Walking tours for active travellers – tips for seniors

Affordable small group tours with Odyssey Alumni

Walking tours for active travellers – tips for seniors

Walking tours for active travellers – tips for seniors. Why walk? Because walking tours are a great way to access sites off the beaten track. Exploring on foot gives you access to more authentic experiences, as you enjoy sights and experiences usually reserved for locals. Discovering a new country through walking gives you an incredible sense of accomplishment. Moreover, it is great for your fitness and will make you feel alive! Meet and chat with people, see more, and have your physical work rewarded with secrets you can only uncover from the ground.

Odyssey Traveller offers walking tours designed especially for senior and mature travelers. Suitable for couples and singles, they are tailored toward varying levels of fitness and are flexible. So, if you would prefer to spend an afternoon sipping tea and watching the world go by, you can rejoin the rest of the small group later. Walking tours are fully mapped out, designed to maximise experience, and are guided by people in the know. Discover the world at a slower pace and get your feet dirty!

Walking tours for active travellers - tips for seniors

Discover the world on foot

Odyssey Traveller offers walking tours in varied locations throughout the world. You can explore the Welsh landscape in the Explore Wales on foot mature travellers small group walking tour. Walk up to 15 km per day past spectacular scenery including dolomite cliffs at Great Orme’s Head and Carreg Cennen castle. Similarly, the Ireland and Lake district walking small group tour rewards your effort with dramatic scenery, tales of history and unique villages. On this tour, we spend up to five nights in each location, so that we can really get to know our surroundings.

Trekking in Nepal offers intrepid heights for travellers seeking the small group experience. We venture deep into Annapurna, away from roads and civilisation and enjoy the expertise of trained guides and porters. Alternatively, explore the Land of the Rising Sun with the Walking Japan small group tour, as you follow in the footsteps of 17th century poet Matsuo Basho.

The Walking Tour of Rural Britain is designed around having two days to explore per every one night based at a hotel. These are rambles requiring a good level of fitness, which is repaid with postcard worthy scenery. For those who like to keep a slightly slower pace, check out the Saint James Small group walking tour through Spain and Portugal. Here, we  follow the path of pilgrims to reach historic sites in an adventure for the body, mind and soul.

France walking tour on foot crosses islands and coasts en route to the peaks of the Savoy Alps. This is a walk for the active traveller on very diverse terrain. Otherwise, the Romania small group walking tours for seniors and mature travelers offers a worthy challenge as we trek through villages and take in the country’s natural beauty.

Odyssey Traveller’s walking tours offer something to all active, mature adventurers.

Walking tours for active travellers - tips for seniors

Advice on how to prepare for your walking tour

It is imperative that all walking travellers have the appropriate level of fitness. At Odyssey Traveller, each tour includes an activity level, advising distance covered, terrain, as well as additional factors like altitude. Getting “walk-fit” will assist you to enjoy your experience. The first thing you need to do is assess where your fitness is at now. Is your lifestyle active? Do you walk frequently? Do you do cardio or weight-baring exercise? While it is not necessary to join the gym and start pumping iron in order to participate in an Odyssey walking tour, the following is recommended to improve your overall experience. Moreover, the preparation itself can be fun! Take a friend or the dog, and start exploring your local neighbourhood on foot.

  1. Start walking! And start slow. Begin with 15 minutes and record the distance, paying attention to how you feel during and after.
  2. Aim for at least three walks per week, increasing the distance slightly each time.
  3. If you are feeling comfortable, try gradually increasing your pace too.
  4. Experts recommend incorporating some strength training if possible. Calf raises and gentle lunges, for instance, will build muscle tone in your legs. See your doctor or a professional trainer for advice on how to tailor this step to your own fitness level.
  5. And most importantly, stretch! Without stretching, your muscles will become short and tight. 5 minutes of gentle stretching after exercise will extend flexibility and strength, in turn supporting your joints.
  6. And finally, enjoy a sit down and a nice glass of wine – you’ve earned it!
Walking tours for active travellers - tips for seniors

How to cope with altitude sickness

Altitude sickness refers to a group of illnesses that occur after exposure to high altitude, and especially to reduced oxygen pressure. The most common form is called Acute Mountain Sickness, or AMS. It is a benign illness which can occur at altitudes above 2000-2500 metres. Symptoms include headaches, tiredness, insomnia and mild shortness of breath. Sufferers generally acclimatise within 2-5 days. Studies indicate AMS affects 40% of individuals ascending to 3000m, and 75% ascending to 4500m.

Severe forms of altitude sickness occur at higher altitudes again. High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) is characterised by confusion and unusual behaviour, which can lead to coma. High Altitude Pulmary Edema (HACE) sufferers experience a cough that produces blood. Both of these severe forms can result in death. But they are very rare, affecting 1-2% of the population, and usually at very high altitudes.

Managing Altitude Sickness

How to treat altitude sickness? The best medicine is rest. Getting to lower ground will help symptoms, and oxygen can be given if necessary. Plenty of fluids and simple analgesics are usually sufficient to alleviate altitude sickness. Sedatives should not be given.

But remember, prevention is better than a cure. The most important factor is to ascend slowly where possible: 500m per day above 2500m is generally recommended. If you are unwell, listen to your body and take steps to alleviate the symptoms. Some individuals will suffer altitude sickness, and others will be fine. It’s just a matter of being as prepared as possible and knowing what to do if symptoms do appear.

Walking tours for active travellers - tips for seniors

The importance of good shoes

When it comes to selecting the right pair of shoes for a walking tour, comfort always comes first. A good fit is essential, and many stores have staff to assist in selection of appropriate footwear. Invest in the best quality shoes you can afford, because they could make or break your experience on tour!

The material of your footwear should be sturdy and durable. For some walks, hiking boots are ideal. These are designed with additional ankle support, very helpful on uneven terrain such as hiking paths. Cushioning will make a big difference when spending several hours per day on foot. Shoes used for hiking should have more cushioning than standard footwear. Another factor to consider is keeping your feet clean and dry. Travelling to exotic locations can mean unexpected changes to weather. Waterproof shoes can save you hassle, but take care to read the specifications of your shoes carefully. Some boots feature waterproof lining but not necessarily outer, or may require additional treatments such as sprays. It is also worth considering how well your shoes will recover if they do become sodden. Leather, for example, can take several days to fully dry.

Good Socks matter

Believe it or not, sock choice is just as important. Like shoes, socks are available to suit a variety of specific functions, and those designed for walking feature cushioning and appropriate fabric. A wool blended sock with cushioning at the heel and ball is ideal, and the addition of synthetic fibres can help the sock to dry fast. Blisters form from excess movement inside the shoe so the right socks will assist to achieve a snug, comfortable fit.

It is recommended you take the time wear your shoes before the tour commences.

Finally, Odyssey tours also schedule time for leisure. Pack another pair of comfortable shoes for visiting restaurants, shopping, and general day activities.

For more advice on packing for mature travelers, follow this link.

Hiking daypack

Walking tour packing checklist:

  • A bottle of water
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Weatherproof coat
  • Layered clothing in natural or breathable fibres
  • A camera
  • An umbrella
  • A backpack/daypack
  • Any medications or first aid as required

Odyssey walking tours are flexible and designed for mature travelers

Odyssey Traveller caters to a variety of fitness levels and interests, from introductory to more advanced. All tours are given a fitness level ranging from 1 through to 5.

Level 1

This involves walking on uneven surfaces for up to 3 km per day. Travelers must be able to climb and descend stairs and carry their own luggage

Level 2

Tours may include walking for up to 5km per day. Suitable for most fitness levels.

Level 3

Expect up to 8 kms, or 3-5 hours of physical activity per day.

Level 4

Travelers must be in excellent health and live an active lifestyle. Tours at this level include up to 6 hours of continuous exercise per day.

Level 5

Participants should expect full days of strenuous activity, and a very high fitness level is a requirement.

For more detailed information on Odyssey’s activity level grading system, click here.

Last word on Odyssey walking tours.

So in conclusion if you’re seeking to stretch your legs and explore the world from the ground, consider Odyssey Traveller’s walking tours. They are designed especially for senior travelers, and draw on over thirty-five year’s experience of offering tours to mature travellers.

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