What You Must Take to Peru

  • Agent – “Who are you traveling with?”
  • Me – “My sister”
  • Agent – “And she has your bags?”
  • Me – “No, this is my bag.”
  • Agent – “How long were you gone?”
  • Me – “About 12 days.”There was a significantly long pause and a look of disbelief at my carry on bag.
  • We actually had a security guard start running after us, “Wait, you need to get your checked bags….”

It is inconceivable to some that we can travel so light. Here is how we do it:

What to Take to Peru & Why to Travel Light

We travel light. That really would say it all except “light” means something different to everyone.

Light to us means you have everything in a backpack, but this too can be confusing.

So, how about this definition: Everything must fit in carry on luggage and it must fit under the seat infront of you. (You can choose to use the overhead but the concept is the size of the compartment underneath the seat infront of you. No excuses! We don’t care how long you are going. (Although we don’t use it – there is laundry service in Peru.)

WHY we travel light to Peru:

  1. No lost luggage.
  2. When your plane is on hold, you are the “easy move”, the easy choice for who should move to the next available flight. (NOTE: Never leave your bags on a plane when they say there is a delay. You want to be ready to move to that alternate flight.)
  3. You are more mobile (unburdened with bags) and thus less of an easy target during protests.
  4. You pass through customs fast. We are often asked “Where are your bags?” as we sail through customs.

The only negative of traveling light – Remember Licquids!

Upon return to the USA, remember the licquid security rule! A popular error tourists (with only carryon luggage) make is purchasing duty-free alcohol or perfumes (which are licquid) and then they have to leave it when passing through security to their connecting flight. If you have no connections, this is not a problem.

How do we do it? How can we travel so light to Peru?

The secret lies in understanding Parkinson’s Law, “a luxury – once enjoyed – becomes a necessity.”

Example: A meal alone is sufficient but many people feel you need dessert. Well, we are just taking the meal.

Essentially, this means we need to change our way of thinking. We think we need to travel with all these items because that is “what we have always done”, but in reality, it is not so. You can wear a t-shirt more than once. You can wear underwear two or more days. You can even wear it inside out if needed. My friend was a little repulsed by this thought but later emphasized her gratefullness when she was stranged in Turkey with lost luggage. (She had ignored my carryon rule but used the underwear tip!)

Peru Travel Trip Items

(For a trip of twelve (12) days including the day departing and arriving home and INCLUDING clothes worn.
You are going to wear shoes (no flip-flops), socks, jeans, underwear, + 4 items on top (tshirt, thermal, long sleeve shirt, and fleece).
Everything else goes in the pack!

  • Passport & ticket information
  • xerox copy of your passport and ticket information (If your passport is stolen, this will become extremely valuable)
  • 1 jeans
  • 1 other bottom item (shorts, jeans, cargo pants, capri, etc.)
  • 1 jacket type item (preferably zip or button up so you can open it when overheated, preferably one that can be tied around the waits (not bulky) – wool fleece, sweatshirt, etc. but nothing as big as a coat)
  • 1 thermal underwear top for daily use (try the Smart Wool tops if you can afford them as they are so thin, take up little space yet warm)
  • 1 thermal underwear bottom (long johns)
  • 2 long sleeve shirts (turtleneck optional)
  • 2 short sleeve shirts
  • 4 socks (2 wool, 2 regular)
  • 1 bra
  • 4 underwear
  • 1 comfortable walking or hiking shoe (sneaker, hiking boot, etc. with closed toe)
  • 1 additional top Note: This is your sleep top. You will be sleeping in a top and your longjohns. So if you prefer to sleep in a short sleeve shirt take that,
    if you prefer to sleep in a longjohn top, take that. This is also acts an extra emergency top for day use.
  • emergency poncho (look in the camping section of stores like Walmart or Target for $2.99, the size of a thin wallet)
  • sun hat (baseball cap or other)
  • wool hat
  • small pair gloves (easy knit kind you find for $2.99 at walmart are fine)
  • tiny calculator (optional)
  • empty plastic disposable water bottle (This the kind you buy in a store like Evian etc. but you already drank the water, thus it will pass through security since it is empty. After passing through US security you can fill at a water fountain and thus have extra water for the plane. NOTE: Do not drink water from tap or fountains in Peru.
    Also note: You cannot board a plane depating Lima with a licquid in your bag so this will not work on the return leg of the journey. Throw the bottle away.)
  • Glear plastic bag for toiletries (this goes in your pack last so you can pull it out going through security)
  • razor
  • tiny toothpaste
  • toothbrush
  • small travel soap
  • small travel shampoo & conditioner
  • hair comb & brush
  • deodorant
  • tiny perfume (optional)
  • ten bandaids (for injury or blisters on feet)
  • lotion within security licquid restrictions
  • tweezers (be willing to lose these as some security consficate them)
  • kid scissors (with dull blades but be willing to lose these as some security will consficate them)
  • sunscreen (within licquid security restrictions – apply before leaving the hotel room)
  • insect repellant (roll on works well clearing security since it is not a licquid – apply before leaving the hotel room)
  • Skeeter stick (or someother type of bug bite relief cream)
  • sanitary supplies (ladies – bring 12 panty liners and use one each day to feel fresh and clean)
  • small neosporin tube
  • tylenol (small bottle)
  • small bottle kaopectate pills (keep an eye out for a pharmacy on arrival where you can get the licquid version which works much better. USA security will not let this licquid through.)
  • small bottle Pepto bismo pills (or other stomach illness medicine)
  • 4 actifed or sudafed tablets (tear or cut them away from the big sheet you purchase in the store box)
  • 8 to 10 insect repellant wipes (like baby wipes, sealed in individual packages)
  • Day pack (Note: if you are traveling in a group, you should only need 1 day pack for every three people. The day pack carries passports, water bottles (up to 3), and small emergency toiletries.
    Group members should carry their own cameras and fleece jackets which can be tied around the waist if overheated.)
  • fanny pack (optional – but nice if you want to carry your own toiletry items, passport etc.)
  • Second tiny (jewelry size) zip lock plastic bag holds the following day trip items (easily grab this bag when leaving for a day excursion)
  • chapstick
  • emergency sanitary supplies (for one day)
  • pill case with a days supply of tylenol, pepto bismo and/or other medications
  • sunscreen (tiny tube for day trip carrying)
  • two insect repellant wipes (light weight makes them great for carrying on day trips)
  • tiny .5 fl oz hand disinfectant sanitizer (like the Purell bottles)
  • lighter (for emergency rather than smoking)
  • tiny measuring tape (optional – helps when shopping for blankets)
  • breath mints (optional – great if you haven’t had the chance to brush your teeth in a while)
  • small flashlight (for ruins, nature, and blackouts)
  • Camera in camera bag
  • film or memory cards (take 3 times what you think you need, try to buy rolls of 36 if working with film as you change rolls less often)
  • emergency whistle (attach to your camera bag)
  • cash

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