Pre-Trip Briefing: Preparing for Your Camino Journey

Preparing the Camino Checklist

Welcome to our pre-trip briefing for those of you who are planning to walk the Camino de Santiago. The Camino is an ancient pilgrimage route that has been travelled by millions of pilgrims over the centuries. It is a journey that is both physically and spiritually challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. This briefing will provide you with essential information to ensure that you are well-prepared for your Camino journey. 

What is the Camino?

The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a network of routes across Europe that lead to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, northwestern Spain. It is a pilgrimage that has been travelled by people of all ages, cultures and religions for over a thousand years.

Packing for the Camino

Packing for the Camino can be a challenge, as you’ll need to balance comfort and practicality with keeping your backpack as light as possible. We recommend that you pack a few changes of lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing that can be layered depending on the weather. You may also want to bring a small towel and some toiletries. Don’t forget to pack any necessary medication or first aid supplies. For a detailed list of what to bring you can download it from our client area or refer to the ‘Ultimate Packing List’.

Preparing the Camino goal Cathedral

Weight Restrictions on the Camino

Please note that there are weight restrictions on the Camino, particularly when it comes to luggage transportation services. If you plan to use these services, it’s important to pack light and keep your bag within the weight limit. The current restrictions in place include 1 baggage per person with a weight limit of 15kgs (13kgs for France).

We remind you that any accessory attached to the luggage: toiletry bags, bags, shoes, water bottle, walking sticks, umbrellas… will be grouped together as an extra piece of luggage and will be checked in as such – €10/per day. Please refer to the image below for more information on how to correctly pack your luggage:

Preparing the Camino baggage advice

Getting to your First Accommodation

Once you arrive at your starting point, you’ll need to make your way to your first accommodation. This can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar place. However, there are several options for getting to your first accommodation by public and private transport. If you have opted for private transfer check your travel voucher or client area for more details.

Preparing the Camino baggage advice

Reception

We work with a wide variety of accommodation. Most will have a reception open 24/7. Some, in more rural areas usually, however may have more restricted reception/check-in time. Lastly, some may even have self check-in following its democratisation after Covid-19.

As a rule of thumb, in most places and unless specified on your vouchers, reception will be available at reasonable times.

If you know you will arrive late (after 19h00), please inform your accommodation of your late arrival so that they can wait for you or give you relevant instructions for your check-in. Hotels may give you a code for the entrance keypad and may leave your key at reception.

Preparing the Camino accommodation reservation

Check-in

We provide vouchers for reassurance purposes as well as give you some relevant information before you get there such as directions. They are however not necessary to check-in. Your booking is made under your group leaders name and we pass on all travellers details – if populated in your customer area prior to processing your booking – to the accommodations.

To help your accommodation find you in their system, you can use any of the following:

  • Group leader’s name
  • Booking reference
  • Your own name (if you are not the leader) although this may not work all the time as accommodation may only take 1 name per booking in their system

Check out

Check out is usually before 10h00 as rooms need to be prepared for the next travellers. In some accommodations (such as hostels if requested), it may be earlier (8h00 usually). In bigger towns, Check out may be later (11h00). Please ask at reception on arrival for details.

Leaving your accommodation

Before leaving your accommodation, Check for dropped items (charging cables) in your bedroom and clothes being dried at the balcony. Check out at reception and pay any extra service you may have purchased outside of what is included in your booking with us.

If you’re using luggage transport services, be sure to leave your bags in the designated area and confirm that they will be picked up and transported to your next destination. Before you depart, get your pilgrim passport stamped. It’s also important to ensure that you have all the necessary items with you, such as water, snacks, and a map or guidebook before you begin your journey. 

Route checking and following

Self-Guided tours

If you’re embarking on a self-guided Camino tour, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the route you’ll be taking. Make sure to review your map or guide book thoroughly before starting each day’s walk. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast and take note of any recommended detours or closures along the route. Along the way, you’ll see yellow arrows and other way markers that will guide you on your journey. If in doubt, do ask your accommodation receptionist. The most challenging is usually leaving a city or arriving at one as roads and buildings get denser.

Guided tours

You are given the same information as for self guided tours. On top of that your guide will give you a brief about the route. This happens usually the night before the walk but can also be done the morning of the walk. 

The information provided by your guide varies. Each guide has its own way of working and will provide various information regarding the walk coming up. Some are very detailed, some less so. Quantity of information can be overwhelming and confusing and sometimes a few good landmarks are sufficient to keep you on the right track. Some of the common signage along the Camino trail can be found below, be sure to keep an eye out for these!

Preparing the Camino road

Following the route

The walks we bring you on are well travelled and well marked for most parts. 

On Camino types of trips, routes traditionally would go from A to B in the most direct way. Roads have been built in the past 100 years or so and have often followed the same trail. You will be sometimes on the road or alongside them, sometimes on forest tracks or dirt tracks. Also, local authorities are improving the trail followed by pilgrims. There are therefore regular changes in the routes. They are usually minor but sometimes greater so keeping an eye is always advised.

Emergency

As the organizer of your trip, we make sure that all the services presented to you and booked for you happen as they should. For this we communicate with all suppliers to make various arrangements. As our continuous improvement method reduces room for errors, from time to time, you may need our assistant with regards to the services you have booked.

For that we provide you with a 24/7 Service Emergency line to support you during your trip. You may use this line in case there is a problem about a service that was due as part of the trip you have booked with us. 

+353 1 6872149 or +353 87 970 1922

In case of a medical emergency, please ring 112 the European Emergency Line.

Luggage transfers

One of the benefits of walking the Camino is that you don’t need to carry all of your gear with you at all times. We offer a luggage transfer service, which means that you can have your main luggage transported from one accommodation to the next. The luggage transfer is a complex logistics process where many luggage need to be collected in many accommodations and brought to various places afterwards. To ensure good delivery for all travellers, we ask travellers to have their luggage at 8h00 for the first collection.
Luggage transfer logistics changes all the time and we cannot plan collection and drop off time with great precision.

If the first pickup was delayed 30 minutes, the rest of the deliveries would be delayed by the same period.
Your luggage may be picked up later of course but we ask you to have them ready by 8h00 in case you are the first collection point that day.

If you are cycling, we request your bag being ready by 7h30 (special transfers can be used for longer transportation stages).

Holiday pack

By post:

While as part of our commitment to reduce the impact of our activity on climate change, we still need to deliver some items by post. These will be listed in your customer area and sent to your first accommodation unless informed otherwise. While we know people prefer to have it at home in advance, we have noticed a lower “lost parcel” rate sending it to accommodations.

Just ask for your holiday pack on arrival. The 2 main items you will need will be your luggage tag (for luggage transfer unless opted out) and your pilgrim passport.

Your holiday pack is sent in and envelope or a small parcel to your first hotel directly and addressed to the group leader’s name with your booking reference for the accommodation to keep it until your arrival.

In case it is not there, we have backup stock in a few places or can get these items over to you for the next morning usually.

Downloadable:

You will find your holiday pack items in your customer area Under Holiday Pack > Download

Each member of your party can easily save these onto their  smartphone for the duration of your trip. Feel free to print them too. Up to you.

Preparing for your Camino journey is an important step towards a successful and enjoyable pilgrimage. Whether you’re walking solo or with a group, on a guided or self-guided tour, it’s essential to plan ahead, pack wisely, and stay informed about the route and its landmarks. Don’t forget to take breaks and rest when needed, stay hydrated and nourished, and enjoy the journey at your own pace.

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