A walking vacation is a great way to add novelty to your walking program. Not only does a walking vacation give you something to plan for, it also gives you a lot to remember.
Years after you enjoy a walking tour of Paris, for instance, the early-morning hustle and bustle you encounter as you walk through your own town may remind you of the sights, sounds, and smells of the city. Suddenly, you'll be transported back in time and place -- all in the course of an ordinary stroll in your hometown.
Hiking trips are popular examples of walking vacations. There's also an abundance of American cities to choose from, each with its unique parks and neighborhoods to explore.
Foreign cities, towns, and countrysides also provide delightful territory for walking. Americans traveling abroad often remark on how much more hospitable other countries are to walking. Old World cities, built long before the automobile came to prominence, tend to offer meandering streets and broad, tree-lined boulevards that are ideal for walking.
Some countries also have walking traditions that can be a joy to discover on a walking vacation. One example is Switzerland, where the hills and mountains are criss-crossed with hiking trails. Often, the trails feature stations where the walker can take advantage of instructions and equipment for calisthenic exercises.
Another lovely walking tradition is the evening promenade in Spain; whole families converge on central squares to stroll and greet one another.
Your walking tour can be as spartan or luxurious as you choose. You can arrange to spend your nights camping out in the wilderness or staying in hostels, inns, or hotels -- and still spend your days walking.
Unless you are an experienced hiker or long-distance walker, you'll want to limit most of your treks to about ten miles per day. If possible, arrange your travel plans so that you can take your time and walk at a comfortable pace.
It can take a lot of preparation to map out a walking tour. Some travel agencies offer pre-arranged walking tours, where your accommodations and your daily walking routes will be mapped out for you. Even if you go on a regular tour, you can try to skip the cabs and tour buses and walk to at least some of your destinations.
Carrying all the guidebooks, maps, and brochures you need to guide you in your walking vacations can be a weighty proposition. To relieve this burden, some enterprising companies are marketing audio walking tours.
Check with the tourist bureau at your destination, too. They may have prepared audio guides that you can borrow, rent, or buy.
Learn about walking clubs in our final section.
To learn more about walking, see: