So, you’re interested in climbing a mountain. Good for you!

Hiking to Everest Base Camp, trekking to Machu Picchu, or making your way to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro are true bucket list activities.

The most important element of any hiking adventure is having an experienced trekking leader, guide, and a team of porters. Without them, ticking that great achievement off your list will be next to impossible. The tourism industries in places like Nepal, Tanzania and Peru rely on guides and porters to get travellers safely from A to B. Here’s what Intrepid are doing to ensure the safety and training of our guides and porters along the way.

Trekking guides and senior staff

On each trekking trip you’ll be accompanied by one of our trek leaders and a group of porters to help carry equipment and supplies. The majority of our trek leaders have worked their way up from being a porter at some stage, so they understand the daily challenges porters face more than anybody else. Our leaders have all been trained in porter welfare and fair treatment.

Trek leaders are under clear instruction to:

  • Respect and treat porters in a dignified way.
  • Give porters the same priority they give to passengers if they get sick.
  • Never load porters with baggage beyond the stipulated weight limit.
  • Give porters the opportunity to enhance their language skills by enabling interaction with passengers.
  • Pay them the exact wage allocated in the tour budget.
  • Allow them to receive tips directly from passengers.

Intrepid values the welfare of its porters as much as its leaders and customers, and will action any reports about trek leaders who fail to adhere to Intrepid’s policies regarding porter treatment and welfare.

Respecting the wellbeing of our porters

Intrepid Travel believes in traveling responsibly, and is committed to ensuring respectful and fair working conditions for all trekking porters and leaders. Out on the wild trails of Africa, South America, Papua New Guinea and the Himalayas, they look after us – so we need to look after them too.

We’ve partnered up with local mountaineering organisations and are working with them to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our porters. In our key climbing areas of Nepal and Tanzania, we work with the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC). This US-based not-for-profit organisation promotes responsible and sustainable connections between travellers and locals in developing mountain regions around the world. In Peru, our counterparts run a highly regulated operation, in which porters are registered each year with the local government and required to provide a medical certificate.

Recruitment of porters

The porters we work with are between 18-55 years of age, physically healthy and active, and have a transparent background (we check their references to ascertain their trustworthiness). Once selected, porters are trained in what they’ll be doing out on the trails, such as packing and safely handling their loads, setting up tents and maintaining trekking gear.

Intrepid pays all porters, cooks and guides a wage in compliance with legal requirements. We also provide porters with allowances for meals and transport often well beyond government regulations.

Medical care of porters

In the event that a porter becomes ill or is injured on a trip, Intrepid covers all medical expenses.

Education and training

The IMEC’s Porter Assistance Project seeks to improve the working conditions of porters by:

  • Providing a stockpile of technical clothing that is required when trekking in high-altitude conditions.  This includes water and wind-resistant jackets and pants, gloves, base layers, socks, hats, sunglasses and proper footwear. This equipment is also available for mountain crew and tour operators to borrow.
  • Offering English language lessons, first aid training, HIV/AIDS Awareness and money management classes, in order to motivate and empower porters.
  • Educating tourists about acceptable standards of porter treatment.

Out on the trail

Our porters are given access to tents or provided with sleeping quarters, sleeping bags, mats and cooking equipment. The maximum weight a porter can carry varies depending on the trek and region. Intrepid strictly enforces this weight limit and includes a personal allowance for items such as sleeping bag and clothes. At the pre-tour briefing, our leaders ask passengers to pack only what is necessary for the trek in order to make things easier for their porters. Each porter and their load is weighed at the start of the trail.

Porters and passengers are introduced to each other at the beginning of the hike. As our leaders will explain, when recruiting porters we give priority to those from local regions and disadvantaged communities. This is in keeping with Intrepid’s responsible travel policies. Because of this, many haven’t had access to an adequate education and their language skills are limited. The best way for them to learn is to have as much practice on the job as possible. Many of our porters will eventually become trek leaders, so we ask you to support them by interacting as much as possible. Sure, it might feel a little awkward at first, but after you work through any initial shyness and get to know each other, you’re likely to learn as much from them as they will from you. They’ve got some pretty awesome stories!

Pay it forward

If, when you finish your trek, you’ve found the services of your porter invaluable, we suggest you tip them. If you’re not sure how much you should give, check your trip notes or speak to your leader; they’ll be able to recommend an appropriate amount, depending on the region you’re in.

If you’ve got any good-quality gear – trekking poles, sleeping bag, a warm jacket – that you never want to see again after your time in the mountains, feel free to pass it onto your porter so they can use it on their next trek.

Popular walks and treks

All our walking and trekking trips

8 Days From 2865

Conquer Mt Kilimanjaro on the picturesque Marangu Route, hiking with porters on an...

5 Days From 428

Travel to Chiang Mai and trek through northern Thailand to discover hilltribe culture,...

15 Days From 6622

Embark on all the classic hikes of Patagonia – including the Torres del Paine base hike...

15 Days From 5468

Trek through Chile and Argentina on this 15-day tour and take in Laguna de Los Tres,...

15 Days From 1167

Embark on the trek of a lifetime to Everest Base Camp on this tour. Fly into Lukla and...

Tailor-Made trips

Take four or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

15 Days From 960

Embark on a 15-day Annapurna trekking experience in Nepal. Cross the Himalayas,...

30 Days From 2590

Journey out from Kathmandu to the rugged Himalaya. Follow the footsteps of Hillary up...

8 Days From 1344

Travel to Peru and retrace the steps of the Inca. Follow traditions from Lima to Cusco,...

7 Days From 1180

Travel to Peru to discover Peru's ancient civilisation. Trek or train to Machu Picchu,...

11 Days From 1790

Experience trekking in the Himalayas with an experienced guide and explore the...

15 Days From 4174

Explore the wonders of Tanzania and Kenya, including a trek to the summit of Mt...

4 Days From 375

Trekking in Chiang Mai, explore Thailand's lush jungle areas, go rafting on the Mae...

7 Days From 555

Trek through Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains exploring Aroumd and Imlil and then climb...

5 Days From 340

Trek through Vietnam's mountainous region in the north-west to experience hilltribe...

4 Days From 1072

Take in the spectacular scenery of the South Island on a 4-day walking adventure along...

5 Days From 1610

Trek through Canyonlands National Park in Utah on this moderate hiking and backpacking...

4 Days From 1655

Soak in sweeping Grand Canyon views with a comfortable camping and trekking trip of the...

4 Days From 1292

Explore New Zealand’s South Island from Queenstown to Te Anau, exploring Fiordland...

8 Days From 2855

Explore Western Australia on an easy 8-day walking adventure that will reveal the most...

5 Days From 1152

Explore the Stirling Ranges and Porongurup National Park on a rewarding 5-day walking...

15 Days From 2568

Visit the Sacred Land of the Inca and delight in Peru's culture with two weeks through...

5 Days From 1665

Explore Kangaroo Island on a scenic 5-day adventure that follows the Kangaroo Island...

5 Days From 2775

Hike some of Vermont’s best trails along Smugglers’ Notch, Lake Willoughby and Elmore...

5 Days From 2940

Hike through the vibrant colours of Vermont’s changing seasons on this trip exploring...

8 Days From 1825

Hike the Cape to Cape Track, a 8-day walking adventure that will reveal the most...

10 Days From 1920

Explore Karijini National Park on a 10-day hiking adventure that includes the chance to...

10 Days From 2660

Trek into Northern Pakistan’s Nangma Valley on a 10-day guided hiking trip from...

10 Days From 2475

Join this Kimberley adventure for 12 days of camping, walking and four-wheel driving...

3 Days From 1395

Experience Utah’s most famous national park as a standalone canyon country experience...

3 Days From 1930

Experience the very best of the Olympic Peninsula with a perfect balance of challenge...

3 Days From 2275

See the best of this iconic national park on three spectacularly diverse, hand-picked...

4 Days From 1435

See the best of Yellowstone on an Intrepid small group hiking and camping adventure...

4 Days From 1215

Escape the crowds, see incredible views, sleep under the stars, and backpack through...

4 Days From 1615

Experience Death Valley’s narrow canyons, vast dune fields, lava flows, scenic...

5 Days From 308

Travel to Nepal and hike the Annapurnas. Travel from Pokhara to Tanting, trekking to...

4 Days From 767

Explore Maria Island where you’ll discover convict history and First Nations sites, go...

6 Days From 1290

Tackle one of Australia’s greatest treks, among some of its most incredible scenery, on...

7 Days From 2090

From Alice Springs, hike the highlights of the amazing Larapinta Trail, taking in...

4 Days From 1116

From your base in historic Port Arthur, walk a section of the famous three capes track...

4 Days From 1590

Experience Joshua Tree’s surreal landscapes, cool oases, and famous Joshua Trees on a 4...

5 Days From 1995

See the best of this iconic national park on five spectacularly diverse, hand-picked...

5 Days From 1830

Avoid the crowds and see the best of Southern Yellowstone National Park’s backcountry...

11 Days From 3344

Discover a land of mysticism, proud traditions and pure happiness on an 11-day hiking...

5 Days From 3425

Enjoy the luxuries of a lodge and rustic dining each evening in different locations...

6 Days From 2110

Experience Utah’s most famous national park destinations and see the best of Zion,...

6 Days From 3730

Explore the high alpine ridges, glaciated volcanoes, dramatic waterfalls, wildlife, and...

3 Days From 955

Discover great trails, incredible views, spectacular summits and more on a small group...

4 Days From 1300

Spend an incredible 4 days hiking the highest mountains in New Hampshire, the...

8 Days From 487

Trek your way through Nepal on a low-altitude adventure from Kathmandu to Trisuli River...

4 Days From 2820

Explore the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee and hike the...

5 Days From 2785

Discover the magnificence of the Grand Canyon on a 5-day walking adventure, exploring...

5 Days From 1870

Set up camp on the edges of Rocky Mountain National Park and hike past highlights like...

5 Days From 3075

Hike through the highlights of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including a walk...

15 Days From 1264

Embark on the trek of a lifetime to Everest Base Camp on this trekking trip. Fly into...

5 Days From 2106

Follow your feet on this 5-day walking tour that shows off the very best of Yosemite...

5 Days From 1593

Explore the Sierra Nevada Range on a 5-day small group hiking tour which includes...

8 Days From 1980

Discover the beauty of the Canadian Rockies on foot on an 8-day walking adventure from...

11 Days From 1680

This Sabah Adventure tour through the Borneo wilderness will truly capture your...

8 Days From 3024

A Patagonian hiking trip to remember – explore the diverse nature of South America with...

12 Days From 3380

Join an active 12-day expedition in Peru to hike the spectacular routes of the Great...

6 Days From 2620

Hike the W Trek in Chilean Patagonia and discover the wild beauty of Torres del Paine...

8 Days From 2745

Explore the Dolomites on an 8-day small group hiking tour which explores multiple lakes...

11 Days From 5700

Trek the O circuit in Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, on this...

5 Days From 1620

Trek the historic Mail Trail connecting Escalante and Boulder through canyon country....

6 Days From 3435

Hike through Death Valley National Park and Joshua Tree National Park, experiencing...

10 Days From 2395

Get your heart racing on this hiking trip that highlights some of the most incredible...

5 Days From 3690

Looking for a hiking trip in Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park in...

16 Days From 6480

Explore the wonders of Tanzania and Kenya including a trek to the summit of Mt...

4 Days From 2145

Discover the very best of Northern Arizona on this 4-day hiking adventure through...

4 Days From 2115

Discover the best of Sedona’s red rock country on this 4-day hiking adventure that...

5 Days From 2725

Hike through the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Moab, Utah, exploring valleys...

5 Days From 2720

Witness the huge waterfalls, expansive lakes and glacier-topped mountains at Rocky...

5 Days From 3540

Explore Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park,...

8 Days From 2535

Join an International Mountain Leader on an 8-day hiking adventure in the Alps,...

3 Days From 1650

Discover the very best of the Grand Canyon on this 3-day hiking adventure through Grand...

7 Days From 1233

Spend seven days exploring the Roman remains, ruins and castles along Hadrian’s Wall in...

8 Days From 1577

Spend 8 unforgettable days exploring Jordan on foot on a trekking adventure covering...

8 Days From 3325

Spend eight unforgettable days hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc, setting off on a circuit...

5 Days From 1224

Step out and discover the national parks, mountains and wildlife of Queensland’s Scenic...

8 Days From 1582

Step off the beaten track in Portugal’s southwest, following an ancient fisherman’s...

5 Days From 1445

Explore the Lake District on two legs and conquer Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak,...

4 Days From 1000

Explore the clifftop scenery and sandy beaches of Cornwall on this four-day Intrepid...

5 Days From 1190

Take a 5-day walking trip through the Scottish Highlands in summer and enjoy all the...

6 Days From 1360

Explore Scotland on two legs and conquer Ben Nevis, the United Kingdom’s highest peak,...

6 Days From 2265

Head on an Irish hike with Intrepid. Spend six days following the Wicklow Way from...

10 Days From 3700

Visit South America and travel to Patagonia to experience the 'W' Trek in Torres del...

19 Days From 1700

Take the ultimate trek. Walk in the Himalayas surrounded by some of the most incredible...

15 Days From 1288

Go trekking in Nepal on an adventure that takes you around the Annapurna Circuit. From...

15 Days From 1112

Hit the track-less-travelled on this 15-day Expedition. Trek the sacred Tamang Heritage...

10 Days From 3825

Challenge mind, body and soul on this 10-day trekking adventure through Papua New...

10 Days From 1950

Be challenged and be fulfilled on this coastal Camino, starting in Porto and walking...

4 Days From 1555

Take a hiking trip through Utah’s Coyote Gulch in the United States and trek past...

7 Days From 1300

Over seven days, join a local leader and small group of likeminded travellers to walk...

9 Days From 3530

Explore Las Vegas, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef, Arches National Park, Zion...

6 Days From 2000

Escape the crowds, see incredible views, sleep under the stars, check out waterfalls...

4 Days From 2280

Discover Yosemite in winter on a 4-day small group tour that stays in Airstream...

8 Days From 3056

Trek the quiet Rongai Route to summit Mt Kilimanjaro on an eight-day trip that includes...

5 Days From 3400

Surround yourself with nature on a 5-day snowshoeing small group winter tour through...

5 Days From 3160

Strap on snowshoes and take in the winter beauty of Mount Rainier National Park on a 5...

4 Days From 2120

Strap on snowshoes and take in the winter beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park on a 4...

7 Days From 537

Set off on a seven-day adventure through the Atlas Mountains, joining an expert guide...

12 Days From 2785

Join this Kimberley adventure for 12 days of camping, walking and four-wheel driving...

5 Days From 2205

Explore Joshua Tree and Death Valley on a five-day small group tour which includes...

15 Days From 4317

Explore the wonders of Tanzania and Kenya including a trek to the summit of Mt...

4 Days From 298

Travel to Nepal and visit Kathmandu for a spectacular Himalayan experience. Trek from...

8 Days From 2195

Take an active adventure to experience the gorgeous Cinque Terre area in Italy in the...

8 Days From 1970

Soak up the spectacular scenery of Italy’s Amalfi Coast on this tour through Naples,...

6 Days From 2910

Hike Denali National Park in Alaska and see North America’s second-tallest peak, Denali...

5 Days From 1430

Get out of town and explore the stunning Bay of Fires region up close on this five-day...

6 Days From 1795

Discover the rugged beauty of Bruny Island on a Bruny Island 6-day hiking trip with an...

6 Days From 1950

Hike the Tarkine region in Tasmania on a 6-day walking trip with inclusions like...

8 Days From 968

Take 8 days to explore the Lycian Way on a walking adventure that encompasses Olypmpos,...

8 Days From 3140

Get a cultural workout on an eight-day small group trek on the Koya-san and Kumano Kodo...

6 Days From 1960

Hike the Grampians in Victoria on a 6-day walking trip with two guides and stay in the...

7 Days From 2020

Hike the Great Ocean Road on a seven-day walking adventure that will reveal the...

5 Days From 1425

Walk Victoria’s High Country on this 5-day tour where you’ll discover gold rush history...

5 Days From 455

Challenge yourself to this ambitious hiking trip and climb to the summit of Mount...

8 Days From 2715

Travel through the rugged landscapes of Kakadu National Park, Katherine and Litchfield...

7 Days From 2475

Set off on a six-day adventure through the Flinders Ranges, joining a local leader and...

4 Days From 709

Discover a wild world of valleys, waterfalls, canyons and creeks on a 4-day walking...

7 Days From 3190

Discover Alaska on a 7-day walking tour looping from Anchorage along the Kenai...

12 Days From 6460

Discover the best of Alaska on a 12-day hiking adventure taking in Anchorage, the Kenai...

5 Days From 1224

Step out and discover the national parks, mountains and wildlife of Queensland’s Scenic...

8 Days From 970

Explore the High Atlas Mountains on foot with a trekking and hiking getaway in Morocco....

8 Days From 1600

Embark on a unique 8-day Expedition into the heart of Borneo’s Sabah – the Maliau Basin...

9 Days From 3156

Travel to Tanzania on a nine-day trip taking in Kilimanjaro along the Machame Route....

See our other responsible travel policies