Cho La Tsho - EBC and 3 passes trek

Trek On A Budget: 7 Money-Saving Hacks That Actually Work in Nepal

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“Trekking experiences are quite expensive and burn a massive hole in your pocket!” 

The above is merely a myth. With smart planning and conscious choices, you can make your trekking experience budget-friendly yet memorable in Nepal. Whether you’re an experienced mountaineer or an amateur hiker, these tips will enable you to enjoy the trek in Nepal without worrying too much about the expenses.

From permit fees to accommodation and food, expenses quickly add up. But don’t worry; that’s why we’re here with simple yet effective money-saving hacks that can be useful while planning a trek in Nepal.

Money Saving Tips While Trekking In Nepal

1. Water Filter

Using Sawyer to fill water from villages

Water filter tops the list as we saved huge sums of money while trekking in Nepal. The cost of 1L bottled water is NPR 15-30 in Kathmandu, while it ranges between NPR 300 and NPR 500 at higher altitudes. The recommended consumption of water is at least 3L per day. This cost gets added up pretty quickly as days go by. 

We would get the tap water from the tea house’s kitchen and filter the water with SAWYER, a squeeze water filter system that we carried with us. We also filled water from the streams and treated it. It was handy and cost-effective. Other alternatives include water purification bottles, water filter straws, water purification tablets, etc.

2. Trek Independently

Gokyo Langponga Tsho or Lake One

Group treks in Nepal are expensive as you are charged per person and not as a whole. Trekking independently without the guides and porters will save you a significant amount of money. Extensive research on the terrain, route, distance, weather, and availability of food, shelter, and water along the trail is necessary to accomplish this. Do your homework, research, and understand the area thoroughly before planning your trek.

Flights to and from Lukla charge extra for baggage weighing over 15 Kg. Packing light helps you to get rid of the porters as well. If you’re wondering what you should carry during your trek, copy the exact packing list that weighs only 5 Kg.

3. Trek Offseason

Peak trekking season will not just make your trip expensive, but you’ll find the region overcrowded. Trek during the shoulder season or off-season months. You will also get welcome drinks for FREE. During our EBC and three passes trek, we were offered accommodations free of charge, provided we had to eat at least two times during our stay. In the month of September, the prices of most of the lodges were NPR 500 per room.

The people in the tea houses were super friendly, and we were able to interact with the locals and have deep conversations.

4. Charging & Wi-Fi

Tea house restaurant desk at EBC and three passes trek

If you’re using the internet, power banks are not for you as it drains a lot of battery power. You’ll need to charge your gadgets at the tea houses at an extra cost. The prices go as high as NPR 1000 at higher altitudes. 

However, if you are offline, you can manage with a 10,000 mAh power bank. Although it is highly dependent on your mobile battery capacity and usage, we were able to manage it even after taking pictures and videos documenting the trip. 

Disconnecting from the outside world will save you money, as tea houses charge you for the Wi-Fi services. You’ll get intermittent signals in a few villages from the local SIM card provider, NCell, to stay in touch with your family and friends.

A few resorts and tea houses offer free power charging stations and Wi-Fi at lower altitudes.

5. Food

In Nepal, there is no concept of MRP or MSRP (Maximum Retail Price or Max Suggested Retail Price). People set prices for the products depending on the demand and season.

Stock up on snacks like granola bars, nuts, dry fruits, and chocolate bars in Kathmandu before you head to the mountains. These become expensive at higher altitudes.

Pizza and Noodles on the EBC trek

Food was the major expense that we had on the trail. The tea houses serve Nepali cuisines and other dishes like pasta, bread, dishes from potatoes, sandwiches, pizzas, different teas, soups, pancakes, porridges, etc.

6. Travel Insurance

Although it is not a direct money-saving hack, having insurance for a high-altitude trek is important, especially if you’re a beginner or getting into high-altitude trekking. It can protect you from unforeseen expenses due to illness, accidents, or trip cancellations. It is better to buy insurance for $100 – $200 before starting your trek rather than paying for a heli rescue, which is super expensive. Also, please note that travel insurance is different from high-altitude trek insurance. Be aware and do proper research before purchasing one.

7. Domestic Flight Bookings

Kathmandu Lukla EBC flight

Book the flights from Kathmandu to Lukla, Pokhara, or other destinations from the official airline’s website. Some domestic airlines include Yeti Airlines, Sita Air, Buddha Air, and Summit Air. The earlier you book, the lower the price will be. Save the hassle and money by avoiding agencies. Also, this saves you from the commission fees.

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