St James' Way: practical advice
There are many ways to travel St. James’ Way - on foot, by bike, on horseback… and all of them enable you to discover Spain’s rich culture and landscapes. Choose your option and enjoy the experience that best suits you. Following are some tips to make your journey more comfortable.
If you’re walking...
- A backpack is essential. An ergonomic type backpack with a 40 litre capacity is big enough. It’s a good idea to have one with a hip belt to distribute the weight better. It should also have compartments and side pockets so you don’t have to unpack it every time you want something.
- To keep the weight down, remember “less is more”. Your backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 7 kilos or 10% of your weight. You’ll be carrying it on your back for many kilometres until you get to Santiago de Compostela. Don’t be tempted to bring things “just in case”, because all along the way you’ll find supermarkets, pharmacies, and other shops where you can buy whatever you need.- A sleeping bag, rain cape and camping mat are essential. You also need your documentation (ID card, passport, or other identification document, and your health card) and a basic first-aid kit. Don’t forget your water bottle or flask, and in addition to personal hygiene supplies, take a towel, laundry soap, and clothes-pegs.- Footwear is also very important. Wear water-resistant hiking boots that fit you well (they should be half a size larger than your normal size), and if possible, they should be already worn in. If they’re new, be sure to walk around in them at home before you start your journey.
- Wear cotton socks, always dry and well-fitted, to avoid rubbing and blisters. Applying Vaseline to your feet is a good way to prevent blisters. Also pack flip-flops to wear in the shower and for letting your feet recover at the end of each stage.
Credential and Compostela
- The credential (or pilgrim's passport) will enable you to stay in pilgrims’ hostels. You can get one at the hostel where you start your route, or before your trip from a Friends of the Camino association.
- The credential is not the same as the “Compostela”, which is mainly given to people taking a religious or spiritual pilgrimage, and who have travelled at least the last 100 kilometres to Santiago walking or on horseback, or the last 200 kilometres by bicycle.
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