There’s nothing wrong with wanting a bit of sunshine and exercise this winter! For a much-needed dose of vitamin D, why not escape to warmer climes and try winter trekking? Whether hiking in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains or even in the mighty Himalayas tickles your fancy, there is no better time to do it than between November and March. And while you are enjoying exploring these and other amazing locations, take extra satisfaction in knowing that it’s cold, wet and miserable back home.
For any active holiday, preparation is very important. This is no different for winter trekking, where you will find it tough work on the mountain without a little training and a few small purchases. Getting in shape and making sure that you have all of the right gear before you get out there is the first preparatory step to ensure a great trekking getaway. So, here’s a short list of things to do and buy to best prepare yourself.
You might be in for a bit of a shock if you think that scaling Mount Kilimanjaro is going to be a piece of cake. It’s important to take a trekking holiday seriously and to go for some long walks before you leave. This doesn’t mean that you should be walking for days on end, but ensure that a five- to six-hour walk is manageable for you by the time that you leave.
It’s useful to hone your walking technique before you get out there. This means walking on all sorts of terrain – don’t just opt for flat parkland, but take hills and other rough and rocky areas by storm. This will enable you to iron out any bad walking habits that you hadn’t noticed before. Remember: keep your head up, your shoulders back and place your heels on the ground before your toes.
Take on Fuel
Get used to eating the right things at the right time. Without proper nutrition and hydration, you won’t get very far. Chocolate, dried fruit and nuts are great sources of on-the-go energy, and it goes without saying that you need to drink plenty of water.
Invest in Proper Gear
The two most important bits of gear on any trekking holiday are your shoes and backpack. Unsurprisingly, keeping your feet happy is integral when you are constantly on the move. Purchase some good-quality hiking shoes and socks, and you will thank yourself later. A comfortable backpack is almost as important, as you need to be able to carry all of your supplies without hurting your back, especially if you are a bit older and prone to back problems.
Nothing drags down an adventure holiday like the fear of injury and hospital pay-outs. Invest in some winter sports travel insurance before you go. This way, you can fully focus on the adrenaline-fuelled fun that awaits! To ensure complete peace of mind, make sure that you take out a winter sports travel insurance that covers you in case of a trekking-related eventuality... and that doesn’t cost more than your plane tickets!
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, annual, family, business and winter sports travel insurance. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.