Trekking to Everest Base camp doesn’t have to be expensive, and I’ve done a post about cost and how you can do the trek on the cheap, but in this post ill share a few things i found to be useful in helping me keep costs down while trekking.
1.Bring a battery Pack and/or a solar charger: On the trek you can charge your electronics at almost every guest house you will stay at. However they charge you per device and often it is quite expensive, $5-10USD (for a full charge), and gets more expensive as you get to higher altitude. 5-10 dollars every day can quickly add up. However if you bring a battery pack, that counts as one charge and then you might get to charge your phone 3 times out of that one battery pack. Winning!
Alternatively I also brought a solar charger with me, and while it broke not long after i brought it, it made it through the trek and was extremely handy in helping me charge my phone and GoPro, without the extra expense of having to pay for a charge.
2. Bring snacks from Kathmandu: buy trail mix, musli-bars, nuts, cookies, chocolate, anything your heart desires, in Kathmandu. The only food that is cheap and available everywhere on the trail seemed to be Oreo’s and you will quickly become bored with them. Not only is their a lack of variety, or choice of healthy snack options, it also gets more expensive, like most things, the higher you climb. So best to stock up on trail mix and energy bars prior to departure to save some dollars and also your taste buds!
3. Bucket Showers or forgo showering: Everything on EBC trek you have to pay for. From toilet paper to blankets to hot water or a shower. I’m a little ashamed to say it, but like most travellers who trek to base camp, showers were few and far between. I only had 2 showers while on the trail (over some 14 days). Not only was it expensive to have a hot shower, but it was often the last thing you wanted to do, as the guest houses were just that cold, that even the thought of getting unchanged was unbearable. However i did have a proper shower 2 nights in, quickly learning that it wasn’t worth the money. The shower was literally a whole in the wall and the water was Luke warm.
Your other cheaper option is to have a bucket shower. Basically you pay for a bucket of water and you wash yourself with that. Either hot or cold, the latter being the cheaper option. But even these cost around $5 for a hot bucket and are less than pleasant.
Myself and Zoe decided that after 6 odd days without washing our hair, that it was time to give it a clean, so ordered a HOT bucket shower. We washed our hair, on the front step of our accomodation and to our dismay, ended up with frozen hair, due to the freezing temperatures. As we washed out the shampoo, little dandruff like flakes cascaded down from our hair. Initially we assumed it was dandruff, the obvious conclusion having not washed our hair in over a week, but upon closer examination, we realised that the water was freezing on our heads as we were washing it and that intact they were snow flakes. If thats not an indication of how cold it was, then i don’t know what is!
4. Bring tea bags from Kathmandu: This might seem super stingy, but I would estimate I saved a good $30-40AUD by doing this. If you bring a $1 packed of tea bags from Kathmandu, then you only have to pay ~30cents for a glass of hot water, rather than $1.5 for a hot tea. I had a tea twice a day. You be the judge on this one, but I was secretly happy with myself for this brilliant idea!
5. Buy a sim card in Kathmandu: There is wifi at the guest houses, but again you have to pay for it and its relatively slow. Alternately you can get a $30 sim card, from one of the many whole-in-the-wall phone shops and believe it or not, you will have phone coverage, and therefore internet coverage, most of the way (with a few exceptions). Although its nice to be out of range for a while, and some people deliberately didn’t get sim cards for this reason, as it was over christmas it was nice to be able to FaceTime home on Christmas Morning. Up to you, but if you plan on using the internet, defiantly a good option!
6. Make sure you have enough warm clothes: This one might seem obvious, but alot of my group were taken by surprise at just how cold it was*. This therefore lead to them buying more layers and jackets on the trail, which in comparison to price in Kathmandu, is much more expensive. If you come prepared for the coldest weather you can imagine, you should be right! * I went in Late December, which is one of the coldest times the trek operates, if you go earlier in the hiking season, temperatures down to -30 degrees celsius, shouldn’t be likely. I literally slept in the same amount of layers, if not more, that i hiked in*
7. Order the Dal Baht: if your really hungry after a long day of hiking, and haven’t gotten sick of the taste of Dal Baht yet, then order this meal for sure! Its the meal that keeps on giving. For some reason when you order Dal baht, which is a mix of rice, lentils and veggies, you get as many refills as you can handle. So if you run out of veggies, you get more. More rice? no worries.
However this isn’t the case with any other meal, e.g. popular momo’s, so if your hungry Dal Baht is defiantly the way to go!
So thats the main things that i noticed saved me some $$$ whilst trekking EBC. If you want more info about the cost of Trekking Everest Base Camp and when to book, you can check it out here.