Carol Austin and I are on our way to our Peru: Salkantay Lodge to Lodge Adventure. Since we started our journey in Cusco at 11,000 feet, I wanted to share some tips with you on adjusting to altitude on your next hiking vacations.
1. Try to get into your high altitude destination a few days early. This will give your body a few days to rest without the intense activity to come. Just take it easy – rest in your room or take a short, slow walk around town. Don't overdo it in your first few days, this is afterall the start of your vacation!
2. Drink A LOT of water. Sip on water constantly throughout the day. Dehydration is not fun at high altitude and constant water drinking is the perfect solution to hydration. A slight headache, chapped lips, and irritability are all signs of dehydration – drink up!
3. Eat light meals for your first day or two. Overeating can cause you to not sleep well at night. Since your body is adjusting to the altitude, it's having to work overtime to digest your meals. Give your body a break by eating a light lunch and a light dinner upon your first day of arrival. Chances are you won't be that hungry anyway.
4. Keep the alcohol consumption very light if not at all. You've probably heard that drinking alcohol affects you differently at higher elevations – well, you're right. You will feel the effects much quicker high up, and when your body is already working overtime to adjust, adding alcohol to the mix can make for a bad combination. Yes, a welcome drink at your hotel is okay, but leave it at that for your first few days!
5. Bring your sunscreen. You're closer to the sun up here! Even if it doesn't feel warm outside, slather up! If that sun is shining, chances are your skin is going to attract the rays. (Even if it's cloudy, still put that sunscreen on just in case). If you've ever experienced a sunburn on your first day of vacation, you won't thin twice about this point!
This is just a quick summary of tips of adjusting to high altitude – all of the above helped Carol and I adjust to the high elevation in the magnificent town of Cusco. Now get out there and explore!
See you on your next adventure,