Travelling through sand is usually unpleasant and tiring. Walking on vegetated sand dunes is not recommended from an ecological damage perspective, and alternative routes should be sought or planned. Walking on unvegetated dunes is generally tiring and slow, and should be kept to a minimum. It is often better to ascend dunes with a zigzag motion, and descend slowly and gently. All walkers need to try to prevent sand getting into shoes or boots, as it rapidly causes blisters. For this reason, sand should be removed as soon as possible, and socks thoroughly shaken out. Gaiters can be very helpful to prevent sand getting in.

On the beach it is usually better to travel close to the water, where the sand is harder. Walking at low tide and during the outgoing tide is usually preferable to trudging in soft sand at high tide. Unexpected big waves in the incoming tide can cause very wet feet or worse. If the walk schedule permits, it is often best to wait for the high tide to pass. Tide times are available from the Bureau of Meteorology, and are published by some fishing and motoring organisations. If a long walk on sand is unavoidable, consider changing or rotating footwear—boots, shoes, bare feet.