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What is trekking?

Trekking can be defined as long-distance walking with a certain degree of autonomy, without accessory aid or equipment, covering hours of crossing uneven terrain. These characteristics distinguish it from the more traditional walking/hiking or mountain climbing. Trekking takes place in open wilderness areas and often enables accessing sites that are very remote and far from modern civilisation.

Some practical advice

A trek cannot be improvised. Respect the following recommendations and enjoy your trek in total safety: 

  • Even if you’re in excellent physical condition, make an appointment with your doctor before leaving, particularly if you plan to trek in high altitudes, and even if the trek will be short. 
  • Before your departure, set yourself a “get back in shape” programme. This way you will be able to choose how difficult your trek should be according to your physical condition.
  • Test your equipment at home, especially your trekking shoes, and adapt them to your destination.
  • Never leave on a long walk wearing new shoes.
  • Take along everything essential while keeping your backpack as light as possible: sleeping bag, rainproof jacket, wool sweater, sturdy walking boots with non-slip soles, metal water jug, first-aid kit, knife, compass etc. Spread the weight evenly in your backpack by packing the heaviest articles first. 
  • Prevent blisters by making sure your feet are snug in your boots and your boots are laced tightly. 
  • Verify your food supply before leaving: you should take enough food and drink with you to last the entire trek. You may need to purify the water with chlorine tablets. 
  • If you are travelling to high altitudes or to a cold country, you must equip yourself accordingly. Carefully choose your clothing - materials that hold the heat, stay dry and offer protection from the wind such as silk, wool and especially certain new synthetic fibres, which can provide good insulation. Wear three layers of good-quality clothing, finishing with a layer that breaks the wind and is waterproof. Remember to prevent the risk of frostbite; protect your body’s extremities and wear gloves, mittens, thick socks or stockings. It is also essential to wear good quality shoes. A wool cap, hood or mask will protect your nose and ears. 
  • Choose the best trekking season according to your destination: avoid the monsoons, the middle of summer in hot countries, and the harshness of winter in cold countries. 
  • Protect yourself from the sun with a total sun block, and from mosquitoes with repellent and long clothing in the evenings. Wear a hat and sunglasses. 
  • Quickly treat any wound that could become infected. 
  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water regularly: hot drinks are better at quenching thirst. But stay away from alcohol, even when it is extremely cold.
  • If there is no water, use pre-soaped wipes to clean yourself. Do not swim or walk barefoot in stagnant waters due to the risk of bilharzia. 
  • If you have any problems whilst travelling, don’t wait until you get home to consult a doctor. Allianz Global Assistance’s emergency medical team is available to discuss any questions or doubts you may have about your health. We can provide useful advice and organize a consultation wherever you are.

Who should do trekking?

Trekking candidates must be in good overall physical condition. Even if you are athletic, remember that trekking can involve several days of walking while carrying a heavy backpack. You must break yourself in gradually, be patient and strong mentally, and have good endurance. Trekking can be done in low, mid or high mountains, deserts, jungles, forests and even polar regions. It is strictly advised against doing it alone. Numerous agencies specialise in organising trekking holidays, but you can also find local guides once you’ve reached your destination.

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