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How to plan outdoor vacation

Thinking of actively spending your free days and holidays in unspoiled nature, among hills, forests, lakes and rivers. Overnight stay outdoors among the stars. You have everything you need in your backpack, some snacks, warm clothes and a sleeping bag.

Retreat to nature is an opportunity to get away from the city and everyday stress. Do you already know what you would like to do? There are many opportunities for experiences in nature. You can go hiking in the hills, high mountains, go climbing, go down the rapids of the river with a kayak, canoe, dinghy or refresh yourself in clean cold water. Maybe you can go exploring the lake on a SUP or by lake boat. You can go scuba diving or lounge on the shore and fishing.

How to plan outdoor vacation

Although there is no easy recipe for planning the perfect vacation. But before you decide where to go and what to do, you need to answer a few questions. Especially if we go to the “wilderness”:

  • Alone, with family or with friends?
  • What is my physical fitness?
  • What I want to experience, do (hiking, biking, water activities, camping)
  • The equipment I need? Where can I borrow it?
  • How will I organize my food?
  • What the weather will be like?
  • Where will I get all the information I need?
  • Whom will I notify if I get into trouble?

Alone with family or with a group of friends?

Depending on whom you are going on holiday with nature, it is necessary to adjust the activities that will be suitable for everyone. When you go on vacation with your family, make sure there is an outdoor activity for each family member. If you are going out with a group of friends, adjust to the weakest among you.

There is a golden rule that is worth respecting. Never go alone in the hills and on the river. As far as new adventures go, this is good advice. Beginners and less experienced people better not go alone in the mountains or among the wild alpine rivers. Even if you are an experienced hiker who sets out into unfamiliar conditions, it is safer if you are not alone. Whether you go to the mountains alone or in a group depends on three main factors:

  • Your level of experience (if you are an experienced hiker and know the environment you are going to)
  • Dominant conditions (what you will do and under what conditions)
  • Personal preferences (if you want solitude or you prefer closeness to family and friends)

A walk in the wilderness can be fun and rewarding. When tourists go to nature and experience conditions you aren’t ready for, problems can arise. It is good to evaluate your abilities well, what are your fitness and skills are.

Less experienced and beginners go to the mountains and along the riverbed accompanied by guides with experience. Safety comes first.

In what condition are you?

Before any activity in nature, it is good to prepare for this physical well-being. Why? The more physically and mentally prepared you are, the less you risk a potential accident. If you are in good shape, you can focus more on the beauty of the landscape and less on leg pain and possible fear of heights, and so on. Also, good physical condition reduces the likelihood of stressful situations, recurrent injuries such as knee and Achilles injuries. During physical activity, eat enough caloric foods, drink enough water, and not forget about magnesium. It will prevent any muscle cramps.

Plan outdoor vacation and preparations for a visit to the mountains

The main activity for a safe and enjoyable experience in nature is to prepare a plan of what we want to do, experience, and see. Take a guidebook, maps, weather data, information and experiences of other users with you. Travelling into wildlife and unfamiliar environments can be unpredictable. Before you leave, take the necessary knowledge and improve your chances of successfully coping with what Mother Nature might serve you.

Once you have all the general information related to your experiences, it is time to detail the desired route:

  • Estimate times and how long is the planning path; both in general and for individual sections.
  • Identify possible areas for overnight stays (huts, campsites)
  • Mark nearby water sources on the map if you may run out of water.

Identify important landmarks or reference points on the selected route.

Consider potentially dangerous areas and possible evacuation routes in the worst case. Follow the weather forecast and adjust according to it.

Equipment

Plan outdoor vacation. Investigate the terrain and conditions you are likely to encounter and pack them appropriately. Keep things simple. Emphasize needs, not luxury. Review each item you plan to wear and ask yourself two questions:

Do I need this? What happens if I do not have something?

Weather

Always check the latest weather forecast before leaving. If the situation worsens, you need to be aware of your options regarding:

  • Huts, bivouacs or campsites nearby where you can take refuge.
  • River crossings can become impassable during heavy rains.
  • Gorges and abysses can pose a flood risk in the event of a sudden downpour.
  • Where to turn in case of a storm? Summer storms are very often in the hills.

Inform family or friends about your journey

Information about where you are going and with whom it is good to leave to a person you trust. In case you do not report, this person will be able to react appropriately and inform the rescuers to come to your aid if something happens to you. When you return from a particular tour or activity, give information to the person you have safely completed it.

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