Walking long distances can be a great way to explore new places while also taking care of your physical and mental health. Whether you’re walking around your city, hiking a mountain trail, or crossing an entire country, the journey can be hugely rewarding. In this article, we’ll discuss how to accomplish a great long-distance journey on foot and the preparatory steps you should take to make sure you’re ready for the journey.

How to Choose a Destination  

Choosing a destination can often be the most exciting step in the long-distance travel process. Decide how long you would like your journey to last and how far you’re willing to go. It’s important to set realistic goals and allow ample time for planning your route and gearing up.

  1. Consider time, distance and terrain

Before committing to a destination, consider how much time you can devote to your journey and how far you’re willing to travel. Make sure to factor in the terrain you’ll be traversing, since difficult surfaces can be more time-consuming than easier ones. If you’re planning on walking very long distances, remember that a day’s walk might easily surpass 20 miles!

  1. Choose a goal

Once you’ve determined the parameters of your travel, select your destination and goal. Perhaps you’re hiking a stretch of the Appalachian Trail for your summer vacation, or maybe you’re walking across your home state in a few days’ time. No matter your choice, the fun of a long-distance walk is that you can choose the goal and destination that speaks to you.

  1. Select routes

Now that you’ve chosen your end point and timeline, it’s time to plan the route. There are numerous walking trails and designated tracks created for long distance walkers that can be explored safely and comfortably. For even more adventure, try mapping out your own path according to your goals. Make sure to account and research for any public or private areas you’ll need permission to travel in, too.

Equipment Preparation  

Once the planning has been done and you’re ready to hit the road, you’ll need the right equipment to ensure a safe and comfortable journey.

  1. Appropriate apparel

Appropriate clothing is a non-negotiable when it comes to long-distance travel. Choose outfits made of breathable fabrics and layered pieces that can be taken off or put on as the temperature changes. Make sure to wear shoes suitable for walking long distances and break them in, before you set off. Depending on the terrain, try to consider options that offer ankle support and cushioning.

  1. Necessary items

In addition to basic clothing, there are certain items everyone should consider carrying to be prepared for their journey, such as:

• Raincoat and waterproof clothing

• Backpack

• Sun protection: hat, sunglasses, Sunscreen

• Water and snacks for energy

• First aid kit

• Valid identification

• Torch and headlamp (for night travel)

• Cash and credit cards

• Ziplock Bags

• Maps and compass

• Power banks and chargers

  1. Technology and Gadgets

Depending on your goals, you may also want to consider the various gadgets and technology to optimize preparation and safety. This can include:

• Camera to record the journey

• Portable speakers to listen to music

• Cellphone and/or satellite communication device

• GPS device

Health and Safety  

In addition to preparing a route and having the right equipment, there are various measures that should be taken to ensure your health and safety while on the journey.

  1. Training

Before setting off on your journey, it’s essential to build up your physical strength and stamina in order to be able to take on long walking days. Try to incorporate walking regimens and practices into your weekly routine so you can accurately estimate what kind of distances you’re able to take on.

  1. Injury prevention

Walking long distances can be demanding on the body, so it’s imperative to be mindful of potential risks associated with foot travel. Taking basic precautions, such as wearing the right shoes, establishing proper posture, applying preventative measures such as lacing wraps, and using supportive ankle braces are all excellent ways to make sure you’re minimizing injury risks.

  1. Mental breakdowns

Walking long distances is trying on the mental health, too. Sometimes the days are long and the distances take longer than anticipated. It’s important to take breaks, rest, and take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. If possible try to bring comfort items, such as favorite snacks and listening devices, and do whatever you need to make sure you’re in the best psychological shape to enjoy your journey.

Long-distance travel on foot is an incredible way to explore the world and open yourself up to new experiences. The most important aspects of any journey are planning, preparation, and safety. Choose a destination and goal, gather the right equipment, and ensure your physical and mental health are taken into consideration. With these tips, you’ll be more than ready for your long-distance journey.