help you reduce your weight, tone your muscles and feel better. In turn you could decrease the likelihood of dying from heart disease; developing diabetes; and even reduce the possibility of getting many forms of cancer.
- Natural Scenery – You have access to some stunning scenery on hiking holidays: from wonderful hills and mountain ranges; to national forests and woods; to amazing coastlines, beaches and skylines. Whilst hiking you get to see gorgeous rivers, streams and lakes, harsh, rocky or jagged landscapes and the natural animals, birds, flora and fauna that accompany those natural environments. It is for these reasons why numerous photographers go on hiking holidays. The cloud formations over mountain ranges can be truly wondrous, but have you ever taken a photograph of an otter floating down the river in glorious sunshine or wildlife in the middle of the serene wooded landscape?
- Relaxation – In the fast-paced world of today, finding time to relax can be critical to your health and well being. Although lying on a golden sandy beach in your swim gear and wasting away the days can be relaxing and enjoyable, the benefits of hiking holidays can be more appealing. On hiking holidays you can: escape from the daily stresses of home life; experience peace and quiet; listen to birds singing in trees; or water rippling in a stream. Getting your body involved in stretching movements as with hiking, redirects your negative energy flows and releases it in a positive way. One could say that hiking is physically invigorating and helps to unwind the mind.
- Social Life – Families sharing time together in nature on hiking holidays can strengthen existing bonds or repair strained relationships and hence draw closer together. Couples on hiking holidays could save their marriages by rediscovering why they fell in love in the first place, without the interference of the stresses they are currently experiencing in their daily routines. As an individual, you can attend a group holiday and share time with strangers in the wild and exchange stories. A group holiday can be a great time to enjoy the company of fellow hikers, bonding and making new friends.
What Type Of Hiking Holiday?
You can find short hikes of a few hours in length, all the way up to hikes that take several days and involve camping outdoors each evening. You can also find various hikes in between these two. So if you eventually decide you’d like to try hiking holidays, your next decision is what type of hiking trip:
- Where – This will depend on what type of hiking you’d like to do and what part of the world you’d like to hike. Do you want to try hills and mountains, woodland, coastal areas, or maybe a combination of landscapes. Do you want to experience Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Africa, or specific countries like England, Scotland, Spain, Turkey, USA, etc?
- When – Apart from the factor of when you can actually take a holiday, which of the seasons would you like to experience? In the United Kingdom we have 4 seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. However, not all locations will have as many distinctive seasons. Do you want to experience hot, cold or mild conditions?
- How Long – If you are new to hiking you may want to start off with some easy hiking and work you way to longer distances. Start with a few short day hiking trips. Next try a weekend involving two or three day hiking trips, one per day. After that you may want to experience a whole week of day hiking or maybe a multi-day hike involving overnight camping.
Try not to overestimate your hiking ability and get involved in a hike you cannot cope with as it could be tough on your health. Plan your hiking holidays with care, asking questions about your destination and the hike that you plan to undertake.
Planning For Your Hiking Holidays
Hiking holidays are not recommended as last minute adventures. Planning ahead and making a decision on a timetable is important. Check out which are the busiest times for your choice of hiking destination to make sure you get a reservation and avoid disappointment. Mishaps and even accidents are more likely to occur during your hiking holidays if you wait until the last minute and are poorly prepared. You can either plan your own hiking holidays or use a tour operator:
- Plan Yourself – However, if planning your own trip you will need to book a hotel, bed and breakfast or hostel in advance. Accommodation in popular areas can be difficult to find in the busy high season. Consider travelling in shoulder seasons, that is, the period of travel between low and high seasons, which are not so busy and prices are often cheaper. The other option is to camp out along your journey. If planning your own hiking trip, you will also need to arrange transport to the start of the hike and maybe return transportation, detailed maps and guides. You can find out lots of information about adventure travel in local libraries, book shops and on the Internet.
- Tour Operators – If you go with a tour operator, accommodation is usually included in your hiking holiday package. If it’s your first holiday involving hiking, then booking via a tour operator is a good option. Depending on the package you choose, accommodation, some meals and experienced guides will be arranged for you. Depending on your chosen destination and the tour operator, there may be one hike, or several hikes to cater for a variety of experience levels, available on each day of your holiday. Prior to booking your hiking adventure, verify what experience level is required.
You could find information about hiking holidays from your local travel shop. You can also search the Internet for information about hiking holidays. Many companies that provide hiking tours advertise them on the Internet. Take a look and see what Real Adventures Hiking and Trekking Holidays have to offer. They also offer many other types of holidays. Whether you choose to do it yourself or use a tour operator, factors to consider include:
- Seasons – Seasonal characteristics play an essential role when choosing your hiking trip. Weather conditions and amounts of daylight will differ, depending on the chosen destination. A destination may be closed or otherwise be unsuitable at specific times of year.
- Trails – All hiking trails are not the same, so it’s important to establish if your chosen destination has conditions suitable for the type hiking you want to do, your level of experience and fitness, and what particular hiking gear and supplies you will need.
- Fitness – Start a hiking or walking regime to get and keep in shape before your departure. If you already hike or are very active, establish how far you hike using a pedometer so you know if you can safely handle the length of hike you are planning.
- Groups – If you are organising a group or family hiking trip then it is important to ensure all hikers are properly kitted out and that accommodation and provisions are appropriate for all.
- Packing – On hiking holidays you cannot just pack the same way you pack for general holidays. Appropriate hiking equipment is a must and will depend on the type of hiking you do.
- Equipment – The most common equipment needed is hiking boots or good hiking shoes, a hiking backpack and camping gear if you are going to be staying outdoors overnight. Make sure you have broken in your hiking boots and have tested all your hiking equipment and gear to ensure it is comfy and functioning correctly. If you are using hiking poles, are they working correctly? Waterproofing of boots is preferable during hiking trips where there is a possibility of continuous water exposure.
- Navigation – Maps are an important element used in hiking trips and GPS devices provide a directional guideline for your route and an extra degree of safety and security.
- Safety – The freedom of hiking is important, but your hikes should be scheduled so that you know where you’re going and when you’ll be back – or where you’ll end up next. It is highly advisable to inform someone of where you’ll be so that they can check up to see if you return when you say you will. Better safe than sorry! It’s always best to hike with someone else so they can help out if you get sick or become injured. However, many people can and do go on hiking holidays alone and enjoy themselves because they are both prepared and careful.
- Transport – If you need flight, trains, rental cars or any other type of transport, book early because you may get a lower price, particularly if a discount or charter airline flies to your destination. Trains or local buses may be required to get from the airport or train station to the walking holiday starting location. If rail travel is needed consider a rail pass as they often include discounts to museums, attractions and local buses too.
- Documents – Verify the passport, visa and vaccination requirements of your destination. You should also consider travel insurance with medical cover. If you go with a tour operator, travel insurance is often compulsory. Take photocopies of all your documents with you.
- Vaccinations – If you need vaccinations, they may need to be taken well in advance of your departure date.
- Currency – If visiting a foreign country it can be useful to obtain some local currency in advance of your arrival.
- Food & Snacks – Make sure you have appropriate food and water. Depending on your destination you may need to obtain your hiking snacks before you arrive at your destination.
- Language – If your destination is a foreign country it may be advisable to learn a few phrases of the local language and/or take a phrase book with you. Many local people appreciate it when you have a go at learning a little of their language.
If you don’t have your own gear yet then some holiday package providers supply equipment as part of their package. For a more comprehensive list of what you may need, see my detailed hiking equipment checklist.
Summary On Hiking Holidays
One of the most popular things for people to do on holiday is to walk. Hiking all over the countryside brings a certain freedom that just can’t be acquired anywhere else.
Hiking holidays are a wonderful means by which you can explore the globe. Whether you are on a trip in your own country or travelling in another you are certain to meet people that are like minded.
Hiking in the fresh air offers great health benefits and you can do it by yourself, with family, or with a group of friends.
However you decide to do it, though, you’ll need to be paying attention to how to plan for the trip and what you want to accomplish. Don’t just start out hiking with a general idea of where you want to end up! Be prepared!
For your hiking trip, establish where you want to go and what kinds of trips are offered in that area.
If your initial choice doesn’t have the type of hiking you want, you may have to change where you stay slightly.
Once you realise the delights a hiking holiday offers, you will look and feel better every day of your life. Hiking Holidays for Adventure and Excitement!
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