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Do you need a '''guide and porter''' for the journey? If you are strong, then a porter is not required, though hiring one does direct well needed cash into the homes of poor families and allows you more flexibility. If you do hire a porter, remember to keep valuables with you. The vast majority of porters are extremely honest, but it only takes one who is not to ruin a vacation! Expect to pay around 1200-1600 Rs (more if your load is very heavy) a day for a porter's services, and as far as Namche you are not expected to pay for accommodation and meals. Guides will cost about 2,000 - 2,500 RS. However, due to the high price of food and lack of provisions for porters above Namche, meals should be provided. (NB: Namche has a cheap and clean lodge specially for porters). Anyway, ensure that your terms are clear at the time of hiring. This will save trouble later.
Guides are definitely not necessary if you are traveling no higher than Tengboche or Pangboche. Above that, you might consider hiring one. Not only can they guide you on the right path and explain local sights, but can be invaluable should you fall ill. Guides speak English (and often other languages - specify your choice when hiring) and need an official license to operate. They command a much higher rate than porters (negotiate), and carrying your bags is '''not''' part of their service. Like porters, they will find their own accommodation and meals unless you invite them.
In general, guides are local Sherpas or Tamangs and are usually named Lama; porters are Rai or belong to ethnic groups from other areas.
Guides and porters can be hired for a fee through trekking agencies in Kathmandu or you can inquire at lodges in Lukla or Namche. At Lukla airport, there are always hopeful porters milling around the exit, but it is better to use a lodge owner as an intermediary. They can help you negotiate a good deal and translate your specific needs. '''Eco Paradise''', Lukla or '''Namche Hotel''', Namche are convenient and good places to do this.
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