It seems as though more and more people are getting bored of beach holidays, and more often they turn to the mountains for their summer holiday. However, whereas a week on the beach in the med can be quite easy to pack for (swim wear, flip flops, sun cream), there are a few more things that you should consider bringing on a summer mountain holiday. This list should help to get you started:
1) Sun Protection: because mountain resorts are often at altitude, the sun can be a lot fiercer than at sea level. It is therefore a very important to pack high factor sun cream and good sunglasses. Also, don’t forget that if you go hiking on a glacier, the snow will reflect back the sun in all directions, so you may get sunburnt in areas you weren’t expecting (for example under the chin).
Also, don’t forget a good after sun balm, so that you can help your face recover from a day of fierce sunshine and dry air.
2) Waterproofs: Although the weather is usually sunny & warm in the French Alps, because of the geography of the area, it is not uncommon for late afternoon thunderstorms to build. It is better to be prepared and protected!
3) Pack clothing layers: part of the attraction of holidaying in the mountains is the ability to do things such as jump on cable cars and get whisked up to the mountain tops. It is often cooler at the top of the mountains than at the bottom, so it is good to have a few layers in your back pack so you can adjust your clothing accordingly. Also, evenings can sometimes be a bit chilly which means that sleeping in a hot room isn’t a problem, but it is worth having a sweater handy so you can continue to sit outside after the sun goes down.
4) Speedos (for men only): If you are holidaying in France, don’t forget that French swimming pools don’t allow swim shorts, and will only allow “Speedo” type swimwear. So if you do want to cool off in a French swimming pool, forget your baggies and don the tight shorts instead. You never know, you might enjoy it! If Speedos really aren’t your thing, there are plenty of mountain lakes which don’t restrict bathing costumes.
5) Water bottle: when hiking in the mountains, especially on sunny days, it is very easy to get dehydrated. Avoid this by carrying adequate water, either in a water bottle or in a hydration pack.
6) Sturdy walking shoes/boots: You don’t need to by stiff leather walking boots, but if you are planning to do some walking in the mountains, it is worth having some decent walking boots/shoes/trainers. Goretex will stop your feet from getting a soaking in case of being caught in an unexpected thunderstorm.
7) Mountain rescue insurance: This is very important, and often overlooked on summer holidays. If you are on a trail on the mountain and twist an ankle, the only way down may be by mountain rescue helicopter. If you don’t have travel insurance which covers mountain rescue, this could be a very expensive flight! Don’t worry if you haven’t got mountain rescue insurance, most resorts offer this for about a euro a day (usually under the Carte Neige scheme).
The mountains do make wonderful summer holiday destinations, and there is none of the boredom which can set in after day two of lying on the same beach in the med!