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trekking in the alps
trekking in the alps
trekking in the alps
trekking in the alps
trekking in the alps

Practical information

How do I get to Chamonix?

For hikers based in the UK or the US, it is best to fly to Geneva International Airport (GVA). Lots of airlines fly to Geneva from all of the major UK airports, and many of the larger US international airports as well. 

All of our tours begin and end in Chamonix , which is only  53 miles from Geneva International Airport and takes about an hour and a half by car. All our tours include airport transfers to pick you up at Geneva airport and take you to your pre-climb hotel in Chamonix, then back again at the end of your stay. We provide one transfer on the scheduled arrival and departure days: the transfer on arrival leaves Geneva at 2pm and the departure transfer leaves Chamonix at 9am. Just let us know when you make your booking that you require this service.

If you are adding extra days to your trip, or are booking flights which do not tie in with our scheduled airport transfers, then you will need to arrange your own transfer to or from Chamonix. The Chamonix valley is well-served by shuttle services from Geneva airport. The cost can be around 20-30 euro each way in a shared transfer; private transfers will be more expensive. Some services will drop you directly to your hotel while others may take you to a central location in Chamonix.

Chamonix is an excellent choice for hotel accommodation during your stay, but it does fill up quickly during the peak season, so be sure to reserve your booking with us as early as possible.

Please Note: it is a requirement of joining any of our hikes that you attend a pre-trek briefing the evening before the tour begins. This gives our guide the opportunity to speak to you about your adventure, and sort out any last minute queries or concerns. We will also carry out a pre-trek health check which must be completed before you hike in the mountains.

The briefing in Chamonix is held at 7 pm and we recommend that you book a flight that arrives in Geneva before 2 pm for you to catch our transfer and attend the briefing. If you should arrive on a later flight, you will be given the full briefing the next morning at 7:30am before you set off.

Airport transfers

All our tours include airport transfers to pick you up at Geneva airport and take you to your pre-climb hotel in Chamonix, then back again at the end of your stay. We provide one transfer on the scheduled arrival and departure days: the transfer on arrival leaves Geneva at 2pm and the departure transfer leaves Chamonix at 9am. Just let us know when you make your booking that you require this service.

Once you have cleared immigration and collected your luggage, you will need to make your way to the Swiss Sector exit where you will be met by a Kandoo team member holding a sign reading ‘Kandoo’, so there is no confusion. It takes about an hour and a half to drive to Chamonix.

If you have arranged a return transfer, we’ll drop you off at Geneva International Airport after your trek. Make sure to arrange a time for the transfer that gets you to the airport in plenty of time for check-in. Remember for international flights you need to arrive 2 hours before departure. Delays can occur, and making your flight is your responsibility! Our shuttle leaves from Chamonix at 9 am.

Our transfers only run on the scheduled arrival and departure dates. If you are adding extra days to your trip, or are booking flights which do not tie in with our scheduled airport transfers, then you will need to arrange your own transfer to or from Chamonix. The Chamonix valley is well-served by shuttle services from Geneva airport. The cost can be around 20-30 euro each way in a shared transfer; private transfers will be more expensive. Some services will drop you directly to your hotel while others may take you to a central location in Chamonix.

When you book we will send you our local contact phone number. We recommend you put this telephone number into your mobile phone before you depart for Geneva. This will be your main contact for any issues that arise while you are travelling to France.

 

 

 

Luggage

For the Tour du Mont Blanc, you will need a main equipment bag which will be transported between the hotels or refuges each day. This can be the bag that you bring as your hold luggage. Please bring a soft bag like a ruckack or duffle bag rather than a hard cased suitcase because it is more practical when loading the local minibuses.

For the Mont Blanc or Gran Pardiso ascents, you will be carrying your kit every day in a larger rucksack. Again, you may choose to use this as your hold luggage or you may pack it within another case or duffle bag. Any luggage that is not going out on the trek or climb with you can be stored at the hotel in Chamonix.

Luggage transfers on the Tour du Mont Blanc

On the Tour du Mont Blanc trek, your main bag is transferred between hotels or refuges each day by vehicle. This bag should weigh no more than 10 kg. The luggage transport cannot take any electronic items, camera equipment or valuables so please try to avoid bringing any bulky items such as laptops as you will need to carry them every day yourself. Please do not put any locks on your bag, as it may need to be checked by customs when crossing the Swiss border.

Lost or delayed luggage

We recommend that you wear your walking boots to travel and pack as many essential items as possible in your carry-on luggage. If your luggage is delayed we can then do our best to kit you out to start the trek on time. In the event that your luggage is delayed or lost, our procedure is as follows: 

  • Establish what items are missing and a contingency plan for each critical item
  • If it reaches 6pm on the evening before starting the trek and your luggage has not arrived, we recommend buying and/or hiring items immediately as a precaution. There are plenty of shops / rental stores in Chamonix where you will be able to find everything you need.
  • We will take you to a shop where you can buy toiletry items, e.g. toothbrush.

We will do everything we can to help if your luggage is lost or delayed 

Be sure to check your insurance policy coverage for lost luggage cover.

Pre-trek briefing

It is a requirement of joining any of our treks or climbs that you attend a pre-trek briefing the evening before the tour begins. This gives our guide the opportunity to speak to you about your adventure, make sure you have all the right gear and sort out any last minute queries or concerns. We will also carry out a pre-trek health check which must be completed before you hike in the mountains.

The briefing in Chamonix is held at 7 pm and we recommend that you book a flight that arrives in Geneva before 2 pm for you to catch our transfer and attend the briefing. If you should arrive on a later flight, you will be given the full briefing the next morning at 7:30am before you set off.

Insurance for your trek

Before you can join any of Kandoo’s Alpine  treks, you’ll need to insure yourself against accident, injury, and illness.

Make sure you're covered

Your insurance must cover the cost of helicopter evacuation and repatriation if necessary. Make sure your insurer knows of your travel plans, and verify that your policy fully covers your trek, climb, and any other activities you will participate in. Specifically, for both trek itineraries on the Tour du Mont Blanc you need to be covered for trekking to 2,500 metres. For the peak climbs, you need coverage for trekking to 4,100 metres on Gran Paradiso and to 5,000 metres on Mont Blanc. (Some policies may have different options for Mont Blanc, such as alpine climbing. it is important to note that you are not mountaineering on fixed ropes. If you are unsure, please check with the insurer that you are choosing the correct coverage)

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully and adequately insured for the duration of your trip. Please ensure that all activities, excursions and destinations in your itinerary are included in your travel insurance policy, in addition to your regular cover for cancellation and medical expenses.

We ask that you keep a copy of your policy summary (containing policy number and the emergency contact number for your insurer) in your day sack at all times, so that we can access this information should we need to contact the insurer on your behalf. You will also need to bring details of your insurance cover to the pre-trek briefing.

We recommend the global supplier of travel insurance, World Nomads. Make sure to choose the correct policy for the altitude you are trekking to.  Be sure to read the small print carefully for any policy you are considering - different policies provide different levels of cover, so make sure you understand what is and isn't included in your policy.

Medicine

Your guide is a trained first-aider and will carry a full first aid kit at all times during the trip. Please bring with you any personal medication that you may need such as inhalers, plasters and painkillers.

Healthcare can be extremely expensive in Europe, so we strongly advise all of our clients to invest in insurance before travelling.

Weather Forecasts for the Alps

As with all mountain regions, the weather on and around Mont Blanc can be very unpredictable. Our guides will be keeping a close eye on weather forecasts throughout your trek and will adjust the itinerary if needed to account for any unfavourable weather. You may also want to keep up with the forecast in English by checking Meteoswiss or Meteofrance. 

Weather variations by region

Summer hiking weather in the Alps, whether you're in Courmayeur, Switzerland or the Mont Blanc Range, is generally very pleasant. While you may walk in short sleeves under sunny skies on some days, we can almost certainly guarantee that there will also be some days that are cool and wet, especially at higher elevations. The mountains create a rain shadow. Temperatures can range from the low 40s at night to 80 °F during the day. Hikers can expect daytime temperatures in the 70s in the valleys and in the 50s or 60s above 8000 feet—although it's not uncommon to have freezing rain or snow on the high trail one day, and T-shirt weather at the 9500-foot pass the next.

Seasonal weather variations in the Alps

As for seasonality, the Alps are ideal for hiking or alpinism from mid-June through mid-September, with the high passes often snowbound until early July. Therefore we typically schedule our first  trips starting the first week of June and conclude by September 15. Wildflowers on the Tour du Mont Blanc are at their peak in late July and early August, and even earlier in Italy.

Mandatory vaccines

There are no specific health risks in the Mont Blanc region. However, you should ensure that your routine vaccinations and boosters are up to date, such as tetanus and MMR.

Local time

France uses Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +1 hour and Daylight Saving Time (DST) is observed here.

Tipping your guide

Tipping customs vary all over the world and can be very confusing when travelling to a new country. There is not a strong culture for tipping in France, but that said, anything you wish to give your guide in appreciation of his services will be welcome. You may wish to buy him a drink in the refuge or hotel.

Tips are not a substitute for good wages: our guides  are all well paid and well looked after. Tipping is completely voluntary, and at your discretion. If you receive bad service or have not been treated well, you would not be expected to tip at all. Of course, that won’t happen on one of Kandoo’s treks. 

Speak with an expert Start planning your next adventure by contacting one of our team.
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Rachael Bode

Adventure Travel Consultant

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Victoria Hoddy

Adventure Travel Consultant

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Kat Allan

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Sharon King

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