Trekking has become a popular activity for many nowadays. And it won’t be incorrect to say it is fairly one of the cheapest adventures. But still, most of the trekkers end up spending bigs on treks which they could have done on a lower budget. Trekking can both be confusing and expensive when you are deciding where to trek and what gears to invest in. By the time you purchase all your gears and get ready to hit the trails, you will be amazed at how much money you have actually spent.
Here are some crucial tips that will help you make your trekking experience less expensive and if you are someone who is the first timer then you should always use these budget-friendly tips.
TIP#1: Plan Ahead
We all know how crucial planning is for everything you do in your life. In trekking, planning is again the crucial step for beginners and experienced trekkers. This is actually the thumb rule in trekking which will cut the cost. You need to learn the layout of the trek, weather, and pack accordingly. Planning will help you to overcome potential obstacles.
A well-planned trek will include stays, transportation, gears, etc. If you are planning a trek during the off-season or making advance arrangements can certainly reduce the cost. You can go for the option of dorms or hostels or homestays and save money on your stay.
TIP#2: Rent Gears
Because of its popularity, we have many companies that are renting out their trekking gears at a very minimal cost. We all know the trekking gears are no more than an investment. If you are a beginner or intermediate, you should consider renting them out. This is actually one of the best ways to budget your trek in case you are not a regular trekker. You can use these companies for that Sharepal, Unwind Life, or Shoesonloose for renting out the equipment. They have everything starting from a headlamp to tents to oxygen cylinders to Gopro. When I went on my third or fourth trek I myself had used Unwind Life for renting out the tents, sleeping bags, and mats. It saved a lot of money and moreover I didn’t know whether the group would be doing their next trek. Hence I advised them to rent and not to purchase.
Although you really need to call them or visit them in order to save the right pair of shoes for you or a tent or any other gears. Ofcourse, you don’t want to have 1 single tent of 4 people and rather take 2 tents of 2 people. It becomes easy to carry and you get more space to relax. Likewise going early will certainly give you many options to choose from and you can enjoy quality gears without breaking your bank account.
You can also ask your friends. If you have any trekking enthusiast in your friend list, ask them to lend you the gears. It can save you a few extra thousands.
TIP#3: Pack Lightweight
It is said that the one who travels happily must travel light and we can’t agree more with it. Always pack your backpack as light as you can but make sure to carry all the essentials required. Packing light does not mean to avoid the essentials but to avoid the unnecessary items. Carry what you will need and not what you want. Although your backpack packing will be dependent on certain factors like the type of trek, temperature, and weather. Pack optimally so you can carry your own backpack and avoid any cost indulged to porter for your backpack.
Also, many first-timers buy every layer of clothing required for trekking, little do they know that half of this will not even be used. Always do research about your trek temperature and conditions so you know what clothes you will need. Buying those unnecessary items will definitely result in exceeding your budget.
I have seen a lot of people packing heavy and later they have to do porter in order to carry their backpack, which adds a lot to your budget. When you are renting out the equipment please check for the proper clothes and shoes depending upon your trek. Carrying a different jacket for cold weather and different in case of rain makes no sense, carry one water-proof jacket which can serve both purposes. The lighter your backpack will be, the less number of porters you will require which results in saving.
TIP#4: Ask Your Friends/Group Travel
Trekking is becoming very popular so chances are someone you know is willing to trek along with you. Sharing expenses is always the best way to lower down the budget. You can follow this tip during your regular vacation or during trekking. Also, you can post on Facebook to make a group for your trek.
You can also join a group and do the trek with them. Trekking in groups as compared to solo can save costs. You will share expenses, from transport to food to camping. It is always a good thing to ask a few people with the same interest, you might get lucky. Also going in a group gives you a chance to interact with like-minded people and mountain enthusiasts. Trekking in groups will always be a factor to budget your trek.
TIP#5: Make Your Own Food
Sounds confusing? But it is true actually. If you are someone who is planning to trek in the Himalayas on a budget, learn to cook your own food. You will need pre-cooked food for a multi-day trek. There are several options available in the market for pre-cooked food. Preparing your own food will substantially cut costs. You can invest some money in foods like energy bars, nuts, and ready to eat food. It is common that the higher you go, the costlier the food becomes. Keep in mind to have food which has high calories to weight ratio. Pick more carbohydrates than protein. This is the catch while buying food for trekking. For healthy reasons, carry as many unprocessed foods as possible.
TIP#6: Use Public Transport
Although this might not draw your attention like other tips, it surely saves a lot. Try and use as much public transport as you can like trains and buses. Hiring a taxi would dig a hole in your pocket. The best about the Himalayan trek is that they are very well connected to the roads, which means you can use public transport to get there. If not comfortable, you can also use the shared cabs/taxis to reach the base camp.
For example – if you are doing a Kheerganga trek then you can take a Volvo or a roadways bus till Kasol and from there you can take another bus to reach Barsheni which is the starting point of the Kheerganga trek. The fare from Delhi to Kasol will be starting from 1200 INR per person whereas if you hire a taxi will take around 12,000 INR plus the toll taxes and state permits plus driver charges. Even if you are 4 persons, one side travel will not cost you anything less than 4,000-5,000 INR each. So it’s clear that using public transport can lower your travel cost and is a simple way to budget your trek.
No matter if you are doing your first trek or second or third, you don’t need to empty your wallet. So you need to take your own sweet time and do your proper research and preparation before hitting the trek. Pick a destination according to your physical fitness and get your gears on a budget and you are all set to go. Trekking is the easiest part of all, the planning is the one which is time-consuming and confusing, so follow these tips and you will be able to handle the hard part without any problems. These tips are easy and following these, you can learn how to budget your trek.
Do share your experiences and stories with us if you find these tips have helped you in getting you a budgeted trek.
HAPPY TREKKING TO ALL