There’s the cost you’ve got to pay for the flights and trek tour guide but then there are the daily expenses as you go up the mountain.
In this article, I’ll detail the money you’ll need for your everyday items.
So how much money should you take on the Everest base camp trek?
$30 a day would be a moderate amount if meals are not included with your base camp trek package. The $30 will cover meals, drinks, snacks, and tips. Take more or less depending on your usual spending habits.
I thought food, water, and other items would be quite cheap but in fact, it was quite expensive.
This is due to how hard it is to get the supplies up the mountains which makes sense.
The further up you go the more expensive it gets. Especially water.
The thing is, you’ve not got many options so you have to pay what they ask.
Everest Base Camp Trek Daily Budget
So like I said before, this depends on what’s included in your trek. Most tours don’t include meals in the price, you get your accommodation but you have to pay for your own food.
The currency they use is the Nepalese Rupee.
A hot meal is about $6 plus about $1 for a drink at the current exchange rate.
Here’s a menu from one of the teas houses I stayed at.
As you can see there are some meals that are a little cheaper than others, like chips (fries) and soups but believe me, you are going to want to eat something that will satisfy you after walking for hours on end.
The chips are really good as they are homemade but you’ll probably want to eat more than that each meal as you build up a massive appetite each day.
You’ll also probably want the odd chocolate bar or 2, as at night time it’s nice to have a few home comforts.
They are also more expensive than back home.
A chocolate bar can be about $3-5 each. Any item like that will be much more than you would normally pay back at home.
They have some bakeries up the mountains so you might want to grab a bun and a coffee when you can.
If say you spend about $10 twice a day when you have your meal stops that is $20, and then any extras you want like chocolate bars etc, oh and don’t forget bottles of water, that will take it up to $30 a day.
That’s not spending crazy amounts either. That’s a pretty accurate cost if you spent conservatively.
I recommend taking $40 daily budget to be safe.
The above costs don’t account for WIFI either.
Everest WIFI Costs
So another cost you need to think about is WIFI as it’s not free on the mountain.
Most tea houses will offer WIFI for a charge.
As you go further up the mountian it gets more expensive and not very good. I remember it took an hour just to upload 2 pictures to facebook.
Lower down the mountain the cost starts at around 200 Rupees ($1.80) for an hour and then close to basecamp it’s about 900 Rupees ($8.15) an hour.
You’ll probably feel a little homesick and will want to go online to check FB and message your friends so this is a cost you should factor in as well.
Phone Charging Costs.
This is also a cost you need to factor in.
If you want to keep your phone charged every day then you will need to pay to use the electric in the tea houses.
Lower down the trek you can charge your phone all night for a few bucks but as you get higher up the mountain you get less time and it costs more.
The main reason is, tea houses higher up the mountain get their electric from Solar Energy.
I suggest taking a power bank or 2 and charging them lower down the trek. If you have a good power bank you should get 3 or 4 phone charges per full power bank.
Also, try to keep your power bank in a warmer place as the cold can drain the power bank.
After my trip, my power bank was knackered due to being in the cold all the time.
So which these extra costs in mind, I suggest if you can, take much more money than you need so you’ll always have enough for what you want.
Other Base Camp Trek Costs
Here’s a list of some of the other things you will probably need to factor in when deciding how much money you should take to do Everest base camp trek.
- International airport departure tax
- Optional activities
- Any visas required
- Services not mentioned in the itinerary
- Early check-in or late check-out costs at hotels
- Tips for leaders, guide, and drivers
- Expenditure of personal nature
- Personal Insurance
Porter tips is a big one!
How Much Do You Tip A Porter?
On my pre-travel guide I got before I went it said to expect to pay about $2-3 per person per day as a tip for the porters.
I took that as I’m on the trek for 12 days so it will be about $24-$36 for the trek.
Turns out I actually read it wrong and it said $2-3 per person, per day, per porter in the group, plus $3-5 per person, per day for the group leader.
I can’t remember exactly how many porters our group had but the tip worked out about $175 (ish), much more than I prepared for.
In the end, I actually had to borrow some money as I didn’t have enough on me till I got back to Kathmandu.
Those guys did work hard though so I was happy to pay it.
It’s crazy to think, as we were all struggling to make it up the mountain those guys were doing it with 2 x 10k bags on their back.
Crazy ain’t it?
Another bit of advice regarding tips in general. Don’t tip with coins or notes of less than NPR50, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
Another thing you should think about is cash points.
Cash Points Everest Base Camp Trek
I would suggest bringing ALL the money you will need for the trek whilst you’re on the mountain as the cash points have a habit of not working or being out of cash.
Plus they are not at every village that you stop at.
I would bring the money you need and keep it safely on you at all times. Maybe put a little bit as back up money tucked in a sock in your main bag for emergencies.
I don’t think any porter would try and steal anything so it’s worth putting a little backup money somewhere else in case you lose your money which hopefully won’t happen.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Changing Money In Nepal
The money you’ll need is their official currency which is the Nepalese Rupee.
Plenty of ATMs can be found in Kathmandu before you head off to the mountains.
I remember there being issues with cashpoints there as well so make sure you go to the cash point earlier in the day so you’re not running around last minute trying to find a working cash point.
They have money exchange facilities available in Kathmandu as well so you change your money up before you go.
Something to note is the Nepalese government have banned the import, export, and use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal.
So make sure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated and you may be fined.
Please note: Don’t take any torn, dirty, or drawn on notes as they won’t exchange them for you. Make sure all the money you bring to change up is in good condition.
Lastly, you can use travelers’ cheques if you want to be safer.
Exchanging them however can be a lengthy process, commissions can be quite high (up to 10%) and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays.
Can You Do Everest Base Camp On A Budget?
Whilst you can do Everest on a budget, I recommended that you have adequate money saved before you do your trip.
If any emergencies came up on your trip then it would not be a good situation if you didn’t have enough funds to cover the situations that arise.
Your trip will be much more enjoyable if you’re not worried about being careful with your money. If money is an issue then I would suggest delaying the date you book for your trip to give you plenty of time to save some extra money.
Do You Need To Tip In Nepal?
Whilst it is not compulsory to tip, it’s good to do it. The Nepalese people are good people, yet poor people who work hard and tipping helps them a lot.
It may not be compulsory to tip in your home country but it’s something I recommend you do if you’ve received good service out in Nepal.
And remember, don’t tip with coins, dirty old notes or under NPR50 as it’s considered a bit of insult.