Before planning your travel, you should consult with your government regarding any current travel alerts relating to the areas you are planning to travel in. On arrival you should register with your embassy or register on the relevant travel alert website depending on your country of origin. Most countries governments operate very good travel information and alert websites. You should consult and register with these prior to your departure.
Regarding Nepal, the political situation is presently regarded as safe and stable and a lot of governments are removing travel alerts for Nepal from their lists.
When travelling to Nepal and trying to organize your trek, there are a daunting number of travel agencies out there to choose from. It can be overwhelming even when just looking on the internet, especially for the first time traveler. In order for you to have a happy and successful trip it’s important to make the right choice. Bad choices can not only ruin your holiday but also end up costing you a lot of money.
There are many examples of so called trekking companies and tour agencies offering service in Nepal taking advantage and money form unsuspecting tourists. These operators are not licensed by the government, they normally sub contract out your trek to other companies, taking commission from them and avoiding paying the correct taxes and license fees. This can also result in inflated trip prices for the tourist. These bad operators are only concerned with their own wealth and often pay their trekking staff very poorly and in most occasion don’t offer them insurance, proper equipment or any other kind of support.
To ensure that you don’t use one of these bad operators when booking your trip here are a few things you should check up on:
- Make sure the company is registered,
- Make sure that they insure their staff
- Don’t be afraid to ask around to check the companies’ reputation.
- Of course just because a company is registered it doesn’t mean they are a good operator. Other things you should check up on are:
- Is the company environmentally conscious?
- Do they support local projects?
- Is the company culturally aware and sensitive?
- Are their guides and porters supplied with proper clothing and equipment?
- Do their staff have good skills in English?
- Do their staff have first aid training?
As with all things travel related, a little bit of common sense and pre trip research goes a long way to making your trip a success. You should take advantage of traveler’s web sites and blogs and speak to as many other travelers as possible to help you make your choices about which company to use.
Individual Trekking/Hiring Independents Guides
Some travelers coming to Nepal prefer to use the services of independent guides. If you are planning on doing this there are a number of things you need to consider. If you are sure that the guide you are choosing is highly recommended, trustable and experienced then by all means join with them. It is important for you to ensure your chosen independent guide is registered with the correct government authorities. Not only is operating without the correct license illegal, but it could cause you to run into problems obtaining permits.
If you trek alone or hire your own independent guide, you may run into difficulty should you need rescue services or emergency medical treatment. Remember that any independent guide may not have his own insurance and he/she will certainly not have the backing and experience that guides belonging to a registered company will have. Did you know that an average rescue flight cost $3000, you could be responsible for paying this should anything happen not just to you but to your guide/porter, if they don’t have their own insurance. In such emergencies, if you don’t have the backing of a reputable company you could be in serous trouble, esp. in remote areas.
If you, on your own or hiring an Independent Trekking guide, could be difficult to get the rescue services, someone in Kathmandu must guarantee the payment of the flight before the rescue.
If you are trekking alone, you should register with your embassy or consulate in Nepal prior to departing on your trek. By doing this it will greatly assist you should you require evacuation of any type. Your embassy will arrange such things should they arise. If your country does not have an embassy or consulate in Kathmandu and you are trekking on your own or with an Individual trekking Guide, you will have trouble getting rescued unless you arrange something in advance. Make sure to check this with your travel insurance scheme,
If you decide to hire a guide/porter, remember that you are their employer and thus should take full responsibility. You must make sure they have adequate clothes and other gear necessary for the trek. It is your responsibility to rent the gear for them. It is also your responsibility to take care of their medical requirements if they fall sick during the trek, you must be responsible for that as well. When trekking though a company, the company will ensure all this for you. ATC does not under any circumstances send our guides out trekking without the right gear or insurance and back up support should they need it.
Should your independent trekking guide disappointing you or disappear before completing your trip, it could create problems for you, not to mention result in you missing your flight or other planned activities you have in Nepal. We also recommend you to be careful when making payment to independent guides, we suggest you do not pay them in full in advance. It is not unheard of for independent guides to run away with your money. Where does that leave you? With a very expensive holiday.