How to Find the Right Global Hiking Adventure for You
With so many world-class hiking options available around the planet, it can sometimes be hard to narrow down the choices and pick the one that's just right for your next overseas adventure. So if you're having trouble deciding on your next epic trek, here are some tips to help you out:
What's your fitness level?
Let's face it – some well-known hikes are a lot more strenuous and demanding than others. Finishing each day with a comfortable bed, a hearty meal and a glass of wine (or three) along The El Camino in Spain will be less of a physical strain than a hike up and down Mount Kilimanjaro or a trek to Everest Base Camp. And many a traveller has assumed that just because Machu Picchu is popular, that makes it an easy place to get to. Not so... you still need to be physically prepared.It's important to take your fitness into account in deciding on the ideal hike. Think about elevation, pack weight, hike length, anticipated kilometres per day and how steep the trail is going to be. Hiking is a great way to stretch your boundaries, but for safety you need to stay within your physical capabilities. The steeper the trek, the more time you should allow to complete it.
How much will it cost?
Going abroad to hike can either be pleasingly cheap (especially if you're camping along the way) or fiendishly expensive, depending on your destination and the nature of your trip. It's not just the airfares to and from home that chew up your budget – you'll need sturdy boots, hiking gear, suitable clothing and food too. There will be costs for ground transport, accommodation, park fees and possibly guides to factor into the equation.With a little online research, you can easily create a ballpark figure budget for your entire hiking adventure so you know whether it's within your affordability range.
How long have you got?
Rule number one for enjoyable hiking is to take your time. A rushed trek is rarely fun. Work out how many total days you'd like to have overseas and how many of these will be designated hiking days. Many of the world's loveliest hikes are quite short: for example, you can walk the Bay of Fires coastal trek in Tasmania in four days (yes, we're counting Tassie as 'overseas'!). At the other end of the time scale, you can expect a hike of the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in the US to take 5-7 months - and only about 20% who start manage to finish.
What's your ultimate goal?
We all hike for different reasons. You might be keen on bird-watching, photography, European history, botany or just like the idea of climbing up to a scenic view. Others love the overnight camping aspect of hiking or find it a therapeutic way to leave the stresses of the world behind.Your reasons are yours alone, but they'll certainly play a part in your destination choice. You don't need a specific goal to go hiking (any excuse to get outdoors is a good excuse!) but some of us maintain motivation better if we can work toward a concrete 'finish line'. It doesn't matter how long reaching your aim takes as long as you get there. One trekker might get just as much satisfaction from a seven-hour day hike to a B&B on New Zealand's Central Otago Rail Trail as another gets spending 11 days traversing Europe's Tour du Mont Blanc.
What do the reviews say?
There are plenty of online sources for accurate, up-to-date information on just about every hiking destination on earth. These can tell you the overall length, degree of difficulty, typical weather conditions, logistics of getting to and from the area, availability of fresh water, location of emergency huts, etc. – all the facts you need to plan a great hike abroad.TripAdvisor can clue you in about how other walkers rate a particular hike, and online travel and trekking blogs often feature 'hiking bucket list' posts. Another handy resource is the Adventure Finder - which not only lists some the world's most iconic hiking trips, but includes a whole range of other adventurous suggestions as well for kayaking, driving, surfing, cycling and diving, just to name a few.The time to start planning your next outdoor adventure is now!
- Deciding which epic overseas hiking trip is right for you can be hard – but it starts with diligent research on your short list of destinations
- Your holiday budget and time available are two of the most limiting factors when planning a hike overseas
- Try to arrange a hiking trip that matches up well with your fitness and experience levels
- In deciding on the best hike, you first need to determine your ultimate goal
- The Adventure Finder is one of many great online resources useful in planning your next overseas hiking trip