Hi all, thanks in advance for any help you can give.
I am booked on a trek to Annapurna Base Camp in November this year. I will spend 11 days trekking to ABC via Poon Hill. All of my transport and accommodation are paid for, as are the porters and guide.
I have budgeted separately for tips (these figures are given by the tour company), as well as for souvenirs. What I am trying to establish is how much money I am going to need with me for food, water, washing, etc.
I am not planning to eat meat while out there, and don't really plan to buy chocolate bars, coke, etc. I am quite happy to stick to food like dahl baht, noodles, eggs, etc. I don't plan to drink on the trek, as my father suffers very badly from hangovers at altitude, and I'm concerned it's another thing I've inherited!
Irritatingly, my trekking company won't give a recommended figure for spending money - they state that it varies by traveller - I appreciate this is true, but would like a ballpark!
I am hoping that someone can give me some idea of likely costs for three meals a day, a couple of litres of boiled water, a couple of cups of tea, and maybe a shower or basin of water every couple of days. And tell me if there is anything I have forgotten to account for!
Based on some things I have seen online (blog posts, pictures of menus, someone's spreadsheet(!)), I have come up with an initial figure of GBP 20 / NPR 3000 / USD 25 per day - does this seem reasonable to cover basic food and drinks plus the occasional treat, or is it outdated?
Is there much I might want to buy while trekking (e.g. my parents did Macchu Picchu a couple of years ago, and there were loads of locals selling 'traditional handicrafts', which sorted that year's Christmas presents...) or am I better souvenir shopping in Kathmandu?
How do people carry cash - I've seen lots of recommendations not to take 1000 NPR notes as they can be tricky to break - but that then leaves me carrying a hell of a lot of notes! If you use 1000 NPR notes to cover an amount that doesn't need much change, is that acceptable, or do the tea house owners then find them too tricky to spend? I guess just split the money as much as possible and don't leave it easily accessible? If I pack money into my portered stuff, is it likely to be safe, or will the bag be hanging around unattended for ages between the porter arriving at our destination and me getting there?
Finally, my trekking company has recommended (all figures per person per day) 100-200 NPR tip for the guide (10-15 of us in the group), the same for the driver, and 300-500 NPR tip for the porter (porters shared between two). Do these seem reasonable? I will probably stick to the recommended figures, but would like to know in advance whether these figures are likely to seem insulting or extremely generous.
I'm probably massively over thinking all of this, but I'm the sort of traveller who needs to know what I'm doing ahead of time, or I get so anxious I can't enjoy myself!