Walkers along a dusty path, males and females walking in a group

The ultimate guide to walking holidays: FAQs

Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes

Unlike beach breaks or city stays, walking holidays allow you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reap the mental health and wellbeing benefits of the great outdoors. Surrounded by stunning landscapes, fresh air, and the sights and sounds of nature, it's a chance to clear your mind, focus on the present, and reconnect with the natural world.

This guide aims to answer some frequently asked questions to help you plan your perfect walking holiday.

Group of people on a walking holiday crossing a bridge

What is a walking holiday?

A walking holiday is a trip where the primary activity is walking or hiking. It often involves exploring scenic circular trails that return to the same accommodation each evening, or long-distance walking routes that journey between multiple hotels over several days. These holidays can either be guided by an experienced leader as part of a group, or self-guided using pre-planned route maps to navigate on your own.

Group of walkers on a sunny day

Will I have to carry my luggage on a walking holiday?

One key feature of many walking holidays is the concept of luggage transfers. This service transports your luggage from one accommodation to the next, allowing you to walk freely without the burden of heavy bags. This freedom is particularly appealing to solo travellers or groups who wish to fully focus on enjoying the journey.

Gear to pack for a walking holiday, hat, drink, sturdy boots, binoculars, layered clothing

What to pack for a walking holiday?

While walking is a joy, there’s a bit of preparation required to do it successfully. The climate can be unpredictable anywhere in the world, so it’s best to be prepared for weather that’s possibly sunny one minute and raining the next. To make it easier, here’s a checklist of essential items you should consider packing.

Ladies putting on waterproof coats on a walking holiday

Footwear and clothing

Proper attire is crucial for a comfortable walking holiday. Invest in good quality waterproof walking boots that provide ankle support and good grip, especially if you want to avoid sore feet. Pair these with merino wool socks for comfort and moisture management. Think about the terrain and climate where you’ll be walking and always consider comfort. Be sure to wear in brand-new footwear prior to your holiday.

Dress in layers using breathable, water-resistant fabrics to adjust to changing weather conditions. Always carry a waterproof jacket for unexpected rain showers and don’t forget sun protection like a hat and SPF lotion.

Day pack with reusable water bottle

Gear and accessories

Also known as a day pack, this much-needed piece of kit is great for keeping your personal belongings dry when you’re out and about. If you’re planning on walking for a couple of hours or a whole day, a 10 to 25-litre backpack is ideal. Make sure it is weatherproof and has plenty of zipped pockets for smaller items.

Carrying a reusable water bottle allows you to stay hydrated. We recommend a durable, insulated, and lightweight bottle with a minimum capacity of 1 litre. Walking poles can provide stability on uneven terrains, and a basic first aid kit is a must for minor injuries or ailments.

Mobile phone with apps

Mobile phone and watch

For those on a self-guided walking holiday, packing a fully charged mobile phone and charger is a good idea. They’re essential for emergency situations or simply to relay that you may be back later than anticipated. A mobile phone or smart watch is also great for tracking your steps and journey distance.

Lady walker on a self-guided holiday looking at a map

Toiletries and miscellaneous items

If you’re embarking on a long-distance walking holiday, there may be periods where you must carry your luggage during your walk. Pack travel-friendly toiletries to minimise the weight of your bag. If you’re going on a self-guided walking holiday, don’t forget essentials like a map or guidebook for navigation.

The view from the dining room at Longmynd House, Church Stretton, Shropshire Hills

Are walking holidays expensive?

The cost of a walking holiday can vary greatly depending on factors like destination, duration, accommodation type, and board basis. For example, all holidays at our country houses are on a full-board basis, meaning they're very cost effective. They include a cream tea on arrival, daily cooked or continental breakfasts, generous packed lunches for when you’re out walking, plus three-course evening meals.

Many of our overseas holidays are on a mixed board basis, allowing you the freedom and flexibility to dine out at a local restaurant of your choice on at least one evening during your stay.

Family walking in the Lake District overlooking a beautiful view of a lake

Can children go on a walking holiday?

Nothing feels more precious than time away with your loved ones, especially when the countryside or coastline takes centre stage. Family walking holidays are a great way to maximise bonding time, make long lasting memories, and get kids away from screens and active in the great outdoors.

HF Holidays offer family friendly walks for little legs and trails for older children. So you can start younger children with shorter walks and gradually increase the distance as they get used to it. Keeping them engaged with nature-based activities or games can make the experience more enjoyable for them.

Laughing group of seniors out on a walking holiday

I'm travelling solo. Are walking holidays a good way to meet people?

Absolutely. Walking holidays not only allow you to explore new places, but they also help you to meet like minded people, too. Whether you’re joining a small group on a guided walking holiday or meeting fellow solo travellers on a self-guided route, the shared experience of the journey often leads to lasting friendships. Sociability and shared experiences are a big focus on our holidays. When you’re staying at our country houses or one of our partner hotels, you can expect shared dining tables to help spark conversation and evening activities on selected stays (subject to destination and itinerary).

Walking holidays offer a unique and rewarding experience that boosts both your physical and mental wellbeing. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or a chance to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life, there’s a walking holiday out there for everyone. Visit HF Holidays to browse our walking styles and start planning your walking holiday today.

Published 24th May 2024