People often have the idea that trekking to Everest Base Camp is only for the wealthy. But it’s not. It’s affordable to most of us. In fact, we met people on the trail doing it on a shoestring: walking all the way to avoid the expensive flight to Lukla, cooking their own meals and camping. That only shows that anyone can go.
Although we were not on a super-strict budget we still ended up running out money due to bad budgeting. We found that many resources online didn’t quite show how much money people really need. Often it talked about the flights, documentation and the cost of a room at a teahouse, but what about Insurance, Trekking Gear, Renting Gear, Food and all the other extras? Our list, is the ultimate breakdown on how much an Everest Base Camp trek costs.
The first question that came to our heads during the planning stage was: How can we trek to Everest Base Camp without breaking the bank? And it wasn’t until digging deeper on Google that we found out that we could trek independently, which is a massive saving on the budget. Unfortunately, people are not aware of it because as soon as you type on google “Everest Base Camp”, the first page it’s only for Tours and it isn’t until you type “Everest Base Camp travel blog”, that you find out that many fellow bloggers have done it.
Saying that, we found bias opinions about tours or going independently because a few bloggers do get paid or invited to join a tour and later promote the company on their blogs. However, we also found people who did it independently and enjoyed it as much.
Trekking to Everest Base Camp independently and on a budget is possible. We can show you how!
Note: The prices shown below are for two people for the length of 16 nights/17 days.
Everest Base Camp Cost
Unless people want to add an extra 4-5 days by walking to/from Jiri, flying is the only option. Although quicker it’s not cheap at all. At a whopping USD170 per person for a 30 minutes’ flight it will have you wondering if walking could be a better option.
Having done it, I would say: splurge a little. The views from the Himalayas are incredible and if like us your flight is smooth and the weather is just perfect, that will be without doubt a flight to remember!
It sucks! But must be done. We never travel without insurance and no-one should. Unfortunately, our policy did not include trekking at high altitude, so we had to buy a new one just for the length of our stay. Insurance for 17 days: Level 3 – Trekking up to 6,000 meters on recognised routes (UK Citizens or Residents only).
No-one can go trekking in Nepal without obtaining documentation. Not only that is a safe tracking system to know people’s whereabouts, because accidents do happen, but also the fees goes towards the maintenance of Sagarmatha National Park.
Both documents are compulsory.
TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) Rs2000 per person
National Park Permit Rs3,390 per person
Cost for two people: Rs10,780/USD$95/GBP£75
Trekking Clothing & Gear
Unfortunately, we had to buy majority of our trekking gear, because it’s not something that we carry during our travels. We had been travelling for nearly a year and had been lucky to have visited countries during the Spring or Summer.
Read our article What to Pack for Everest Base Camp.
Sleeping Bag – Rs80 per day
Down Jacket – Rs60 per day
Cost for two people: 17 days = Rs4,750/USD$40/GBP£35
Not wanting to buy a lot because ultimately, we were the ones carrying it, we managed to buy the essentials. Our original First Aid Kit needed some refilling so maybe that is why in this section some people will not spend as much.
First Aid Kit / Toiletries
Prayer Flags (pack of five)
Cost for two people: Rs3000/USD$30/GBP£25
Accommodation & Food
Paying for a room on the trail is actually laughable at how cheap it is. The “most expensive” room at Gorap Shep was Rs300, other villages rooms were at Rs100 or in some teahouses, free of charge if we had all our meals there. Regarding food, it really depends on how the body reacts at high altitude and after walking for several hours a day. After Tengoche, from day 5, we both developed an enormous appetite and were very hungry all the time. Nevertheless to say that the meals are not that big and seeing people eating porridge for breakfast and soup for dinner, made us even more hungry. We ate a lot and skimping on food along the trail was never an option.
Average food prices are between Rs300-Rs700 for a meal. Also the higher you are, the price of the food increases. Food isn’t that expensive, it’s true but when eating 4-5 times a day it adds up.
Cost: Rs80,900/USD$740/GBP£580 (includes 4-5 meals a day each, dozens of tea pots and deserts)
Wifi & Charging electronics
Having a Power Bank helped a lot, there was no need to pay for charging our electronics. Only at Namche we charged the phone and GoPro, but it was “free of charge” because we ate there.
We also had purchased a SIM card prior to Everest Base Camp but at Lobuche when there was no signal, we bought a Data card.
Average charging rates: Rs250-Rs350
Rs500 – 200MB data
Rs250 – charging power bank for 1 hour
Perhaps there is a bus to/from Kathmandu to the airport but on the 1st day, our flight was at 7am and the check in at 6am, getting a taxi seemed obvious.
On the way back, we met this lovely couple at Lukla, and once in Kathmandu we shared a taxi to Thamel.
Cost: Rs800/USD$7/GBP£5 (Drop off & Pick up)
Grand Total: Rs209,980 / £1,530 for two people
Because we ate so much and often, the amount of money spent on food is probably the equivalent of having hired a Guide/Porter. Some people will argue this budget is way too much, some might say it’s not enough. As usual, we can’t win.
The truth is, nothing can really prepare you for this trek: some people reach base camp on day 8, some only eat two meals a day, others cook their own meals and camp all the way. Everyone is different. We took our time, added days when necessary, ate a lot and enjoyed every moment of it. Thinking about it, there isn’t much we would have changed, apart maybe adding a “little porter”.
We are very happy with the budget and at £765/USD950 per person, considering that a third is just for the flights, trekking to Everest Base Camp can be achieved.
Further reading: Lonely Planet Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya (Travel Guide) is a complete and all-inclusive guide for those wanting to experience and explore Trekking in the Himalaya. We strongly recommend reading this guide as it helped us planning our own trip.
What do you think of our budget?
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We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.
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