With over two decades of travel experience, our advice to fellow travellers is always travel smart, be sensible and keep a low profile. Don't flash money or jewelry around, and stay with your group or travel companion. Practice the “buddy system” and do not wander alone at night. Always pay attention to your surroundings.
Check your packing list and follow it to the letter. Then, put half of everything away. You don't really need all that stuff, do you?
We recommend traveling with one lightweight duffle and a backpack. Leave your big, bulky suitcases at home. Instead, carry a small lightweight backpack on your flight to Peru for day trips and hikes in the ancient sites, and a larger duffle as your checked luggage (not to exceed 55 lbs). If you a solo traveler and visiting a local crowded market, wear your backpack across your chest. It will keep your belongings safe from stray hands. Secure with a wire rope and lock when traveling by local trains, jitney's.
Layer clothing for warmth, hat and sunglasses (with good UV protection), pack of pens and journal or sketchbook; money belt with safety pins; zip-lock bags for liquids, a travel alarm and a flashlight are must for any travel across continents. Bring your digital pocket camera and charger. When photographing local people in traditional wear at tourist sites a gratuity is often expected.
When traveling independently and going to to any high traffic tourist areas, be sure to book your entrance tickets and transportation early. We often choose to travel in the "off season", which enables more access to the sites with less tourist activity. If you will be traveling in the high season, be advised that reservations are a must. If you are a budget traveler consider keeping number handy all the time. At the other end of the spectrum, luxury travelers might opt for the early booking to avoid last minute hassel.
Passports should be renewed or obtained early. Your passport must be valid for (6) months from the date of travel. If it is about to expire you will not be granted entrance to Peru. Check the visa requirements for your destination. Make two copies of your travel documents including air and land itineraries and your passports, and leave one copy with friends or family at home, along with the telephone numbers for contacting you during travel. Keep a copy separate from your other documents. Carry your money, passport, and credit card with you in a money belt, inside your clothing, unless locked in a hotel safe.
The streets have many eyes. Use good sense when transacting currency in public, and opt for a currency exchange office or bank whenever possible. Never carry a purse or wallet. For quick purchases, place a few small denomination bills in various pockets. Tuck $100 bill under the insole of your shoe as insurance against theft. Bring one or two credit or debit cards and know your PIN (use 4 digit codes for compatibility with Peru’s ATM’s). Test it before departure. Cash can be obtained at banks worldwide. Be forewarned that some ATM’s have been known to dispense counterfeit bills. Check your currency carefully. Go inside a bank or Currency Exchange office to make a transaction.
Commercial bottled drinking water is available nearly everywhere. Drink plenty of bottled water when traveling to high altitudes. NEVER drink tap water or use ice cubes made from tap water, as they contain harmful bacteria.
In order to stay in touch with friends and family back home, internet cafes are the best answer. They abound in all major cities and tourist areas, and charge from $2+ per hour. Some offer wireless for those bringing a laptop. Consider buying a prepaid telephone calling card with service. If you are bringing your cellular telephone, contact your carrier for international rates and service areas.
Unforeseen circumstances may require that you alter your trip plans. Consider purchasing a trip cancellation policy to cover any non-refundable land and air tickets, including land and air evacuations, and medical costs due to personal or family illnesses. We encourage the purchase of Travelers Insurance policy to provide coverage for unexpected medical expenses, travel cancellation, and travel related emergencies while on a trip.
Last and best advice is simply to enjoy yourself and keep an open mind. Have a wonderful adventure because in reality it's already begun.