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Tips & Tricks I Learned from the Camino

Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
#1
I finished my first Camino (the French Way) a couple a weeks ago… Wow! How time flies.

I thought it might be good idea to download some "Tips & Tricks" I learned from my experiences. Hopefully, this might be helpful for others. (Note: I tried to lists things that might not be so obvious and a little out of the ordinary)

So, here they are… in no particular order:

  1. Pack light. Of course this is the number one tip you hear/read and it is true. Here is my 2 part strategy:
    1. Start with pounds/kilograms. Get rid of the big items you really don't need. I met pilgrims with hair dryers, alarm clocks, curling irons, jean jackets… This is the easy stuff to get rid of.
    2. The next phase is to think ounces/milligrams. This is where you start reducing what you have to take. For example, I started out carrying a bottle of ibuprofen. I quickly dumped the bottle and just kept 10 pills and saved about 3oz. I met pilgrims carrying 3 and 4 pairs of shoes. You only really need your hiking shoes and a pair of sandals (for shower and evenings)
  2. Eat and rest about 1-2 hours before reaching your final destination for the day. This took me a while to figure out. For the first week or two, I was so focused on reaching my destination, that I arrived at the hostel tired, hungry and felt like crap. Instead, I found that planning a nice long lunch about 1-2 hours before my final stop really helped me. After a nice relaxing lunch (usually 30-45 minutes), I would have 1-2 hours to hike-off the food and when I arrived at the hostel I felt so much better.
  3. Bring a poncho rather than a rain jacket. I made this mistake and learned the hard way :mad: If you have a sudden rainstorm and have a jacket, you have to take off your pack, put on your rain jacket PLUS put on your backpack rain cover. And when it stops raining, you have to do both things again. If you have a poncho and it looks like rain, you can easily slip it on and off without taking off your pack. I wish I had brought a poncho instead of a rain jacket. (ALSO… if you have a poncho, you can leave your backpack rain cover home and save some weight)
  4. Bring some GOOD ear plugs. After sleeping next to an Olympic Snorer :) at a hostel, you will know why. I actually found a review that tested earplugs and these were the best LINKY. These were so good, that the my second morning on the Camino, I didn't hear anything in the morning and woke-up at 8am and nobody was in the hostel.
  5. Record your Camino experience in some way. After a week or so, everything starts to blend together and it is hard to remember what you did just a few days ago. There are lots of ways to document your Camino. On one end of the spectrum, you can do a daily blog (this is what I did. Here is my blog LINKY). Of course this required me to carry an extra 4 pounds (2 kg). YES, I regretted this for 34 days, but for me, I knew I would have regretted for the rest of my life if I didn't do the blog. On the other end of the spectrum, a simple notebook and pen might work. I met many pilgrims who regretted not recording their experience. I did however, give them a link to my blog so they could share it with their friends and family.
  6. Bring a stone FROM the Camino. I know many people bring a stone to the Camino (which I did), but I also took a stone from the Camino to remember the experience. I recommend getting the stone from a special place along the Camino. It might be a beautiful view or place you had a wonderful time at. Find a stone from the area and stop for 30 seconds and take it all in. Years from now, every time you touch that stone it will take you back to that exact moment in time on the Camino.
  7. Bring a good hat. I got one with a wide brim and it worked great for keeping out the sun and rain. Bonus Tip… I brought a permanent marker with me and had pilgrims sign my hat. This is a great souvenir to remember some of the great people I met on the Camino.
  8. Experience all the different accommodations. What I mean by this is to try a hotel one night, try a 5 euro hostel, try a 10 euro private hostel… each offers a different experience.
  9. Ship your pack the last couple of days. I shipped my pack for the last couple of days. Why? For a couple of reasons. #1. I wanted to try a new experience on the Camino. #2. I wanted to really enjoy my last couple of days on the Camino (it was getting really hot the last week of the Camino) #3. I wanted to walk into Santiago and end my Camino feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and great (which I did!)
  10. Try all the different foods and drinks. Yes, you probably won't like some of it, but it is all part of the Camino experience. I tried some weird Spanish drink… it tasted like jet fuel :)
  11. Look-up and enjoy the experience. Make sure you savor every moment on the Camino (both the good and not so good). Also, I noticed that many pilgrims hiked with their heads down too often and missed so much. So make sure you hike with your head up and take it all in!!


Hope you find this helpful.



Cheers,



-jj
 
Last edited:

spagirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances(Sept 2018)
#2
Im repeating my thanks from your "reflections" post but I truly am thankful that you have taking the time to share.
There are thousands of posts to explore about packs, socks, shoes poles etc...
This type of post help to get a better sense of the experience. Ive bought and trained and now I just want to go!!!!

Thank you
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#3
Thanks for sharing the benefits of your experience. Of course, some things will play out differently for different people at different times of the year.

For example, our experience was very different than your second tip. My son and I were walking in July and August. He's a teenager and that was the only time I wouldn't be taking him out of school. He's quite sensitive to the heat, though, which made doing the Camino in July and August a bit of a challenge.

What we found worked for us was to leave really early and generally postpone breakfast until mid-morning, when we would stop for half an hour or so and have something quite substantial (usually bocadillos, pastries, coffee and orange juice). Then we would push through until we reached our destination as quickly as possible to beat the heat. When we got to our destination we were much more tired than hungry. We may have had some sort of snack mid-afternoon, after resting and showering but generally skipped lunch and didn't eat again until supper.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#5
Ship your pack the last couple of days.
I have to disagree with you there ;). If you feel the need to ship your pack the last couple of days then it’s too heavy. By the time I get to Santiago my pack is part of me – I’m wearing it, not carrying it.
Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
April (2015) SJPdP to SdC; Porto to SdC April (2016)
#6
I have to disagree with you there ;). If you feel the need to ship your pack the last couple of days then it’s too heavy. By the time I get to Santiago my pack is part of me – I’m wearing it, not carrying it.
Jill
So true @jsalt walking through the non-ancient approach to Santiago I had a moment of panic because I thought I had left my pack behind at the previous stop, of course it was on my back but I had stopped feeling the weight - as you say, 'it was part of me'.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
#7
"I tried some weird Spanish drink… it tasted like jet fuel"

Possibly Orujo/Aguadiente - it is em, an aquired taste.

Good post, thank you.
It was Orujo... and it would take me a looooooooong time to acquire a taste for something that tastes like jet fuel :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
#8
I have to disagree with you there ;). If you feel the need to ship your pack the last couple of days then it’s too heavy. By the time I get to Santiago my pack is part of me – I’m wearing it, not carrying it.
Jill
I can see your point...

BUT I forgot to mention that I was doing ~35km a day for the last 2 days to make the Sunday Mass @noon PLUS it was getting really hot (and I don't do heat very well). I did back to back 35km days in the beginning of my Camino when it was cool and had no problems. I did 1 35km in the heat and really felt it.

I knew this "tip" would cause a reaction. But I really wanted to end my Camino feeling great... and this tip worked for me. I would not want to end the Camino feeling exhausted & beat-up.

If I didn't have a hard deadline, I would have done ~25km/day and not shipped.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#9
Orujo - Peregrino rocket fuel; breakfast of champions; the answer to all un-answerable questions; the only thing that will get an Asturian campesino into the fields before day-break. You're supposed to drink the Orujo in one hit and stop it with the 'solo', or mix it with the 'solo' to soften the hit.

There are theorists and oenophiles who suggest that Orujo should only be used for lighting barbeques (a fine tradition on 'paella' picnics) but otherwise I've always been comfortable with the Asturian traditions - breakfast: solo y Orujo, merianda; cortado, Orujo and a small sweet cake, lunch; Orujo, menu del dia, solo, Orujo - well you'll have got the idea by now
 
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
#10
Orujo - Peregrino rocket fuel; breakfast of champions; the answer to all un-answerable questions; the only thing that will get an Asturian campesino into the fields before day-break. You're supposed to drink the Orujo in one hit and stop it with the 'solo', or mix it with the 'solo' to soften the hit.

There are theorists and oenophiles who suggest that Orujo should only be used for lighting barbeques (a fine tradition on 'paella' picnics) but otherwise I've always been comfortable with the Asturian traditions - breakfast: solo y Orujo, merianda; cortado, Orujo and a small sweet cake, lunch; Orujo, menu del dia, solo, Orujo - well you'll have got the idea by now
NICE!!!!! :):):)

Right now I'm enjoying a Limoncello with PepsiMax... A very refreshing drink for the summer. FYI... It was nearly impossible to find Limoncello on the Camino... I had to buy a bottle from an Italian restaurant.

I also got several pilgrims hooked on this concoctions :)

Cheers,

-jj
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#11
Each person walks their own Camino of course, and therefore we have our own experiences and preferences.
I agree with 8 of your 11, so thats a high cross over.
Orujo I tried when it was a complementary after-dinner offering. Once was enough.
I would never eat my main meal during the walk. I always wait until I've finished walking before my main meal. For many reasons - I like to get out of the heat, dont like walking on a full stomach, like to be clean (showered), and to take my time and thoroughly enjoy my meal, followed by a stroll around.
I just have a couple of breakfasts. Strangely enough I find I dont get hungry when I'm walking. Coffee though, thats another story.
And I like to be with my pack, its a comforting thing. I have sent it on when I'm injured though.
Also I've never used ear plugs - I have no trouble falling asleep even with the snorers.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#12
Here is my picture (from spring 2016) of that same arch of roses in front of the red house. Nice post.
 

Attachments

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#13
NICE!!!!! :):):)

Right now I'm enjoying a Limoncello with PepsiMax... A very refreshing drink for the summer. FYI... It was nearly impossible to find Limoncello on the Camino... I had to buy a bottle from an Italian restaurant.

I also got several pilgrims hooked on this concoctions :)

Cheers,

-jj
Plenty of Limoncello on the Italian part of the Via Francigena ;)
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#14
Orujo - Peregrino rocket fuel; breakfast of champions; the answer to all un-answerable questions; the only thing that will get an Asturian campesino into the fields before day-break. You're supposed to drink the Orujo in one hit and stop it with the 'solo', or mix it with the 'solo' to soften the hit.

There are theorists and oenophiles who suggest that Orujo should only be used for lighting barbeques (a fine tradition on 'paella' picnics) but otherwise I've always been comfortable with the Asturian traditions - breakfast: solo y Orujo, merianda; cortado, Orujo and a small sweet cake, lunch; Orujo, menu del dia, solo, Orujo - well you'll have got the idea by now
And it makes dried out nasty tarta de Santiago edible! And if you add hot water to Orujo con miel - instant hot toddy!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP - Finisterre (2005) ; LePuy - Muxia (2007) ; Porto - SC. (2009) planning Lourdes- SC (2018)
#15
Re 2- that was exactly what worked for me in the past - main meal at lunch time on the way, sometimes a short siesta in the field afterwards, and another couple of hours walk. But that was quite a few years back. I’m somewhat concerned for my return Camino frances in September, that this may not work out so well perhaps? I mean with the albergue s apparently running full as soon as they open?

And re 6 - yes I did bring home a quartz stone weighing at least a kilo somewhere after Sarria - which added some 20pc onto my backpack weight! But it is there now in my meditation room as a constant reminder of the heart space I was in at the moment I picked it up.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: St-Jean-PdP - Santiago dC - Muxía - Fisterra (Aug 2017 and March/April 2018)
#16
Ah yes. I was at El Cruz de Ferro in April, just after dawn, in deep snow and heavy fog, and all alone for a good 30 minutes. It was a life defining interlude as I left the small stone I'd brought from my garden. Then as I walked away, perhaps 100m along, I spotted an almost identical stone! I picked it up and pocketed it...and now it has pride of place here in my garden in Australia.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
#17
@JJinW1 - Thank you for your post. Many of your recommendations make a lot of sense.
 

Guidersue

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September walk
#19
I finished my first Camino (the French Way) a couple a weeks ago… Wow! How time flies.

I thought it might be good idea to download some "Tips & Tricks" I learned from my experiences. Hopefully, this might be helpful for others. (Note: I tried to lists things that might not be so obvious and a little out of the ordinary)

So, here they are… in no particular order:

  1. Pack light. Of course this is the number one tip you hear/read and it is true. Here is my 2 part strategy:
    1. Start with pounds/kilograms. Get rid of the big items you really don't need. I met pilgrims with hair dryers, alarm clocks, curling irons, jean jackets… This is the easy stuff to get rid of.
    2. The next phase is to think ounces/milligrams. This is where you start reducing what you have to take. For example, I started out carrying a bottle of ibuprofen. I quickly dumped the bottle and just kept 10 pills and saved about 3oz. I met pilgrims carrying 3 and 4 pairs of shoes. You only really need your hiking shoes and a pair of sandals (for shower and evenings)
  2. Eat and rest about 1-2 hours before reaching your final destination for the day. This took me a while to figure out. For the first week or two, I was so focused on reaching my destination, that I arrived at the hostel tired, hungry and felt like crap. Instead, I found that planning a nice long lunch about 1-2 hours before my final stop really helped me. After a nice relaxing lunch (usually 30-45 minutes), I would have 1-2 hours to hike-off the food and when I arrived at the hostel I felt so much better.
  3. Bring a poncho rather than a rain jacket. I made this mistake and learned the hard way :mad: If you have a sudden rainstorm and have a jacket, you have to take off your pack, put on your rain jacket PLUS put on your backpack rain cover. And when it stops raining, you have to do both things again. If you have a poncho and it looks like rain, you can easily slip it on and off without taking off your pack. I wish I had brought a poncho instead of a rain jacket. (ALSO… if you have a poncho, you can leave your backpack rain cover home and save some weight)
  4. Bring some GOOD ear plugs. After sleeping next to an Olympic Snorer :) at a hostel, you will know why. I actually found a review that tested earplugs and these were the best LINKY. These were so good, that the my second morning on the Camino, I didn't hear anything in the morning and woke-up at 8am and nobody was in the hostel.
  5. Record your Camino experience in some way. After a week or so, everything starts to blend together and it is hard to remember what you did just a few days ago. There are lots of ways to document your Camino. On one end of the spectrum, you can do a daily blog (this is what I did. Here is my blog LINKY). Of course this required me to carry an extra 4 pounds (2 kg). YES, I regretted this for 34 days, but for me, I knew I would have regretted for the rest of my life if I didn't do the blog. On the other end of the spectrum, a simple notebook and pen might work. I met many pilgrims who regretted not recording their experience. I did however, give them a link to my blog so they could share it with their friends and family.
  6. Bring a stone FROM the Camino. I know many people bring a stone to the Camino (which I did), but I also took a stone from the Camino to remember the experience. I recommend getting the stone from a special place along the Camino. It might be a beautiful view or place you had a wonderful time at. Find a stone from the area and stop for 30 seconds and take it all in. Years from now, every time you touch that stone it will take you back to that exact moment in time on the Camino.
  7. Bring a good hat. I got one with a wide brim and it worked great for keeping out the sun and rain. Bonus Tip… I brought a permanent marker with me and had pilgrims sign my hat. This is a great souvenir to remember some of the great people I met on the Camino.
  8. Experience all the different accommodations. What I mean by this is to try a hotel one night, try a 5 euro hostel, try a 10 euro private hostel… each offers a different experience.
  9. Ship your pack the last couple of days. I shipped my pack for the last couple of days. Why? For a couple of reasons. #1. I wanted to try a new experience on the Camino. #2. I wanted to really enjoy my last couple of days on the Camino (it was getting really hot the last week of the Camino) #3. I wanted to walk into Santiago and end my Camino feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and great (which I did!)
  10. Try all the different foods and drinks. Yes, you probably won't like some of it, but it is all part of the Camino experience. I tried some weird Spanish drink… it tasted like jet fuel :)
  11. Look-up and enjoy the experience. Make sure you savor every moment on the Camino (both the good and not so good). Also, I noticed that many pilgrims hiked with their heads down too often and missed so much. So make sure you hike with your head up and take it all in!!


Hope you find this helpful.



Cheers,



-jj
Great hints, especially the top 2. I also saw pilgrims overloaded and purging along the way, but the 2nd suggestion is the best. You don't realize how psyched you are on the trail and quickly crash and burn when you reach the focused destination. So much better to reach your intended resting place with time to enjoy and visit the sights. I also acquired a liking for different red wines and olives! Be sure to stop and smell the flowers.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2017
Camino Frances Sept 2020
#22
I finished my first Camino (the French Way) a couple a weeks ago… Wow! How time flies.

I thought it might be good idea to download some "Tips & Tricks" I learned from my experiences. Hopefully, this might be helpful for others. (Note: I tried to lists things that might not be so obvious and a little out of the ordinary)

So, here they are… in no particular order:

  1. Pack light. Of course this is the number one tip you hear/read and it is true. Here is my 2 part strategy:
    1. Start with pounds/kilograms. Get rid of the big items you really don't need. I met pilgrims with hair dryers, alarm clocks, curling irons, jean jackets… This is the easy stuff to get rid of.
    2. The next phase is to think ounces/milligrams. This is where you start reducing what you have to take. For example, I started out carrying a bottle of ibuprofen. I quickly dumped the bottle and just kept 10 pills and saved about 3oz. I met pilgrims carrying 3 and 4 pairs of shoes. You only really need your hiking shoes and a pair of sandals (for shower and evenings)
  2. Eat and rest about 1-2 hours before reaching your final destination for the day. This took me a while to figure out. For the first week or two, I was so focused on reaching my destination, that I arrived at the hostel tired, hungry and felt like crap. Instead, I found that planning a nice long lunch about 1-2 hours before my final stop really helped me. After a nice relaxing lunch (usually 30-45 minutes), I would have 1-2 hours to hike-off the food and when I arrived at the hostel I felt so much better.
  3. Bring a poncho rather than a rain jacket. I made this mistake and learned the hard way :mad: If you have a sudden rainstorm and have a jacket, you have to take off your pack, put on your rain jacket PLUS put on your backpack rain cover. And when it stops raining, you have to do both things again. If you have a poncho and it looks like rain, you can easily slip it on and off without taking off your pack. I wish I had brought a poncho instead of a rain jacket. (ALSO… if you have a poncho, you can leave your backpack rain cover home and save some weight)
  4. Bring some GOOD ear plugs. After sleeping next to an Olympic Snorer :) at a hostel, you will know why. I actually found a review that tested earplugs and these were the best LINKY. These were so good, that the my second morning on the Camino, I didn't hear anything in the morning and woke-up at 8am and nobody was in the hostel.
  5. Record your Camino experience in some way. After a week or so, everything starts to blend together and it is hard to remember what you did just a few days ago. There are lots of ways to document your Camino. On one end of the spectrum, you can do a daily blog (this is what I did. Here is my blog LINKY). Of course this required me to carry an extra 4 pounds (2 kg). YES, I regretted this for 34 days, but for me, I knew I would have regretted for the rest of my life if I didn't do the blog. On the other end of the spectrum, a simple notebook and pen might work. I met many pilgrims who regretted not recording their experience. I did however, give them a link to my blog so they could share it with their friends and family.
  6. Bring a stone FROM the Camino. I know many people bring a stone to the Camino (which I did), but I also took a stone from the Camino to remember the experience. I recommend getting the stone from a special place along the Camino. It might be a beautiful view or place you had a wonderful time at. Find a stone from the area and stop for 30 seconds and take it all in. Years from now, every time you touch that stone it will take you back to that exact moment in time on the Camino.
  7. Bring a good hat. I got one with a wide brim and it worked great for keeping out the sun and rain. Bonus Tip… I brought a permanent marker with me and had pilgrims sign my hat. This is a great souvenir to remember some of the great people I met on the Camino.
  8. Experience all the different accommodations. What I mean by this is to try a hotel one night, try a 5 euro hostel, try a 10 euro private hostel… each offers a different experience.
  9. Ship your pack the last couple of days. I shipped my pack for the last couple of days. Why? For a couple of reasons. #1. I wanted to try a new experience on the Camino. #2. I wanted to really enjoy my last couple of days on the Camino (it was getting really hot the last week of the Camino) #3. I wanted to walk into Santiago and end my Camino feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and great (which I did!)
  10. Try all the different foods and drinks. Yes, you probably won't like some of it, but it is all part of the Camino experience. I tried some weird Spanish drink… it tasted like jet fuel :)
  11. Look-up and enjoy the experience. Make sure you savor every moment on the Camino (both the good and not so good). Also, I noticed that many pilgrims hiked with their heads down too often and missed so much. So make sure you hike with your head up and take it all in!!


Hope you find this helpful.



Cheers,



-jj
Great tips and ideas!
1) We have the backpack nazi here in Tucson, She was amazing in getting the weight out of my pack.
2) I never did learn the stop and eat lunch very well. We started walking by 7am every morning and stopped for breakfast about 9. After a rest, we headed out and walked til our destination. We generally ended by about 2-3pm each day. This accomplished two things. 1) Got us out of the heat, 2) assured we had a bed (we did not want the hassle or anxiety of making reservations ahead of time). We did have snacks of fruit, meat, cheese, croissant, nuts, etc in our packs at all times. Your body definitely needs more fuel than you are used to eating in a day.
3) Rain jacket worked great for me. Donated my rain pants on day 3. They weighed a FULL POUND...and did not like how hot I got in them. luckily for us....it also did not rain after I donated the pants :)
5) YES YES YES...record your experience. We used Traveljournals and would type it up in Notes on our phones, cut and paste into the blog and upload. Very easy, no extra equipment required. http://www.trailjournals.com/journal/entry/575677
8) We too tried different types of alburgues and a couple hotels. Some of the municipals were so unique and cozy (Grannon comes to mind).
10) Even pulpo....not my favorite, but now I've had it. Also, beer with limon at the end of the day...oh my, pure heaven.
and I will add:
12) In addition to look up...Look BEHIND you - that view is sometimes the most magnificent view of the day. The sunrises are spectacular.
Enjoy....everyone's journey is different, but I loved the advice and info I received from this site.

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
#23
Thanks for the kind words!!!

#5. FYI... I used wordpress.com (NOT wordpress.org, which is self-hosted) for my blogs. It is FREE!!! and hosted by wordpress and very easy to use. The only real limitation is you can't really customize the site. BUT they have +100 free templates. So the trick is to find a template that is very close to what you want. FYI... for my blog (https://jjscamino.wordpress.com/) I paid $69 for the template...

#10. YES... the "summer shandy" (as we call it in the USA)... Lemonade and beer! A most excellent summer drink!! I had a few along my Camino :cool:!!! And enjoyed everyone of them!!!!

#12. Great point!

Cheers,

-jj
 
Camino(s) past & future
Fall (2018)
#24
I finished my first Camino (the French Way) a couple a weeks ago… Wow! How time flies.

I thought it might be good idea to download some "Tips & Tricks" I learned from my experiences. Hopefully, this might be helpful for others. (Note: I tried to lists things that might not be so obvious and a little out of the ordinary)

So, here they are… in no particular order:

  1. Pack light. Of course this is the number one tip you hear/read and it is true. Here is my 2 part strategy:
    1. Start with pounds/kilograms. Get rid of the big items you really don't need. I met pilgrims with hair dryers, alarm clocks, curling irons, jean jackets… This is the easy stuff to get rid of.
    2. The next phase is to think ounces/milligrams. This is where you start reducing what you have to take. For example, I started out carrying a bottle of ibuprofen. I quickly dumped the bottle and just kept 10 pills and saved about 3oz. I met pilgrims carrying 3 and 4 pairs of shoes. You only really need your hiking shoes and a pair of sandals (for shower and evenings)
  2. Eat and rest about 1-2 hours before reaching your final destination for the day. This took me a while to figure out. For the first week or two, I was so focused on reaching my destination, that I arrived at the hostel tired, hungry and felt like crap. Instead, I found that planning a nice long lunch about 1-2 hours before my final stop really helped me. After a nice relaxing lunch (usually 30-45 minutes), I would have 1-2 hours to hike-off the food and when I arrived at the hostel I felt so much better.
  3. Bring a poncho rather than a rain jacket. I made this mistake and learned the hard way :mad: If you have a sudden rainstorm and have a jacket, you have to take off your pack, put on your rain jacket PLUS put on your backpack rain cover. And when it stops raining, you have to do both things again. If you have a poncho and it looks like rain, you can easily slip it on and off without taking off your pack. I wish I had brought a poncho instead of a rain jacket. (ALSO… if you have a poncho, you can leave your backpack rain cover home and save some weight)
  4. Bring some GOOD ear plugs. After sleeping next to an Olympic Snorer :) at a hostel, you will know why. I actually found a review that tested earplugs and these were the best LINKY. These were so good, that the my second morning on the Camino, I didn't hear anything in the morning and woke-up at 8am and nobody was in the hostel.
  5. Record your Camino experience in some way. After a week or so, everything starts to blend together and it is hard to remember what you did just a few days ago. There are lots of ways to document your Camino. On one end of the spectrum, you can do a daily blog (this is what I did. Here is my blog LINKY). Of course this required me to carry an extra 4 pounds (2 kg). YES, I regretted this for 34 days, but for me, I knew I would have regretted for the rest of my life if I didn't do the blog. On the other end of the spectrum, a simple notebook and pen might work. I met many pilgrims who regretted not recording their experience. I did however, give them a link to my blog so they could share it with their friends and family.
  6. Bring a stone FROM the Camino. I know many people bring a stone to the Camino (which I did), but I also took a stone from the Camino to remember the experience. I recommend getting the stone from a special place along the Camino. It might be a beautiful view or place you had a wonderful time at. Find a stone from the area and stop for 30 seconds and take it all in. Years from now, every time you touch that stone it will take you back to that exact moment in time on the Camino.
  7. Bring a good hat. I got one with a wide brim and it worked great for keeping out the sun and rain. Bonus Tip… I brought a permanent marker with me and had pilgrims sign my hat. This is a great souvenir to remember some of the great people I met on the Camino.
  8. Experience all the different accommodations. What I mean by this is to try a hotel one night, try a 5 euro hostel, try a 10 euro private hostel… each offers a different experience.
  9. Ship your pack the last couple of days. I shipped my pack for the last couple of days. Why? For a couple of reasons. #1. I wanted to try a new experience on the Camino. #2. I wanted to really enjoy my last couple of days on the Camino (it was getting really hot the last week of the Camino) #3. I wanted to walk into Santiago and end my Camino feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and great (which I did!)
  10. Try all the different foods and drinks. Yes, you probably won't like some of it, but it is all part of the Camino experience. I tried some weird Spanish drink… it tasted like jet fuel :)
  11. Look-up and enjoy the experience. Make sure you savor every moment on the Camino (both the good and not so good). Also, I noticed that many pilgrims hiked with their heads down too often and missed so much. So make sure you hike with your head up and take it all in!!


Hope you find this helpful.



Cheers,



-jj
Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips. I am leaving in less than 1 month for my first Camino. I will be using these tips as a guide.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#27
Nope, nope, nope!!!
Another one here. Especially orujo blanco, "the white lightning" as this spring my walking companion said ;)
Yo también!

And the one with honey: add hot water = instant toddy.

(and the one with herbs is pretty)
 

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