1. ArcticOrchid
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    ArcticOrchid Member

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    How long does it take a character to travel a certain distance?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by ArcticOrchid, Jan 2, 2016.

    I was writing today and I was very happy that my character was finally on the move and there was going to be some action at last. I had been stuck for a while in this existential crisis with my main character where there is way too much of internal monologue and thoughts which I need to go back to later and edit some out and shorten.

    Long story short when I sat down today I really wanted to get the character, who is on the run, moving. So I began with her waking up, plan her journey and get going. Then she gets to a point where she needs to stop and decide how its best to proceed without being captured. That was all fine until I realised that I have no idea whether it is realistic for her to have travelled that distance within a day. I had actually not considered thinking of in detail (kilometers) How large her island is. I have no idea how long she has walked and that affects everything. What time it is, is she exhausted? does she need rest and water? She is going to be on the move for the vast majority of the story, I can´t believe I didnt think of this before.

    I had mapped out the cliffs, the forest, the harbours, farms even the most convenient trade routes. Now I realise that I need to figure out the size so I can map out her distance, what she is travelling. Both so I can make realistic travel plans for the characters. I don´t want a journey that should take a month to take a week for example. But also particularly as we begin on an island it´s briefly relevant how many medieval (sort of english) farms would fit in a certain space.

    Mainly my question is, is there any standard guideline of how long it takes a person on foot to travel a kilometre? (or any other form of measuring distance) of course I realise that it depends on the person and the terrain but is there any baseline that I can build on? and by horse?
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    A lot of this will vary depending on how many hours/days in a row your people are travelling.

    Horses do endurance races of 100 miles in about 15 hours, but they do it once and then take a long break, and they're well-conditioned horses with special tack, minimal gear, and often the rider will walk or jog at least part of the race.

    Humans and horses, over extended periods, have fairly similar rates of travel - at best, 25 to 50 miles a day. Could be much less, depending on terrain and fitness and how hard they're pushing themselves and how much gear they're carrying and how long they need to keep it up for. Horses can obviously carry more weight, but on some terrain (forests, mountains) they're almost a disadvantage.

    Humans are actually pretty remarkable for our long-distance endurance. We aren't fast, but we are pretty good at keeping going.
     
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  3. ArcticOrchid
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    ArcticOrchid Member

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    So for a young fit person travelling light on an easy terrain, normal exertion, how far in 8 hours? Im just trying to get a baseline in my head that I can then adjust to terrain ect.
     
  4. researchib
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    researchib New Member

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    Hi. So I'm familiar with miles but I do know that 5km equals a little over 3 miles. The average mostly fit person can walk a mile in 18-20 mins, but of course as time goes on, a person deals with fatigue.

    So, let's consider 75 min per 3 miles, which is 15 min per kilometer (the extra few minutes here over 20min accounts for initial fatigue, but that'll increase after three miles unless your character is aware of the distance and purposefully paces the journey.)

    With that baseline, you can add in extra time for terrain, baggage weight, (in)appropriate shoes/clothing, continued fatigue, etc.

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
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  5. ArcticOrchid
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    ArcticOrchid Member

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    thanks that really helps :)
     
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