December 6, 2016 Boro

How to choose a trekking company?

How to choose a trekking company?

How to choose a trekking company? Yes, it is difficult to choose one among many.  So, here I am trying to develop an approach to compare. There are many companies operating for every trek. In the case of planning your trek and choosing an operator, you may consider few points; which will help you to identify a company with good facilities and sincere responsibilities.

  1. A good itinerary design with ample time.  Most of the time we gain altitude in the trek. The higher altitude than where we live our daily active life. The point of acclimatization appears here. In a high altitude trek, this becomes the most important point to succeed. Also, the overall extreme climatic condition up there demands more time to get used to in it and enjoy more. Keep at least 48 hrs in your hand before you start trekking. Use natural ways to acclimatize over time with the well-hydrated body and say no to an artificial method of DIAMOX. In case of any other lower altitude trek, where acclimatization is not that important; still, the ample time is an unavoidable parameter of an itinerary as it is the key factor to explore and enjoy, without being chased by time.
  2. Uniqueness and importance of a date to start. Every trail has it’s different shades to explore. We should understand the nature of a trail according to seasons and pick up the right season according to our interest. For example, a Birdwatcher should opt for Goecha La, at March-April for Rhododendron blossom. I will also suggest considering trekkers density over a trail at a time to enjoy more solitude and create a less adverse impact on the ecosystem. Similarly, Chadar forms in mid-Jan to mid-Feb. According to my experience of recent past, choose a date earlier half of season (Mid Jan) to experience much fresh trail, than a trail already marched by a few hundreds. Also, you can plan to experience a full moon at Chadar. A night needs no explanation.
  3. Required and Safety gears :  Understand the trek & it’s difficulties to create a checklist of required gears. Good gears are one the key for a safe and successful trek . So check with your operator in detail about safety gears, camping gears & warm equipment in detail . For e.g,  Walking crampon or micro spike can give you a lot of advantage over the hard ice in winter trek, protect falls. Also, you can ask for temperature specification of the sleeping bag, tent, type of mattress, etc. Quality equipment is costly and creates a big difference in price.
  4. A responsible operator & traveler:  Normally we trek inside a highly sensitive ecosystem deep in the Himalaya or other reserved forests. While operating for a trekking operator needs to be more careful about outdoor & environmental ethics. It is true that only on-field you can see the reality of practices they are following. Still, before choosing any of them ask simple questions about Waste Management Technics they follow during trek; what they actually do with the waste generates every day over camps?. Don’t believe in stories of after action was taken by anybody; as one month is enough to contaminate the river or other water bodies before the end of season cleaning. Try to understand their seriousness about nature. Don’t be a part of their fate & action of making Himalaya dirty. A responsible traveler should choose a responsible operator.
  5. Smaller team size not only adds more solitude and more silence to the place, also, it reduces the chance of adverse impact on nature due to your travel. For example, one who keen on wildlife, the silence increases chances of a sighting. Also, a good ratio of trekkers to trek leader (8–10: 1) is important for your safety. This point is hard to realize on a good day, but when everything goes wrong the adventure begins.
  6. A professional to take care of your pre-trek preparations can create a major impact on your journey.  You end up packing absolute necessity, rejects unnecessary things and keep your backpack light. Also, they can help you preparing for mental and physical endurance prior trek.
  7. Knowledge & experience of the trek leader and team about the region, sports, and trek; can really change your experience. That is what makes a good trek. Develop several or sufficient conversations with operation team to understand their knowledge and communication skills. For good hard serious trek ask for qualification of trek leaders in terms of experience and certification to manage medical scenario.
  8. Cost is something we diffidently need to compare but we should not let the only cost to decide the choice. Before looking at an overall cost, read the inclusions & exclusions carefully and understand the hidden or other cost involve in your travel. Check the #no of days offered as even a single extra day can add even 3000 INR more to your budget but might be absolutely required for acclimatization & experience better. Smaller group size increases the cost radically in terms of operation, (ex: One cook’s salary of 1500 INR per day get shared by 5-10 people in a smaller group and will be shared by 20+ people in a big team) but makes it more ethical to environments, as organic or green products are sometimes a little higher in cost.
  9. Food & accommodation, are definitely a major point to consider but I am keeping it at the bottom as I believe most operators are maintaining a certain decency in these services. E.g. for Chadar trek, check rooms are provided with room heater or not. Food menu should have enough varieties & nutrition balance to keep your test buds alive in the extreme winter & exhumations.Water is very important to stay fit at high and perform well. So, Keep a focus on a lot of water intake in different forms, like tea, coffee, hot soups, hot soupy noodles, boiled pulses, hot chocolates etc. Because in cold temperatures, you do not feel thirsty and also tend to ignore drinking water. Hot water does not taste good to all.
  10. Be careful about travel Market Place: There are a lot of websites which works like travel marketplace, e.g, Thrilophilia.  They have a few advantages and a few disadvantages. The advantage is more options as they only list other tour operators products and earn a percentage of profit; they can list as many as they want. And the major disadvantage of this model is, they don’t manage operation their own. Outsourcing on a cheaper rate often leads to poor quality of field operation. Also, you may miss all pre-trek guidance over conversation as you don’t reach directly the trek leader or operation leader of the trek.
How to combat cold in Himalayan treks? The concept of layering clothes
How To Prepare for a trek, The Physical Endurance
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About the Author

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Boro Now it is more than a decade I am exploring Himalaya and other landscapes of the subcontinents. I don't leave a single chance of adventure that comes on my way and allows me to stay closer to mother nature. I played with air, earth, and water. But climbing up through the high white mountain is my favorite one. I am curious about almost everything and anything that passes by my travel . And I keep studying about them. I am passionate and shy too on my venture with photography. It is a way, I express myself. I enjoy my role as an Exploration Leader at RockyFeet and thankful to be a part of Himalayan Conservation Actions of the society.

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