Finding a Great Vacation Rental

Great Vacation RentalYou may be considering a private home vacation rental, rather than staying in a standard hotel or motel room, for your next trip. A vacation home rental can have many advantages, from a lower cost to a greater amount of space to a better location to more amenities. However, it is important to know just what to expect before you sign on the dotted line so that you can be sure that you are getting a fair deal and that you will be staying in a home that is well maintained and appropriately located.

When you begin investigating a vacation rental, you will likely encounter two options – you can rent from a management company or you can rent directly from the owner of the property. If possible, try to find a way to work with the owner of the vacation home rental, as you may have access to more information and better support before, during, and after your transaction.

Once you have decided that staying in a vacation rental is the right choice for you and your traveling companions, you will discover that the process of finding the right property should go very smoothly.

The Steps to Renting a Private Home

First, find a reputable website with vacation home rental listings, or speak to your travel agent about your options. Make sure that you feel comfortable that whoever is providing you with vacation rental listings has screened each home to make sure that it exists and that it is owned by the person who is listing it.

Next, search for or specify the type of vacation home rental you are looking for, including:

  • Price (What is your maximum?)
  • Size (Are you looking for a condo unit for two people or a multi-bedroom house for a large family – or for multiple families?)
  • Location (Do you want your vacation rental to be near a particular theme park? Do you want to be able to walk to the beach? Do you need to be within walking distance of a grocery store or a video rental shop?)
  • Amenities (Do you want your vacation home rental to include a hot tub? Would you like to have access to a gym or to gym equipment? Would you enjoy a game room with video game systems?)

In addition, note whether you will be bringing a pet. (As with all types of rentals, some vacation home rental properties will be pet friendly with a deposit, while others may not allow pets at all. Find this out before you pack Fido into his carrier!) Last but not least, you will need to provide the specific dates for which you will need the vacation rental and the number of people with whom you will be staying.

Researching the Vacation Home Rental

You will then be presented with a list of available vacation home rental properties for your time frame and the other options that you requested. If you are able to work directly with the owners of the rental homes, you can contact them to find out more information. Many owners will be able to answer your emailed questions in depth (but make sure to keep your questions relevant) and to send you pictures of the specific vacation rental. The owner may even have a personal website that you can view for more information about the property. If you are dealing with a management company, you may either be shown pictures of the particular vacation home rental in which you will be staying or pictures that represent the type of home that is available.

In either case, make sure that you feel comfortable with the entire transaction. For example, you may want to avoid an owner or company that sends you emails every hour asking if you have made a decision about the vacation rental, or, on the flip side, someone who takes days to return your messages with answers to your questions, or someone who gives you vague responses.

Finalizing the Deal

When you have found a vacation home rental that suits your needs and with which you feel comfortable, you can then finalize the deal. The owner or management company will have you submit a deposit to hold the vacation rental – usually 10 to 20% of the final cost. Note that you will not receive an actual address or access information until the booking is paid in full.

You will then fill out a rental agreement. Make sure to be honest in this agreement about the number of people and the ages staying in the vacation rental. What happens next may vary depending on whether you are working with an owner or a company. The owner may send you all of the information you will need to access the vacation home rental – including access codes for the lock box and the alarm, so that you can go directly from the road or the airport right into the house. The management company may simply provide you with directions to its offices so that you can pick up the keys and additional important information about the home.

Notifying the Owner or Management Company about Any Issues with the Vacation Rental

Make sure that you let the owner or management company know about anything that is broken when you arrive at the vacation home rental, and also make sure that you inform them about any discrepancies between what your contract said and what you found when you opened the door of your rental. During your stay, remember to treat the home and everything inside and out (including furniture and electronics) respectfully – as if it were your own home all the time. Before you leave, inform the owner or company of anything that was broken or changed during your stay. Also, please take a few minutes to clean up the house by emptying the trash, doing a quick vacuum, and looking around for any other issues that you can easily resolve.

Above all, it is critical to do your own research about any vacation rental before signing a final contract. By becoming familiar with what towns are better for your needs and which locations offer easier access to attractions or beaches, you will be able to make a more informed choice before you sign the final agreement – and ensure that when you reach your vacation home rental, you can relax in style.

Benefits of Utilizing Knowledge Of Professional Travel Agent

Travel AgentTravel Agents have been helping travelers plan their vacations and trips for decades. The brick and mortar agencies are still going strong and many times beating the prices of online competition.

Now that almost every home in America has a computer and internet access, many people are trying to do it all by themselves when planning a vacation thinking they’ll get the best deal. For an international trip, the typical person will spend many, many valuable hours online doing research and making reservations if they do it alone. Why not just go to a Travel Agent? Contacting a knowledgeable individual can save you time and money. That’s what they are for.

Here are some of the many benefits of using a Professional Travel Agent.

Your time is valuable. Instead of spending your precious time searching the internet, going from website to website, comparing prices, itineraries, hotels and destinations, you can make just one call and have a Travel Agent do all the planning.

Service. There is something to be said for good, old-fashioned, person to person service. This is an attribute you will not experience with an online booking engine. Travel Agents are happy to help you with your travel arrangements including inception of ideas and thorough planning. Plus they are available for the duration of your trip, upon your arrival home and for all future travel. The personalized service you receive provides peace-of-mind whether you purchase an air ticket or an entire travel package. A travel agent is ready to answer any and all questions.

Knowledge. Travel Agents have the most up-to-date information about specials, promotions and rates. Because they are the professionals in the industry, they are notified first of all current special rates and promotions stemming from airlines to tour companies to hotel deals. Many agencies who have weathered years of ups and downs in the travel industry have also built excellent relationships along the way. More times than not, they can provide better rates than what can be found online due to wholesale status and working with airline consolidators.

Specialized. More and more Travel Agents are becoming specialized in a specific geographic region or type of travel through study and hands on travel experience. This means that if you are traveling to Australia, for example, and want assistance from someone who really knows the country by the best places to visit, climate, exchange rates, cuisine, clothing to pack and the inside scoop to the best deals, utilizing a Travel Agent is a great resource. They often have personal travel experience and the experience of all their clients who have booked their trips with them. Plus the accumulative travel knowledge of their fellow agents giving you real information about how a hotel may suit your needs or a great tour guide that would jive with your travel style. It’s specialty information only a real, live human can provide when you are booking your trip.

One-Stop Shopping. With a Travel Agent you can book all your reservations and services in one place. Travel Agents can book everything from airfare to car rentals, to tours and show tickets. This also means you only have to give your personal information, like credit card details to one business.

Someone to call in case of an emergency. If you should have some type of a glitch or emergency while abroad, trying to get through to an actual person at an airline or online agency can be practically impossible and completely time consuming. It can be reassuring knowing that you have someone you can call in case of an emergency.

Unique Travel Itineraries. Travel Agents can help put together a trip and itinerary based on your interests. Tell a Travel Agent what you like to do during vacation, how active you want to be and your budget, and she will give you suggestions based on that information. This usually results in a more enjoyable vacation developed just for you instead of following an itinerary suggested by a friend or family. Just because your friend enjoyed a specific tour doesn’t necessarily mean that you will.

First Hand Hotel Information. Most Travel Agents have up-to-date information on hotels that are under construction or being refurbished. You do not want to arrive at your hotel, only to find that the reason why you got such a great deal is because they are in the middle of construction on the pool.

To book your international vacation of a lifetime, contact a Travel Agent online today!

Hiking Equipment and Backpacking Checklist

3 Major Hiking and Backpacking Checklist Benefits – My main hiking tip for anyone getting started withHiking Equipment hiking or backpacking activities is to actually use a hiking equipment checklist or backpacking checklist when preparing for your travels. The use of checklists makes many of the tasks in life simple. The 3 main benefits of using a checklist for hiking or backpacking are:

  • Memory Jogger – A visual-aid such as a checklist is a great way to ensure that important hiking gear is not left behind;
  • Efficiency Tool – A checklist makes it a much easier and quicker task when packing for your outdoor trips;
  • Review Tool – A checklist can function as a review sheet which you can analyze in order to reduce the size of your kit before your next trip.

 

10 Hiking Tips For Hiking and Backpacking Checklists – Listed here are my favorite suggestions with reference to packing when using a Hiking Equipment Checklist or Backpacking Checklist:

  1. Appropriate Gear – Packing gear that you believe to be appropriate for your trip, and having the knowledge regarding the way it is meant to be used, should go a long way to ensuring that you have a pleasurable outdoor adventure.
  2. Protected Hiking – In areas such as forests and protected zones along the coast, there is a certain degree of protection from the weather. In such zones, it is most likely that you could cope with a lesser amount of gear and not really need the top grade gear needed when in mountainous areas.
  3. Unpredictable Climates – Particularly when it comes to mountainous regions, there could be a wintery climate. Therefore, be certain that you are carrying extra warm garments on your trip.
  4. Load Reduction – Unneeded load gives rise to squandered energy use. Equipment that you do not really need is best left behind. Take a lighter load and get more pleasure from your hiking and backpacking trips.
  5. Fluid Consumption – Many hikers and backpackers carry water on trips but water is quite a heavy load. Immediately prior to you trip, try to drink as much water as you can. Having said that, do not leave out drinking water from your checklist, not even for shorter trips or even on cold or over cast weather conditions. Be sure to keep yourself hydrated.
  6. Apparel Weight – Your backpack weight is influenced somewhat with the kind of apparel you decide to use. Purposefully developed man-made materials tend to be lightweight when compared with natural materials. They usually perform better also. For example, they wick away sweat from your skin at the same time as providing a warm insulation layer. Alternative materials are able to keep rainwater out at the same time as still permitting moisture to move away from the skin.
  7. Load Share – A number of hikers or backpackers could group together to share equipment which could be carried in turns within one backpack. However, it is advisable to keep your individual essential gear near to you all the times, just as a precaution, in case the companion carrying the pack is suddenly separated from you. You could also buy a few bigger food storage containers to share so that a lesser amount of volume is lost during the packing, for example: 1 water filter; 1 bug spray; etc.
  8. Gear Check – Examine your complete kit prior to hiking to make certain that it is remains fit for purpose: footwear still fits you and is still fit for the intended terrain and the laces are not frayed; backpack belts and buckles are ok; first-aid kit is complete; water container is clean; batteries are fresh; and knife is sharp; etc.
  9. Mobile Phone – As your mobile phone might someday turn out to be your lifesaver, make sure it is protected with something soft such as kitchen paper towels and also sealed within 1 or possible 2 waterproof bags.
  10. Waterproof Bags – Carry some spare waterproof bags since their weight is negligible and they occupy minimal space, yet they have many uses for keeping things dry or separated.

After you return from your adventure, take a look at your equipment checklist to determine whether something of the list was not used. If you find some unused, non-essential gear, you could eliminate it from your list before your next adventure. However, please be sensible. That does not mean leave out crucial protective gear like a waterproof jacket just because there was no rain on your last trip.

Vacation Rentals Or Hotels

Vacation is a very important aspect of ones living routine. I call it routine as it takes place religiously each year, year after year. One makes this routine different by changing the elements of vacation. The place to stay and the vacation destination.

Having decided the location that one wants to visit, the next point on the agenda is to choose where to stay. While most people choose a hotel offering all facilities to compliment the vacation. A few more adventurous and experienced ones however choose to stay in a vacation rental. Yes, a vacation rental is now extremely popular way to stay during a vacation. It has many advantages over a hotel stay.

Whatever one does, however meticulously one plans the hotel stay, there are chances that not everything will be to every ones liking during the vacation. A vacation experience is sensitive to perfection of delivery of services. This is where most of the time the vacation seeker feel let down or dissatisfied, and this one element becomes a sour point to spoil the vacation experience.

Usually world over, people go on vacation with the family or with a group of friends. There are a number of people going together and for them to enjoy the vacation staying together or staying close assumes great importance. Hotels normally promise allocating adjoining rooms to a group. Most of the time however, this does not happen when you check in. You are not only in rooms far apart but also on different floor of the hotel. Your vacation starts on a wrong note. You start disliking the hotel from that moment.

What seems to be a perfect answer to address this issue is a private accommodation on short lease. Today world over vacation rentals are available in most tourists destinations like beach resorts, golf resorts, mountain resorts or ski resorts. These are ranging from studio apartments to five or six bedroom, attached baths, even long baths in independent villas with their own swimming pool and all other facilities. The rentals vacation range from economy to super luxury options. The rental homes are fully furnished and serviced. The equipping includes fully fitted kitchen or pantry, laundry and ironing to even a vacuum cleaner. Each one in the group can have his or her own bedroom, make and eat what one likes and when one wants. The vacation homes are also wireless enabled for you to surf on your laptop and provided with a telephone and TV.

Like in the west, vacation homes are fast gaining popularity in the east also. India, Bangkok, Malaysia and Singapore have a host of such facilities and in different price range. The availability of vacation homes is for beach vacation rentals, cabin rental, apartment rentals and home rentals, a total package of rentals vacation offer. Countries with shortage of hotel rooms are encouraging the owners of good accommodation to switch to this concept. On one hand, the concept provides much needed accommodation to the tourists on the other hand it is a profitable source of income to the owner and boosts the local economy.

The concept is unique, it brings smile on the face of the tourist, the owner of the vacation home and the tourism authority. Vacation rental seems to be a viable tourism segment that will become its main stay in the years to come.

Beach Vacation Rental

A beach vacation at a vacation rental, especially with your extended family can be a very memorable and enjoyable experience. Enjoy all the fun at the beach, with the added facilities and comforts of home at a vacation rental. Add greater luxury to your vacations by choosing a vacation rental providing exceptional facilities. Read on to know more.

Going on a vacation is the perfect way to get away from your routine life when the pressures get too much. Take a healthy break, unwind, and be close to your family. Thinking of a holiday, you often think of a beautiful house, near the sea from where you can see the sun rise or set over the blue waters. It is an enthralling idea to rent a vacation home at a gorgeous location for your holiday. It is like living in your own beach front home, even if it is only for a few days or a week. You can experience the leisure of living near the beach on your next vacation, by renting a great vacation rental that provides you all the luxury that you desire.

Though a good vacation rental that is spacious and stocked with luxury may at first look like an expensive affair, if you do a little research and consider the total vacation costs, you are likely to find a great vacation rental at a reasonable price. Moreover, nothing can match the feeling that you can get in a great beach vacation rental. If you are on a vacation with friends or your extended family, it is great idea to rent these rentals home or spacious condo or villa than to get two or three hotel rooms. The reason is you can get common space to enjoy together, many bedrooms, more facilities and a home like environment. It is also cost saving, as with more individuals, the costs can be shared. If you are away for Christmas, what can be better for a great group celebration?

When it comes to facilities offered, these rentals can provide you with a fully furnished home, with two or three bedrooms, well equipped kitchen, with all the amenities that you can expect at home like TV, the Internet, a collection of books and DVD’s and so on. Want more luxury? Some of these rentals also provide you with a private pool, gym and other luxuries depending on the place and what you may require. Along with these additional amenities, you obviously get more space and freedom. Where in a hotel room, you are bound to feel a little restricted as there are many other people sharing the hotel; a vacation rental looks more homely and comfortable. Having a separate kitchen, you have complete flexibility to cook meals or prepare snacks whenever you want or simply head for a great restaurant if you don’t want to cook.

However, before you head off for your holiday in a vacation rental, it is essential to do a little checking to ensure that you get all the facilities that you require. That would prevent any problems in your vacation; after all, the last thing you would want is to see your vacation ruined due to lack of any essential facilities. Renting a vacation rental from a specialized company and inquiring on a few key areas would not hurt. For more information, you can browse through some good sites that offer beach house rentals and contact them for details on any vacation rental you like.

Compare Vacation Rental Rates

It is easy to compare prices of one hotel versus another; that industry has it down to a science.  But when it comes to comparing rates on vacation rentals it can be tough to find one apple let alone two.  Here’s how to make sure you are comparing similar vacation rental rates.

Seasonality and vacation rental rates. 

Vacation rentals prices can fluctuate wildly due to the region and season.  For example, some Aspen, Colorado vacation rentals rates can fluctuate by over 100% based solely on the time of year you are renting.  This is important if you are going to be renting during the change of season.  If you are travelling in a “transition time,” gain a solid understanding of when, exactly “high season” stops and “low season” starts.  There may be a difference of one day between two similar vacation rentals and their definition of “low season” but that one day, as in the Aspen property, could be significant.

Location, taxes, and the cost of a vacation rental.

Location, location, location.  Is the property five steps from the beach or five hundred steps from the beach?  Is it ski-in, ski-out or is it a shuttle to the parking lot then a half-mile trek to the gondola?  It matters.

Location also affects tax rates.  One side of the street may be in one county whereas the other side may be in a different county; the variance in county tax rates could be massive.  Just ask Cook county Illinois residents who live across the street from any of their other county Illinois neighbors.  Taxes may be applied to all items on the invoice or only certain items.  Where the property physically sits determines the taxes.

Number of beds, baths is very important but remember: interior layout, design, and the vintage affect.

Two condos on the same floor, with the same layout and view may be asking wildly different prices for what, at first blush, appears to be the same thing.  Why?  Ask about the interior of the vacation rental?  When was it built or last updated?  Are you going to be staying in Archie Bunker’s place, or Donald Trump’s?  Ask the owner/agent to provide you with recent pictures of the interior.

If the property sits in, or has access to, a resort, are there associated fees to use the resort?  Sometimes these are referred to as “amenity fees.”

Many vacation rentals sit on-property of resorts.  If that is the case, is there a resort fee?  What if I don’t want to use the resort?  Do I still have to pay the resort fee?  You may find an owner/agent willing to negotiate with you about those fees.  Just ask about them and get a clear understanding that, if you have to pay, what are you getting for your money.

The Cleaning and Parking fee.

In my ten plus years of staying in vacation rentals, it has been my experience, that owners and agents are most willing to negotiate on the cleaning and parking fees.  I can’t tell you how many times the owner/agent will either discount them or delete these fees completely.  But, let’s be clear here, it is good karma to always leave money behind for the cleaners even if you are paying the cleaning fee.

Once you have a perfect understanding of what you are going to be paying and what the benefit of those fees are, you now have a clear way of comparing vacation rental rates.  The inevitable ancillary benefit of this exercise is that you will learn something about the area and about the owner/agent of the vacation rental.

Finding vacation rentals can be an arduous process. But finding your vacation rental is only one step in a multi-step process. We need to understand not only what to do before we go on vacation, but what to do while we are on vacation and, just as important, is what to do after our vacation.

Finding Good Travel Deals

It can be difficult booking travel plans for your vacation or trip. There are numerous resources available, and it can sometimes feel like it’s hard to know where to start. Use the tips you’re about to read to make booking your travel plans much easier as you find the right deals for your needs.

In today’s world, a great place to start is by searching online travel agents. Whatever is available in person is available online plus more. So, it’s a good idea to start online, searching out deals, looking at promotions and discounts, visiting different sites, and looking at all of your options. Make sure you pay attention to different types of packages and do your calculations. You need to have a good idea of what you’re going to bring for your trip, and what you’re going to need.

Make sure you’re looking at package deals. Today’s travel industry packages everything, and you can find great deals for flights, hotels, food, and more all in the same package for one low price. It can save you much money if you’re able to find the right deal. You will already have an idea of what you need, so this will tell you what kind of package you’re looking for.

When you see the words all-inclusive, that’s exactly what it means. Booking all-inclusive travel is a great way to travel hassle free. You don’t have to worry about any accommodations this way. However, make sure you’re getting the deal you want because there are two kinds of this type of travel. First, there is the luxury kind, and then there is the economically priced kind.

Once you do find a good deal, you need to familiarize yourself with the company that is offering it. Look at reviews of the company, and just see more of what the company is about. You want to feel comfortable, and you want to see a site that is professional and that makes you feel like you’re in good hands.

Go to travel websites too to see what you can find. Sometimes just searching travel agents won’t necessarily give you all of the information you need. By searching travel websites regarding your destination, you can often find out much more information as well.

Make sure you’re looking at hotel reviews online too, so when you do book your package deal, you’re happy with that specific one. You want the right accommodations, so you have to make sure you’re booking the right ones.

You can find the best deals sometimes on auction sites. Check out the various online auction sites, and see if the travel arrangements you need are up for grabs. Since auction sites are subjective to bidding, you can find some excellent deals and packages.

Use the tips you’ve read here to find the best deals for travel, and make booking those deals much easier and less stressful. It’s not hard to find the right deals, but you have to know where to look.

Last Minute Travel Planning

Whenever you wind up in a state of affairs where you have procrastinated in making your flight arrangements, or if an emergency occurs that necessitates last minute travel, then you need not worry. Though there are numerous tales concerning being stuck with exorbitant prices for eleventh hour flights, this is not necessarily true. In reality, reserving later may frequently lead to sweeter airfare deals.

The travel industry in general and travel websites in particular are in a heated battle for your business. This is great information for consumers who travel because the options are greater than ever for finding discounted tickets for traveling last minute. Just by spending a small amount of time researching airfare deals on the various travel websites should enable you to grab some cheap deals on airfares, hotel reservations and car reservations as well. Compare deals on several travel sites. Visit as many as possible and comparison shop. You will almost always find a better deal somewhere.

Being willing to compromise about your departure date and time will definitely help in finding cheap airfare deals. The airlines count on last minute travelers who will not compromise and charge them full price for plane tickets thus fattening their profits. Cheap airfares are available to those who are willing to depart at odd hours. Tuesday and Wednesday are usually the slowest days for the airlines. If you can depart on these days you could save 25 percent or more on your airfare. And, if you are traveling to a large city with more than one airport, you can sometimes get a better deal just by compromising about which one you fly to.

Always check with the airlines website. Airlines often have last minute deals on air tickets if their flights are not full. This information is usually available only on their site and not shared with the travel sites. Also, be sure to accept their email travel alerts. The airlines send these out to sell those last unfilled seats. Some great bargains can be had this way. And, be sure to check their sites on Saturday mornings. They tend to post good end of the week deals then.

Finally, try to find a good travel agent that you like dealing with. They work with all the airlines and may be able to help you in finding your deal on last minute travel.

If you are a frequent flier, you probably know all of these tips and then some. But if you are new to the game then they should give you a jump start on becoming a seasoned last minute travel planner.

Compare Online Booking & Travel Agency

When you consider traveling, which one do you prefer, booking online or employing a travel agent? This may be a common concern to many tourists and before you make a decision, be sure that you know all pros and cons about these two ways. Employing a travel agent used to be tourists’ first choice, but with the development of technology, more and more people plan their vacations on the Internet.

The conspicuous advantage of booking online is that you can save a lot of money for your trip. According to your own booking, the total cost will certainly be cut down since you don’t have to pay the travel agent’s fee. You can find cheap flights by using search engines and professional booking sites and sometimes those sites also offer great bargains on hotels. Nevertheless, be aware of both the price and the quality of your booking. A necessary step before you make a reservation for a room is to read customer reviews and check the location of the hotel. When it comes to flight booking, the same method also works. If you arrive at an airport which is far from the city center, you will spend more time and money although the flight cost is low.

Another advantage of setting your trip up online is that you can always customize your itinerary according to your own preference instead of taking a package deal through a travel agency and getting involved in a tourist group. However, travel agents still have the overwhelming advantage that they have much more resources than you can find online. Normally, they don’t care much about the airfares, but they tend to have more control with itineraries and cruises.

Anyway, your choice between booking online and employing a travel agent should be made according different situations. If you are planning a simple and short journey, booking online may be your first choice and traveling on your own will add a lot of fun. On the contrary, if your travel plan is complicated and hard to organize, turning to a travel agency for help will save you a lot of trouble. So to speak, a travel agent should be considered when various factors are added into the travel plan such as flights, hotels, itineraries, diets and multiple destinations. Making these plans and arrangements are what travel agents do for a living and they are experts at that. They can not only give you some practical advice and tips about the trip but also work out a vacation plan that meets your needs most. Moreover, sometimes good travel agencies can help you to cut your travel expenses because they have abundant resources and know the way to get the best deals. Thus, they can give you some considerate advice such as book the tickets later to catch an off-season discount, and change the route in order to save some money. With regard to the fine print which most people forget or ignore, a travel agent is asked to make sure that every tourist is aware of the details.

It is travel agents’ obligation to satisfy customers’ needs so they have to dig deep into the travel plans. They usually double- check dates, routes and details and make sure that tourists have all the documents needed for traveling. Also, searching for the cheapest bargains and customizing itineraries are important parts of their jobs.

If you are a person who would like to invest your time and energy to have a unique trip of your own, making your travel arrangements online is not an impossible task to you. But when something goes wrong during the journey, you’d better have some phone numbers at hand so as to call for a help to solve the problems.

In one word, it is totally up to you to choose the way of traveling you prefer. The key lies in the evaluation of your true needs and finding a prefect balance.

Safety, Equipment and Hiking Gear

When you talk about hiking, it does not mean you have to go for something as outlandish or extreme as the Appalachian Trail. It can be as simple as taking a walk through a forest or up a hill in your neighborhood’s vicinity. For the most part, hiking will cost you nothing to very little and is a great stress reliever. Indeed, the mental and physical benefits you can get from hiking ensure you can live a more fruitful and fulfilled life.

But even though hiking can be fun, there are also a number of precautions and survival tips one must take into consideration to avoid danger and stay safe. Among the more important tips is for one to hike in a group. It is much safer for one to hike in a group especially if it is on a nature trail you are unaccustomed to.

Hiking with Friends

The support and motivation obtained from the group will help you in those times when you might think of packing up leaving. Actually, even when you are hiking on trail you are used to, it does not hurt to bring at least one person along as this is a natural deterrent to anyone along the trail that may be lurking with ill intent.

You also must take precautions when hiking up and down a hill. On the ascent, you should loosely lace your boots around your ankles to provide ample room for movement. When going downhill, you need to avoid jamming your toes by placing your heels in the back of the boots and tightly tying your laces around the ankles while leaving them loose at the toes.

Use a hiking stick or trekking pole. These sticks help with balance and stability when going up or down an incline. They also provide an additional support to your legs, reduce the knee pressure and help you support the upper body especially when you embark on a long trek.

Carry Water

Always carry your own water. If you are sure there will be water at your destination, carry just slightly more than sufficient water to last until you arrive. Water is of greater importance than food to your survival. Always filter any water you find along the trail and that you are in need of using – unless the water is from a natural spring. If you can fix a long drinking straw to the water bottle so you can drink as you move, the better.

Dress in layers in order to ensure you maintain the proper body temperature with changes in weather. The weather can change drastically when you are out on a long hike and you need to be prepared for all type of weather conditions. Avoid cotton clothing because it holds moisture for long periods. Use polypropylene and other synthetic materials. Make sure you wear dark clothing because they dry faster. Wear light colored clothing if you’re hiking in areas known for their tick infestation.

It’s also important that one watch out for sunstroke when hiking in the hot sun. If you plan on hiking in the summer then you must be aware that the exposure to high temperature can cause excessive fluid loss which may lead to heat exhaustion, or in serious cases even to a heat stroke. Wear a hat that is broad rimmed and that has a strap. It gives better protection from hot wind and direct sunlight.

Hiking Boots and Equipment

Of all the hiking gear and equipment you need, your hiking boots are probably the most important. Good boots give you traction and support throughout the hike. A good pair of boots need not be overly expensive even though you should not compromise on quality in the name of lower overall cost. It is advisable that you purchase your boots from a dealer who is conversant with the standards required of outdoor wear. Boots vary from lightweight for light hiking to heavy boots that are more durable and support the feet and ankles. The features you need to look out for when buying your hiking boots include water resistance, weight of the boot, the price, the toe groove for crampons, the width of toe box and the gusseted tongue.

Apart from your hiking boots, there are other forms of equipment needed for you hike. If you plan on embarking on a day hike, you will need hiking socks, water purifying tablets (if you are not carrying your own water), a back pack, walking stick, traction devices, rescue beacons, signaling gear, Avalanche probes (if you will be on snow covered hilly terrain), jackets, binoculars, first aid kit, a compass, sunscreen and food. For an overnight hike, you will require a tent, sleeping bag, camp stoves, rain gear, matches, a Swiss army knife, and a flashlight.

Get a map of the route you plan on taking. If you plan to hike alone or with one another person, notify your family (or a ranger if you are hiking through a park) on the place where you will be and the time you expect to return. That way, someone can come looking for you if you are in trouble or just simply lost.