Originally published: 18 February 2015
Walking holidays are one of the best ways to enjoy seeing and feeling a country at your own pace. The benefits of travelling in this style are numerous. Not only is it ecologically friendly, it’s also far healthier than jumping on a bus or a plane and kicking back while feasting on chocolate and binging on in-flight entertainment.
As for maximizing your enjoyment of a walking trip while keeping costs down, what kind of things, other than the obvious putting one foot in front of the other, can you do? Here we hope to offer a few pointers.
Choose a Destination that Fits Your Style
Settling on a destination for your walking trip is more important than you think. If you’re more intrepid and active, than by all means go for something challenging, possibly trekking adventures in the mountain ranges of Asia or even tackling a dormant volcano or two. Obviously the cost of getting to your destination factors in but once there you shouldn’t spend too much.
If you want something a little more relaxed and slower paced, Western Europe is a safe bet. France is one of the best countries for walking holidays in the world, and with organisations like Belle France you could even join in on locally organised walking tours to appreciate the town’s beauty first-hand, which is often more cheaper than you’d first expect too.
Another great way to keep the costs of a walking trip down is by packing as light as possible, meaning you can save on things like checking baggage or having your luggage moved ahead if you’re on a specific route.
Walking with only the things on your back is much less daunting than you’d think. Literally hundreds of people set out to do this each day on one of Europe’s most famous walking routes, the Camino de Santiago.
Perhaps get specific gear items you might need before time from second-hand sources on the web. More times than not people will be willing to pass on camping gear or hiking gear that might prove useful for more off-the-beaten-track style trips that take you further away from civilisation.
Eat from Supermarkets and Shops
Another prime advantage of seeing a new destination on foot is that you don’t have to rely on getting fed in local restaurants or cafes. Moving through new towns and villages, there’s almost always somewhere to find cheap and inexpensive food. Hit up local markets too to take advantage of fresh produce and get the energy you need to continue onward.
Walking also provides increased opportunity for spontaneous moments as well as bringing you in closer connection with locals. Don’t be surprised if you get asked onto people’s properties to share some food or drink, people are way more hospitable than the world media would give them credit for.
Travelling in this style is a lot more enjoyable and cheaper than most people think. With only the elements outside of your control, you’ll realise just how little you need to truly experience a place and get everything you want from a trip.