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Family Trekking & Walking Holiday Guide

 

About Trekking & Walking Holidays - Holiday Companies
 
Family Trekking & Walking Holidays

Walking and trekking holidays are becoming more popular and accessible options for families. A few holiday companies now cater for families trekking with very young children providing porters and donkeys to help carry them when they tire. On trekking holidays, your family will be able to reach remote villages and see regions that you would not be able to visit by other means. Other options include walking tours or walking holidays based at a single centre.

 
Types of Trekking & Walking Holiday

There are 4 main types of walking holiday:

> Trekking holidays where you hike along a route in a mountainous region, camping out at night or staying in local villages. Treks are usually guided and luggage is carried by porters or mules.
> Walking tour holidays are similar in that you walk along a route, but usually these are self-guided. Inn-to-inn walks are a popular option where you stay at local guesthouse accommodation each night.
> Single centre holidays where you are based at one location but walk out on different routes each day. The holiday company may provide you with suggested daily routes.
> Do-it-yourself walking holidays – arrange your holiday accommodation and plan your own walks. You can then walk as little or often as you like. This is a great option if you are basing yourself in the countryside or a National Park. See our About Touring Holidays section for more details
 
Age Ranges

It is not a good idea to take very young children on high-altitude treks because they might not acclimatise well. Older children of 8 years or more who are fit and have had chance to acclimatise can make great trekking partners – but don’t get too upset when you realise that they are faster than you.

 

It is possible to take young children (1 year plus) on a walking or trekking holiday. Some companies will allow children of this age to trek as they will provide some form of transport such as ponies, buggies or porters to carry children if they tire. In this case, young children can come along on low altitude treks. Short walking tours or day walks are also an option with young children in child carriers. Remember that you will need to make regular stops and your progress will be a lot slower than walking without children.

 

For very young children of 6 - 12 months in child carriers and 0 – 12 months in buggies, it is probably best to be based at a single location. That way, everything will be ready for you on your return at the end of the day. You can also me more flexible and tailor the length of your walk to suit your child more easily.

 

The most difficult age to take children walking is probably from 4 to 8 years as they are too old to be carried and too young to walk long distances. A single centre holiday with walking interspersed with other activities is probably the best option at this age.

 
Family Walking Equipment
> Buggies: birth – 4 years
  There are some excellent 3-wheel mountain buggies available that will help you to push your child along mountain tracks and generally more difficult terrain than you could venture on to with a standard pushchair. These come with various accessories such as baby sleeping bags, sunshades and raincovers.
   
> Child Carriers: 6 months – 4 years
  Babies who can support their own heads (normally around 6 months) can travel in a back carrier, which can usually take a child of up to 4 years. These work rather like a rucksack which your child is safely harnessed into. There are numerous child carriers available with features such as stands to support the rucksack when loading and unloading and accessories such as sunshades and raincovers. Gearzone stock a range of child carriers from Bush Baby and Vaude.
 
Tips

Firstly, make sure that you have planned where you are going, work out the distances and how long you expect it to take. If you are planning to take your family up a mountain, it is essential that you have good navigation skills.

 

Take plenty of food and water with you. Young children get dehydrated very quickly in warm weather.

 

Ensure that the whole family is well equipped. Don’t buy top of the range boots and waterproofs for the adults and expect your children to make do with poor quality gear. If your children end the day soaked in sweat from unbreatheable waterproofs and with blistered feet from poor fitting boots, then they will make sure that this is your last family walking holiday!

 

With younger children in child carriers, make sure that they are protected from the sun with a sunhat and lotion. On cooler days, the wind can chill them very quickly so use layers of clothing with a wind resistant top layer. Make sure that you take regular breaks.

 

Walk together as a close group - it is easy to take a wrong turn in unfamiliar surroundings. Always walk at the pace of the slowest walker.

 
Plan to make regular stops – stop and look at the view, paddle in the river or have lunch.

 

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>> Trekking & Walking Holiday Companies
 
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