Everest Base Camp Trek - Guided vs Independent Treks
Nepal is perhaps the birthplace of the independent tea house trek. In the “old days” before guided treks, travelers ventured forth into the mountains going from village to village and staying at the same little tea-houses where locals stopped for a night rest and a cup of tea on their own journeys to and from their homes in the mountains.
Ultimately as more travelers trekked to these remote areas, guest houses were built and small restaurants opened. This was all before the coming of the guided trek. You packed a sleeping bag and headed off. And in Nepal today it is still easy to do just that. It is also very economical.
On the other hand if time is in short supply you can pay a premium to a guide service. The upside is that they do all the planning and set up. All you have to do is show up ready to trek. The downside is that you are avoiding the local interaction in the guest houses. You are also sleeping in tents which on average are probably not as comfortable or as warm as the guest houses.
There is a third way as well. You can easily hire a guide in Kathmandu. There are many local companies in Kathmandu and with a few days time you can find a quality and reasonably priced guide and set off. (In fact many of the international guide companies subcontract to such firms) Also, you can have your guide hire porters in Lukla so all you need to carry is a day pack.