6 ways to plan and prepare for your next travel adventure

Hikers using map to navigate outdoors

Planning, Preparation & things to do before you travel

With travel the world over on hold, it might seem like getting into the great outdoors again is a long way off at the moment. But there are some causes to be optimistic and green shoots of recovery, and we know that the world will travel again. In the meantime though, don't get frustrated at not being able to explore, use the time instead to research and get ready for your next adventure. Here's how.

Find the perfect trip

With so much choice and so many holiday options available, it’s hard to know what’s best, or even what’s out there. While you’re stuck at home, take the time to look around, read up and really research what sort of trip you want to take.

Start by using the HF Holiday search tool. It does just what it says on the tin, and let’s you dive into our wide range of holidays according to all sorts of criteria – where you want to go, what style of walking you like, what hobby or special interest you have, when you want to travel, which UK country house you want to visit and more. You can adjust things according to wether you’re a solo traveller or want to get away with your family too.

The search filters are easy to use; just click on the box adjacent to the option and we’ll quickly shuffle the results to present you with a tailored selection. You can then refine this list further to narrow down the options until you find the perfect trip to take.


Research your destination

Getting to know the place you’re going before you travel is essential so you know it’s right for you. A good book is a great place to start for inspiration or background. Dive into our recommended reading lists while you have the time and pick up a classic travel title or recommended travel book about walking to see where you could be going and what it’s really like.

If you want to travel in the UK, take the time to explore an area with our 3D flyover routes – these virtual walks let you traverse a landscape and get a real feel for what it’ll be like to walk there. They’re a great way to check out the gradients, distance and features of a walk. You can find them on our Guided Walking itineraries, or we’ve collected some of our favourites together in guides to the best walks in the Lake District, highlights of the Southern Yorkshire Dales and 6 of the best walks in Northern Snowdonia You can even climb Ben Nevis, Snowdonia and Scafell Pike this way too!.

Overseas, you can get a feel for the type of landscape and walking you’ll be doing with our short drone films. Fancy flying over the landscapes of Lanzarote? No problem. Want to explore Lake Bled before you go? We can help there too.


Review and refresh your old gear

While you’re waiting for the great outdoors to open again, spend a bit of time checking over your existing kit and giving it a bit of TLC. Review what you’ve got stashed away in a cupboard and consider repairing and fixing old gear, giving it a new lease of life. A bottle of Nikwax will improve the waterproof qualities of your well-worn weather-beaten Gortex jacket. A bit of attention will adjust that dodgy rucksack strap and a new pair of laces will mean you don’t have to worry about when that tatty bit of string holding your treasured boots together finally gives up.

Take a couple of minutes to read our guide to packing your perfect day pack too to get an insight into this art as well – see which items are crucial to a great day walking, and which you can leave behind!


Invest in some new gear

With plenty of time to prepare for your next adventure, why not take the opportunity to get the gear you need ahead of time, as well?

We’ve a couple of gear guides from our partner Cotswold Outdoors – take a look at how to choose the perfect fitting boots or fit a rucksack properly and then consider buying the kit you need now. With over 250 quality outdoor brands to choose from, they have a vast range, so treat yourself to some boots or clothes or other equipment and have something to look forward to using when you next hit the hills. What’s more, HF Members get a 15% discount on any purchase you make online. Oh, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to be in when the delivery arrives


Hone your skills as a photographer

When you’re out in the countryside, chances are you try and capture the experience on a camera. Perhaps you’re pretty handy with it, but could you be doing more and getting better shots? If you want to make the most of your photography, why not practice now in the confines of your own garden or on your local walks? HF Photography Leader Dan Ransley shared his top tips for getting better bird photos in your garden but some of the skills and ways of thinking are transferable to wherever you might be travelling in the future. Then set yourself a photographic assignment and see just what sort of shots you can get – Dan is lucky enough to live in Cornwall and captures some stunning imagery of his local patch - use this gallery for inspiration!

Alternatively, if you’re thinking about buying a drone and taking aerial shots of the countryside, read our piece explaining drone photography and what's involved to get the low-down on what's required for this style of birds-eye view photography.


Try a country house dish at home

At all our UK country houses food plays a central part. Meals are varied and tasty, with a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Now that our chefs aren’t able to whip up a feast for hungry walkers, they have taken the opportunity to share some of their creations with delicious recipes from the HF kitchens for you to try at home

Give Dolserau Hall Head Chef Sean’s ultimate KFC recipe (Korean Fried Chicken) a go for a fast food fix that beats the highstreet or feast on his take on a classic Welsh lamb pie.Take your tastebirds on a trip with Sean’s authentic Chinese crispy beef and steamed buns or try baking his sweet potato, roast garlic and pumpkin seed focaccia. Joao from Derwent Bank has also shared some superb recipes, from sweet potato pie to Sicilian orange polenta cake and gooey chocolate orange brownies. Get cooking, then salivate over the prospect of eating in their restaurants when our country houses open again!