Walking tours have become quite popular in various cities across the world. They not only offer a wonderful way to get up close and personal with the sights, sounds and people of a city, but you get to experience the culture firsthand and freely, as you control your pace and aren’t limited by a moving vehicle. In fact, in cities such as London, the walking tour has become such a prominent way to enjoy the city that local governments have been hard at work creating a great environment for people on walking tours, even pushing for green spaces to be built across the city. In Madrid, just as Lauren on Location wrote in the past, it’s completely possible to plan your own independent walking tour, and if you’re interested, you can read the blog post here.
Of course, it’s difficult to prepare for a walking tour if you’ve never been on one, because it’s really tough to gauge just how much you’ll be put through. It all depends on the weather and the actual location, but there are some things that never change, and one of them is the fact that you need to get into comfortable shoes if you want to last on your walking tour. Shoes are as essential a part of your travel wardrobe as anything else, and like a warm winter coat or a summer halter, it can mean the difference between freezing to death or being so hot you’re uncomfortable. When it comes to walking tours, comfort is key, as you’ll be doing a lot of traveling on foot, most of the times in the hot sun. Here are our recommendations for what to wear:
When it comes to tops, finding a versatile top is best, and travelers may be wise to wear something that can be layered to accommodate the weather. VBT recommends wearing something made out of “polypropylene, lightweight wool, and similar synthetic fabrics, which wick away moisture.” It’s also essential to bring a windbreaker or light shell jacket to wear over your clothes for colder days. For more of VBT’s suggestions on what to pack to a walking tour, click here.
Some would advise walking shorts, but depending on where you’re going, a comfortable pair of pants might be best. This is especially true if you are traveling to heritage sites. Just as USA Today says, while most places don’t have enforced dress codes, some will require you to at least be wearing pants. If you hope to be able to visit churches, be sure to dress appropriately. For more information on dress codes for places like Italy, Greece, and churches in Europe, read their tips here.
When it comes to shoes, the most important thing to remember is to get waterproof shoes that fit you well, and that can be adjusted easily. Cushioned shoes are ideal for walking tours, because most of the time, you won’t just be walking – you’ll also be standing still a lot, and this can often make you uncomfortable. Avoid minimalist shoes like flats, or of course, heels. Sneakers should be a safe bet, and luckily, as fashion aggregator Lyst says, “Sneakers come in all colors and flavors from Converse high-tops to plimsolls and everything in between. It’s all a matter of finding the perfect fit and the right cushioning. You can view their selection here.
What do you need to bring other than a jacket? A lightweight umbrella is also important, as well as a visor and sunglasses. This means that having a carry-on pack or a carryall is also essential. Try to bring a scarf if you can, as this adds extra protection not just from the cold, but from the harsh rays of the sun. Also, make sure to bring enough water for your tour, as they don’t always include stops at water fountains. Your bag should be able to carry your energy snacks, wallet, IDs, camera, and your jacket. About.com’s Walking page has some more tips for what to pack, and you can check out the list here.
Got any more tips for what to pack for a walking tour? Let us know!
Harriett Sawyer has been an avid fan of walking tours, as she believes this is the best way to understand a new city. She began by walking along the Great Wall, and hopes to someday be able to enjoy walking tours of the world’s greatest cities.
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