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Himalayan High Treks — Our Policies & Procedures

Himalayan High Treks doesn't like fine print and neither should you! Our administrative procedures have streamlined during our 26+ year history — keeping your costs low, yet with personalized attention and service. Here are the details of our trip policies — what we typically include and do not include, and the limitations you need to know. Remember that each trip also has its own unique accommodations, staff, meals or other specifics — consult each trip itinerary for each trip's individual specifications.

Small–Group Scheduled Trip Application Process: To reserve your spot and apply to join a Scheduled Trip, please submit a completed HHT Application Form. A completed application and trip deposit for each trip participant are required to complete the registration process. The reverse side of the application form also shows information which is presented here. If you are sending an application by postal mail or fax, find the right application form for your trip at the bottom of any trip description page. You may also apply and make your deposit online, on this website, to hold your spot immediately (see below). You may pay your deposit, installment and balance payments with a credit card (via PayPal), bank draft or cashiers cheque (international, payable in U.S. dollars) or by personal check (for those in the U. S.). The balance payment for your trip is due and payable 90 days before your trip's starting date. You may make installment payments at any time you wish (see below). We suggest that you apply and reserve as early as possible to be accommodated (most trips are limited to eight participants) and to receive the best service. In most cases, trip registration closes two months before departure (as noted on each trip itinerary webpage) or when the trip fills. We will attempt to accept your late application request, if it's possible — if so, a $100 late booking fee is imposed to help offset the additional, expedited administration requirements. Should you be accepted on a trip departing within 90 days from your registration date, trip balance payment is due as agreed–to by us in writing.

When we receive your completed application and deposit, you receive a confirmation letter from us with medical preparations information, health forms (to complete and return) as well as suggestions on insurance. Emergency evacuation and emergency medical insurance coverage is required for each person on any trip. After we receive your completed medical form(s), we speak with you (usually by telephone) to discuss the scope of your trip, your experience and abilities, and to answer any questions you may have. Once confirmed on your trip, you will receive a complete pre–trip package containing: Trip Notes, Full Trip Itinerary, Packing List, Reading List, Language Sheet and additional materials. We can help with any options you can imagine to enhance your core trip — airline reservations, insurance suggestions, hotels, sightseeing, guides, regional safaris, additional tours and bookings, river trips... you name it! You are always welcome to arrive early or to stay late after any trip — we can book additional services or accommodations in most locations, upon request.

You may submit any document to us online (including applications, see below); by postal mail, or by FAX, if you prefer. The only restriction to note is that we cannot accept passport copies by FAX, due to quality issues. Paper passport copies must be submitted by photocopy (black and white is fine). Please note that all information and photo must be sharp, well–exposed and clearly readable for acceptance. Please do not send us your original passport, just a photocopy or scan of the passport's photo page.

Custom Trip & Application Process: Please visit and review our Custom Trips page for a comprehensive description of the custom process. If you are working with us on a Custom Trip, please complete and submit a Development Request and fee after consulting with us about your trip concept. You may complete the Development Request online or you can download the form and send it in with your fee. We work together with you for the itinerary development. After the development period, when you have approved your completed itinerary, you and your group members may apply for your trip online or by completing and submitting the application form (see above). The significant differences in Custom Trip administration, are the initial period and process of itinerary development and the cancellation schedule policy (see below). Participant trip submissions, payment process and requirements are similar for all trips and we supply similar trip materials to each participant as well.

Online Application & Online Administration:

Every aspect of our trip administration may be performed online, if you wish. If you prefer to FAX or to send materials to us, that is also possible — please review other applicable policy sections for that process.

Apply: To immediately apply and hold a spot on a Scheduled Trek, Tour or confirmed Custom Trip, visit our Trip Applications & Administration page and complete an HHT Online Application — this process includes a trip deposit payment. The deposit amount (either $250 or $500) is plainly indicated on each trip description page and on the online application trip listing. An application with deposit must be received to hold your place on a trip.

Make Payments: You can make all payments for any trip online with a major credit card on a secure server.

  • Deposit payments are automatically part of the online application process.
  • Installment payments may be made at any time for any Custom or Scheduled Small Group Trip. Visit our Trip Applications & Administration page and go to the HHT Online Trip Payments Portal. Complete and submit the form to proceed to PayPal and make your secure payment with any major credit card.
  • Balance payments for all trips are due and payable 90 days prior to the start of your trip. Should you be accepted on a trip departing within 90 days from your registration date, trip balance payment is due as agreed–to by us in writing. We will send courtesy notices by email to remind you of the payment deadline. Visit our Trip Applications & Administration page and go to the HHT Online Trip Payments Portal. Complete and submit the form to proceed to PayPal and make your secure payment with any major credit card.

Submit Documents for any trip online, if you wish. You can easily upload materials to us at the Trip Applications & Administration page and to the Submit Your Documents To HHT link on that page. For all trips, in addition to a completed application form, we need a clear and sharp copy of your valid passport's photo page, your airline itinerary to the starting point (as you received it from your airline or agent), an emergency medical and evacuation insurance coverage policy sheet, visas which are required in advance (some countries), a completed Physicians Certificate and for trekking trips only, a self–completed Health Questionnaire. When you register, we send the two later forms to you for completion.

Submit A Custom Trip Development Request online, if you wish or you can download and complete the form located at the bottom of the Custom Trips page and send it in. Please contact us first to discuss the trip's general idea and to ensure we can assist you with the request. A $200 USD non–refundable development fee is charged when you submit your request to help cover the time spent to research and create your itinerary. After your itinerary is fully developed and you are ready to 'join' your trip, complete a Custom Trip Application. You may apply instantly online — visit our Trip Applications & Administration page and complete an HHT Online Application (selecting Custom Trip as the option) or an application can be downloaded from the Custom Trips page. Trip participants should each complete an application for your trip. Once the trip contact's application is processed, we credit the $200 development fee back the contact's land cost, lowering the final land cost of that person and thus providing a free development process for your fulfilled trip.

Trip Administration & Submissions — Items We Need From You:

Travel Documents: A valid passport [must be valid for six months after the end of your visit and have at least four (4) empty stamp areas] and visas for each visited country, are required. A copy of your valid passport photo page should be submitted to us when you apply for your trip or as soon as possible. Your valid passport is required to secure limited–availability bookings and permits — it is important to submit this document as early as possible to provide you with the best service. Specifics about passport and visa applications are provided to you, however in many instances, obtaining them is your responsibility. Each country has different rules and procedures to obtain their entry visa. If you must apply in advance for any country's visa, please submit a copy to us once you receive it. Some visas may be obtained on arrival and those visas need not be submitted. Valid passport and visa copies are needed by us in order to secure trip permits, bookings and to satisfy government regulations.

Insurance: We require each participant to carry travel insurance coverage for emergency evacuation and emergency medical costs, valid for the duration of your trip. We also recommend that you carry additional insurance coverage for trip cancellation or interruption, as well as for baggage or other personal item losses.

Air Itinerary: We provide arrival and departure airport transfer services for our participants. Please provide us a copy of your air itinerary, as you received it from your airline or agent, so we may successfully meet your flight or resolve a new arrival flight, should you encounter a change of itinerary enroute.

Physicians Certificate & Health Questionnaire: The health and safety of our participants is our utmost priority. It is important to be in good health while in a high–altitude or wilderness setting and while traveling in a developing country. All participants are requested to have their health care provider complete and submit a general health assessment form, following a general physical exam. Additionally, we ask those on a mountain trekking trip to self–complete and submit a supplementary Health Questionnaire. We provide these forms to you upon registration and the submitted forms are kept in the strictest of confidence. Their value is to quickly inform a physician of an unknown patient's sensitivities and history in an emergency scenario.

Trip Costs and Inclusions:

The total cost of any trip is the sum of two parts — the "Land Cost" and the "InTrip Air."
The Land Cost pertains to the cost for all ground–based activities as described in your itinerary. The InTrip Air pertains to regional flights as mentioned in your itinerary. Not all trips have an InTrip Air component and your air travel from home to/from the trip's meeting point is additional to any trip cost from us.

The land cost for a trip includes the following:

  • All transportation costs per your itinerary, other than airfares.
  • All accommodations, which consist of a shared, double occupancy hotel room, trekking lodge or tent. Single accommodations are optional (subject to availability).
  • All meals while trekking. During hotel stays, some meals are provided as described each day in your itinerary.
  • All costs for leader and guide, porters, cook, driver, pack animals and support for your trip itinerary.
  • Group equipment such as tents, a central first aid kit, dishes, shovels, etc.
  • See your itinerary for other items which may be included on your trip.
  • The land cost of the trip does not include the following (unless otherwise specified in writing in your itinerary):

  • Airfares.
  • Insurance of any kind.
  • Medical immunizations.
  • Medical and emergency costs beyond first aid provided by trip leaders or trip medical personnel.
  • Laundry, phone calls, beverages, internet access and any other expenses of a personal nature.
  • Tips to staff and others; admission fees or donations to local institutions such as monasteries, parks and museums; imposed fees (such as photography or tourist fees) at museums or similar locations.
  • Additional expenses arising from the delay or extension of a trip due to weather, political disputes, illness, failure of transportation, or other causes beyond our reasonable control.
  • See your itinerary for other items which may not be included on your trip.
  • Cancellations: If we cancel your trip before departure because it is under booked or for any other reason, you are entitled to a complete refund of the land cost minus a small administrative fee ($50USD for treks and $100USD for tours). We are not responsible for additional expenses incurred in your preparation. If you decide to cancel and notify us in writing before departure, we will refund your trip payment based upon the following HHT Cancellation Refund Schedules. You may also have the option to transfer payment and participation to another trip (see the "Transfers" section below):

    HHT Scheduled Trip Cancellation Refund Schedule:   HHT Custom Trip Cancellation Refund Schedule:
    Days Before Departure...Non-refundable Fee   Days Before Departure...Non-refundable Fee
    More Than 60 Days...$250 or $500 Paid Deposit   More Than 90 Days...$500 Paid Deposit
    Between 31 And 60 Days...35% Of The Land Cost   Between 61 And 90 Days...35% Of The Land Cost
    Between 15 And 30 Days...55% Of The Land Cost   Between 31 And 60 Days...55% Of The Land Cost
    Less Than 15 Days...No Refund   Less Than 30 Days...No Refund

    Transfers: For Scheduled Group Trips, if you transfer from one trip to another, up to 61 days before your original–trip departure date, there is no transfer fee. If you transfer 60 days or less before your original–trip departure date, the above HHT Cancellation Refund Schedule fees apply to trip transfers. We may be able to extend a transfer for a Custom Trip participant to one of our Scheduled Group trips if it's possible and requested more than 90 days before your original trip starting date. Please contact us to see if a transfer is possible for your booking.

    Weather: Conditions in the mountains become increasingly variable and unpredictable with higher altitude. Daytime temperatures are often between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Nighttime temperatures often range between 20 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Treks are scheduled for the best periods, when the weather is expected to be mostly clear — however, there is always a chance of unexpected rain and snow at high altitudes. When you join a trip, you receive detailed information on anticipated weather and environmental conditions. You are always welcome to contact us with questions at any time as you prepare.

    Personal Equipment: We provide a detailed suggested trip packing list for each trip. In general, typical outdoor clothing and equipment items are all that you need, such as: a warm jacket, a rain jacket, daypack, sleeping bag with pad, hiking boots, clothing and toiletries. It is possible that some equipment could be rented locally — ask us about rental options for your trip. Group equipment such as dishes, tables, tents and shovels are provided. Contact us with any questions about what to bring and what is provided.

    Food: During our tours or for city days while on a trekking trip, included meals may be offered at our accommodation or at nearby restaurants. We make every attempt to frequent locations that provide a tasty and healthy selection of local food items, produced with the best standards available in each area. All participants are reminded to follow our suggested health and safety guidelines to avoid food–borne illness when eating or drinking any food or beverage while in a developing area — regardless of where it is obtained.

    Trekking Food: On all treks (except teahouse and guesthouse nights) food is prepared by our own traveling camp cook. When staying at a tea or guest house, food is prepared by the staff where we sleep. Food at teahouses varies but is often better than expected — simple, but nutritious and delicious.

    Here's a typical daily menu on the trail (local specialty names are linked for a quick description. Close those new windows or tabs to return here):

  • Bed Tea: Darjeeling tea (available with milk or sugar), served in bed upon awakening
  • Breakfast: Fruit juice, porridge with milk, eggs, Chappatis with jam, Paranthas, coffee
  • Lunch: Along the trail, sandwiches (such as peanut butter and honey or tuna and cheese) on fresh baked bread, cookies
    Lunch: In camp, meals are generally prepared hot with specialties like Momos, "Sherpa Stew", and rice pudding
  • Snack: Biscuits and tea, home–made potato chips, popcorn, Papadams, Yak Cheese, fresh and local apricots, apples and almonds
  • Dinner: Hors d'Oeuvres, soup, rice with curry and vegetables (green beans, carrots, eggplant), Lady Fingers (Indian okra), optional meats as available
  • Dessert: Choice of tea, hot chocolate, fruit cocktail, Gulab Jamun, Barfi (mmmmmm), or Kheer
  • Personal Hygiene On Trek: A limited amount of warm water will be made available for washing. On rest days, trekkers often want to wash clothes, hair and bodies with water taken from nearby streams or rivers using their own biodegradable soap. In camp, a latrine (offering privacy) will be erected a short distance away from sleeping tents. Teahouses may offer showers and usually offer a simple outhouse or a shared, indoor toilet.

    Health Precautions: Exercise regularly and be as healthy as possible before you leave home for a trip. Have your dental and medical checkups beforehand and receive your immunizations at the right times. Many issues can be successfully treated while on a trip. The most common health issue for most trips and treks is diarrhea. It requires your diligence to avoid, but we minimize this risk on treks by eating most of our meals in camp or at better teahouse and guesthouse accommodations. On other trips or while in the cities, we eat at preferred restaurants. All participants are offered suggested methods to avoid food–borne illnesses at all times while on their trip. Water used for group cooking and drinking is purified. We always suggest that each participant also bring a water purification method with them and purify their own daily drinking water supply. Some trips are more physically demanding than other trips and many take place at or may reach high altitudes. Most people successfully adapt to high altitude travel when they spend the proper time to acclimatize. Our treks begin slowly and adhere to proven safety recommendations for the optimum acclimatization process. Himalayan High Treks will attempt to secure, but does not include nor guarantee, the services of emergency medical personnel. Medical facilities in most areas are severely limited or nonexistent. A well–supplied first aid kit will be carried and trip leaders are trained in First Aid.

    Difficulty: Our trips vary in difficulty — some treks can be very strenuous and most tours are very mild. On treks, you never carry a full backpack — you only carry a day–pack holding your water bottle, camera and personal items. While on trek, we don't hike more then eight-to-twelve miles per day (for most hikers, that's three-to-six hours) — with acclimatization and rest days scheduled at appropriate times. Most people in generally good health, who exercise regularly, are able to enjoy our treks — the most important aspect is a good, positive outlook and mental attitude. If you are on a trek, for example, physical exertion should not be something you dislike! A tour, conversely, is physically mild and generally includes only short day–hikes but with sometimes-long driving periods. If you have any questions regarding the rigors or your ability with any trip, we invite you to contact us to discuss what is involved. We're here to make your trip an adventure, but also, a success!

    Custom Trips: We constantly produce unique, customized itineraries, full trip programs and supplementary bookings for individuals or groups of any size to any part of the Himalayan or Southeast Asian regions. A development request form and low, non-refundable, development fee submitted with your specifics are all it takes to create your custom itinerary. That fee can be credited towards the land cost of your trip with us. See the Custom Trips page or contact us for details and more information. A custom trip is unique by definition and we strive to create exactly the trip experience in the location and timeframe that you desire.

    Potential Savings: Sign up and pay in full for your trip six months or more before departure and we will discount $100USD from your land cost. Doctors and some qualified medical personnel may receive professional consideration, depending on our needs. Contact us for information.

    Photographs: Photographs may be taken while you are traveling with HHT and may be used for our educational or marketing purposes.

    References: You may be contacted after your trip by us, on behalf of prospective travelers seeking references about the experience. Your candid comments can be important to others, should you enable the conversation. We encourage everyone to speak with our past travelers — ask us for references who offer to be contacted. You can find it helpful to speak with those who have been with the staff and in the locations you are considering for your own trip.

    Changes: The descriptions, dates, and prices on this website have been compiled with reasonable care and are accurate at the time of publication. Due to currency fluctuations, changing political conditions, and the rising cost of services, Himalayan High Treks reserves the right to change or update any of our information. In addition, HHT reserves the right to change the itinerary of a trip at any time; for example, if change is advisable for the safety of the group or necessary in order to comply with changing governmental restrictions.

    An Important Final Note: We have a policy of inclusion. We invite everyone (regardless of race, religion or sexual preference) to participate on our trips. Respect for ourselves, our fellow travelers, the environment, as well as the cultures and people we visit, are the priorities. Let's celebrate our diversity.

    If you have any questions not answered here or for more information, please send us your inquiry!
    We always respond as soon as possible to satisfy any questions you have.
    It's what we do.

    We always work with you for the adventure of a lifetime!