Whether or not you will be hiking something big like the Alps, watch this video, from my friend and international hiking guide, Greg Witt, as he discusses Trekking Poles.
Even on short day hikes, I highly recommend Trekking Poles. In the beginning, they can make you feel awkward but the more you use them, the more they feel like a vital part of your hiking experience.
Watch this video and learn why I love using Trekking Poles so much.
I personally use the same poles for downhill skiing, snowshoeing and year round hiking. I love them. You can purchase a pair of poles at a thrift store for as little as $3 if you keep your eyes open! Also watch for poles at yard sales, garage sales, Play it Again Sports and other used sports equipment locations if you want to save money.