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How to Pack for A Walking Holiday in the UK

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A sense of real-life adventure, the great outdoors, and the fresh air are all the things you can expect from a walking holiday. Indeed, one main reason that a walking holiday is so rewarding is that it’s challenging, therefore, you get a sense of having really achieved something.

Of course, to make the challenging aspect of a walking holiday enjoyable as opposed to uncomfortable, you’ll need to pack adequately.

Packing 

You’re really excited about your South Downs Way walking holiday; a well-deserved break rumbling through the serene countryside, exploring the local villages, and taking in the beautiful woodlands. But, you’ll first have to pack. This checklist will ensure that you’ve got everything you need for that perfect walking holiday.

Medical Kit

A small medical kit which can fit in your rucksack might be very useful if you or anyone you’re with encounters minor health issues which can be easily addressed especially when you’re far away from the nearest pharmacy. For instance, you can pack painkillers for strained muscles and headaches, wet wipes, diarrhea treatment, and plasters for blisters. If you suffer from altitude sickness, you can request your doctor to prescribe some medication.

Comfortable Boots

The foundation for a perfectly enjoyable and unforgettable walking holiday is comfortable boots. Your legs and feet take a lot of strain from walking, and getting the right boots will significantly reduce the chances of blisters and sore feet. The best walking boots have great ankle support to cope with uneven or slippery paths. Where the route is less arduous, trail shoes or lower cut boots would be a good choice, particularly if your feet get really hot during summer.

The ideal boots are lightweight, solid, waterproof, and have a breathable membrane to keep your feet comfortable and dry. Planning on buying new boots for your trip? Try on several pairs before settling on one. And then, before you go on holiday, wear them as often as you can to avoid getting blisters. Also, buy socks that are specially designed for hiking. The socks usually have extra cushioned soles to protect your feet.

Quick-Dry Shorts or Trousers

Heavy cotton and jeans trousers or shorts are okay for wearing at the hotel, but not a great choice for your day’s walk. They’ll fast get soggy in case it pours. You should pack at least a pair of walking shorts or trousers made from lightweight and quick-drying material. Or, instead of carrying shorts and trousers, you can find trousers that double up as shorts. Alternatively, you can use sports shorts or tracksuit bottoms which are also made from quick-drying and lightweight fabric.

Shorts or trousers with plenty of pockets are very useful for keeping your items, including phone and maps, safely.

Waterproof Jacket

Summer in the UK is characterized by occasional cooler mornings or showers. You’ll need a waterproof jacket for these types of weather changes. Get a jacket that’s substantial enough to keep you warm in the morning or evening yet small enough to fit in your rucksack.

Consider buying a jacket with the following: adequate pockets to put all your small items, a breathable membrane to ensure you don’t sweat excessively, and zips for your under-arm ventilation.

Walking T-Shirts

Choose a variety of lightweight T-shirts, and a few vest tops. Vest-tops are great if you want to get a tan, but you should alternate them with sleeved T-shirts. This will help avoid the discomfort and irritation of sunburned shoulders. T-shirts that are made from treated merino wool or technical fabric are designed for walking, and they’ll keep you cool as well as wick away excess sweat.

A Bandana or Hat

Summers can get extremely hot, and a sunhat will definitely come in handy. You don’t want to risk getting unsightly sunburns or worse, sunstroke. A cotton bandana will help keep hair away from your face. It can also prevent your neck from getting sunburns and be used to wipe off sweat as well.

A Fleece

Pack a fleece in case you encounter chilly moments in the evening or even in the early morning. Your T-shirt, when layered with a mid-weight fleece, should give you adequate warmth. If you can get a waterproof fleece, the better.

Day Sack

Since most walking holidays entail walks from your hotel, you’ll only need a sizeable rucksack to carry what you need for the day. A sack of about 20 to 30 liters with mesh pockets for holding your water bottles, lots of zipped compartments, and loops should be ideal.

It’s also advisable to carry a few plastic bags to store items such as your phone, clothes, maps, and anything else that can get wet in case of a sudden downpour.

Walking Pole

For gentle and flat walking routes, you’ll not need a walking pole. However, for arduous routes or paths that have steep climbs, you might require a walking pole. If you’re walking on a mountainous terrain, a walking pole will help ease the strain off your legs and knees. The walking pole will give you some much-needed support on steep, slippery, and uneven paths.

Foldable or telescopic poles are recommended since they are easy to pack and carry in your rucksack.

A Reusable Water Bottle

The most important part of your walk is to always stay hydrated. When you’re taking a walk in the rural areas, you’ll need plenty of fresh water supply. To avoid wastage as well as conserve the environment, get a refillable bottle to carry your water.

Underwear

Supportive and comfortable underwear is definitely a must for walking. Pack only a few lightweight and wicking underwear including sports bras. You can wash them as you travel.

Evening Wear

At the end of a long and adventurous day of walking, and after a shower, you’ll want to put on an outfit that’s suitable for relaxing or dining out. Lightweight clothes, shoes, flip-flops, or trainers will fit the bill perfectly for your post-hiking wear.

Toiletries

Pack all the necessary toiletries and keep in mind how long they’ll last. Some hotels provide small containers of shampoo, soap, and lotion. However, it’s best to bring your own, as well.

Extra Essentials

Remember to carry sun cream or sunscreen, sunglasses, camera phone or camera, insect repellent, universal plug, washing detergent, antiseptic gel, and camera and phone charger.

Food

Many lodges or B&Bs will pack a small lunch for you. You can also stock up on heavy snacks such as trail mix, protein bars, cheese, bread, or crackers. You’ll need plenty of protein on your walk. And don’t forget to carry candy. You’ll relish a sweet treat while you’re burning those calories.

Ultimately, the right equipment and packing right will make your walk trouble free, relaxed, and more enjoyable.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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Travel Tips

Dogger-Lust: Finding Places to Stay for You and Your Dog

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Travelling with your pets is rewarding but like all adventures, can be an expedition into the unknown. Whether it’s navigating quarantine laws or finding a pet sitter for a night out, getting sorted with a pet in tow on the road, air or ocean can take time. However, the good news is that as the digital economy matures there are countless resources to assist you. Pet sitters? Plan ahead and Skype interview them for piece of mind before you arrive at your destination. Need a recommendation on pet friendly dining options? Most review sites will have a selection of places for you and pup to frequent. And perhaps most importantly, there is the ability to locate online the closest (and open) veterinary clinic. This can be vital in an emergency situation.

But what about accommodation? Some hotels are finally cottoning on the burgeoning market of travelling with pets and some accommodation sites are adding ‘pet-friendly’ filters to their search criteria. Of course, good old fashioned word-of-mouth and online reviews will also enable you to find less obvious pet friendly lodgings as well. However, we have had the most success by finding our ideal accommodation and then contacting the owner/management to make our case for allowing a pet to stay. In this case, developing a slick looking Pet CV may seem a tad twee, but it is generally only seen in the case of long term rentals – rather than travellers and those on holidays – so it’s worth a shot. It’s also worth noting that in dire circumstances many private or hotels will allow pets – at a price. 

For the ultimate in pet friendly accommodation, there are several destinations that should be on bucket-list. In Europe, see Le Bristol in Paris and The Hoxton in Amsterdam. Dogs even stay for free at the Hotel Beau Rivage in Geneva. Leading the way in Asia is Japan’s KAI Kinugawa, a sumptuous onsen lodging with a Japanese-style pet friendly room. If you’re heading Down Under, check out The Langham in Sydney and Somerset on Elizabeth in Melbourne who both willingly welcome your pets. Worldwide, large chains such as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Best Westerns, Fairmont Hotels and Ace Hotels (selected properties) all offer pet friendly accommodation of luxurious quality and an array of services from doggy spas to fine dining pet menus. 

Another way to ensure you and your dog are always welcome is to take your home with you – wherever you go. While Tiny Homes are making their mark in sustainable living, the humble caravan is ultimately more portable and your ticket to travelling with pets. 

Best of all, when you’re back on home turf, just park your caravan and protect it until you’re ready for your next adventure. We recommend the Adco motorhome cover for its durability and zippered panels meaning you don’t have to completely remove it to get your vehicle. Bonus points for breathable, premium fabric that filters 99.8% of UV rays that over time damages your caravan’s paintwork. Happy travelling! 

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Travel Tips

6 Tips to Choose a Good Tent and More [Infographic]

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Probably one of the best ways to get away from it all is to return to a simpler existence, with just a handful of needs to cover. If you are looking for something like that, outdoor life and camping can be a good option, whether in a campsite or in the countryside.

If you need to buy a tent for the first time or if it has been a long time since the outdoor experiences, you should take into account some basic concepts due to the large number of models and new materials. The following are some tips that will help you in the choice.

>> Camping essential – a personal GPS tracking device that would work without cell service.

1. How many people will sleep in the tent?

Although normally each model of tent indicates the maximum occupancy that it tolerates, this number does not take into account the storage of equipment, the size of people, pets or the sleeping habits of each, for example, if they move or turn much. Then it is not bad to consider the team as an extra person and if you want to be standing inside it you will have to find out the maximum height.

2. Do you have to transport it long distances?

Not all tents are designed to be super light and, at the same time, shelter six people with all their equipment. If you are going to carry it in a backpack, you are clearly looking for the first, a small tent, with limited capacity and made with lightweight fabrics, but if you are looking for the second, then you should focus on heavier fabrics and materials that allow larger spaces.

The backpackers’ tents are less spacious than the family ones that are normally transported by car and usually offer very little height.

3. The weather should not be set aside

In the case of strong winds, freezing rain, excessive sunlight or insects and bugs that bite the best will be a good and solid tent. That means polyester / nylon and mesh panels to provide protection and ventilation. Water resistance is indicated by a number that ranges between 400 and 2,000 (2,000 is the most waterproof).

Anyway do not overdo it, it is not the same an expedition to Aconcagua than a weekend a couple of hours from home. For a summer camp with 400 it will be fine.

4. With or without rooms?

Some tents offer divisions to create separate “rooms” inside, which is ideal for families with children. There is also the option of a porch area with waterproof windows that allow you to create an indoor / outdoor space in a tent, which helps keep annoying insects at bay and prevent entry with wet or muddy slippers. It is best to have an eave or apse, something very useful for storing equipment, cooking, changing wet clothes.

5. With a roof – much better

Tents that have an over-roof to the floor retain heat better and protect more from rain. It is important to keep in mind that a light color of the over-roof absorbs less solar radiation and warms its interior less, although it has a disadvantage that it allows the light to pass through a lot. On the other hand, if it is dark, and the tent is located in the shade, it will be cooler and less bright.

6. What material?

A minor aspect is the fabric. It must have cross ventilation so that condensation does not occur. The rips top or anti-tear fabrics are better than those of aluminized nylon and, obviously, those of common nylon since they are lighter and do not wear out.

The following infographic gives more tips for camping tent, including preparation, how to pitch a tent, pest control, etc.

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Travel Tips

Here’s What Your Travel First Aid Kit Should Look Like

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first aid kit

If you have heard it once, you have heard it a million times: do not travel away from home without at least a basic first aid kit. That is good advice. And if you frequently travel to remote locations where emergency help is hard to find, you might need more than just a basic kit. Plan to take a few more items with you – just in case.

As a benefit to readers, this post will explain just what a basic travel first aid kit should look like. It will also explain how to use your kit should you ever find yourself in an emergency situation. It goes without saying that first aid is often the determining factor in how well a patient recovers from accident related injuries.

Contents of a Good Kit

Basic, travel approved first aid kits are pretty common. You can buy them online and in all sorts of brick-and-mortar stores. A good kit suitable for a couple of days of hiking or camping in an area fairly close to civilized society would include all of the items listed below:

  • Strip Bandages – These are small, adhesive bandages ideal for small cuts and lacerations. They are also great for blisters and boils. Covering a small wound with a bandage helps keep out dirt and prevent infection.
  • Gauze Bandages – Whether your kit has gauze patches or a roll of gauze strips, this material is suitable for deeper wounds. Gauze is a material designed to absorb blood and promote clotting simultaneously.
  • Medical Tape – Gauze pads and strips are more easily held in place when you have medical tape. A high-quality medical tape will hold up even under wet conditions. It resists perspiration as well.
  • Antibiotic Ointment – Preventing a wound from getting infected is the purpose of antibiotic ointment. A decent tube of ointment can be very helpful without taking up a lot of space in your kit.
  • Pain Medication – A bottle of over-the-counter pain medication goes a long way toward making an injured patient more comfortable. Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen are all good choices for pain relief.
  • Scissors – A good pair of scissors will be useful for cutting medical tape, trimming gauze pads, and safely removing skin from an open wound.
  • Tweezers – You might need a pair of tweezers to deal with splinters and small objects embedded in open wounds.
  • Thermal Blanket – It is a good idea to include a thermal blanket in your travel first aid kit. Though a lot of similar articles don’t mention the blanket, the need for one becomes obvious when you understand how easily shock can set in following an accident. A thermal blanket is critical to keeping someone who is in shock warm.

The items listed here are the starting point for a basic first aid kit. If you plan to travel into remote areas for any length of time, you might want to consider some additional items such as water purification tablets, antidiarrheal medicine, rehydration salts, butterfly bandages, and a quick clot medication.

How to Use Your First Aid Kit

By now you should understand just how important it is to have a first aid kit with you when you travel. But there is more to first aid than simply assembling the supplies you need. You also have to know how to use them. There is no better source of knowledge than a first aid class offered by a qualified organisation.

Anyone who travels away from home regularly could benefit from taking a first aid class. A typical class teaches basic first aid techniques including wound dressing, stabilising fractured bones, performing CPR, and even dealing with a variety of animal and insect bites.

One of the things you quickly learn in first aid class is that the care you provide to an injured patient is not intended to be a substitute for comprehensive medical care. First aid is really just to stabilise an injured person until he or she can be transported to a medical facility.

The take-away here is that it is a good idea to learn how to use the supplies in your first aid kit to render emergency care for the purposes of stabilising an accident victim. If you do not know how to properly dress an open wound, for example, your patient could end up with a serious infection before he or she ever makes it to the hospital.

A travel first aid kit, even if it is just a basic kit, should be non-negotiable for people who frequently travel away from home. Good first aid kits can be found online and at brick-and-mortar retailers. You can make your own kit as well, by starting with a weatherproof container and filling it with the sorts of things listed in this post.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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