Pilgrim having his credential stamped on the way to Santiago de Compostela
Pilgrim having his credential stamped on the way to Santiago de Compostela
J.Morel
Organize your pilgrimage

Tips for doing the Camino de Santiago

You are about to begin the great adventure of Santiago de Compostela: congratulations! Are you excited by this new adventure, but also torn by a certain apprehension at the idea of ​​having to face the unexpected?
Breathe, we have put together some tips for you to give you the means to live your trip serenely and that it takes place in the best conditions.
Pilgrim to the Valentré bridge in Cahors
Pilgrim to the Valentré bridge in Cahors
Mr Cochet

1) Equip yourself lightly!

You guessed it, the equipment is an essential point in your preparation. Many of us have a habit of taking many things that we will call “just in case”, “you never know”, “what if...”.  
Yet this surplus of non-essential equipment could also be a hindrance to your trip. Indeed, although reassuring, all these objects have a certain weight in your backpack... that you will carry for several hours every day! So learn to let go, and take only what will be really useful for you. 

Panel on the way to Santiago de Compostela with pilgrim Vaylats
Panel on the way to Santiago de Compostela with pilgrim Vaylats
Mr Cochet
Equipment list Everything you will need

- A lightweight backpack 
- Two outfits : one for hot weather and another for cold and wet days
- A pair of walking shoes and a pair of sandals (they will serve you in the evening when you have finished your steps and your feet need to breathe)  
CAUTION: You must take hiking shoes already made for your feet. With new shoes, the risk of having many blisters is guaranteed. If you buy new ones, wear them for several days and take several walks in them before leaving.
- A hat and sunscreen ! It is extremely important to protect yourself from the sun during these days of walking when you will be constantly exposed to the dangerous rays.

- An external battery. You can imagine that in the middle of nature, electrical outlets are rare. However, if you use your phone during your trip, it may be useful to have an extra battery to last all day (or even several days longer if you are camping).
- A small medicine kit. It must remain light but still contain the essentials of what you might need.
- A big breath of fresh air. That's it, there you are! You are now ready to discover this path which promises you many wonders! 

2) Prepare yourself physically!  

And yes, having very often a sedentary life, it is essential to gently prepare your body to avoid too violent a shock during these days of hikes of several kilometers.  
The path is therefore prepared upstream with three habits to put in place:  

Hiking and running on the towpath in Bouziès
Hiking and running on the towpath in Bouziès
E.Faure

3) Anticipate and treat minor sores  

And yes, when you are an adventurer, you sometimes have to know how to manage a few minor injuries. However, there are tips to avoid them or to treat them quickly so that everything gets back to normal quickly.  

Tip number 1

For bulbs

Provide several pairs of socks and change them several times a day to avoid the humidity that causes the appearance of blisters. If, despite this, blisters end up appearing, disinfect them then apply a Compeed-type dressing.

Tip number 2

For muscle pain 

Remember to warm up and stretch well before the start of the hike and to stretch at the end of your day. Massage your legs with arnica in the evening to relieve the muscles. 

Tip number 3

For sunburn 

Plan sunscreen factor 50, apply every two hours. In case of burns, apply Biafine. 

Tip number 4

For foot pain

Massage the arch of the foot with a tennis ball.  

Pilgrim on the way to Santiago de Compostela Limogne GR65
Pilgrim on the way to Santiago de Compostela Limogne GR65
Mr Cochet

4) Organize in advance  

And yes, in order to live your trip serenely and avoid some mishaps, think about anticipating your basic needs:

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pilgrims on a bench admiring the landscape Vaylats GR65
pilgrims on a bench admiring the landscape Vaylats GR65
Mr Cochet
Take enough water 

Most of the time there are water points regularly on the way, but sometimes for technical reasons, some areas do not have any. Look carefully the day before if you will often access water, in which case, plan at least 1 L and a half of water in order to be serene.  

Locate our water points in the Cahors Vallée du Lot destination in our pilgrim guide.

Pilgrim guide 
 

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Pilgrims in a stopover lodge on the way to Santiago de Compostela
Pilgrims in a stopover lodge on the way to Santiago de Compostela
J.Morel
Book your accommodation in advance (especially if you are in a group) 

Santiago de Compostela being a route of great renown, many people take up the challenge each year. Remember to book your accommodation in advance so as not to have any unpleasant surprises during your trip.  

List of accommodation near the path

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Backpack at the La Rosière washhouse - Way of Saint Jacques de Compostela
Backpack at the La Rosière washhouse - Way of Saint Jacques de Compostela
Mr Cochet
Find out how to drop off your backpack 

 
When you arrive in certain towns/villages at the end of the stage, you will certainly want to visit a bit or go do some shopping. You will then want to put down your backpack while you realize everything you have to do. Then see if it is possible to put it in a safe place to relieve you!  
The tourist information offices for the Cahors - Lot Valley destination will then be happy to look after your belongings for a few hours. 

LEARN MORE

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Pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela
Pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela
Lot Tourisme - G. Giuglio
Think of the mail box 

 
It is sometimes difficult to carry your backpack daily. If this proves to be a difficult load to bear, or if you wish to take full advantage of your hike without having to suffer from the imposed weight, you can resort to the postal box. This service allows you to transport your luggage from one accommodation to another as you go. 

The mail box

5) Determine your milestones in advance (and don't be too ambitious)  

As indicated in the previous advice, it is important to book your accommodation in advance, which implies prepare your stages early enough also. Nevertheless, we suggest you don't be too ambitious, especially if you're just starting out!  
The road to Santiago de Compostela is not a race, quite the contrary. It's a moment of discovery of yourself and the environment around you. The goal is not to suffer and come back traumatized by this great adventure, so don't plan too daring steps. Start with sections of about fifteen kilometers, then adapt according to your feelings.  

Way of St-Jacques panel after Pont Valentré
Way of St-Jacques panel after Pont Valentré
Mr Cochet
Pilgrim on the way to Santiago de Compostela painted stone Laburgade GR65
Pilgrim on the way to Santiago de Compostela painted stone Laburgade GR65
Mr Cochet
Have a nice trip !

You are warned and ready to put on your shoes to start this fantastic adventure that is the road to Santiago de Compostela! The advice provided here will help you deal with most situations. The article “The Ten Commandments for a Successful Hike” can also be useful for preparing your trip, and also serve as a reminder to be sure not to forget anything.  
Bon voyage to you, and do not hesitate to come and visit us in one of our information offices to tell us about your adventure.  

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