Healthy Va­ca­tion

What to know be­fore you sign up.

Health & Nutrition - - CONTENTS -

What to know be­fore you sign up for an ad­ven­ture trip?

Imag­ine ped­alling along scenic coast­lines or walk­ing from one charm­ing medieval vil­lage to the next. What could be more idyl­lic than join­ing a walk­ing or cy­cling tour, whether here or abroad? Ah, but the best laid plans… We’ve all heard sto­ries from friends or rel­a­tives who thought their bike trip in the South of France, for in­stance, would be leisurely, cy­cling from vil­lage to vil­lage while nib­bling on baguettes and cheese and stop­ping at at­mo­spheric cafes along the way, only to find that the jour­ney was more like an ex­haust­ing Tour de France. Here are some things to con­sider be­fore you sign up for an ac­tive va­ca­tion, to en­sure that it doesn’t re­sem­ble an episode of ‘Sur­vivor.’

What is the trip’s ac­tiv­ity level?

Each tour com­pany has its own clas­si­fi­ca­tion or rank­ing sys­tem in­di­cat­ing whether a trip is meant for begin­ners, mod­er­ate walk­ers/ cy­clists, or more se­ri­ous ath­letes. Among the com­po­nents con­sid­ered in the rank­ing are the miles trav­elled each day and the gain in el­e­va­tion. Some trips are de­signed for peo­ple at any level. Ul­ti­mately, though, there is a lot of sub­jec­tiv­ity as to how the trip is clas­si­fied. You can ask the tour op­er­a­tor if the trip you are con­sid­er­ing is a good fit for you, but a bet­ter bet per­haps is to con­sult pre­vi­ous travellers, if the com­pany pro­vides con­tact in­for­ma­tion. Keep in mind that if you want a phys­i­cal and men­tal chal­lenge, sign­ing up for a more ad­vanced trip may sound good in the­ory, but if your pace is slow, it may cause prob­lem­atic group dy­nam­ics or make it dif­fi­cult for you to ar­rive at your ac­com­mo­da­tion be­fore dark. Worse yet, it could re­sult in phys­i­cal strain and in­juries – and ul­ti­mately less en­joy­ment for you.

What is the ter­rain?

Is it flat or rolling? Does it in­clude moun­tain passes? What is the al­ti­tude? A flat, 30-mile bicycle ride may be a piece of cake for you, but 30 miles of cy­cling that in­cludes a 2,000-foot moun­tain may be way too dif­fi­cult. If the tour is de­scribed as hav­ing un­du­lat­ing ter­rain, that means you will be climb­ing and de­scend­ing mile af­ter mile,

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