The following FAQs apply to many of the destinations where Expedition Base leads adventures for trekking and expeditions. Below are some general answers that apply to many trips offered by Expedition Base and we will provide you with more specific information for your desired trip on enquiry.
(For mountaineering trips, many of the below answers apply and may also help you prepare for your trip)
Each trekking trip requires a reasonable level of fitness. Most days are approx. 4-8 hour trekking days, at a slow pace, including rest breaks.
rain will be generally be uneven, dusty and with rocky trails. At higher altitudes there may be some snow under foot is there is some snowfall from time to time.
Therefore, to the extent you can spend time walking, swimming, jogging and undertaking some strength work before your trip, it will only add to your enjoyment by allowing you to relax more and not exert yourself too much. Spending time on trails for reasonable periods will prepare your body (and especially your legs) well for the trekking that you plan to do.Mountaineering
It goes without saying, that mountaineering expeditions will generally be more physically demanding on your body than a trekking trip. Therefore, participants should adopt a sound training regime in advance of any mountaineering trip in order to be well prepared for their climb. At the time of your enquiry with us, we will ask you about your experience and fitness and will provide some guidance on what you can do to be prepared for your trip in order to give you the best chance for success.
For any country where your trek is operating that is a developing country, please expect that it may not have the same hygiene standards as you might find in your home country and, in many cases, the bugs are just different. The availability of water may be a key factor that makes good hygiene difficult but there are ways to look after your health in any event.
Your new best friends on your trip will be waterless hand sanitizer and a buff or mask to minimize the impact of dust and on days where the wind or activity on the trails increase dust levels. Please carry these with you at all times.
Toilets, whilst trekking on some trips, may be hay ‘drop’ toilets (small sheds with hay) or there will be some western style toilets in lodges or local squat toilets.
Well, not really... this is adventure travel. You will be able to have a wash each day, if you like, and from time to time there may be showers available (depending on where you are, there may be a fee to shower if you plan to shower in a lodge).
It is also recommended that you bring along some ‘wet wipes’ on your trip. It may be possible to have showers every few days (or less!) over the duration of the trek. Some showers may, in any event, consist of a bucket and a cup, but you will be surprised how refreshing a ‘shower’ with a bucket and cup is! It is not uncommon for trek or expedition participants to go many days or weeks without having a ‘shower’ with relying on a quick wash, hot towel or wet wipes often being the ‘norm’.
The terrain on the trails will generally be uneven rocky and dirt, dusty trails. Trekking boots are good because they provide support for the ankles and feet generally, especially when you will be walking for many hours at a time, albeit at a gentle pace. However, if you have strong ankles and are confident on uneven surfaces, then you can elect to wear your favourite runners if you are satisfied they will do the job. But, many people prefer to have the support that trekking boots offer.
On some trekking trips, where there is a risk of snow or rain - especially when travelling over high passes - then we do recommend that you have a pair of trail shoes or boots that are waterproof. Note also that in times of snow, you may need to have crampon compatible boots on high passes.
For certain trips, especially long trips, we try to encourage participants to bring their own for hygiene and due to wear and tear etc. You can also bring your own whenever you wish and we will also check your gear at the start of the trip to ensure it is fit for purpose.
However, Expedition Base can provide participants with a down jacket, sleeping bag and sleeping mat (when camping) for those who do not have these items and don’t want to go to the expense of buying or renting these items. Participants will be given down jackets as close as possible to their size, but a perfect size cannot be guaranteed.
For your particular trip, we will let you know this in advance and give you information on what and how to pack for internal flights.
In Nepal, the maximum amount of personal gear that you can take on a flight is 10-15kg (subject to change) so it is not very much. You will need to pack efficiently. We will do a gear check in Kathmandu to make sure you have what you need and we can take out anything you don’t need.
Expedition Base will provide you with a complimentary kit bag for your gear on the trek (and to keep) so that your own bag does not get damaged in the portering and transport process. Extra gear can be taken by cargo and sometimes we send gear ahead of us by cargo.
For mountaineering trips of long duration, participants will be provided with 2 complimentary Expedition Base kit bags to keep.
With particular reference to any developing country you may be travelling to, it is recommended that you only drink water that has been properly boiled or is purchased in a bottle with a sealed lid. We will let you know if you should not even drink the boiled water. In Nepal, you can expect that routinely we will arrange for drinking water to be boiled. In addition, for environmental reasons, we do not include provision of bottled drinking water in your trip costs and you would need to pay for those if you elect not to drink the boiled water. Some parts of Nepal are actually seeking to remove plastic and glass from various areas, so we appreciate your understanding to support the local environment.
Your Expedition Base leaders are well trained at looking after foreigners and know to boil water well. However, do expect that the water you receive each day will likely be warm so if you are a cold water drinker, its best to try and get your water the night before, where possible. You can also bring tablets or a solution to add to your water to manage purification, if you are concerned. However, we generally find boiling the water does the trick in most cases because we know where the water is coming from etc. (Note that local people often drink tap water in the countries you are visiting, but foreigners are sometimes not so used to the local bugs). If in doubt, please ask your Expedition Base crew.
For any trip you are on with us where you are free to explore towns and cities at your leisure, you may want to have lunch and dinner at unknown cafes and restaurants.
We will discuss ‘safe’ places to eat at the start of your trip ie. places with a reduced risk of bugs.
In recent years, more and more ‘safe’ places have sprung up in the adventure destinations we operate in so there are many choices of ‘safe’ places to suit a variety of tastes – and there are now many new western style and up market cafes and restaurants around to choose from. It is not recommended that you buy food from street vendors.
Safety comes first. Expedition Base regularly reviews trip locations and political issues associated with or which may impact on trekking in Nepal and elsewhere.
You can also visit the government travel assistance website of your home country for information before you travel, or please ask us at any time.
Delays with internal flights (within Nepal or elsewhere) do sometimes happen, mainly due to inclement weather. Whilst we try to minimise potential for delay, sometimes we just have to go with the flow and wait for a window to fly into or out of our chosen wilderness area.
Sometimes, in Nepal, when flights are delayed due to weather, helicopters can still fly as they can operate with lower visibility (subject to local regulations) and therefore the participants do have the option of chartering or joining helicopter flights, at an additional personal cost. If we can fill helicopters with a full complement of passengers then, naturally the cost per participant can be reasonable. As a guide, for a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (for example) on a per person basis, one-way, for a full helicopter, the price is approximately $US450 - $600pp. A helicopter is certainly a good option to have available if there is a risk of delay that may result in a participant missing an international flight connection. Expedition Base can arrange a helicopter option, on request.
You certainly can bring some things that you particularly like, especially snack items. Expedition Base will endeavor to provide tasty and nutritious food on the trek, subject to local limitations. We think you will be pleasantly surprised just how good the food is!
If you have global roaming, it is likely that your home SIM will work in your chosen destination but it is recommended that you check that and the costs with your carrier before you leave your home country as the charges for calls and SMS (sending and receiving) can be significant.
It is also possible to buy a local SIM in your destination country with the appropriate identification. However, proof of identity may be required. (Note, this is not possible in all countries where Expedition Base has trip offerings).
Customs are different from country to country therefore we recommend that you start from a position of dressing conservatively. But, we will give you a guide for your particular destination.
However, bear in mind that you will be outside in the elements for much of your trip therefore it will be good to protect your skin from excessive sun and wind.
In most countries we visit, t-shirts and shorts just above the knee are quite suitable.
Our guides are selected so as to speak the language that you speak. However, do expect some cultural nuances and indulge in the experience of getting to know and understand your guide to get the best experience. Culturally, your guide may be more shy than you are or vice versa. Part of your adventure experience will be made special by making communication challenges and opportunities something to embrace, and welcome, to add to your experience.
Whilst in your destination of choice, you will need money for any lunches and dinners that may not be included as an inclusion (especially, when you have time at leisure). Once on the trails, all meals are included unless your itinerary says otherwise.
On trek, you may want to buy trinkets, aerated drinks or a chocolate bar. As a guide for food in the city or town, you may want to allow $US30 per day, and $US5-10 per day on trek for aerated drinks and extra personal snacks, plus extra for trinkets.
If the reason you need to leave is due to medical reasons, it is likely that you will be evacuated by helicopter or other transport, at your cost (or your insurer’s, if applicable).
Note, if a helicopter is chartered the cost could be several thousand dollars if you are the only passenger. You will be taken to a main exit point (in Nepal, that will be Kathmandu) and depending on your condition you will likely be taken to a hospital.
It is important that you check your travel insurance so that you fully understand the requirements of your insurer in the case of any medical evacuation.
If your reason for leaving a trip is other than medical, you may choose to exit by plane or helicopter (subject to your location). The cost of a plane ride would already be covered if your trip covers an internal flight for exit. If the airline charges a change or administration fee, it would likely be small and it may or may not be passed onto you.
Please consult a travel vaccination specialist for up to date information on any recommended travel vaccinations for your trip. It is recommended that all usual vaccinations are current.
Also, for Nepal, consideration should be given to obtaining (in particular) immunization for Typhoid, Hep A, Hep B and it is recommended that your MMR and DPT immunisations are current.
For Tanzania, please also seek advice on any requirement for Yellow Fever vaccination requirements. However, in all cases, please rely on professional travel vaccination advice to confirm.
Nepal’s currency is the Nepalese rupee. 100 Nepalese rupees is approximately $US .95 cents.
US and Australian dollars can be readily exchanged at moneychangers in Kathmandu. It is recommended that participants only change money at authorised moneychangers and not with ‘street vendors’. Some hotels change money but their rates are generally not as good as authorised moneychangers. There are ATMs in Kathmandu readily available to foreigners. However, some are more reliable than others.
Any internal mountain (plane) flights for your trip will be arranged for you by Expedition Base.
The plane flight is included in the trip costs, if stated in your inclusions. Twin Otter is the primary mode of transport in regional Nepal. The service is fairly dependable. However, if flights are cancelled due to weather conditions, you may elect to charter helicopters, or can elect to wait for weather to clear. Helicopters can fly if the visibility is 1500m, while the Twin Otter can fly if the visibility is 5000m as per the Nepal’s civil aviation rules and regulations (subject to change). The cost of the helicopter must be authorised for payment before the flight departs for pick up of participants. US cash, travellers’ cheques, or major credit cards are generally accepted. You will be given a receipt upon payment so that you may claim the amount from your travel insurance (if applicable). However, please note that the helicopter cost may not be recoverable on your travel insurance. We are aware that some travel insurers pay, others do not. Therefore, it is recommended that you factor an exit by helicopter into your budget and check any specific issues with your travel insurer.
Normal travel insurance should cover most trekking trips. However, again, please check with your local travel agent to ensure you obtain the right travel insurance for your trip. Please ask your travel agent whether any government travel warning would or could impact the insurance they recommend participants take out. Please also check that your travel insurance covers the cost of any special flight should you need to leave the trip early.
For mountaineering trips, it is important that you check your travel insurance carefully as many insurers exclude cover where ropes are involved or where the trip is in excess of a particular altitude.
Please also make sure your travel insurance covers Nepal, due to altitude, need for medical evacuation and helicopter processes - we are not insurance experts and recommend in every case that you check with your preferred insurer to ensure you are appropriately covered for your adventure.
On a standard trek, before breakfast, you will need to pack your gear into your trekking kit bag, which is then taken by local porters and will not usually be available to you until the end of the day when we reach our next stop for the night.
We are usually on the trail by around 7-8am. Lunch breaks are normally around 11am – 12pm and such breaks are around 1-1.5 hours. For more remote treks, the trekking days (with breaks) may be longer. You will be advised of what to expect the day prior to your next trekking day.
Before dinner you can rest up, explore or chat with the team and local people. Dinner is usually served around 6.30pm but the time will be notified each day. Sometimes lunches ‘on the move‘ will be packed lunches.
The routine is normally that you bring your water bottle to dinner so it can be filled with boiling water for you to drink the next day. It also makes a great hot water bottle on cold nights.
Tipping in many of the destinations where we have trip offerings is customary in trekking and expedition situations.
It is not mandatory (unless on a particular trip this is made known to you for particular reasons – on expeditions it is more likely to have a mandatory component for – say - summit bonuses type payments). If you have a tour guide or bus driver specifically for you or your team or a jeep driver on part of your trek, there may be a customary payment that you could pay as well.
Tipping of guides and porters is customary, at a total rate for you of – commonly - $US5-$US10 per day whilst on trek. (A guide or cook will commonly be paid more, whereas a porter would commonly be paid less.)