We definitely encourage walking holidays
(what a surprise!), but walking is not neccessarily the ideal
vacation for everyone; nor are all walking holidays suitable for
all walkers. In selecting a walking holiday, or a holiday
incorporating some walking, we summarise the choice as being
between; specialist walking companies with a choice of 'trekking'
or 'centre based' tours, semi-independent using a walking guide
book, or completely independent. Unless you are an experienced
walker used to researching new routes in an unfamiliar landscape
we advise you to give the 'completely independent' approach a
miss. For people who are 'walking abroad' for the first time we
recommend our 'Walk! Guidebooks & Tour & Trail Maps
linked to a package holiday; suitable destinations include
Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Gomera, Madeira, Mallorca, Menorca and
the Axarquia close to the Costa del Sol. If you are used to independent travel then
you can add La Palma, Sierra de Aracena, Andorra and the
Alpujarras to your list of destinations. Our Walk! UK series of guide books
bring the same attention to detail to the Lake District, Peak District, South Pennines, Yorkshire Dales, Brecon Beacons, Dorset, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Isle of
Wight and Devon.
There are a number of Specialist Walking Companies offering a range of destinations and packages which cover the whole spectrum of walking, from the gently serene to the extremely energetic. You are unlikely to find brochures for these specialist holidays in a high street travel agents, so start you search by looking through the classified ads of a walking magazines such as Trail and Country Walking. Most brochures give comprehensive information but, as with other holiday companies, these photos do show the 'best weather' scenario. When choosing a holiday do make sure that it will suit you - it all too easy to get carried away with 'brochure excitement' and think that rambling round the Cotswolds has equipped you for the 'Andean Panorama'. For first timers we suggest you select a 'centre based' holiday rather than 'trekking' - some treks can turn into a test of endurance, rather than a vacation, if you hit bad weather. Do take advantage of the additional advice which specialist companies offer to help you choose the right package to suit your needs.
Advantages of Specialist Walking Packages include; guided walks with a knowledgeable experienced guide, destinations difficult/impossible to reach with conventional packages, and small groups (typically 10 - 20) of like minded walkers.
If there are any disadvantages they are likely to come down to; cost due to the lower buying power of small companies (only applies where a normal package plus guide book is a viable alternative), the make-up of the group (over which you have no control - although with Ramblers Association Holidays you can be fairly sure that they will be members of RA; not sure if this is an advantage or disadvantage, and that is speaking as a member of RA), and choosing the wrong package.
For more Advice Directory topics click Directory. Specialist Companies. Training. Price vs Value.
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