Booking a trekking holiday can be an exhilarating experience in itself, but once the initial excitement has worn off it's time to start making sure you're properly prepared for your adventure. Follow our tips to cover all your bases.
This section should probably be a completely separate article! There are many factors to consider when deciding what to stash in your bag, but the most important are the weather at your destination and the kinds of activities you will engage in.
Check with your tour operator and also browse weather websites to determine the conditions you'll be trekking in and pack accordingly - taking both lightweight cotton clothing for warm days and cosy clothing and/or waterproofs for cold or wet ones can be a good idea to cover all eventualities.
Perhaps the most important item of clothing to consider is your walking boots. If you need to buy new ones, you will have to bear in mind the terrain you'll be trekking through and the level of support you will need - otherwise you'll end up with very sore feet at the end of each day of walking! Take advice from knowledgeable staff at outdoor clothing stores and practice walking in your new boots for a few weeks before you jet off.
Don't forget to pack other essentials like a first aid kit, basic toiletries, spare clothing and shoes, chargers and phrase or guidebooks. The rucksack you carry with you when you actually go out on walking expeditions should be light yet sturdy, so also bear this in mind when you go shopping.
You might need vaccinations, depending on where you're travelling to. Ask your GP or book an appointment with your local travel health clinic to find out what you require, if anything. It's always a good idea to do this as far in advance of your departure as possible, in case you need vaccinations that are delivered over a period of several weeks rather than in one go.
Depending on your destination, you might also need to take specific medications with you, such as malaria tablets. Again, check with your doctor - different combinations of malaria medicines are prescribed based on where you're going to, so it's really important to take heed of all medical advice.
Your trekking holiday will likely require a certain level of fitness, so it can be a good idea to keep an eye on this in the run-up to your adventure. There's no need to go overboard and start lifting weights or running marathons; instead, gauge your stamina levels on uphill walks to see where your physical limits lie and take a little more care over your diet.
This is perhaps the most boring part of your holiday preparations, but also the most important. The first thing you need to do is check the validity of your passport - if you have to renew it or get a new one, do so as soon as possible. It's a good idea to photocopy or write down your passport details; keep one copy with you on your travels in a separate place to your passport, just in case.
Next, check whether you need to apply for a visa. Your tour operator should be able to advise you on this. Again, make all applications and payments in good time to avoid being caught out.
Chances are your trekking package will already include most of the major holiday expenses, like travel and accommodation. However, you will need to ensure you also have enough money to cover things like meals out, extra activities or attractions, and emergencies.
If you take out travel insurance, make sure you read the policy details carefully so you know exactly what you're covered for before you go, and take a copy of the essential documentation with you.