Hiking and trekking are two outdoor activities that fascinate lovers of nature and the great outdoors. However, these disciplines require much more than just walking boots. The exploration, adventure and discovery they offer are invaluable, but they come with a crucial responsibility: making sure you’re properly covered and looked after in the event of an accident. This article explores the wonders of hiking and trekking and highlights the importance of insurance, especially when venturing into mountainous regions, high altitudes or remote areas of the world. Yes, not everything is covered by healthcare organisations… Read this article to find out more.
What is hiking and trekking ?
Hiking consists of walking on marked trails, generally over short to medium distances. It’s a sport that’s accessible to everyone and offers the chance to recharge your batteries in the great outdoors. Trekking, on the other hand, is more physically and mentally demanding. It involves covering long distances over varied terrain and paths, often unmarked. This quintessential nature activity takes you off the beaten track, into dazzling natural environments, where exploration and adventure are at the heart of the experience.
Exploration and adventure
One of the most appealing aspects of hiking and trekking is the opportunity to discover breathtaking landscapes, immerse yourself in nature and explore places that few people have had the chance to see. Whether you’re trekking through the majestic mountains of the Alps, the lush forests of the Amazon or the arid deserts of the Sahara, every step brings you closer to the raw beauty of nature. High-altitude treks, such as those in the Himalayas or the Andes, offer stimulating challenges and breathtaking views that are well worth the effort.
Hiking and trekking also allow you to immerse yourself in local cultures. Meeting local people, sampling authentic cuisine and learning about age-old traditions are all part of the adventure. You have the chance to forge links with remote communities, learn new languages and understand unique ways of life.
The importance of insurance when hiking and trekking
Although hiking and trekking are exceptional experiences, they carry inherent risks. When venturing into remote areas, mountains or high altitudes, it is crucial to be properly insured. Here are some reasons why insurance is essential.
Safety in the event of an accident
Accidents can happen to even the most experienced hikers. Falls, injuries or sudden health problems may require emergency medical evacuation. Insurance is your guarantee of rapid and adequate assistance.
At altitude, health conditions can deteriorate rapidly. Medical insurance will cover the cost of medical care, medication and hospitalisation, allowing you to concentrate on your recovery.
In the event of a serious medical emergency, accident or unforeseen situation such as a political crisis or natural disaster, the insurance covers the high cost of repatriation to your home country. It can guarantee repatriation to a reputable medical establishment in your country, where you can receive appropriate care.
Assistance in the event of loss or theft
Remote areas are often prone to baggage theft or loss. Insurance with a luggage option generally covers these incidents.
Hiking and trekking are incomparable activities that give you the chance to explore, adventure and discover extraordinary places around the world. But to make the most of these adventures, make sure you’re properly insured. Your safety and peace of mind are worth it. So put on your hiking boots, pack your rucksack, and set off to conquer the unknown, safe in the knowledge that you’re well protected should the need arise. Nature awaits.
Interview with Jean-Paul Baizet: Passionate walker and enthusiast of self-sufficiency in the great outdoors
Hi Jean-Paul, thank you for agreeing to talk about your passion for mountain walking and your recent pilgrimage on the road to Santiago de Compostela.
To begin with, can you tell us what attracts you to this practice?
“It’s a pleasure to talk about my passion. What attracts me to mountain walking and long journeys like the Camino de Santiago is the fact of being alone in the middle of nature, in complete autonomy. It’s like going back to basics, to your roots, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I particularly enjoy walking at night, which offers a unique atmosphere. Surprisingly, you can see and hear things that you wouldn’t during the day. Your senses are sharper, and you’re more in touch with your surroundings”.
Can you give us an idea of the overall distance of this pilgrimage on the road to Santiago de Compostela?
“I covered around 800 kilometres over the course of a month. My journey began in Le Puy-en-Velay and ended in Hendaye. That works out at around 25 to 30 kilometres a day, from 11 April to 11 May 2023. I found that crossing La Margeride and Aubrac was the wildest section”.
Mountain adventures involve risks. Are you aware of the risks involved, and how do you prevent or manage them?
“Yes, it’s true that you never know what can happen in the mountains or on such a long pilgrimage route. Having personal accident insurance is, in my opinion, very interesting, even essential. There are several aspects to consider, such as repatriation in an emergency, which is not always covered by general accident insurance. With Assure Ton Sport, for example, this cover is 100%. When you go walking or trekking, having repatriation assistance cover is essential. What’s more, on sporting adventures such as these, there is an increased risk of accidents, as well as other dangers linked to the environment and the weather. Medical costs can also be high in the event of hospitalisation, particularly abroad. Compensation is based on the French social security system, which can mean significant costs for the individual“.
Finally, what are your future adventure plans?
“My next walking project is to complete my journey along the Camino de Santiago next year, walking from Hendaye to Santiago de Compostela. It’s an adventure I’m looking forward to, and I hope it will be as rewarding as the one I’ve just experienced”.
By Charly Colin