From mountain peaks to ancient ruins, and rocky ocean cliffs, this list will have you prepared for anything this sacred country will throw at you!
Booking a trip to an unknown country can be a little bit daunting, especially when it's a country that has very unpredictable weather patterns, and a huge range of climate zones. The first thing you need to think about when you start packing is which regions you plan on visiting on your trip. If you plan on trekking through the Andes, then you need to know to bring hiking gear, and rain gear. If you want to visit the only desert oasis in South America, then grab some sunscreen and shorts. Planning on spending some time in the rainforest? You know the drill, make sure you have big spray and a prescription for malaria pills.
This is a list of everything we packed for our backpacking trip to Peru, plus we have added in some items we wish we had, and omitted anything we didn't end up using. Of course you will need to alter this list slightly based on your unique itinerary, but this list is pretty inclusive for most trips around Peru. Make sure that you check the weather for the time that you are travelling to make sure that you bring everything that you need!
If you plan on backpacking through the country, make sure that the backpack you purchase is a good size and fit. You can determine the appropriate size (listed in litres) based on length of travel, as well as speciality gear you might need. For example, if you have a camera that takes up a lot of space, and you're bringing your laptop, and maybe some gear for a specific activity, then your bag may need to be bigger. If this is your first time purchasing a backpack, try and go to a store near you that can help to fit you with the proper bag.
Our travelling style is very minimalist. For our trip to Peru we each had a day bag which were 20-36L in size. As well we brought one 75L Osprey Backpack which carried the majority of our clothing and gear. The reason why we brought 3 bags instead of our regular 4, was to keep the cost of checked baggage down during our inland Peru flights.
TIP: Before you purchase, walk around with the bag on, get a feel for the size, and for the straps and clips. When you get home fill it up with everything you plan on packing, walk around the block a few times - I'm serious. You will be doing more walking and standing with that thing on your back then you plan to do. If you're sore or tired after a few minutes, you may want to consider either packing less, or getting a smaller pack.
1 x Daypack - 20-30L should be fine
1 x Large Backpack - 40-60L is ideal for most travellers
TIP: Try to decide if you will be checking your bags or not. If you decide against it, you should look for a smaller pack so that you don't need to worry about exceeding the size and weight limits on the plane. A smaller bag has it benefits too, it will easily fit in hostel lockers and in plane carry-on cupboards.
For Other Travellers
If you are not backpacking through Peru, then I'm totally jealous. This is a completely different style of travel and is usually a little bit less rugged. It will be good for you to bring a backpack to use as a day bag, especially in Peru. You will want to have some drinkable water, as well as a rain jacket with you most of the time.
When you bring a luggage, you will need to plan to have it checked on your flights. This may cost you a little bit extra if you plan on flying from city to city around Peru. Although a lot of the flights are cheap, you may quickly find that the cost gets considerably more expensive depending on the size and weight of your checked luggage.
TIP: Have some compression bags to help keep your suitcase organized, and not bulging from the sides. The suitcases with rotating wheels are very handy in the airport, but may be a bit of a hassle if you plan on walking down any streets with your luggage. Make sure you know your trip well and plan accordingly.
1 x Flip flops - You'll find these useful mostly for hostel showers, but they are also nice to use if you're exploring a city or hanging on a beach.
1 x Running shoes - Pack hiking boots instead if you're planning on visiting trails.
1 x Casual shoes - optional
TIP: When choosing the proper footwear, think about what activities you will be doing on the trip. If you will be in nature often, pick some comfortable hiking boots, for city explorers, opt for some versatile, comfortable shoes. Remember you will be walking a lot, no matter what your itinerary says!
We tend to pack clothes that are lightweight, versatile, and quick dry. This way we can use all of our clothing more than once and when we need to wash them, they can be dry for the next wear in no time. Make sure all of your clothing matches and keep your layering game strong. Layering clothing is a great way to keep you travelling light, while being prepared for anything.
This list includes enough clothing to get you through 2 weeks to a month of travel. If you are going for less time, pack a little less.
1 x Pair of jeans - and one pair of leggings (for the ladies)
2 x Casual shorts
3 x Casual t-shirts/tank tops
1 x Collared shirt/shirt for eating out/dressing up
1 x Sweater - make sure this is versatile and breathable if possible, it can get quite cold overnight
1 x Light waterproof jacket - for all those crazy storms you will probably experience
4 x Casual socks
10 x Underwear
1 x Hat
1 x Belt
1 x Pyjamas
2 x Bathing suit - I'm sure that this vacation will have you swimming at some point
TIP: If you know you will be going when it's cooler throughout the country (June-August) bring a couple pairs of warmer pants and an extra sweater, omit some of the warm weather clothes. If you plan on partaking in any hikes, make sure to pick up a pair of hiking socks that are sweat-wicking.
Female Specific Clothing:
2 x Sports bra
1 x Romper/dress
2 x Tank tops
2 x Casual bras
* Make sure that you pack some cute jewellery if you need/want to!
If you are planning on trekking to Machu Picchu, or if you are going to be hiking at all, you want to make sure that you are well prepared for anything you will encounter. Here is what we brought with us for the Salkantay Trek. Don't forget to pack your raincoat and a bathing suit.
Make sure that you pack any additional electronics that you plan on bringing such as, Ipad, laptop and the applicable chargers.
1 x Phone charger
1 x Electric plug adapter
1 x Camera, additional SD card and batteries/charger/accessories
1 x Headphones
1 x Cellphone
1 x External battery - you may not be able to charge your device very often. Make sure that you bring one of these to ensure your camera stays charged!
1 x Deodorant
1 x Face wash
1 x Moisturizer (face and body)
1 x Sunscreen
1 x Hand sanitizer
1 x Toothbrush
1 x Toothpaste - Try these toothpaste tablets!
1 x Soap bar
1 x Shampoo/Conditioner - try the shampoo and conditioner bars from Lush!
1 x Razor - only bring this if you are planning on checking your bags!
1 x Floss
1 x Nail clippers
1 x Chapstick
1 x Stain remover pen
TIP: Make sure that EVERYTHING in this section is in bottles less than 100mL, it makes customs and security way easier to navigate! Try to find a local store that has non-liquid versions of shampoo, soap and toothpaste, it'll save room and weight in your bag.
Female Specific Hygiene:
Yea us females need some extra special attention, check out this list of travel products that every female needs to make sure that you are super well prepared for the long haul!
1 x Tampons/Pads/Menstrual Cup
1 x Nail file
1 x Hairbrush
1 x Pocket mirror
1 x Makeup remover wipes
5 x Hair elastics and bobby pins - You may find MANY surprising uses for these while on your journey
1 x Dry shampoo
1 x Reusable water bottle - this will actually save you quite a bit of money if you don't have to buy bottled water all the time
2 x Electrolyte tablets - We prefer Nuun tablets (use code TRYNUUN30 for 30% off your first purchase!)
20 x Protein bars
TIP: Pack a few extra non-perishable snacks with you, (think protein bars, crackers, and trail mix) and always make sure that you have a lot of drinkable water on hand. These will get you through times when you just can't find anything suitable to eat.
1 x Advil, or anti-inflammatory
1 x Motion sickness medication
1 x Package of water purification tablets
1 x Travellers diarrhea medication
1 x Package of bandaids - assorted sizes is best
1 x Earplugs
1 x Bottle of bug spray
1 x Antibiotic cream
1 x Birth control, or Natural Cycles
TIP: If you have any special medications and vitamins, make sure that you bring them in their original bottle, you may get asked about these at customs. Also, make sure you bring a few extras with you!
1 x Glasses or contacts
1 x Glasses cleaner and contact solutions
1 x Copy of important documents and ID- Print these out on paper and take a photo of them kept your phone, you need to show proof of a return flight when you land in Peru
5 x Ziplock bags, various sizes
1 x Small-packing reusable bag - In case you need extra room, or want to grab some extra groceries
1 x Compression bag
1 x Turkish towel - Saves space and keeps your bag light. Much bigger than the typical microfibre towels and dries a lot quicker. Buy Now on Amazon!
1 x Copy of all hotel reservations
1 x Luggage lock
1 x Sunglasses
3 x Carabeeners - These work great for clipping wet flip flops onto your backpack.
1 x Pen and Paper
1 x Book
2 x Safety pins - Safety pins can be used to fix/mend broken garments, extra enclosure on a backpack if needed.
TIP: It's always a good idea to bring at least $100 worth of cash in the currency of the country you are visiting. This will be good for those odd places you stumble upon that don't accept payments by cards. You'll also be able to reduce ATM and exchange fees this way.
Reminder: If you do happen to forget anything, or if you realize you need something not mentioned, you can always find these things while on route.