Packing for international travel is never easy. We either pack everything and the kitchen sink and end up with 3 extra pairs of pants, or we pack too little and have to improvise by wearing the same pair of socks 4 days in a row. While everyone has different needs during travel, we have compiled a the following list of items for travelers coming to Peru to join us on one of our train tours to Machu Picchu or other incredible destinations.
- Cash for Tips (not required, but encouraged). Plan on $60-$100 USD per person. Our guides and drivers are compensated fairly by Kusa Treks. However, nearly all of our customers provide additional tips for our crew because of the incredible service they receive throughout the trek.
- Cash for souvenirs, drinks, and snacks in Cusco.
- STUDENTS ONLY: Valid, university issued student ID.
- Good Daypack
- Not too big, not too small, like Goldilocks. Something like this, Osprey Daylite Backpack.
- Daypacks can be any size for walking around Peru, but we recommend that you bring a smaller sized bag. Bags that are larger than 25L are not allowed inside Machu Picchu. If you bring a bag larger than 25L you will simply need to rent a locker for your bag outside Machu Picchu (10 Soles).
- During your time in Peru you will likely carry this daypack throughout your tours. We recommend that when you leave your hotel for a tour that you bring your passport, cash, water and other items you will need during the day (camera, sunscreen, etc.).
PACKING FOR CUSCO
One of the first things you’ll want to do when you get to Cusco is head to the City-Center, a short walk from most hotels, and exchange cash for the Peruvian Sole. We suggest exchanging at least $150-$200 USD/person in cash. You can exchange it back if you have extra Soles at the end of your trip.
PRO-TIP: Before you arrive in Peru, check the conversion rates using something like the XE Currency Converter. When you get to the City-Center you’ll notice a lot of merchants that exchange money, find one with the closest rate to the one you saw prior to your trip.
In addition to cash you’ll also need the following while you enjoy the sites of Cusco:
- 1-2 pairs of travel pants/chinos
- 3-5 shirts
- Cash for meals, snacks and souvenirs/clothing that can be purchased in local markets
- Deck of cards or other games to play while you’re taking it easy and acclimatizing
- You’ll most likely feel the effects of the high altitude on your first day in Cusco. We suggest really taking it easy on this day, drink plenty of water and Coca Tea (served for free at most hotels). Eat plenty of small meals that are high in protein, kick back and read a book or play game, this is a vacation after all!
- PRO-TIP: If you’re a light packer and want to wear your hiking clothes around Cusco, you should think about bringing Travel Laundry Detergent so you can wash your clothes in your hotel bathtub or sink the day prior to your hike. Most hotels also offer laundry service at a reasonable price!
PACKING FOR THE TOURS
- 2-3 travel shirts. The key to a good travel shirt is one that is lightweight and dries quickly. The weather in the Andes is unpredictable and subject to change from beautiful and sunny to cloudy and rainy in a matter of minutes. You don’t want your clothes to stay soaked for hours after it stops raining, find a couple of shirts that are comfortable and dry quickly. Something like these:
- 1-2 pairs of travel pants. Similar to the shirts, pants should be lightweight, comfortable and moisture wicking. We also suggest finding pants that can convert to shorts easily, as you can get pretty warm after walking around for a few hours. Also, look for pants with plenty of pockets:
- 3-4 sets of Undergarments, we’ll let you be the judge here, as personal preference is usually the best guide to underwear, but here are some options that worked well for us.
- Comfortable walking shoes. Quite possibly the most important item you’ll bring. If your feet hurt or get wet, it can make the entire experience miserable. If you don’t have a good pair of walking shoes, finding the right pair takes effort – take the time to do some real research. You’ll want to try on a few pairs to discover your personal preferences. Below are 2 solid options:
- 1 Fleece Jacket, The Cusco region of Peru has a very mild climate. The highs are usually around 70℉ (21℃) and the lows are close to freezing 32℉ (0℃). Once the sun goes down it can get pretty chilly and a mid-weight fleece jacket is the perfect thing to throw on around the campsite.
You can also purchase a handmade Alpaca wool sweater once you arrive in Peru for $5-10 (20-30 Peruvian Soles) depending on your bargaining skills.
- 1 Wool Hat (AKA Beanie or Toque). This is another item that you can find in the markets of Cusco made out of Alpaca Wool, that be can be purchased for cheap. Here is a good option.
- 1 Hiking Hat. This is to wear while you’re on the trail throughout the day. Ideally, you’d like something that can protect your face, neck and ears as you’ll be hiking at a very high elevation. Something like this: Columbia Sun Hat
- Neck Cover/Sun Protection. Again, you’ll be hiking at a very high elevation, as a result, exposed skin is more likely to get burned. In addition to a hat, we suggest bringing something to keep your neck and ears covered. I found a Buff to be extremely useful, simply get it wet with cold water at the beginning of the day and it would stay cool until lunch, then would soak it again to help stay cool and covered all day. We suggest getting a Buff or something similar.
- Plan to bring water during your tours. You can purchase bottled water in Cusco and either use the original bottle, or fill up a container:
PRO-TIP: Bring powdered drink mixes to pour into your Nalgene, something with electrolytes, like these Gatorade Powder Packets.
Our crew will have a range of medical supplies in the event of an emergency, but you should plan on bringing the following personal items:
- Insect Repellent, this Ben’s stuff is the real deal!
- Hand Sanitizer
- Wet Ones
- Toothbrush and paste
- Personal medication
If you have any questions about the items on this list or other items you think you’ll need, please reach out to us! We’re happy to provide direction and listen to suggestions!
+1 (302) 684-9878