MARK YOUR LUGGAGE!!!!!!!
First of all... Securely tie a red ribbon to each piece of your luggage. If everyone has this on their luggage we can easily identify it.
Next, securely attach luggage tags that are sealed from moisture. Each tag must have your name and contact info in large easily read type or print. Place these where they can be easily seen. Airports, train stations, and hotels have a lot of traffic (people) and piles of luggage. Our porters and assistants have a list of names and look for the red ribbons tied to each bag and these tags. If these items are not visible your luggage might be misplaced.
Do NOT allow anyone to handle your luggage unless you have seen Kathy or I direct the person(s) to help. If you are not completely sure you must ask us no matter what is going on!
If in doubt ask immediately!
Packing For ADVENTURE
Pack your bag, and get ready for a great time! Begin packing at least week before we leave - Just don't over pack like we usually do, haha! Packing well ahead of time allows you the ability to think of items needed. With extra time you'll have time to consider what you need and time to locate things you need. A common mistake is over packing. If you forget something don't worry, it is usually easy to find once you arrive.
Additionally, a small backpack or shoulder bag and a waist belt for cameras, water or snacks will be useful.
Everything should fit within one or two large bags of a size you can carry without help. The lighter you travel, the easier it is to negotiate boats, trains, buses, and planes. We have porters along the way, but occasionally you are on your own.
There are a few general items we have found to be useful for any adventure travel. Here are our suggestions!
- Suitcase or Duffle Bag - No metal corners! - A Duffle is best since it easily conforms to the shape of where it is placed. A suitcase will not. This is important since duffle bags can easily be stacked and handled. Metal corners can easily be damaged and become sharp. This leads to someone getting a bad cut. No need to go there ; ) It hurts...
- Day Pack - This should be large enough for you to tote around and place any extra clothing, camera, water, or snacks.
- Zippered Pants Pockets - There are thieves and pickpockets in 3rd world countries. Keep your money and passport in a zippered pocket.
- Clothing - Wick-dry clothing (socks, pants, shirts) is the best. You can wear whatever you choose, but this is best.
- Adventure Hat - Yes, an adventure-hat always comes in handy! It keeps the rain off your face and the sun away to avoid sunburn! Plus, you will look really amazing when someone snaps a pix of you!
- Cash Only - Not traveler's checks... You don't need this aggravation! These are very hard to convert to local currency and the exchange rate is low. Bring cash! Keep in mind it must be clean, not torn or marked. Otherwise, the locals will tell you this is "broken" and refuse it. Then what will you do??? Been there... It's a mess. Check your currency!
- Toilet Paper - Sure, you'll find TP in Peru (maybe one ply). But you might need this while away from any modern conveniences. Besides, yours is probably better than crepe paper : /
- Flashlight - You just never know when you'll need a really good flashlight! Have two with extra batteries ready! It gets really dark in the jungle!
- Energy Bars
- Trail Mix
- Toothbrush - Keep this in its own small resealable plastic bag
- Washcloth - You will not find a washcloth in Peru. No idea why : / Place it in a small resealable plastic bag after allowing it to dry.
- Soap - Insects LOVE the smell of perfume! Your soap should not entice insects to visit you! Keep your soap in a separate small resealable plastic bag.
- 1 gallon or larger resealable plastic bags - These will be very handy if your clothes get wet or soiled, or to keep your washcloth in. We suggest you pack ALL your clothes in these resealable plastic bags and keep a few handy. One might tear, or you might need to isolate something away from your dry, clean clothes. Or... Someone might need an extra! Be a hero. Bring a few extras ; )
- Insect Repellant - Whether in the Amazon or high in the Andes you will certainly encounter insects that bite (like mosquitoes, and chiggers). There are two things that work here. The first is full strength Deet and the other is Permethrin spray. Deet on your body and Permethrin sprayed on your clothes. Check your local outdoorsman supply. They have his stuff. Not sure? Let us know.
- Electronics - Keep your electronics in their own resealable plastic bags. This includes your batteries!
- Voltage Converter - Peru's voltage is 220 AC. Check your charger. If it is like most now you are probably good without a converter. Check your charger! It will say 110V ~ 220V if it will work across different voltages.
- BARTER! - At every stop, you will see things for sale. Most of these sellers will haggle on the price. However, some items from outside Peru are more valuable than money! This is where barter comes in! Do you have an old pair of shoes or pants? Pens and stationery are good, as are any trinkets for the kids. Use your imagination. Your most common place or vanity item is golden here ; )
Now for more specific areas...
Regardless of what time of year you travel to the Andes, we have a few great tips to keep you comfortable. Plus, there are several items you might consider including in your luggage! It's important to mention the weather is very changeable in the mountains of Peru. It might be cool in the mornings, hot at midday, and cold at night. You should dress in layers and keep these layer with you.
You need a good hiking shoe! It should have a solid barrier between you and a sharp rock! Tennis shoes will not work! I've seen too many people get hurt because their hiking shoes offered NO protection. Don't be next on my list of those who didn't heed my suggestion : )
A lightweight and weatherproof rain jacket is essential. It should be bulky enough to allow for a sweater underneath. Does it have a built-in hood? If so, great! That might be a game changer if we happen to get caught in the rain and wind! Of course, waterproof gloves will complete your comfort! Trust me... If you (your hands, body or head) were to get cold at altitude you will be miserable : /
If you are only traveling to the Amazon, keep in mind you are traveling to the lodge on a small boat. Your luggage follows on a larger boat. It isn't huge, so things can become heavily packed with only a few people's belongings. Travel light, and pack your things in sealable plastic bags in the event there is rain, or the boat leaks (or worse). Keep in mind there is no laundry service in the jungle.
You certainly WILL want insect repellant. There's no getting around this, there will be insects. It isn't swarming with insects but they ARE there and a few bite! Having lived in the Amazon, Deet and Permethrin are what we've found work the best. If you try garlic or skin so soft you will discover (as we did) these offer zero protection.
A Flashlight is essential. Actually, bring two! And, bring extra batteries for "just in case". There is no electricity in the jungle once the generator has been switched off. There are only dim kerosene lamps. I assure you, you will want to see better than that when you hear something going bump in the night!
The best thing to wear on your feet is sandals. If you wear shoes they might quickly get wet inside. This is really really not good! Teva's or something similar work best. The mud here is nearly impossible to remove without vigorous scrubbing. You'll never get it out of your shoes, but you will easily remove it from sandals.
Resealable large plastic bags for soiled or wet clothes is another essential. No one plans on getting soaked, but it happens...
You should also include a small resealable bag for a washcloth.This is perfect! It's truly damp in the Amazon (it is a rainforest after all). Your clothes should all be packed in large resealable's. That way, you always have a dry item to change into or a great thing to dump wet or soiled clothes into. If you keep your daypack with you as you travel it's a sure bet that your toilet paper or tissues will get wet if not protected! Yeah, I've had that happen... what a mess!
A lightweight rain poncho with a hood is essential. It doesn't get cold in the Amazon, but staying dry is always a good idea (unless you're naked).