Tour du Mont Blanc Luggage Transfer: Pros and Cons

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We saw this mule packing luggage for a tour group on the Tour du Mont Blanc trek in July.

Are you considering Tour du Mont Blanc luggage transfer? I’m here to help shine a light on your options, how it works, hut exclusions, and how to pack lighter.

With the TMB, here’s the deal, it’s a TON of up and down. We’re talking 3,000 feet in a normal day. 1,000 meters! Unlike the Alta Via 1 or some other epic multi-day hikes in Europe, you go up the mountain every day and then back down into a valley. You don’t “Stay” at the top in a traverse.

  1. Pack light. You actually DON’T need much and everyone smells, that’s part of the fun.
  2. Hire luggage transport independently (or as part of a guided tour).
  3. Hire a mule.

Leave your main travel luggage at a hotel in Les Houches for the TMB and just take your pack.

That’s it, article finished. You’re welcome. j/k.

Who is luggage transport for?

  • People with pre-existing spinal conditions
  • People with poor balance
  • Creators that need extra equipment

👉 Everyone else, look at your pack and empty out half of it and join the stinky herd of hikers that IS the TMB.

Pros and Cons Luggage Transport

Pros
  • Less painful 
  • More amenities in huts at night
  • Support local economy
Cons
  • Price
  • Environmental Impact
  • Coordination efforts
  • Don't have it at every hut

Thankfully, numerous luggage transfer services are available to lighten your load, shuttling your belongings from one accommodation to the next.

You’ll find these options invaluable as you navigate your self-guided trek or guided trek, freeing you to fully engage with the untamed terrain and the raw beauty of your surroundings.

Morgan’s Video of Luggage Transport on TMB

Key Takeaways

  • Most people should simply pack lighter.
  • Several hut won’t be accessible even if you hire luggage transfer.
  • However, if you have special considerations, luggage transfer services can greatly enhance the TMB hiking experience.
  • Planning and utilizing these services allows for a more focused adventure, with attention on the journey rather than the weight carried.

Quick Guide to Hut to Hut Treks in Europe (*and why you don’t need much baggage)

Pros
  • Stunning Scenery
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Well-Marked Trails
  • Accessible
  • Accommodations on Route
Cons
  • Crowds
  • Unpredictable Weather
  • Language Barriers
  • Little "true" Wild
  • Cost - Wild Camping Often Prohibited

Essential Backpack Contents for Trekking

When embarking on the Tour Du Mont Blanc, selecting the right items for your backpack is crucial. A 35-liter backpack is typically the minimum size recommended for those who choose to travel without baggage support.

Packing List Essentials:

  • Gear: Compactable clothing, trekking poles, water filtration.
  • Itinerary: Map, compass, multi-day itinerary.
  • Weather: Layered clothing, waterproof jacket.
  • Food: High-energy snacks, water.

Remember, less is more when it comes to packing for a hike through the mountains. Carefully examining your route and the forecasted weather will guide you in packing efficiently. For food, prioritize calorie-dense options that are easy to prepare.

Feel confident in paring down your gear to essentials only. If minimalism isn’t your strength, consider a luggage transfer service to enhance your hiking experience.

Read my in-depth ➡️ Minimalist TMB Packing List Guide

Luggage Transfer on the TMB

Utilizing a luggage transfer service on your Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) trek allows for a more comfortable hike. With this service, only a day pack is needed for your walk, as your larger bag is transported to various accommodations along the trail. Here are key points to remember:

  • Secure Transport: Your main luggage is safely driven between stops.
  • Pickup/Drop-off Points: Expect your luggage at designated accommodations, not at high mountain refuges lacking road access.
  • Tailored Service: Services can often be customized to suit your travel schedule.

On high passes where vehicles can’t reach, be prepared with overnight essentials in your day pack. For detailed planning, consider TMB self-guided tour planners.

Luggage Transfer Costs for Tour du Mont Blanc

When planning your Tour du Mont Blanc adventure, it’s essential to consider the costs for transporting your baggage:

  • Single traveler: Expect to pay around €200 for the service.
  • Groups of 4+: The cost per person can reduce to approximately €134.

The factors affecting these charges include the number of travelers, the volume of luggage, and your chosen accommodation options. Keep in mind:

  • Distance: Transfer services navigate longer routes around the mountain terrain.
  • Geneva Accessibility: Utilize transfers from Geneva airport to start your trek efficiently.
  • Budget Management: Opting for shared transfers with fellow hikers can conserve your funds.
  • Public Transport Alternatives: Investigate buses from Geneva to locations like St Gervais to manage your budget wisely, especially if you’re traveling alone.

Read ➡️ TMB Cost Breakdown

High Mountain Shelter Exclusions

When planning your Tour du Mont Blanc trek, be aware that several high-altitude shelters won’t accommodate your luggage transfer services, mainly due to their inaccessibility by road.

# ExclusionsRifugios
1Rifugio Bonatti
2Rifugio Elisabetta
3Refuge Croix du Bonhomme
4Les Chapieux
Maybe even more?

Should you be traveling with a private tour group, you might find more flexibility with your baggage delivery, potentially receiving service to places like Les Chapieux. Solo trekkers or those booking without a group’s assistance should prepare to carry essentials when staying at these isolated refuges.

For organized treks, the scope of luggage service can vary widely, so it’s advisable to consult with your booking agent or review the specific terms of your itinerary for clarity on luggage transfers.

Often the TMB shortcuts offer more beautiful views and you wouldn’t want to skip them to have luggage.

Discover more about ➡️ Tour Du Mont Blanc accommodation to effectively plan your trek.

Recommended Luggage Transfer Providers for TMB Hikers

When planning your Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), selecting a trusted luggage transfer service is crucial. For those seeking dependability and expertise, Besson Taxis has built a reputation over four decades.

They understand the intricacies of the region and offer reliable transfers, despite not being the cheapest option.

Keep in mind that each bag must weigh no more than 15 kilograms, and rates depend on the number of stops planned for your accommodation.

If budget-friendly service is your priority, Chamonix Valley Transfers (CVT) offers a more economical choice, with per bag prices around €65 for the classic TMB route, encompassing 6 to 7 stops.

Groups of four can enjoy a slight reduction, at €60 per bag. Unlike other services, they don’t impose strict weight limits but expect that a single driver can manage your luggage comfortably.

English-speaking staff makes communication effortless—simply reach out directly to arrange your luggage transfer.

Mule Baggage Transportation

Hiring mules for carrying your gear can greatly ease your journey around the Tour du Mont Blanc. This traditional mode of transport adds a historical and practical aspect to your trek.

  • Minimum Requirement: 8 baggage items (up to 16 max).
  • Cost Structure: €20 for each bag per segment, plus expenses for the muleteer’s accommodation and meals.
  • Weight Limitation: Each bag should be within 7-8 kg.
  • Muleteer Accompaniment: A professional muleteer must guide the mule.
  • Economic Aspect: Most beneficial for larger groups due to the flat rate applied.
  • Advance Booking: Mandatory to schedule at least 20 days ahead of your trip.
  • Availability: There are two mules at your service.

This service isn’t just about the novelty; it’s a practical solution that harks back to mountain traditions, providing a unique element to your trekking experience. With the arrangement taken care of by a muleteer, you can enjoy your adventure without the burden of heavy luggage.

Final Verdict: Ways to Book a Hut to Hut Hiking Trip

Best to Hike Your Own Pace but Forgo Logistical Challenge
Self-Guided Tour Planning Service

Self-Guided Tour Planning Service

  • [Self-Guided] - You're on your own once you start
  • Must book in Oct to Jan of year prior to hike
  • Fully done for you route
  • Service finds and books your huts
  • Maps provided on app
Click Here to Read More

What we liked: The logistics of the TMB and other hut to hut hikes can be very daunting, especially if you don't speak Italian and French. 

Note: Lesser known trails are often easier to book.  

Pros
  • Ease of route
  • No finding or dealing with huts
  • Tapping into expertise
  • No waiting for slow hikers
  • No feeling rushed if you're slower
Cons
  • Less control of dates
  • No guide on the trail
  • Unknown - you didn't "plan"
Best for Beginners & Social People
Guided Group Tour : 4 Days

Guided Group Tour : 4 Days

  • small groups (<10 typically)
  • local Chamonix guides
  • all transfers/breakfast/dinner/accommodations included
  • airport transfer included
  • stay in the insanely beautiful Rifugio Bonatti and other huts at high elevation
Click Here to Read More

What we liked:  Designed for busy people that want to experience the highlights of the Tour du Mont Blanc without having to take 2 weeks of their precious vacation time.  Everything is done-for-you and you can show up and relax in the most stunning mountains. 

Note: The standard price includes shared rooms in the huts.

Pros
  • All transfers included
  • Best price for a guided trip
  • Local Chamonix Guides
Cons
  • At the mercy of group pace
  • Not the full circuit
Best on a Budget
DIY: Book Your Own Huts

DIY: Book Your Own Huts

  • Cheapest Option
  • Most Freedom
  • Take side excursions as you like
Click Here to Read More

What we liked: The challenge of it.  It's so fun to route plan, find trails and the huts you want.  Often it's not the expense saved, but the learning of the trail while planning that is satisfying. 

Note: Be prepared to spend some time with spreadsheets and wait weeks for replies from hut owners. 

BONUS:  Click on the link to watch my 10 part video series on HOW to book a hut to hut trip.  It's a Dolomites hut trip but it's basically the same process for TMB. 

Pros
  • Cheapest option
  • Most freedom
  • Learn the Trail by planning
Cons
  • Time suck
  • You must be organized
  • Map skills are essential
Most Freedom
Camping

Camping

  • campgrounds can be crowded
  • reservations often needed in advance
  • Wild camping is prohibited or limited by elevation
Click Here to Read More

Not really my favorite thing for hut to hut trails in Europe. The huts are quite often the best part of the hiking trip and the rules are so complicated about wild camping.

Pros
  • Price is good
  • Quiet
  • More Flexibilty
Cons
  • Wild camping is tricky
  • Rules change
  • harder and heavier pack

Common Questions Regarding Luggage Transfer on the Tour du Mont Blanc

Arranging Baggage Transportation on the TMB

To arrange for your luggage to be moved from one accommodation to the next during your journey, you can book services through specialized transfer companies. These services allow you to hike with just a daypack, enhancing your comfort and mobility on the trail.

Top Picks for Self-Guided TMB Journeys with Bag Forwarding

Several reputable companies offer self-guided tour packages that include luggage transfer services. Companies like Alpenventures Unguided typically provide detailed route information and handle the transportation of your bags between overnight stops.


🥾 Ready to book your TMB self guided hut to hut hike??

Hike your own hike. If you want excellent communication and peace of mind, then my personal recommendation is to choose Alpenventures Unguided Hiking Tours. You’ll have all the information and resources you need at your fingertips for the hike, so you can spend less time planning and more time enjoying the stunning beauty of the Alps.

See Dates to Hike TMB (5-12 Days) HERE

Bag Transfers Included in Tour Packages vs. Independent Taxi Hire

Many tour providers include baggage transfer as a part of their package deals. You do not necessarily need to hire a taxi separately for luggage movement unless you are organizing every leg of your trip independently.

Recommended Backpack Size for a Self-Guided TMB Trek

A daypack ranging from 20 to 30 liters is typically sufficient for carrying essentials such as water, snacks, a first-aid kit, and extra clothing while your main luggage is transported to your next stop.

Water Accessibility and Purification on the TMB

Streams and fountains are commonly found along the trail, but to ensure water safety, carry a filtration system or purification tablets to treat water before drinking.

Closest Airports to Begin Your TMB Adventure

The most accessible airports to start the Tour du Mont Blanc are Geneva Airport in Switzerland, Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport in France, and Milan Malpensa Airport in Italy. Each offers transport options to reach various starting points of the TMB. Read this article to learn about how to get from Geneva to Chamonix efficiently and the best time to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc.



Planning your trip?



We hope this travel guide filled with interesting information about Tour du Mont Blanc Luggage Transfer has given you the proper information to plan your visit this epic trail.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.