Food costs on a Nepal trek: are meal inclusions worth it?

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The last thing you want to find out after booking and spending thousands of dollars on a holiday is that there is a huge list of things that weren’t initially included. One of those kickers is finding out that meals were never part of the deal, and this can prove to be a costly issue for trekkers and hikers.

Here are some key reasons why it’s a good idea to have your food included when heading on a trek.

1. Value for money

For many that book a holiday, they feel that taking care of their own meals for the journey will end up saving them money in the long-run, but is this really the case?

On average, the prices for meals, snacks and drinks in tea houses or lodges across the Himalayas is not as cheap as you may think. Many companies advise that you should budget anywhere from $US650-$US800 for a 13-day trek, often with limited food choices — and many of which are fried. Incidentally, the cost of food has appreciated over the years and no longer come at bargain prices, so by the end of your trip you can rack up quite an expensive food bill.

Unlike most companies, however, World Expeditions provide customers with full service meals on their trek as part of the trip price. On our Nepal treks, a cook and kitchen crew join travellers during their expedition to provide three hearty meals a day. A combination of local and European cuisines ensures travellers are taken on a culinary experience that is varied and delicious, as opposed to a number of lodges and tea house that offer a standard set menu.

Trekkers can expect cuisines such as the classic Dal Bhat (lentils, beans, rice and vegetable curry), pasta, momos (dumplings) and tasty regional breads. And, when dinner arrives, a generous three-course meal awaits. Yes, that’s an entrée, a main, and a dessert — every evening — with plenty to go around, so you can even go for seconds at no extra cost! Not only that, the cooks secretly make a note of trekkers celebrating a special occasion or a birthday to later bring out a surprise cake that’ll make you feel right at home.

2. Security

The last thing you want on a trip is to lose your wallet and when travelling to destinations, such as Nepal or Bhutan, carrying cash is a necessity with few shops and restaurants accepting card payment options.

By having meals included in your trip price, you eliminate the need to carry significant amounts of cash for food purchases. The convenience of having everything included can definitely lift the weight of responsibly from your shoulders.

3. Food safety and hygiene

By having a trained cook, you can feel confident your food is prepared fresh and under strict hygiene standards, lowering the risk of illness on your holiday.

On trek, produce is purchased from local communities where possible, so you know your meals are prepared with fresh ingredients, while non-perishable foods are often transported ahead of time. Porters and kitchen staff are, however, on hand to help carry food supplies and replenishments during the expedition.

Enjoy local cuisines during your expedition in the Himalaya. Photo: Sally Imber

4. Water

If you had to name a must-have item on a trek, we’re sure water would be the top answer. When reaching high altitudes and undergoing strenuous and enduring physical activity, hydration is critical. Research has shown that regularly consuming liquids can help people acclimatise better and, thus, reduce feeling the effects of altitude sickness.

So, when you think about having to continually purchase bottles of water on a hike, it can seriously add up — not just in your pockets but in landfills with single-use plastic bottles. As part of our responsible travel efforts we avoid daily plastic bottle usage and instead encourage travellers to bring refillable bottles, which we continually replenish with clean drinking water. So, you can rest assured that we take care of you — and the environment.

RELATED: 10 steps to being a sustainable traveller

5. Convenience

An eventful day of trekking and exploring can be tiring, so the last thing you want is to lug around extra supplies. Also, the task of buying, preparing and cooking your own meal may also be far from your mind after a long day on your feet, which is why on all World Expeditions treks in Nepal, a cook and kitchen crew accompany the group so you can sit back, relax and enjoy a freshly cooked meal.

6. Dietary requirements

A key concern for many travellers with specific health and dietary requirements is finding restaurants and food shops that can cater to their needs, especially when heading to remote overseas destinations. For those with any dietary requirements, World Expeditions’ cooks can accommodate for most diets provided that we are notified in advance. Coeliac? No problem! Diabetic? We have you covered. What’s more, meals are balanced and wholesome to provide you with enough energy to take on activities for the day. Healthy appetites build up when travelling, so it’s gratifying knowing that you will be provided with nourishing foods.

7. Dealing with waste

The proper disposal of waste and rubbish is vital when entering natural environments that are already threatened by deforestation, pollution and climate change. Therefore, as part of the ‘Leave No Trace’ campaign, our Himalaya treks are operated on the ethics of minimal impact, which include responsible waste management. When it comes to kitchen food waste, biodegradable matter is buried away from campsites and streams, and placed within deep leaf litter or in village composts. Paper and plastic are safely burned and where possible — such as in Bhutan — litter is taken to the nearest city where it can be recycled. By integrating these practices into our itineraries, our travellers can feel satisfied that their travels have left a positive impact.

By embarking on a complete trekking experience, which incorporate all meals as part of the trip cost, you can limit your spending once you leave home and focus on catching picturesque sunsets and admiring the majesty of mountains ahead.

What have your experiences been when it comes to meal inclusions on your trip? Let us know in the comments below.

Thinking of trekking the great Himalayas with all the inclusive benefits? Check out our Trek Annapurna and Everest trip.

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