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Wanted: adventure. Problem: No idea how to start

Harrisonburg...
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Wanted: adventure. Problem: No idea how to start

I have a pretty big question; my husband and I are contemplating making a trip to Peru, mainly to see machu picchu but we have no idea where to start looking. I looked a one site that estimated prices over 3,400 per person, which is a bit much for us. How can we plan this trip without breaking our bank but still able to have an adventure and ejoy ourselves. Again, we (mostly me) have ZERO clue where to start, how to book hotels/hostels, if we needs guides, where we'd eat, anything you could possibly think of. Any resources would be a huge help, thanks!

Edited: 13 March 2013, 20:07
Lima, Peru
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for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
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1. Re: Wanted: adventure. Problem: No idea how to start

Start by reading the questions on his forum ( right hand box displayed at each city, start with Peru to get a general idea)

liverpool
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2. Re: Wanted: adventure. Problem: No idea how to start

Try reading some TA posts & reviews for a start, then a bit of research on the net !

Ica, Peru
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3. Re: Wanted: adventure. Problem: No idea how to start

Olga, a lot of advice depends on your budget and the amount of time you have available.

Cusco, Peru
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4. Re: Wanted: adventure. Problem: No idea how to start

I suggest you look at a site such as Kayak for inernational flight quotes, and work out how much that will leave you. Then work out how many days you have available. Then try googling say "10 day peru". You will get lots of links to companies with 10 day itineraries.That will give you an idea of things to do. Then either find one to match your budget, or of course you can do it on your own. You will pay more for someone to sort it, but it is less hassle.Depends on you. Suggest companies based here in Peru will be cheaper than those based in US

Yorktown, Virginia
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for Machu Picchu
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5. Re: Wanted: adventure. Problem: No idea how to start

Agree with others. Start with the Peru forum, plus the subsidiary forums like Machu Picchu. Different top questions on each sub forum. Also look at other online travel forums (Fodor's, Frommer's, Lonely Planet, etc.). And check out a couple of Peru tour books from the library (or buy some).

When I was planning our trip to Peru, I read back a couple of years in the forum, skipping the threads that didn't pertain to the areas I wanted to visit. I googled and looked at the offerings of several tour agencies -- to see what itineraries seemed to cover the highlights. However, I discovered that some agencies will start their tours in places like Lake Titicaca -- which is a recipe for disaster according to what I learned from the forum about altitude adjustment.

Based on your research, you can then decide where you want to go in Peru & whether you want to book an agency (look at ones often recommended on the forum) or book it all yourself.

I definitely prefer to book international flights myself -- for best times and routing as well as fares & FF miles.

Edited: 14 March 2013, 02:34
Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Wanted: adventure. Problem: No idea how to start

I usually start with one or two guidebooks. I find it easier to start that way than on the Internet , which can be overwhelming. Read through the guide books to pick out stuff you want to see. Often the guidebooks will suggest itineraries to help. Once you figure out what you want to see, you have two options. If you don't want to plan it yourself, you can start looking online for tour companies that offer trips with an itinerary that goes where you want. Or, if you don't mind spending the time researching, you can build your own itinerary. That's what we did. That will take more work but will cost less. From reading the guidebooks, and also here on Tripadvisor, you can usually get an idea how long it will take to visit all the sites you want.

To build your own, you can start with Kayak.com to get an idea of flight costs and schedules. Figure out when and where you want to goUsually I would use Kayak just to look at schedules and once finding a flight I like, would book it directly with the airline.

Then you can book hotels usually direct with the hotel. If you read through the books and reviews on Tripadvisor, you can find hotels that are in your budget and well rated. Usually you can book directly on the hotel's website or email them to ask.

It is more work to book everything yourself, but if you break it down piece by piece, you can usually find and book each piece one by one.

There's also a third option. Just book the flight and when you get to Peru, wing it. I tend to plan things out because I have a fixed amount of time to travel, but a lot of people will also just go and figure out the details of where to stay and how to get to the next stop en route.

I can tell you that booking it ourselves, we're doing a 14 day trip for roughly 2/3 of what you listed in your post. And I'm not being particularly thrifty or trying to stay in dirt cheap hotels.

california
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7. Re: Wanted: adventure. Problem: No idea how to start

The website www.andeantravelweb.com is another good place to start.

Toronto
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8. Re: Wanted: adventure. Problem: No idea how to start

People have rightly pointed you in the right direction in terms of reading the Q&As and doing searches here on TA to find answers to your questions - which have been answered many times.

That being said, I'll give you a few suggestions on how to start:

1. Decide if you want to just see Machu Picchu or if you want to do the Inca Trail Trek. This is a critical decision, because just seeing Machu Picchu is easier, somewhat cheaper and does not need to be arranged ahead of time. Doing the Trek - which is a highly sought after experience - requires permits and needs to be booked 3-5 months ahead. So just Google / TA or visit a bookstore to read guidebooks about the "Inca Trail Trek". This is the first and most important decision you need to make. Everything else is secondary.

2. Budget - the cheapest this trip will cost you is this: Flight to Cusco + ($400-700 for inca trail Trek) or + ($150 for MP visit without Trek) + If you're doing the Trek, you need 2-3 days in a hotel/hostel prior to ($15/night to as high as you want) + spending.

3. You do NOT need to buy an "all-encompassing" trip that includes everything. You need to buy flights to Cusco (use your favourite airline website), generally, prices ARE much better if you book a long time ahead - like 3-6 months. Then you can either just take train to MP from Cusco or book a 1/2 day "trip" that will include a company arranging your travel from Cusco, guiding you at MP and bringing you back. (Or you book a trek).

Take a look at a company such as Llama Path or SAS Travel to see the options they offer. I'm not recommending either of these companies, but they have tons of different options, so they're a good way to get a sense of what to expect with a local peruvian company.

4. Finally... you should be aware that Peru is extremely interesting. There are TONS AND TONS of other things to see in addition to Machu Picchu. In the course of my research, I've expanded my trip from an initial rough though of 7 days to now going for 18 days and still not having enough time to see half the things I want to see. If you're going all the way over there, consider how much else you want (and can afford) to see while there. The flight is easily the most expensive part of the trip, staying in Cusco can be very cheap and you can see and experience a ton of other things while there.

Good luck.

jersey
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9. Re: Wanted: adventure. Problem: No idea how to start

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g294311-i818-k62…

Also, a lonely planet Peru guidebook would be a wise investment.

Yorktown, Virginia
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for Machu Picchu
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10. Re: Wanted: adventure. Problem: No idea how to start

Wow, fallingstill's commentary is spot on.

Also forgot about www.andeantravelweb.com site that mglb mentions. Very valuable resource.