If you have not been on a walking or cycling holiday before you might have a few worries and questions about how to prepare for the adventure trip. Or perhaps you are stepping up a grade or going on an adventure tour where you have not been before. We bring you a wealth of tips and advice for preparing for an enjoyable walking or cycling holiday.
Pack light but with focus
It is a good idea to make a list of all the clothing and equipment you think you might need before you even go in search of it. Then lay it all out and give focused consideration to whether you need everything. Next, find a suitcase or rucksack that meets your transport guidelines, for example, hold luggage of up to 20kg or 22kg depending on the airline, and see if everything will fit in. Tick everything off your list as you add it to the suitcase. You will also be able to carry hand luggage, which might be the smaller rucksack you use each day for walking or cycling, so you will have space for bits and pieces.
Make a list of what you need and check the weight allowance of a suitcase on your flights
Sports kit versus casual wear
If you are heading off for a walking holiday or cycling tour you will spend most of your time wearing sports-specific clothes. Pack at least one change of clothes for your chosen activity. You may end up having to wash and dry clothes so you need a full spare set. If you are going away for longer or you know there is a high chance of rain or a lot of hot weather (so you may well sweat) take three outfits. You could take just one lightweight insulated jacket but two pairs of trousers, three baselayers, three pairs of socks etc. The same is true for cycling. Take two or three items that will be next to your skin and/or are most likely to suffer in the rain or heat. Casual wear for evening meals or for days when you plan to sight-see rather than hike or bike can be limited to just one full outfit with a change of t-shirt or shirt, if you are going for a week, or two sets if you are going for longer. These items will not be worn as much as your sports kit.
Be prepared for a range of weather.
It might rain
There is always a chance you will have a rainy day or even just a short burst of rain, so make sure you pack a waterproof jacket. A lightweight jacket will be fine for mid-summer trips to generally sunny countries. If you know there is a greater chance of rainy days, pack waterproof over-trousers, too. These items do not weigh much and they can sit in a corner of your rucksack all week without you even noticing them – and until you need them!
It could be chilly
If you are walking or cycling to higher altitudes you will want a spare layer, such as a lightweight insulted jacket, to pop on when you find your body temperature dropping. Wind chill can also affect you and a jacket that is also windproof is a major asset. Evenings even in the height of summer can feel cold so the jacket can double up for warmth then as well. It is worth taking a few extras, too, such as gloves, hat and neck-wear or buff. For more on packing for a cycling holiday, see our guide on what to pack for a cycling holiday.
Wear hiking boots you are comfortable in.
Tried and tested
It’s best to take clothing and equipment that you have worn or used before. That way you will know it’s comfortable. For example, it’s vital that you take hiking boots or shoes that you have worn at least a few times before. The same goes for cycling shoes or padded shorts. A rucksack that is brand new might also make you sore if it rubs your skin or does not fit correctly. Again, you should take a pack that you know is comfortable. In fact, it’s similar for all of your clothing. A walking or cycling holiday is not the time to test new kit for the first time.
The essential items
The must-remember list includes an up-to-date passport, visas (if needed), travel tickets and info, travel insurance (make sure it covers you for your destination country and the activity), European health card, driving licence, bankcard, cash in the right currency, mobile phone etc.
Those bits and pieces
There are many items that can be easily overlooked when packing. This is especially true if you are packing in a colder season and heading to a warmer country. For example, don’t forget items such as sun cream, anti-chafing cream for cyclists, insect repellent, midge nets, sun glasses, tyre puncture repair kit, medication, wet wipes, blister plasters, pain killers, clean water bottle and ear-plugs. If in doubt about these items ask a Macs Adventure representative for advice. If you plan to hire a bike don’t forget your bike shoes and pedals as well as your own seat for maximum comfort. The hire companies will attach these to your bike when you arrive.
You can buy abroad
If you realise you have forgotten something, don’t panic. It is often possible to buy what you need abroad although there may be language difficulties or problems in more remote areas. You can also call on the local Macs Adventure representative for help in an emergency.
There are lots of useful apps that can be downloaded before you travel. For example, apps for currency exchange, language translator, navigation, banks and even podcasts or books for when you are travelling. It’s also worth checking what the costs are for using your mobile phone abroad. Ask your provider before travelling.
...And other things that matter
Try not to leave arrangements for care of pets or watering plants until the last minute, especially in high season. For peace of mind, make sure these essentials are taken care of as soon as you book your holiday. That's it. Now you can enjoy a relaxed adventure holiday from Macs Adventure.
For further details on our extensive range of self-guided walking and cycling holidays feel free to contact a member of the team on firstname.lastname@example.org.