How To Plan An International Hike

Are you thinking of taking a hike on foreign soil?

Before you jump on your plane, or even think about packing your bags, there are a few little things you might want to consider sorting out first.

Planning a successful hiking trip away from home is a task that is rife with challenges. It’s important that you think about more than just the basics of your trip when you’re in the planning stages. Many hiking trips can be undone by overlooking the simplest of factors, take a little look at our list of things to think about before you head away on your very first international hiking trip:

Have you considered the customs of your hosts?

As soon as you step foot in another country it’s important to remember that the same cultural rules do not apply. What might be socially acceptable behaviour in the UK could well be completely taboo where you’ve touched down.

Before you jump on your plane, take the time to research the cultural mores of the host nation that you’re visiting. Their social customs might seem odd, but going along with them will make your trip a lot easier.

What will the climate be like?

The weather might well be very different where you’re heading – have you thought about what you’re going to pack? Us hikers are very much creatures of habit, we like to wear the same clothes for each hike so that we know how we’re going to feel and so that we can guarantee that we’re going to hike at our very best. However, it’s always a good idea to take a look at the forecast of where you’re travelling to, in case you need to prepare for a climate that’s a little out of the ordinary.

Are you hiking on paths or in the wild?

You should know what kind of route you’re going to be walking before you head out. Whether you’ll be following a path or spending more time orienteering will dictate what gear you’ll need and whether or not you’ll need a guide.

If you’re choosing to take a route less worn in a country that might not be too safe then you should seriously consider hiring a local guide, in case you might need to converse with locals in a hurry or in a tense situation.

What’s the best accommodation for you?

What kind of place you choose to stay in will effect the kinds of walk that you choose to go on. If you’re happy camping, then your options for walks will be significantly opened up.

If, however, you prefer staying somewhere a little more comfortable, then you might find that you’ll have to stay in a more urban location which could limit where and when you choose to hike. Splash out on a luxury villa in Provence, for example, and you might be sleeping well each night, but you’ll be limited to circular walks in the area you’re staying.

There are many balls to juggle when planning a hiking trip away, make sure you’ve covered all the bases before you commit!

The Hiking Essentials You Need To Get Started

Are you thinking of joining a hiking group?

Generally speaking, hiking is one of the most accessible activities to get into.

Unlike most other sports, you can easily join up with a group and not have to worry about ‘making a team’.

Most walking groups, including our own, are incredibly inclusive. They walk at varied paces, so that all abilities can join and are generally social rather than competitive, so you’re likely to make friends instead of rivals.

As much as walking groups tend to be very approachable, there are just a few pieces of important equipment that you will need to purchase before you start, especially if you’re considering heading out on some long distance walks in the wild. Before you sign up to Aberdeen Rambling Walkers, or any other walking group, make sure that you’ve at least got these basics, so that you’re not starting on the back foot:

Sturdy 2 litre water bottle

The importance of hydration should never be underestimated.

Even though you might not break a sweat hiking with us, you’ll still be losing body fluids as the day goes on. Although some hikers will swear by their soft plastic bladders, there’s no real replacement for a sturdy water bottle. Buy just one of these and you’ll be set for a decade. By all means purchase a bladder at a later date, but this should be the very first item on your shopping list.

Sturdy shoes or walking boots

The sturdiness of shoe you require will depend on the intensity of the walk that you’re intending on going on.

For example, if you were planning on joining one of our city-based ambles (like our recent walk in Aberdeen) then you’re not going to need anything overly bulky. There are a big range of shoes you can purchase these days, from hybrid walking trainers to larger, rugged boots. Either way, if you’re looking to save money then it’s a good idea to find a retailer that sells end of line stock. These boots will be last year’s models but should be perfectly serviceable for your needs (and a lot cheaper).

Good-sized rucksack

A decent 25-30 litre rucksack is required should you wish to go hiking anywhere.

Any hikes that take you out into the wilderness will require you to pack a change of clothes, waterproofs (see below) as well as enough food and emergency rations to keep you going, should the worst happen. Buying a rucksack secondhand on Ebay or Gumtree is a good option, but always be sure that you’re not buying a tired or worn product. Buying new will guarantee that your rucksack will be in good nick and should last you at least a few years.


It doesn’t matter where you’re going for a walk, waterproofs are as essential as a fully topped up water bottle.

When it comes to purchasing a waterproof jacket or set of trousers, skimping out is really not recommended. Buying secondhand gear will come back to bite you at a later date, you’ll have no idea how waterproof your jacket is until you’re rained on and excessive wear can cause the stitching to become compromised – making your coat completely ineffective. Buy new and buy branded goods from a trusted retailer, you’ll be glad of it when you need to pull them on in the pouring rain.

If you’d like some further advice on where to buy your equipment, or need any other queries answered, just head on over to our Contact page and shoot use a question!

The Benefits of Taking a Hike With Us

Hiking Helps – It’s a Fact!

There are many benefits to taking a relaxing walk with us lot, just have a look at what you could gain from joining us for a ramble.

Hit the Reset Button

Most of our walkers spend their days during the week working inside; either in schools, offices or in retail complexes. 

During the 40 or so hours that our members spend working each week, they might well be paying the bills but they’re also missing out on valuable fresh air and mental stimulus. Our walkers are always in a good mood after finishing a ramble – no matter what the length. Spending four or five hours out in the fresh air, surrounded by challenging environments, they often find the experience is akin to pressing a reset button on their head, making the working week ahead less of a challenge.

Walk At Your Own Pace

It’s never a race with us here at Aberdeen Rambling Walkers.

Each and every one of our walks, rambles or hikes are suitable for everyone. You’re always free to walk at whatever pace that you’re most comfortable with, whether that’s a brisk stroll or a more languorous wander. Although high impact, high-intensity exercise might be all the rage at the moment, we don’t hold with that belief here. Hiking is all about taking the time to enjoy your surrounding, having a nice chat and taking regular tea breaks – or at least that’s what we think!

Get Toned

As much as we like to take our time when we go for our hikes that doesn’t mean that we don’t exert ourselves.

The routes that we plan always involve a decent variety of terrain, so it doesn’t matter how fast you go, you’ll always be getting a decent workout when you walk with us. Physiologically speaking you’ll benefit from a thorough workout of your glutes, hamstrings and quads – but you’ll also be getting a gentle cardiovascular workout at the same time. It’s safe to say that after 5 hours of hiking, you’ll definitely feel the burn!

Boost Your Mood

When you hike with the Aberdeen Rambling Walkers you’re always bound to leave with a big grin on your face. 

No wonder really, when you consider that just by taking part in regular cardio has been proven to improve mood and increase levels of happiness. The endorphins that the body produces after just a few hours of activity send impulses to the brain to release chemicals that make us happy. Of course, there are other reasons why you might be smiling, you might have made a new friend or you could simply feel a sense of achievement of completing a long walk.

Pop us a message over on the Contact page to see how you can join in the fun!