How To Choose Walking Shoes?

Every woman has experienced this dilemma before every trip: “Should I take the beautiful shoes or the comfortable ones?” Or the higher cost version of the same question: “Doesn’t this trip justify the purchase of a pair of shoes that will be both beautiful and comfortable?” The good news is that many manufacturers have risen to the challenge and started making beautiful walking shoes. Still, we need to make sure these shoes fit us.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and comfort is also a personal issue that has a lot to do with every person’s feet and back condition. Still, there are some general advice that can be useful to anyone:

  • The heel of your walking shoes must support your heel and not be too thick. If the heel is too thick you can not do the rolling from heel to toe comfortably, the way you should be able to do it.
  • For the same rolling movement mentioned before, the sole of the shoe needs to be flexible and allow movement of the foot.
  • Companies like Geox make shoes that “breathe”. This will add much to your comfort, especially if you are going to travel in warm climates.
  • Sounds obvious, but it isn’t – buy a shoe that fits. Don’t get tempted to try and squeeze into smaller shoes hoping that they will expand. If anything, your feet may swell after a day of walking; this is why it is best to shop for shoes in the evening. A well fitting shoe is one in which there is a free half inch between your toes and the tip of the shoe, wide enough for the toes to move freely. Your heel should be well held in place, and the shoe shouldn’t press any part of the foot.
  • Break your shoes in before you leave. First, try the shoes at home for a few days. This way, you don’t get the soles dirty before you are sure these shoes are good for you. If you decide against them, you can still return them to the store. Walk in the shoes for several days to get over any blisters or chafing they may cause before your trip.
  • Old broken in shoes that were good for you on your last trip can be a great solution for this trip. One caveat – take a good look at them to make sure they are not so worn out that they may force you to hurriedly buy new, possibly uncomfortable shoes, during your trip.
  • Hiking boots are a different thing. If you are going hiking, you need hiking boots, with good ankle support and sturdy soles and leather that will protect your feet from slipping or getting bruised. Your beautiful, soft leather walking shoes may be damaged by stones, so you’d better not take them along.
  • It is a good idea to try insoles. Insoles that are personally fitted to your feet will give you the best support you can have. The good types are not cheap, but can relieve and even prevent many feet and back problems. If you intend to get insoles, you should buy them before you buy your shoes, and try the shoes on with the insoles.
  • Even with the best shoes, you could get blisters when you walk for hours on end. Take some foot care products with you. Dr. Scholl’s has very good padding and blister treatment products that can earn you an extra day of comfortable walking.
  • Turns out that it’s not only the shoes that matter, but also how you lace them. New Balance have made this page about how to lace your shoes for every possible problem: http://www.newbalance.com/productbrowser/performance/lacing_for_a_better_fit.html

And after all this, we’d still like the shoes to also be beautiful…

Budget Travel Tips – Packing Clothing to Travel Light

What clothing should you pack when you must carry all of your luggage yourself and you want to travel light ? Take a “bare” minimum of clothing with you. Dress comfortably and casually. Choose your clothing for its practicality. In warm climates loose lightweight cotton clothing will feel better against your skin than sticky synthetic fabrics and tight-fitting clothing. If you plan to visit tropical regions you can protect your skin from too much exposure to strong sunlight and disease-carrying mosquitos if you resist the urge to wear as little clothing as possible. You’ll be far safer with long-sleeved shirts, high necklined tops and long trousers. Just keep to light colored, lightweight natural fabrics and loose-fitting clothes to maximize the comfort of your clothing.

Casual comfortable clothing, especially if you veer towards the sloppy, will also decrease your odds of being marked as a wealthy target by local thieves who work the tourist spots. If you want to look a bit more dressy for the evening, add a thin, weightless, colorful scarf to your simple neutral-colored day clothes. Leave your jewelry at home. It’s heavy, bulky and could attract thieves. If you’re a clothes horse, try to resist the urge to pack one set of clothing for casual daywear, a fancier set for restaurants at dinnertime and a third set for an elegant evening out. You’ll just wear yourself out trying to be fashionable if you must drag all of these outfits around from locale to locale. Don’t worry about being seen in the same set of clothing two days in a row. No one but your travel partner (or the hotel clerk) will see you more than once anyway and, if your partner is practical, he or she will also be wearing one set of clothing throughout the trip.

As to clothing choices, in general I wear one comfortable, loose-fitting pair of casual trousers and assume that if I get caught in the rain, it won’t kill me. I’ll dry out soon enough. I pack no spares. Extra pairs of pants or skirts can add considerably to your luggage load. Pick something in a neutral color that will go with anything else you’ll be wearing. Trousers with plenty of pocket space are a plus, especially if you might be buying small odds and ends in souvenir shops, or a little junk food, as you stroll around sightseeing each day.

To travel light, I just pack one or two spare tops that are lightweight, comfortable and can easily be rolled up, as folding causes more creases than careful rolling. I pack just two pairs of underwear and socks for an entire trip. It’s easy enough to wash out underwear, socks and shirts in hotel rooms and hang them up to dry for later reuse during the same trip. The choice is simple. For a two week trip you can lug fourteen pairs of underwear everywhere you go, or you can lug just two and regularly wash them out with soap and water in a hotel room sink. I suggest packing two pairs, not one, so that there is still a fresh change on hand for days when you may arrive in a place one evening and plan to move on to another town the very next morning, allowing for too little drying time. When you hit a larger city like Paris or London or Rome, where you plan to stay put for at least a couple of days, you can catch up on all your washing and know that clothing has plenty of time to dry, even if the air is damp.

Pack thin, lightweight natural cotton underwear and socks that breath and won’t require as much drying time as heavier cottons or other fabrics. In summer weather clothing can dry out very quickly. In cooler damper months you might be running a radiator and that can double as a heat source for drying. Just be careful not to put wet things directly against radiators or electrical appliances and be careful, too, not to let wet items of clothing drip onto hotel room carpets. Wring clothes out well and keep them hanging in the shower until they no longer drip. Don’t use new brightly colored clothing items that might drip colored dyes that can stain bathroom floors, floor mats or carpets in hotels.

Pack plenty of plastic bags. They take up little space, are weightless, and will be useful in a hundred different ways, from storing opened packaged foods to keeping your laundry well organized. For example, I’ll use one bag for clean clothing such as underwear and socks, a separate bag for dirty ones (if I have to move on before clothing can be washed and dried), plus a third for items of clothing that have been washed, but are still damp when the time comes to vacate a hotel room and tackle the next leg of a journey. At the next stop they can be hung up to finish drying. By the way, washing clothes with ordinary soap eliminates the need to transport any additional type of cleaning agent.

If you’ll need some sort of warmer clothing to wear on cooler days or on cool evenings, carry one item only. It can be used whenever you need it. Keep it lightweight, nonwrinkling and non-fussy. For example, a single cozy sweater or sweatshirt in a color that does not show off dirt is a very practical, soft and warm choice, far more practical that a bulky jacket (unless you’re doing some real cool weather or winter traveling). When not in use, you can tie your sweater around your waist. That way you can keep it with you while you sightsee on days when the temperature is variable. If it remains tied around your waist you’ll feel it less than if you add it to the weight of your backpack and it can even double as a pillow on long, drowsy train rides.

If you’re traveling at a time or to a place where you’ll need rain gear, a thin fold-up plastic poncho or rain coat is the least onerous thing to take with you. It can go right into your pocket and can easily be whipped out in case of a sudden shower. For city travel it’s very easy to duck under awnings or into shops, making bulkier rain gear unnecessary. Sturdier rain gear or umbrellas are only needed for places where you expect serious rain or a lack of quick access to shelter.

Keep sleepwear light and minimal, as well, and if you absolutely must have slippers to wear while in your hotel room buy a pair of cheap, thin, weightless fabric slippers that can be slid into your pack without adding extra bulk.

Do not pack an extra pair of shoes. Shoes are the ultimate in unnecessary extra bulk and weight when considering travel clothing. In the movies the leading man and leading lady who are off on a journey appear in a different set of clothing and a new pair of shoes in every scene. Clearly, they are not carrying their own luggage around with them and, in fact, their bags never look quite large enough to even hold everything they wear. So much for the difference between movies and reality. I never pack extra shoes. I take my chances and figure that if my shoes get wet, I’ll find a way to dry them out. I simply wear one pair of thoroughly broken in sneakers that offer good support in the soles. Nothing could be less practical than tight shoes or high heels, and the toll that they take on your feet may severely limit your enjoyment of a trip. How long can you walk around picturesque towns or stand around in museums when your feet hurt ? Wear low-heeled sturdy, but presentable, shoes with solid arch support. Wear shoes that have already been broken in and are comfortable enough for hours of daily walking but – beware – even shoes that you are accustomed to walking in daily can cause blisters when you’re suddenly walking far more hours each day than normal. Keep a few bandaids or callous pads handy. Be sure that the shoes you choose for the trip are lightweight. Hold them in your hand and compare the various pairs of shoes that you’re considering for the trip. When you expect to take thousands and thousands of steps each day of a trip, plus carry a backpack around each time you travel from one tourist destination to another, it’s extremely counteractive to do it in a pair of shoes that themselves are heavy and require additional effort for every step that you take.

Try out some of these tips for traveling light by packing very little clothing, and then see what you think. You may never want to pack all sorts of stylish outfits again. You and your clothing can still look nice, just focus on quality and not quantity. See your clothing more for its function than for its fashion and you’ll be free to enjoy the joys of traveling light.

Do You Know How to Travel on a Shoe String Budget?

Few if any have traveled as much as I have. I use to be an impulse traveler, meaning if I thought about a place to see I would arrange a trip and be on my way.

One constant for me was to always find the least expensive way to travel. The fact that I was in the military meant I could fly on a military plane to wherever they were flying for free.

During the times I could not get on a military plane as a space available passenger, I had to reach into my wallet and pay the difference. Through those experiences I learned how to travel on little to nothing.

When you travel on a shoe string budget it means you are comfortable with yourself, you have a lot of confidence and determination. The major requirements for traveling on a shoe string budget is to have an open mind, meaning you are flexible and no matter if you encounter a setback, the goal is to get to your destination safely.

For example, I wanted to fly to Australia for the Goodwill Games sports competition in Brisbane. In order to get the least expensive package, I had to plan well in advance. The flight including connections took 23 hours, one has to be in relatively good physical condition because of the long flight, carrying luggage and sleeping in intervals.

Planning ahead is the key to successful travel. Arranging hotel accommodations is another priority because you need to secure a place to lay your head, thus I compare different hotels and select one that not only is clean but safe as well.

Transportation once you arrive in another country is crucial, this is what makes or breaks your budget because you need to be mobile. One can select a rental car or use the public transportation available in the city you are in, select a multiple day bus and or train pass because its more economical.

You must also factor in meals, this is why the hotel accommodations is important. Does the hotel you are staying at offer free breakfast, lunch and or late evening snacks? I stayed at the Marriott in Brisbane, Australia and they offered free breakfast and evening snacks based on the plan I selected, it saved me a lot of money.

Given the fact I did not know anyone in Australia, I asked the hotel staff where everything is located, where to catch the bus to the sports venues I was attending and then of course side excursions to the rain forest, the Gold Coast, wineries and the movie studio.

Being the world budget traveler I am, I recommend you plan ahead the next time you decide to take your next trip. Think shoe string budget no matter where you are going and most importantly have a great time, its well worth the trip.