Most of us walk more while on vacation than we do in our, normal lives. Whether this is because you missed your bus and need to walk (or run) to the station to catch your train, because you are on a two hour walking tour, or because the night is just perfect for a stroll along the Seine (or Thames, or Danube), tourists end up putting many miles on their feet. Here are several pieces of advice to keep your feet healthy and pain-free during your next trip abroad.
1. Invest in excellent walking shoes.
I have definitely fallen victim to the “gotta have ‘em” pair of shoes. You know what I’m talking about- the pair that would look so fashionable with your favorite travel outfit, the pair that you put on the first day of your trip and wear all over town, only to return to your hotel that evening with sores and blisters covering your feet. I’ve learned my lesson. Now, I invest in a great pair of walking shoes at least a month or two before I leave and I wear them on long walks at home. This way, they are broken in and ready to go by the time I hit Europe. Birkenstock, Dansko, Ecco, Merrill and Teva are all brands that have served me well in the past.
2. Take frequent breaks.
If you’re anything like me, you want to see it all while traveling. You’re so excited to be in a new place that you don’t notice your feet aching as you run from museum to restaurant to monument. Assess your comfort level every hour or so and take a break as soon as you start to feel your feet or legs hurting. Forcing yourself to sit down at a café or in a park to rest your feet and legs is also a great way to soak in local culture and actually relax.
3. Carry Band-Aids.
I am certainly guilty of “pushing through the pain” when I feel a blister starting. I always have to remind myself to take a second and put on a Band-Aid or a piece of adhesive moleskin before the problem gets any worse. Or, if you know your shoes rub a bit, put on a preemptive Band-Aid before your day begins, to avoid having to stop later on.
4. Watch where you’re going.
This may sound simple, but many tourists are so excited and overwhelmed by what’s going on around them that the last thing they want to do is look down. I’ve seen many people step off curbs and twist ankles while looking up at a magnificent cathedral across the street. While traveling in Europe you will encounter more cobblestone streets and uneven roads than in most parts of the U.S- take care not to stumble or fall so that you can continue to have a good trip.
Written by Jen Westmoreland Bouchard for EuropeUpClose.com