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How to prepare for a sporting vacation

A guide to get ready to really get out there.

Whether you have fitness fans in the family or you just want to do more than lazing around eating and drinking too much, there is no doubt that the sporting vacation is now more popular than ever.

The great thing is that with increased popularity comes increased choice. Whatever your level of fitness, and whether you are a watcher or a doer, there is sure to be something to appeal. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular choices, and then think about how you need to prepare to make your sporting vacation a trip to remember for all the right reasons.

Popular sporting vacations

It would be impossible to describe every type of sporting vacation, but here are a few of the most popular to give you some ideas:

  • Skiing – the original action vacation, ski breaks were once seen as something reserved for the rich and famous. These days, there is something for every budget, and whether you are a seasoned pro or you’ve never tried to ski before, the resorts can cater for every skill level. After a busy day on the slopes, you will have the famous tradition of après-ski to look forward to!
  • Hiking – the great thing about hiking is you can do it anywhere and it can be as gentle or extreme as you wish. If you only have a weekend to spare, check out your local hiking trails, or for the holiday of a lifetime, head off to the Australian outback or one of the UK’s beautiful national parks. The choice is yours.
  • Diving – there are some amazing diving locations around the world, including these spots in Europe, and again, there’s something for everyone, from first timers to thrill seekers.
  • Golf – it might not be so extreme, but there is something therapeutic about strolling around the countryside and periodically thrashing the living daylights out of a small white ball with a stick. Golf is a sport that is easy to learn but takes a lifetime to master, and is something the whole family can try.

Preparations

Once you have decided on what you would like to do, there are some preparations you should make to ensure everyone has the best possible time.

1) Pack the right clothes

To ensure you are properly kitted out think about what you are going to be doing and how warm or cold the conditions will be. If you are hiking, a pair of good quality walking boots with extra socks is an absolute must. Buy them well in advance so that you have time to wear them in, or you will be extremely footsore after a day or two.

For any sport where you will be very active, compression clothing is recommended by the professionals, as it provides support where you need it most. Knee compression sleeves and full-length arm sleeves will help reduce the likelihood of injury when you suddenly start putting those muscles to extra work!

2) Check booking requirements

Nothing is more disappointing than turning up full of excitement only to discover that there is no availability for the activity you were planning. Call or email well in advance, and before you book flights and hotels, to check whether you can just turn up on the day or you need to book.

3) Equipment

The boots and sports clothes we mentioned earlier are all you need for hiking, but other activities need specialist equipment. If you are golfing or skiing, for example, do you intend to hire kit on arrival or take your own? If the former, again, check availability. You can probably save some money with an advance booking. If the latter, speak to your airline about placing your equipment in the hold and be prepared for the fact that you will probably have to pay extra.

4) Seasonality

Most sporting activities have seasons and better or worse times depending on the weather. If you are hiking in the UK, spring is an ideal time, as the weather will be neither too cold nor too hot, and the scenery will be at its most beautiful. In the Aussie outback, on the other hand, aim for their winter, or it will be just too hot.

5) Choose the right level

Finally, but most importantly of all, think about your skill level, and that of your family or companions. Pitch things at the level of the least fit / experienced team member so that everyone can enjoy their time. After all, it is supposed to be a vacation. Have fun!

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