Getting ready for my very quickly approaching 17 day trip to Peru has been WAY more stressful than I expected. I’ve never in my life taken a trip like this, so didn’t know exactly what would go into it. The only other places I’ve been on vacation are to the beach, and I basically just showed up with myself, a bathing suit, and a few other things and relaxed away. This time, I booked my ticket from DCA to Lima, Peru because flights were cheap ($650 round trip) without doing TOO much research into exactly where things were in Peru or what went into preparing for the trip. Not necessarily the best way to plan a big trip like this, but it forced me to make it happen.
Before getting ready for the trip, I had to:
- Schedule an appointment with a travel medicine clinic. Here I got a Hepatitis A vaccine as well as a yellow fever vacine, and a prescription for Cipro (an antibiotic) in case I develop typhoid symptoms (fever, diarrhea, fun).
- Schedule an appoint with my PCP. She prescribed me malaria medication, altitude sickness medication, and some medicine for my anxiety around traveling on sketchy buses. In retrospect, I could have gone to the travel medicine clinic for all of these things, but I had to see my primary care doctor anyway, so it wasn’t a huge deal.
- Renew my passport. It expired in January, and I took care of getting a new one in March so I had plenty of time.
- Book a domestic flight. Flying in and out of Lima was great and cheap, but I realized that most of where we wanted to go was located much closer to Cusco, so we had to book an additional flight from Lima to Cusco, which ended up costing about $350, so airfare is around $1000 total.
- Plan the itinerary. When looking to book tour groups, they were asking for close to $3,000 for as few as 8 days of travel. This did NOT include flights, and when I was looking at the prices, I knew that wasn’t the way I wanted to go. So, instead, we did a lot of research and booked things ourselves.
What we came up with:
- June 21: Fly from DCA to Lima and stay overnight at a hostel near the airport
- June 22: Fly from Lima to Cusco and stay in a hostel in the city
- June 23 – June 29: Get picked up at our hostel, and take a 7 day, 6 night guided tour of the amazon jungle. I negotiated the price and we were able to get the trip (which includes the tour, all accommodations, and all our food) for $750 USD each.
- June 29 – July 5: 5 nights in an apartment in downtown Cusco through airbnb.com. We were able to find a nice apartment with a kitchen, wifi, laundry, and everything we could need for $56 USD per night right in the center of the city.
- July 1 – day trip to Machu Picchu. This cost about $250 USD per person, and includes transport to and from, entrance fees, and the tour itself.
- July 5: Fly from Cusco back to Lima, stay overnight in a hostel in the city center, spend 2 full days in Lima
- July 7: Fly from Lima back to DCA (just after midnight, so no need for a second night in a hostel)
It seems like a LOT of traveling when I look at it put down like this, so I am really glad we have those 5 nights at the same place in Cusco. Hopefully we will take a few days just to relax and explore.
I am bringing a large hiking backpack that I am borrowing from my sis, and plan to bring just that, so wanted to pack really light. We made sure to have laundry in our apartment in Cusco, so will be able to do it on day 8/9 of the trip – just about half way through. June is winter in Peru, and it seems like the temperatures vary a lot – from in the upper 60s during the day, to the low 30s overnight. This means one thing – dress in layers! Since I am trying to pack light, I wanted to make sure not to bring anything more than I needed, so I did a ton of research on what to bring during that time of year. I was able to bring the list down to a reasonable amount which all fits in the backpack. For the jungle tour portion, the company is giving us a duffle bag that we will fill with what we need just for the jungle (mostly hiking stuff and toiletries), and then we will leave the rest of our items at our hostel in Cusco.
Here’s the full list:
- Yellow fever vaccine confirmation
- Itinerary with hotel/hostel names/addresses/phone numbers + flight info
- Peruvian Currency
- Bathing suit
- 2 maxi dresses
- 1 convertible skirt/dress
- Black jeggings
- 2 pairs hiking pants
- 4 long sleeve shirts
- 4 tanks for layering
- 4 short sleeve shirts
- Rain Jacket / Windbreaker
- 10 pairs underwear
- 2 Sports bras
- 2 regular bras
- Hiking sandals
- Flip flops
- After Bite
- Blister Pads
- Malaria Meds
- Altitude Sickness meds
- Toilet paper
- Hair tyes
- Hair gel
- Shampoo (bringing a few hotel sized ones and will throw out as I go)
- Conditioner (bringing a few hotel sized ones and will throw out as I go)
- Body Wash (bringing a few hotel sized ones and will throw out as I go)
- Face wash wipes
- Wet Naps
Not so bad for 17 days! It actually doesn’t even look like a lot when it’s all laid out.
Now, just to figure out how to get it all in the backpack…
What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken?