For the UK hiker who wants to undertake their first bucket list overseas challenge – such as trekking to Everest Base camp or climbing Kilimanjaro - it can feel like there’s an overwhelming variety of options to choose from. So where do you begin?

The Business Model

First & foremost, you need to understand the business model of the tour operators that you’re comparing. There are four basic operating models, and these fall into three main pricing brackets (£ - £££): 

  1. Local in-country operators (£)
  2. UK booking platforms who spend megabucks on marketing, act as a travel agent (but don’t actually run the trips), take a commission, but your contract is with a local operator (££)
  3. UK operators who don’t provide a UK leader but use a local leader & local operator for logistics (££)
  4. UK operators who provide an experienced & qualified UK leader and uses trusted local partners for logistical support (£££ - our model)

You can’t directly compare prices between operators with different business models, because they offer different things. Like everything in life, you get what you pay for. As the saying goes, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys!

The level of expert advice that you’ll receive before & during your trip – and your safety margin – broadly increases as you move up the operating model and pricing brackets. The more you pay, the more high-altitude expertise you’re buying, and the safer you’ll ultimately be on expedition. Coming home safely should always be your top priority.

The reason that operators in categories 1 – 3 offer lower prices is simply because safety costs money – they don’t incur the salary, training, insurance & travel costs of sending a UK leader overseas with clients.

Once you’ve decided what safety margin you’re willing to accept, you can then start to compare the other benefits that providers offer, before & during your trip.

Our Client Benefits

At Inspire Alpine, we prioritise your safety and we maximise your chances of success, and your enjoyment on the trip. We also provide the most comprehensive benefit package of any UK operator.


Personal, expert advice & support:

Before you book, you can schedule a 1-2-1 call with Ricky Munday, the founder of Inspire Alpine. He has led & completed over thirty expeditions to high altitude, and climbed Everest in 2018. He leads most of our overseas expeditions. He's a qualified Mountain Leader and holds an Expedition First Aid qualification and the IOSH Managing Safely certification. He has visited over 75 countries and lived & worked on 5 continents. He will provide personalised advice, you can discuss your hopes, fears & dreams & cover any questions you might have. You won’t get a hard sell.

Book a call with Ricky


Free, inspirational Everest webinar:

Once you book your trip, you’ll be invited to our free inspirational Everest webinar for clients, where Ricky describes his own journey to the summit of Everest, and how the outdoors has given him focus & purpose in his life and helped him overcome adversity and build resilience.

Free kit:

After booking we’ll send you the following goodies for free:

  • A free Inspire Alpine® Buff® worth £17.50 – this is the original multifunctional neck & headwear, which is an absolute essential on any expedition. We don’t use cheap imitations or copies – this is the real deal.
  • Free Cicerone guidebook worth £17.50 – Cicerone is the UK market leader for guidebooks for walkers, climbers, trekkers. You can immerse yourself in your destination before you arrive.
  • Free Safety on Mountains book worth £6.99 - for new and experienced walkers alike, Safety on Mountains is packed with advice on essentials skills & techniques like clothing and equipment, hazards, mountain weather, navigation, emergency procedures & First Aid. Learn the skills you need to stay safe in the mountains.

Amazing kit discounts:

We know that outdoor kit can be expensive, so we’ve negotiated some amazing kit discounts on your behalf:

Discounted training plans:

To help you prepare fully & maximise your chances of success, we’ve partnered with Uphill Athlete to offer you 25% discount on their mountain training plans. These plans are based on scientifically sound training and a combined thirty years of professional endurance coaching experience and sixty years of world-wide climbing and mountaineering experience. You can select either the 16 Week Big Mountain Training Plan or 12 Week Trekking Plans to receive your discount.

10% off Expedition Training Weekends:

We also offer you 10% off our awesome Expedition Training Weekends that take place in Snowdonia and the Scottish Highlands. They're designed to prepare you for your first overseas trekking or mountaineering expedition, and we'll spend most of our time on the hill learning about everything from clothing & kit to campcraft & expedition fitness.

Vamoos – our Travel App:

We’ll provide you a link to download & log in to our fabulous travel app Vamoos, so you can access all your trip information offline on your mobile device or tablet. This includes extensive resources about your trip & the local destination, plus a countdown timer to build excitement ahead of your trip.

Personal client portal:

We’ll send you a link to access your personal client portal on our website where your invoices, kit lists & other trip info etc. will be held.

Flexible payment options:

After paying your deposit, you can spread the cost of your trip over up to 12 months. Perfect for those on a budget and saving up for the trip of a lifetime.

Fundraise for our social mission:

You can choose to fundraise for our social projects. You’ll pay a non-refundable registration fee (typically £250) to secure a place on your bucket list adventure, and pledge to raise a minimum amount of sponsorship for our life-changing work with disadvantaged young people. The balance of your adventure challenge cost is met through this minimum sponsorship, so there’s nothing else for you to pay! You can set up a fundraising page directly on our website, so we receive your donations directly. If you choose to raise funds for us to support our social mission, your minimum sponsorship target will be significantly lower than if you raise for another good cause. We deliver events directly with no intermediary or middle man, and as your fundraising page is hosted directly on our website, our payment processing costs are lower than using a third-party fundraising platform (e.g. JustGiving). 

Financial protection:

We hold financial failure insurance to fully protect your money. In the highly unlikely event that we cease trading, our insurer will provide you with a full refund, or repatriate you if your trip has already started.

Global Rescue Safe Travel

We’re committed to excellence in every aspect of your expedition experience, especially when it comes to safety. We require our clients to hold insurance to cover any medical emergency or travel issue. That’s why we've partnered with Global rescue to become a Global Rescue Safe Travel Partner. Medical and security emergencies can happen. When they do, we rely on Global Rescue to provide our clients with medical, security, travel risk and crisis response services. Without a membership, an emergency evacuation could cost over £100,000. IMG Signature travel insurance is the perfect add-on to a Global Rescue membership, providing coverage against a variety of unforeseen expenses while you’re traveling, giving you the added comfort of knowing the value of your trip is protected in case you need it.

Security and risk management

To help us manage risk, we subscribe to the Healix Sentinel security and risk management services. Developed in conjunction with leading health and security experts, it provides us with instant access to critical insight and support before and during overseas trips, including current travel safety information, advice and real-time alerts on breaking news for over 200 countries worldwide.


Qualified UK Mountain Leaders

We use qualified UK Mountain Leaders with extensive high-altitude experience. We require our expert leaders to hold advanced Expedition First Aid qualifications & to be active members of the Mountain Training Association.  Ricky personally leads the majority of our trips. We also use expert local guides who understand the local culture & logistics, but your UK leader will take all safety-related decisions. We want to immerse you fully in the local culture, but our leaders can act as facilitators, problem solvers & translators to alleviate any stress and allow you to enjoy the expedition experience.

From start to finish of our Challenge, Ricky was the ultimate professional guide. Nothing was too much trouble.

Expert Medical Advice on call

Our expert medical adviser is a Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, an Honorary Consultant in Respiratory Medicine, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. He's an experienced climber and mountaineer and has climbed extensively in the Scottish Highlands, the Alps, the Tien Shan and the Andes, and he was a member of the APEX 2 Altitude Physiology Expedition to Bolivia in 2003. We rely on his expert advice when medically screening clients, and also during our expeditions if we have any medical complications.

Live GPS tracking

Our leaders carry a GPS tracker on all our trips so your family can follow your progress live on our website.

Satellite Phone

Our leaders carry a satellite phone and spare battery to ensure that we can reach help if and when you need it

Oxygen & Acclimatisation

We carry emergency oxygen on all our trips. Your leader will measure your oxygen saturation twice a day to monitor your acclimatisation. Your leader will also monitor your fluid & food intake to build a rounded picture of your health & record your Lake Louise score, which is a globally recognised scoring system for Acute Mountain Sickness symptoms. 

Ricky took every care to monitor our heart and oxygen levels to make sure we were fit enough to continue each day and always there to answer questions (I had many… daily!). Also, due to a health condition, Ricky made sure that on summit night the guides were fully aware should any assistance be required. A great trip, with a great bunch of people.


Our leaders & local guides will carry radios and will be in contact at all times. If you need to descend or turn back on your expedition for any reason, you’ll be accompanied by a local staff member, but your leader can monitor you remotely by radio.


We care about the planet

We care deeply about the planet and our impact on it. We’re a certified Green Small Business and we carefully manage our environmental impacts. We have an environmental management system (EMS) in place. This includes an Environmental Policy, a Responsible Tourism policy and an Environmental Action Plan.

We were awarded the Green Growth Pledge by Business Wales, which committed us to a number of actions to reduce our impact or ensure sustainable performance, which we have now implemented.

We’ve worked with Forest Carbon, who lead the way in UK woodland creation for carbon capture, to measure & monitor our carbon emissions as we seek to reduce & offset them. We’ve joined their Carbon Club to mitigate our CO2 emissions that will lead to planting of around 60 trees in permanent new woodlands each year. We strongly encourage our clients to offset their own carbon footprint.

We’ve stepped up our efforts to reduce single-use plastic water bottle waste while travelling. We’re removing thousands of disposable plastic bottles by choosing to use refillable, filtered water bottles, which provide safe drinking water when clients fill up from a tap, or a natural water source. To support this effort, we’ve partnered with Water-to-Go, whose mission is to give the World safe, clean, affordable water and help put an end to the damage to the planet created by plastic waste. We've stopped providing free bottled water on any of our trips. Water will still be made available on trips, but at an additional cost. We now offer all clients a discount of 20% off any Water-to-Go filter water bottle.

We signed up for ‘Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency’ and you can read our declaration here. We’re currently developing a Climate Emergency Plan.

As a result of the Covid-19 lockdown, we have developed some exciting virtual events that people can join from home or while walking or cycling in the UK or overseas. These virtual events have many benefits, including a massively decreased carbon footprint compared to traditional events. As well as the clear environmental benefits, our virtual events are low risk & offer a great opportunity to keep staff, volunteers or fundraisers engaged & motivated.

We're a Social Enterprise!

We exist to help close the attainment gap and we reinvest a majority of retained profits in our social mission. Our charitable purpose is defined within our Articles of Association and has been externally validated by the Charities Aid Foundation. We have a Mission Lock in place to ensure that our social purpose remains our primary objective in the long term. We have an Asset Lock in place to ensure that our assets are used for the benefit of the community.

I hope this blog post has helped you understand the factors to consider when you’re booking your next overseas expedition, and has provided useful prompts to help you ask informed questions of your tour operator. When you’re selecting your tour operator, bear in mind why we stand apart:

  • A clear focus on your safety
  • An unmatched range of benefits
  • Individual expert mountain & medical advice
  • Highly experienced & qualified UK leaders
  • Comprehensive travel protection
  • A commitment to sustainable travel
  • A compelling social mission