As a follow up to my previous Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) 21 Frequently Asked Questions and Hiking the TMB with Children posts, here’s another quick Q&A reference for you to bookmark. Keep in mind, these answers are only a reflection of my own personal experience hiking the TMB solo with my four children.
Q: Where do I get a SIM Card that will work in France, Italy & Switzerland?
A: I purchased the Orange Holiday SIM Card online at Amazon before I left the US. Conveniently, you can top it up online. In France, you can also buy this card at an Orange store (there isn’t one in Chamonix, at least last I knew. You may also find SIM cards at a Tabac shop in Chamonix. I found one for my teenager at the Tabac near the Aiguille du midi lift.
Q: How do you find out the weather each day while on the Tour?
A: You’ll want to get up the up-to-date local Mont Blanc/Chamonix forecast. You may see the forecast posted daily for hikers at gites/refuges/refugios. You can also checkout out Chamonix-Meteo. Whatever you do, know what to expect in terms of weather each day before you set out, but also be prepared for anything, including to seek alternate transportation during a section (e.g., bus) or to get to a lower trail when prudent.
Q. Is there a bus to get to the traditional start of the Tour (Les Houches) or Chamonix?
A: Yes, there are buses. We had a positive experience with Alpy Bus. We prebooked seats online and went right to the Alpy Bus kiosk/desk at Geneva Airport upon arrival. After only waiting a few minutes, we were escorted to the bus (big van) and we were off to Les Houches.
Q. Can you bring trekking/hiking poles as carry on luggage on the plane?
A: My recent travel experience is that airlines are cracking down on allowing poles as carry on luggage. Check with your airline, but don’t be surprised if they refuse to let them on with you, unless they are for medical reasons (and you may need to show some sort of doctor’s note to prove this). You can find inexpensive poles at sport stores in Chamonix, so if your choice is paying for an expensive checked bag or buying poles upon arrival, you might actually save cash doing the latter.
Hope this helps. Happy TMB.