1) The Locals Know Planning ahead for a trek/adventure is important, but many things you won’t know until you’re on the ground in your chosen adventure destination. You may find you can summit a peak in less time than previously thought, or that better views exist on other trails unbeknownst to the guidebook authors. Talk to the people.
2) Meet Your Guide For shorter treks, you might sign up with a touring agency then go with a separate guide. This is fine, but be sure to meet your guide when traveling for many days in remote areas. My guide for a two-day trek in Thailand was very entertaining, with his constant giggling and spontaneous pretend sword fighting. But after two weeks of trekking and at 14,000 feet, pretend sword fighting might not be that funny.
3) Gear Isn’t Everything Sure, we’d all love to be decked out in the latest gear, but make like a Sherpa and go back to the basics. The warmest piece of clothing I ever had was a wool ski sweater from France… my father wore it in his twenties, and thirty years later the wicking power was still superb. Focus your energy on the adventure itself, and less so on the gadgets.
4) Smaller is Better Traveling as a group is a fantastic way to cut costs. However, your hikes may take much longer, and you will find that “Three-Day Trek” actually means “Two Days of Trekking, One Day to Pick up and Drop Off Tourists.”
5) Go Off-Season Hiking in the off-season means fewer people, less animal traffic, and lower prices. The down side is that some historical sights may be closed, or that you’ll be wet more often than not. But if you’re interested in seeing nature in as close to her natural state as possible, you might just love the off-season. It’s quiet, and it’s pure.