The boy scouts’ motto “be prepared” provides a wise emphasis on a critical part of successful treks. It’s simple, but very true. Embarking on an adventure, particularly an international one, thoroughly prepared will make your trip dramatically much more enjoyable and enriching because it allows you to hone in on the wonders surrounding you rather than your shivering body, blistered feet, or exhausted muscles!
Here are some tips to assist you in preparing for your trek.
1. Buy the right hiking shoes/boots and break them in!
We recommend going to a reputable outdoor store to research the best option for your specific feet. When kicking the floor your toes shouldn’t touch the end of the boot, and when walking up steep inclines, your heels shouldn’t slip significantly. Buy the ones that are most comfortable, and don’t settle for less than a perfect fit. Then…
Break those boots or shoes in (this is particularly important if they’re boots)! Beginning your trek with boots right out of the box is going to cause blisters and serious or even extreme discomfort. Doing everything in your boots: hike, walk, work, play, sit, eat…etc.
There’s one more component to taking great care of your feet – high quality socks. They should be wool or a wool-synthetic blend (SmartWool and Bridgedale are two reliable brands).
2. Train, which means hike, hike, hike!
Begin with easy hikes (whatever that means for you) and gradually increase the difficulty of your hikes, which should be a combination of steepness, length, and ruggedness. Start well before your trek and slowly work up to full-day, difficult hikes. Don’t wait until the last 2 weeks before your trip. It’s too late at that point to do much good.
And remember to hike with the boots/shoes you purchased in step 1!
3. Notify your bank
Notify your bank in advance to inform them of your plans to travel overseas.
When banks notice a new, out of the ordinary charge in a foreign country, it triggers red flags and they may shut down access to your account. When talking with your bank on the phone, check with them about ATM fees in foreign countries. Finally, plan to have multiple back-up options including travelers checks, credit cards and good ol’ cash.
4. Medical concernes
Go to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website or, alternatively, make an appointment with a clinic that specializes in travel medicine to see about recommended immunizations or vaccines.
5. Protect yourself – buy insurance
All Wildland Trekking’s Beyond the U.S.A. trips require international medical coverage, either through your health insurance plan or through trip insurance. We highly recommend purchasing trip insurance, because aside from providing you with the necessary coverage, it also covers you in the case of cancellations and interruptions. Life is unpredictable – protect yourself and your vacation investment!
6. Only bring what’s necessary
Review our recommended packing lists (in the detailed trip packet you receive when you inquire about or register for a trip). Follow the list closely in terms of what to bring, and what not to bring. When traveling overseas, bringing too much can cause as many problems as bringing not enough. Nearly all our trips are in the high mountains, where weather can shift suddenly any time of year – having the right clothing layers is critical.
Also, look at this list immediately after contacting us, and review it often as your trip approached. Start planning your trip early and be sure when you finally board the plane that you can relax and know you’re prepared.