If you are one of those wonderful people who have been following my blog regularly, you must have noticed that I always travel on my own and have almost never traveled with any travel agency. That is because I always enjoy doing the planning and preparation for every trip I go on myself. Be it the bare minimum and haphazard research that I do before my trips, be it finding the best deals on flight and accommodation or be it hunting for eateries that serve the most delicious of food. To me, all this is as much fun as the actual travel is and I never delegate these things to someone else. But when the trip is a trek, things change.
As much as I wanted do the trek to the Hampta Pass me and Ruchi did last year, the sensible thing to do was to join one of the groups going on the said trek by registering with a Trek Agency. We did the same and suggest you too do the same unless of-course, you are aware of all the aspects involved in a multi-day trek and are willing to take care of the same. For those who would like to do it the way we did, by tagging along with a Himalayas with a Trek agency, I suggest you keep in mind the following things before you decide on one. We did the same and were pretty satisfied by the end of our trek with Renok Adventures.
Reputation: The first thing we did before deciding on a particular trek agency was ‘look it up’ on the internet. Do some digging around about the agencies which do the trek(s) you want to go on and see which one has got better reviews. In this connected age of Facebook and Twitter whatever you want to look for is no more than a few clicks away. So, don’t just go by the brand-name. Do your share of research or ask people who you think would have a better idea and only then decide. Bigger brands might not always be the best of options out there. Something which I found out when I was looking for a good trek agency.
Money: Given the fact that almost all popular treks in the Himalayas have a fixed itinerary and all the trek-agencies roughly follow the same, the prices across all the agencies remain more or less on the same lines. What differs from agency to agency is the value they offer for your money. When you pay for a multi-day trek, you are paying for a lot of things. Food, stay and trained guides to name a few. This is where things differ. Look for thing like, what sort of tents they will be carrying. Double, triple or group-tents. See if they charge extra in case you want your back-pack to carried by them.
Guides: A well-trained guide is THE most important person in a group leaving for a trek. Find out about the guides the agency has. Make sure the guides are experienced enough and know the trail well. Don’t hesitate to call them up and get all your doubts cleared. A good trek agency will never be unwelcome to such inquiries. If they do, don’t waste your time researching about that agency any more. Look elsewhere.
Group-size: Going on a trek is all about taking things slow and getting lost in the beautiful surroundings. More so when you are in the Himalayas. And to be able to do that, it is apparent that the group size matters. You would not want to be part of a group that is too big and hence tough to take care of. For a week or so long trek, make sure there are no more than 15 group-members and at-least a couple of guides to lead and sweep the trail. Apart from everything else, this is also important from the safety point of view.
Environment-friendly: Taking care of the environment in whatever way we can is not only something that is just good to do, it is also our duty. Before finalizing our trek agency, we made sure we find out how environment-friendly our agency was and how much effort they put in to do their bit. Whilst on the trek we found that a ‘reputed’ agency who had camped not far from our camp the previous day had left the place in a mess. Can you imagine? I mean who in their right state of mind would would leave a pile of garbage in a therapeutically green and beautiful place in the high Himalayas? It was porters, guides and some of our trek-mates who disposed the trash. So yeah, do your bit and choose an agency that cares for the environment.
Handling of Emergency: Going on a trek means being far from civilization. It also means that in the event of any emergency, it would need a while before you have access to proper medical care. So it is very important to make sure that the guides are well-equipped and capable enough to handle such emergency situations.
**Is there anything else that you would like to know before you finalize your trek agency? Leave me a comment and I will get back to you.
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