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Travel Tip For Today

Bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes as well as a pair of sandals or Tevas. Before you leave home, break in your new shoes so you're not uncomfortable on the road.

Hiking Basics & Tips

Outdoor Travel

When people think about spending time away from home, they tend to think about spending money. However, hiking is a great, inexpensive way to exercise and spend time with the family. Hiking, when done safely, can relax a person when they needed relaxation most. It is also a way to learn about nature and sometimes the history of the area. In some parks, markers are available for hikers to read about outcroppings and other geographic formations. Hiking is a way for kids to expend some of the vast amount of energy they have and get away from the confines of school and home.

Before starting out, get a map of the area you will be hiking in order to plan a safe route. The map will keep you from getting completely lost and will allow for you to think about what trails to take, about how long the hiking will last, best places to rest, etc. Parents need to be concerned about the length of trails since kids will get too tired if the trip is long and difficult. Choose trails without large rocks on the ground where you could trip and avoid trails with steep embankments when you have small children.

Watch the weather forecasts; rain will certainly dampen your perfectly planned trip. Even if sunny weather is predicted, bring along a rain coat just in case. A cap and thin gloves will be comforting in cooler weather. A sweater and light jacket can be tied around the waist and an extra pair of socks and shoes should be taken.

Bring a compass, flashlight, map, matches, and a Swiss army knife. Getting lost isn't any fun and can be dangerous; the light, matches, and knife will probably not be used but are helpful around dusk when the sun goes down and the temperature decreases. If fires are permitted in the area, make sure to surround the fire with rocks and put out the fire completely when you're ready to move on.

Snack foods should be in large supply. Children will need frequent snacks along the way and lots to drink. Don't overeat before you begin, though. You don't want to cramp up or become sick on the walk. Take along food that is light, compact, and won't melt or go bad in warm weather. Peanut butter sandwiches are good for the energy you'll need to keep going. Trail mix is also good. Bottled water is best to drink since soda will dehydrate you. Put all the food in air-tight bags.

Your feet are the most important body part when hiking. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and have good grips on the bottom. Invest in a pair that are durable and water-proof and break them in at home. Double-knot your shoes to avoid tripping and wear thick, cushioning socks (and bring at least one extra pair). When you get home, soak and massage your feet since they will probably be a little sore.

Sunglasses with good UV protection are important, along with sunscreen, lip block and a hat. You may be shaded by trees for part of your walk, but don't be fooled; the sun's rays are still quite strong and a bad burn can be avoided with lotion.

Favorite toys should be brought along, as well as diapers (if necessary) and a thin roll of toilet paper for rest stops. Also, you don't want to be stuck on a trail without a medical kit and medication such as an asthma inhaler. You might want to carry a cellular phone in case of an emergency. Besides being great fun, a camera is a must to capture the wilderness.

Tips to keep in mind:
1. Get a map of the trails you'll be hiking in order to plan for a safe and fun trip.
2. Watch weather forecasts to avoid rain and cold, but bring rain gear and warm clothes as a precaution.
3. Bring along articles such as a compass, flashlight, map, matches, and Swiss army knife to stay on the right track and light your way if necessary.
4. Food should be plentiful, light-weight, and high-energy.
5. Wear water-resistant shoes with good grips and plenty of foot space.
6. Soak and massage your feet at the end of the day.
7. Sunglasses, sunblock, lip block and a hat are essential to avoid hurting your eyes and skin.
8. Toys for the kids, diapers, and toilet paper are also necessary.
9. Don't forget a medical kit and medication like an asthma inhaler.
10. A camera will capture the beautiful sights.

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