Unfortunately, Peru travel preparation is not always as simple as packing your bags, booking a flight and setting off. Before you begin your carefree backpacking trip to Peru, you’ll probably have a few of life’s boring little things to sort out…
Peru Travel Preparation Basics
Here are some of the more obvious things to do before you go to Peru:
- Passport – Is your passport still valid? If it is, does it expire before your trip will end? Even if your passport is due to expire a few months after your return flight, it still might be a good idea to get a new one (you might decide to stay in Peru for longer than planned).
- Visas for Peru – Find out if you need any kind of travel visa for Peru. Most travelers can enter Peru with a simple Tarjeta Andina, but you should check just in case.
- Vaccinations for Peru – Don’t leave the jabs until the last moment. Depending on the type of vaccine, you might need to have a course of jabs over a few weeks (and some can take a few weeks until they actually give your system immunity). Definitely consider jabs for yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus and diphtheria if you haven’t already had them (you may only need booster shots for some of these). Other vaccinations, such as rabies shots, are only needed in some circumstances.
- Travel insurance – Not everyone takes out a travel insurance plan but it’s probably a good idea. You can find reasonably priced backpacker insurance plans for South America so it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Money and Financial Things to do Before Going to Peru
Financial stuff is a boring but necessary evil. Get everything sorted out before going to Peru, because it’s a real pain trying to get it done on the road. Here are some things to consider:
- Clear your cards for use abroad – I’ll say it again: clear your cards for use abroad. Believe me, this can be a royal pain in the rear if you don’t do it before you travel. If you withdraw money from an ATM in Peru and your bank flags your card as stolen or involved in fraud, they might cancel it straight away leaving you penniless in Peru. Be sure to talk to your bank about this. Some banks have strange systems that result in your card being cancelled even if you have cleared it (another good reason to consider the next point…).
- Bank access – If your bank allows it, try to give a family member some level of control over your bank account. If, for example, you have a problem with your card, a strange money shortage, or you need to increase your overdraft, it’s helpful if you have someone back home who can help out. If they haven’t been given official access or power over your account, your bank is unlikely to let them do anything on your behalf.
- Set up online banking – Online banking provides a simple way to keep track of your finances while traveling in Peru.
- Pay your bills – It’s tempting to run off to Peru without paying your bills, but you’ll regret it when you return home.
- Loans and repayments – Are you paying off or deferring any kind of loan? In the UK, for example, some former students can defer the payment of their student loans every six months. If you don’t fill in the deferment form and send it back, the loans company will start taking the repayments from your bank. That’s not good. Sort this kind of stuff out before you travel so you can forget about it until you get back home.
Other Things to Do Before Traveling to Peru
Here are a few more Peru preparation pointers to consider:
- Photocopy documents – Make multiple photocopies of all your travel documents. Take some with you and leave some at home with friends or family. If any of your documents get lost on the road, at least you’ll have the information backed-up.
- Cancel standing orders – Remember to cancel any deliveries or services that you regularly receive, especially if you’ll be traveling in Peru for a month or more. Internet subscriptions, cable subscriptions, milk deliveries, the butler and the maid: give them all a break.
- Mail – Get a friend to collect your mail or tell the post office to hold it for you.
- Tell someone where you’re going – Yeah, that’s probably a good idea. While you’re at it, get them to keep an eye on your house (and your pets if you have any). Give your email address to anyone who might need to contact you.
- Complete a government-run travel registration form — Stay informed in the event of a crisis at home or abroad.
- Make a hostel reservation in Lima — Even if you’re not a big fan of booking hostels in advance, having a reservation for when you first arrive in Lima makes sense. You might even get a free airport pick-up.
- Book tours in advance — Travel agencies in Peru can offer tours for higher prices than local operators. We suggest you check out FindLocalTrips.com a tour comparison website with heaps of info and all the different options for taking a trip of a lifetime.
Well, that’s about it. There could be a few things missing here so feel free to add your own Peru travel preparation tips in the comments section. It really is a drag having to do some of this stuff, and the temptation to just jump on the plane can sometimes be too much. But, believe me, doing these things before traveling to Peru is a much better option than doing them while swatting at mosquitoes in a rickety old internet cafe in the middle of the Peruvian jungle.