A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Camino Forum Donation

Random helpful advice

Fares Ismail

Fares
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2017), Invierno (2017)
So I start my first Camino in about 20 days and I already spend half my day reading posts on this forum hoping to answer the hundreds of “what if”s that are on my mind.

I’m sure there are others like me so,

I thought it would be nice if each person who had previously walked the Camino could post one (or more :p) random tips/advice/story regarding walking the Camino.
 

Peter Fransiscus

Do good and good will come to you.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
So I start my first Camino in about 20 days and I already spend half my day reading posts on this forum hoping to answer the hundreds of “what if”s that are on my mind.

I’m sure there are others like me so,

I thought it would be nice if each person who had previously walked the Camino could post one (or more :p) random tips/advice/story regarding walking the Camino.
Hi , just begin to walk a step at the time.
Wish you a wonderful time and a Buen Camino,Peter.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Remember
Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much....
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Country Life, 1858
 

Merge

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/June (2017)
I second the safety pins...we went a step further and used diaper pins though. Can hang laundry with them and won't blow away, can use when your pants get loose after the first few weeks (and the diaper pins won't accidentally pop open and poke you), pin your socks etc that didn't dry to your backpack in the morning to finish drying while walking. You'll find many uses for safety pins!
The biggest useful tip I have is one you hopefully won't need. My husband had a fall resulting in an ambulance ride and ER visit (all ended up fine). We didn't speak Spanish and they spoke little English. Was very challenging trying to give medical history, meds, allergies, and even address etc between the EMTs, doctor, and business office getting him checked in. For any future trips we plan on having all that info on a card, in the language of the country we will be in. Buen Camino!
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19)
As my daughters came of age and began doing their own travels, I gave each of them my favorite rule of travel. That is: "With a passport and a credit card, you can do anything" . For the Camino, the credit card should be in the form of cash, and I would add one additional item. You should make sure you are comfortable in your shoes. Beyond that, you really don't need much except an open mind. Leave your expectations and preconceived notions at home, you don't need them. Once you get out on the trail, all your fear, uncertainty, and doubt (which you packed without knowing it) will melt away, and your pack will get lighter. You will have challenges, and you will deal with them. You will need to be flexible in your schedule to deal with some of these challenges. You will have some bad days, and need a rest. You will have some days where you feel like you can walk forever. You will have a magnificent experience you will never forget.

Buen Camino!
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
Know thy feet. Trust them, listen to them. Baby them. Air them. Cream them. Drink water a plenty. Trust God. Love......
 

Sailor

Donante Vitalicio
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Infinito
You are never too senior to learn. Thanks Merge for the diaper pins idea, I will pick a pack at Walmart. Buena suerte y que la luz de Dios alumbre su camino.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Calm down, the camino has been a bit rushed and noisy nowadays!
 

Charles Zammit

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances , St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra May/ June 2017
Le Puy en Velay - Ales May 2018
Change your socks , often . Take at least three pairs , preferably ones that will dry quickly. I wore holes in two pairs and needed more by Leon .
Pin the wet stinky ones to your pack with a kilt pin and let them dry . Once their replacements are wet re wear the first , now dry pair , repeat every six to eight km at lunch or break stops . Works wonders on fatigue , blisters and general shoe ' health '.
Third pair is always dry for the next morning .
 

fraluchi

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
[...]"With a passport and a credit card, you can do anything" . For the Camino, the credit card should be in the form of cash [...]
The passport was OK, the credit card didn't work in any ATM. I remained cashless and found out that the card had expired:eek:
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Seconding the advice to take safety pins and ziplocks!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - Sarria to Santiago (June 2017)
Don't pack anything "just in case" - you can buy just about anything you may need there.

Despite all the warnings against cotton, I last minute packed my favorite long sleeved loose white cotton t-shirt and was so very happy to snuggle into that at night after all the dryfit "wickey-wickey" sports shirts and pants. And in the heat it dried fast enough.

Buen Camino. x
 
Last edited:

jgpryde

Member
Camino(s) past & future
St.Jean-Santiago (2017)
Do not pack your favorite silk knit dress shirt for that one special night on the town. You will (read: "I did...") regret the space/weight that it represents in my pack for the whole walk and never found a chance to wear but it was too precious to jetson.

My 2 cents worth,

Jason
 

AZgirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012 , via de la Plata 2014
Madrid/frances Sept/Oct 2017
Next : Levante Sept 2019
I like the really cheap/light lingerie mesh laundry bags with a zipper. You can usually find them at the dollar store for 2 or 3 a $1. Its great to put your socks, underwear even sometimes a shirt when you share a washer dryer makes it real easy to keep your stuff together. I also use it to transport from the shower to the hand wash basin. Its not necessary, but I like them.
 

kdespot

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés SJPP-SdC Sept-Oct 2016
Train! I really loved having two pair of shoes, Merrill walking shoes and Kean sandals. Changed socks and into the sandals every day. Not one blister from SJPdP to SdC. Knowing some Spanish permits a deeper experience. Take poles. Other than that, just use your common sense. By Day 3, it will all be perfectly clear and you'll be in Pamplona where you can buy anything.
 

MichaelSG

Retired member
Camino(s) past & future
Not enough
A very useful part of my kit is a long length of parachord and some small paper binder clips. Whether staying in albergues or private accommodations, it is handy almost every single day for drying clothes. In albergues, I usually arrive after all the lines are already in use. In other places, it is always possible to string it up in the room overnight. In some albergues, we are forbidden to hang clothes outside on the property so I have used my line in a nearby field. Finally, the binder clips just seem lighter and smaller than clothespins and more fabric-friendly than pins. Buen Camino!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Twisted elastic clothes line with hooks on either end. A clothes line, can be hung off the back of a backpack as a mobile clothes dryer, hung around a bunk with a towel or sarong for privacy, used in the shower for toiletry bag (as suggested above), and used as a belt when you lose weight and your trousers start to fall down!
 

Finisterre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria 2001,
Porto 2006,
Valenca 2008,
Finisterre 2010,
SJdPP 2012,
Tui 2014.

No plans to return, yet.
Butter is a bad thing in a rucksack on a warm day. The curiously shaped* cheese works as butter when making an olive+cheese+tomato baguette.


*
 

Reija

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2016, Caminho Português 2017, Jakobsweg Ulm-Constance 2017-2018, (Via Jacobi 2018)
Early mornings are lovely. Especially because the afternoon sun is... , well, ... hot. Sometimes it is basically impossibly to tolerate. Learn to enjoy the early mornings.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
The passport was OK, the credit card didn't work in any ATM. I remained cashless and found out that the card had expired:eek:
Good thing your credit card didn't work in the ATM machines. You would have been hit with stiff cash advance fees. ATM/Debit cards are the way to go to get cash.The Schwab debit card in particular will keep you from accruing any fees. Including the fees charged by the local bank for just withdrawing money.
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2017 Francés
Oct 2017 Incomplete Le Puy / Francés
June/July 2018 Norte
Oct/Nov 2018 Francés

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2017 Francés
Oct 2017 Incomplete Le Puy / Francés
June/July 2018 Norte
Oct/Nov 2018 Francés
Don't think of the Camino in terms of stages. The tyranny of having to reach your next stage goal may eclipse health and personal considerations. Just walk as you find it.
 

Elizabeth-o

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2014)
Camino de Frances (2016)
So I start my first Camino in about 20 days and I already spend half my day reading posts on this forum hoping to answer the hundreds of “what if”s that are on my mind.

I’m sure there are others like me so,

I thought it would be nice if each person who had previously walked the Camino could post one (or more :p) random tips/advice/story regarding walking the Camino.
'sorry but I have to share 2 thoughts: 1) Regarding Footwear--- Make sure your boots are at least a size larger than your regular shoes, have a lot of width in the toe box, and are broken in before you begin. 2) Preparing Your Body--Train on a mountain if you can; you will be ready for that arduous first day as well as O'Cebreiro. Buen Camino!
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2017 Francés
Oct 2017 Incomplete Le Puy / Francés
June/July 2018 Norte
Oct/Nov 2018 Francés
'sorry but I have to share 2 thoughts: 1) Regarding Footwear--- Make sure your boots are at least a size larger than your regular shoes, have a lot of width in the toe box
I'm not so sure this is good advice nowadays. My hiking shoes matched my normal shoe size, and I ended up returning a pair I'd got that were deliberately bigger. I think because they know they're to be worn with thick socks many brands just build this extra space into the sizing. Was true for me.

Take your hiking socks with you to a shop and try on shoes there. Go by the feel not by the number.
 

Elizabeth-o

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2014)
Camino de Frances (2016)
I'm not so sure this is good advice nowadays. My hiking shoes matched my normal shoe size, and I ended up returning a pair I'd got that were deliberately bigger. I think because they know they're to be worn with thick socks many brands just build this extra space into the sizing. Was true for me.

Take your hiking socks with you to a shop and try on shoes there. Go by the feel not by the number.
After walking 16 or more miles per day, my feet needed more room. Everyone's needs are unique...'just sharing what worked for me TWICE. I noticed that folks who got blisters were wearing boots that were too snug.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Colour-coded ziplock bags. You can sort your possessions by theme (nighttime, footcare, meds, etc) and get to them instantly that way
Noooo!!! No to ziplocks. To any plastic bags. They make a lot of noise and will not earn you friends at the albergue. Good old nylon mesh bags are more suited to albergue life.
 

Julie Ressler

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
Remember
Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much....
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Country Life, 1858
SO TRUE! Too much thinking ,not enough walking!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Don't assume the fuente is functioning until you press the button.

Filled up my two water bottles in an albergue once, disgustingly chlorinated.

Spied with delight a fuente, dumped the contents of the bottles only to find said fuente was dry as a bone (as was I for the next couple of hours!)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago May 21 to June 3, 2014
Ponferrada to Santiago September 2015
Welcome. I'm envious.
Safety pins for sure. I brought my own pillow case because I liked having something of my own to lie on and as most pillows are fairly uncomfortable, you can bolster your pillow by stuffing clothing into the case. I took a buff, one of those neck/head cover things. Great for extra warmth on cold mornings and face covering when walking into the wind.
But my best advice is enjoy! Talk to people, share stories, but give yourself time to be by yourself to reflect. Your are about to start an amazing, exhausting, exilerating, frustrating and rewarding experience.
Buen Camino!
 

mvanert

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona - Santiago 2014, St. Jean to Estella June 2016, Estella to Santiago April 17, 2018
Bring one "thing" that you don't need, but still want to have with you and would miss if you left it at home.
I agree, I brought a pillow case to remind me of home.
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2017 Francés
Oct 2017 Incomplete Le Puy / Francés
June/July 2018 Norte
Oct/Nov 2018 Francés
Take a pair of polycotton pajamas instead of long-johns and reuse them underneath light hiking trousers to stay extra warm on cold stages :)
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Camino(s) past & future
2015 & 2016 (partial)
I thought it would be nice if each person who had previously walked the Camino could post one (or more :p) random tips/advice/story regarding walking the Camino.
  1. If it weighs more than fifty grams and is not expensive, don't take it. Buy another when you get there.
  2. Walk early and rest when it's hot.
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2017 Francés
Oct 2017 Incomplete Le Puy / Francés
June/July 2018 Norte
Oct/Nov 2018 Francés
  1. If it weighs more than fifty grams and is not expensive, don't take it. Buy another when you get there.
  2. Walk early and rest when it's hot.
Except for minature toiletries, which I found hard to find except in larger cities and very overpriced in small pharmacies, if they even had them. You'll find shampoos easily, but contact lens solution and hair conditioner will be tough, and even minature shower gel was tricky to find. I guess the Spaniards just use shampoo for everything!
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Camino(s) past & future
2015 & 2016 (partial)
Except for minature toiletries, which I found hard to find except in larger cities and very overpriced in small pharmacies, if they even had them. You'll find shampoos easily, but contact lens solution and hair conditioner will be tough, and even minature shower gel was tricky to find. I guess the Spaniards just use shampoo for everything!
(chuckle) I use shampoo for everything external. There's really not much difference between shampoo and liquid skin soaps. I'd say buy the smallest one you can find in the first city you find with a "eurozone" and when it gets low, look for another. "Eurozone" is like "dollar store" in USA or "poundland" in UK.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
(chuckle) I use shampoo for everything external. There's really not much difference between shampoo and liquid skin soaps.
Same for hair conditionner, except for the bubbles and the extra detangling/moisturising products, same ingredients, so I only use conditionner.

And you will find all these products, in grocery stores for less expensive ones, but in large bottles.
 

Judy's Way

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Autumn (2015) and Spring (2019)
Always take the alternative, scenic "green routes" whenever possible. It might be a little further to walk but oh so beautiful e.g. Sahagun/Calzadilla/Mansilla de las Mulas. Another "green route" from La Virgen del Camino to Mazarife, led us to one of our most memorable Camino experiences - a Queimada ritual to ward away the evil spirits after a delicious communal meal at San Antonio de Padua. It must have worked!
 
Last edited:

Derek Booth

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (2019)
Toenails.!
Don't ignore them. If you do they will bite you elsewhere. Please let me explain.
With Christmas over and with the thought that my Camino starts on 1st March, I drew up a timetable to ramp up my training in readiness for it.
Living in SouthEast Cornwall, there are numerous little country lanes, ideal for plotting out a route of various lengths.
I set off and the first 3kms were a gradual incline to get the heart pumping followed by 2kms of a 14% decline. 7kms later (including another 14% incline) I was at my destination. I had my lunch and set off back. Down the first incline, across the beautiful Tamar valley (including the crossing of a 15th century bridge) and up that last incline.
That was it. 24Kms done and feeling good, I arrived home and took off my socks to reveal a big toenail that was a shade of grey/blue??? The other big toe looked fine but, on giving it a prod and a poke, a clear liquid??? oozed out.

What had happened? What had gone wrong? There was no pain, no discomfort.

I hadn't cut my toenails, but to my eyes they weren't long, BUT, (Big But). They were too long and, on going down those inclines, they were colliding with the front of my boots. That in turn was transferring itself to give trauma to my big toenail beds, one more than the the other.

Yesterday I was on the couch at the Dr's and a course of antibiotics is being taken. I'll have to give a similar walk today a miss and it won't impact (sorry!) on my preparation but I issue this as a message to all. Make sure you take care of the little things on your way to getting to the start line.

,
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Camino(s) past & future
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. (2015, 2016 & 2017)
I second the safety pins...we went a step further and used diaper pins though. Can hang laundry with them and won't blow away, can use when your pants get loose after the first few weeks (and the diaper pins won't accidentally pop open and poke you), pin your socks etc that didn't dry to your backpack in the morning to finish drying while walking.
I second your second about diaper pins. I learned the hard way that regular safety pins aren’t enough. I hope someone put the laundry to good use that blew off my pack on the Alto del Perdón!

Here’s what I switched to.

https://www.amazon.com/Coolrunner-Safety-Assorted-Plastic-Locking/dp/B019O1MQXO/
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17, 09/18 SJPdP - Fisterra
Portuguese ~05/19
I am just sorting through my photos from my last Camino. There are a lot of people I missed taking a photo or selfie with. I can still remember them, and have connected with many on Facebook etc. BUT, I wish I had just pulled out my phone and taken a selfie laughing, goofing around, whatever. You will meet a lot of people. They are all unique in their own way and add to your journey ... even the ones that are a PITA. Take the pics you can always delete them. I used Google Photos to automatically save to the cloud when I had WIFI.:D:cool:
 

Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Camino(s) past & future
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. (2015, 2016 & 2017)
After struggling with blisters for years, here’s my regime. First tip came from a podiatrist who treats endurance runners.

1. Duct tape on all known blister-prone spots (including toes) and any new hot spots. Yes, duct tape.

2. Big toe box. I gave up my beloved Merrills and switched to Keens.

3. Vaseline plus double-sock system. In order: duct tape; coating of vaseline; thin liner sock (I use Injinji toe socks); outer wool sock. The idea is to bind your foot to the liner so any rubbing happens sock-to-sock, not skin-to-sock. And when you get wet feet, the vaseline keeps moisture from penetrating skin while the wool stays warm even when wet.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Just thought of this; have an equipment list with the URL of what you have including those diaper pins mentioned above. If someone you meet says anything to you like "That's a really great sun umbrella" let them take a picture of your list. Maybe include your picture and email address on the list too.
 

howlsthunder

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
Camino Francés (2020)
TAKE YOUR TIME. I thought I was going slow and it wasn't slow enough. Seriously; don't stress about how fast or slow you are going; the best part of the Camino is the journey, not the destination. Yes, getting your compostela is great but my best memories are of the places I visited, the people I met, and the frame of mind I had while walking. I went too fast earlier on and ended up with reoccurring tendonitis; that tendon taught me a lesson about slowing down as it would pipe up every time I sped up!

Don't be afraid to try communicating, even if you don't speak Spanish. I had great convos with people with whom I shared no language yet somehow we understood one another. It was humbling and heartwarming. I also resorted to drawing when I needed to get something across (I lost my phone cable and charger so drew a photo of one and over the course of the day it was like a treasure hunt as one shop keeper would send me to the next place, then the next, til I ended up at an electronics shop in Belorado. Fun!)

Go with your gut and stop over-planning. You may think you had a plan but the Camino will send you in a direction you weren't expecting that turned out to be just what you needed. I met a lot of wonderful people this way and saw some amazing things because I ignored my tentative plan and just went with my gut.
 

caminoagogo

http://camino-a-go-go.blogspot.com/
Camino(s) past & future
Francés from Leon(2014)
Frances & Sanabres from Ourense (2018)
Portugués (2020)
1. Sleep is one of the best remedies for aches and pains.
2. Ditch the underwear and separate shorts and use running shorts with inbuilt underwear. You can walk in them, sleep in them, swim in them and wear them under longer pants if need be. If it gets too cold, wear long compression tights under them. They're also quick drying and lightweight. What's not to love?!
3. Leave the headphones in your pack. Listen to the sounds of the Camino, your own thoughts and strike up conversations with fellow pilgrims.

Buen Camino:)
 
Last edited:

Walkandwalk

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Camino Frances 2016, 2018
I am always telling everyone the same story about my experience. First time when I was walking Camino, I always had to use the internet, because I had to work (yes yes I know that is not logical to walk Camino and work at the same time, but I didn’t had a choice). I was always using my own internet provider, but in Leon, I connected to public wifi, and all my data from the phone was hacked and stolen. So second time when I walked I used Nordvpn provider (I was not working this time), but I knew that my information is save. So my advice is to avoid public wifi if it is possible.
 

OLDER threads on this topic


Book your lodging here

Booking.com


Advertisement

Booking.com

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 12 1.4%
  • February

    Votes: 5 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 37 4.3%
  • April

    Votes: 133 15.6%
  • May

    Votes: 205 24.0%
  • June

    Votes: 61 7.1%
  • July

    Votes: 17 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 13 1.5%
  • September

    Votes: 254 29.7%
  • October

    Votes: 101 11.8%
  • November

    Votes: 12 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.6%
Top