Below is a very good article for getting ready for your hiking trip. Since I will be hiking and plan on going on even longer hikes, (since the weather is getting warmer now) -- this is good information to know.

Get Ready for Hiking Trips

By W. Lynn Seldon Jr.


Luxury Level

A trip's level of luxury (often referred to in catalogs as its"style") is another important consideration. On the rustic end of the spectrum are trips that require participants to sleep in sleeping bags and tents, carry their own gear, share camp duties, and more (if this is your style, then click over to our trekking and backpacking primer). At the other end are upscale luxury trips that require little more of participants than putting one foot in front of the other, lifting their own glass of wine, and pulling their covers up in a luxurious hotel room. Most trips fall somewhere in between, but it's important to figure out what type of trip suits your style.

Degree of Difficulty

The difficulty level of hiking trips is determined by daily mileage (8 to 10 miles is typical, but this can vary greatly), altitude gain and loss, terrain (e.g., back roads or rocky trails), remoteness, and other factors. Given this, it's important to match your fitness level and outdoor experience with that of the trip. If you're unsure, ask for the company's advice. Most trips require little or no previous hiking experience, although fit travelers are preferred since they won't delay the group.

Seasonality

No matter when it is you want to hike, that is bound to be prime hiking season somewhere in the world. As a rule, "shoulder season" trips that depart just before or after prime season can yield smaller groups, discounted prices, and special opportunities. Of course, it can rain even during the supposedly "dry" season, but the show usually goes on.

Group Size

Depending on your personality, your vacation can be made or broken by the number and type of people who come along. A typical group has eight to 12 participants, with a 1:4 guide-to-guest ratio. You should expect like-minded people to choose similar trips, so choose carefully. Most groups have no trouble bonding quickly (including singles, who are frequent hiking trip goers).

Family Matters

Family-oriented trips are among the fastest-growing sectors of adventure travel, but they aren't for everyone. Hikers with children and those who would rather not mix with children should ask the guide company if the trip is "family-focused" (designed specifically for families), "family-friendly" (kids are welcomed, but the trip is primarily designed for adults), or has some sort of minimum age limit (usually between 12 and 18).



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