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Foot Care While Traveling
Travelers use their feet for longer time and under harsher conditions - so, adequate foot care is vital for enjoying your trip.
If you neglect and ruin your feet, recovery can be a slow and painful process...
Feet look rough, but once hurt can cause a lot of discomfort and pain.
If you're a traveler, then your feet are among your best assets - take good care of them and they will take you where you want to go!
There are measures to take before-, during- and even after the walking/hiking/traveling part. This is what this article is about.
Don't take the health of your feet for granted, especially if you're starting off for a serious trip.
Source: © iStock.com/YanLev
Build up strength with regular exercise
Personally, I like running, jogging - it helps a lot in coping with long distance walking and hiking.
During my urban trips I walk 10 - 25 km per day. The cumulated distances can reach between 70 - 175 km in a single week!
A hike can take me to distances longer than 40 km (on a single day) and it requires more effort, exposes me to more risks.
To me, a typical urban exploration means an average of 10-15 km walking per day - in a big city. That's walking only, doesn't include distances made through transportation means.
With proper physical condition, you will resist better, you will be able to walk longer distances.
But, exercise must be regular for months prior to traveling, otherwise a "quick sports frenzy" just before the trip could get you even more worn-down, potentially with aching muscles and joints.
Don't exaggerate with the effort made during exercise. Steady regular exercise is desired for good condition.
Pick comfortable footwear
I generally use hiking shoes, but often air-padded running shoes, rarely sandals... My personal rule is: a footwear be worn at least for a month, so that I make sure nothing bothers me at all.
You have to break in your shoes, because a new shoe will only show its defects after long walks.
It's also essential to have footwear that allow proper ventilation or your feet will "boil" in them. So, avoid the closed "thick" ones, unless you specifically need them (like in wet, swampy areas or if you're traveling to cold areas).
Bring enough pairs of socks
Change your used socks to fresh clean ones after long walks.
Bacteria and dust can cause serious skin diseases that can drag on for years. Some of those infections are terribly annoying.
Some are surprised that I sometimes wear 2-3 pairs per day. It's good for hygiene, for comfort and ventilation.
I pack lots of socks whenever I travel, because I change them and wash them frequently.
If you go hiking, it's better to have two socks on your feet at the same time. It protects from injury, as it's more soft and allows slight movement of the feet - especially if you wear hiking boots, this is appropriate.
Wash your feet more often while away
Not just for hygiene issues, but also for improving blood circulation, stimulating the muscles. Refreshing your "wheels" after a long day's walk is a "must".
Fresh feet rest better and will be ready for the next walk/hike much faster!
Regularly wash/clean and ventilate your footwear
The shoes need to get refreshed as well. You must at least ventilate them or, wash them periodically, when possible.
Some shoes might not resist washing, but you can always wipe the interior with a clean wet cloth dipped in sanitary alcohol.
After cleaning, the shoe must be ventilated. I often put them in the window or on the balcony of my hotel room to achieve this.
All of this is important, because again - bacteria can develop in there and regardless how often you wash your feet and swap your socks, you can potentially get infected. The originating from the outside environment might find a good "nest" in your footwear to flourish. Don't allow it to happen!
Use anti-bacterial sprays or sanitary alcohol for disinfecting your footwear
Washing the shoes is not enough, especially if you've used them often. A spray can help trim the amount of bacteria roaming in the shoes. But an ordinary deodorant may not help. You need something that disinfects.
In case you don't have any special spray for footwear, you can use a wet cloth with sanitary alcohol. In some cases even wet hand disinfecting wipes can help.
Periodically rest your feet
Even during city day trips I periodically stop to rest my feet.
One of the best ways to do this is to put them in horizontal position. You might not be able to do this on an airplane, bus or train... but you can take your shoes off.
About the Author:
Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...
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