If you go

Buses: Before flying to Madrid, we used rome2rio.com to be sure that we could get from Madrid to Pamplona by bus and from there to Los Arcos to start our hike on Camino de Santiago. A day ahead of our trip to Pamplona, we went to the big intercity bus terminal on Avenida de America to check schedules and buy our tickets.

Although a train would have been faster, we saved money and saw more of the countryside by bus, and Spanish intercity buses are more comfortable and frequent than in the U.S. In small towns along the Camino, tourist offices and hotels can tell you what time the bus to the regional center arrives and where to stand. Hiring a local taxi is another option when your legs give out.

Camino passports: Camino passports, also known as credentials, are required to stay in pilgrims-only hostels, and if you want to receive the Compostela certificate for walking at least the final 60 miles of the Camino. It's helpful to have the passport in hand when you arrive in Europe, particularly if you don't begin in one of the traditional starting places like St. Jean Pied de Port, France, or Roncesalles, Spain, where passports are issued. Because each location has a different stamp and records the date of your stay, the passport also makes a wonderful record of your journey. Americans can order advance credentials from American Pilgrims on the Camino in Olympia, Wash. (americanpilgrims.com).

Guidebooks: Books on the Camino include "A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago" by John Brierley and "El Camino de Santiago en Tu Mochila," by Anton Pombo, available from anayatouring.com. For those who read Spanish, the latter guide offers detailed and up-to-date information about towns and places to stay.

Blogs: There are many websites and blogs devoted to the Camino. A good place to start is caminoadventures.com.

Lynda McDonnell