TRAVEL & LGBT

Machu Picchu Peru Packing List

Lindsay Cale

For me, packing for a trip is a bit of an obsession. When you’re on the road as often as we are the creature comforts are important. For Meg, packing is throwing a bunch of things in a bag as we race out the door. I’m starting to believe stressing me out is her favorite hobby.

This list has things that both of us brought along for our 13-day trip to Machu Picchu Peru. We intentionally made sure our Airbnb had a washing machine so we could do a little laundry if we needed to. ( PSSTT: Use this link to get $40 off your first Airbnb adventure)

Packing is tricky, I can almost promise you, you’re going to forget something. Trying to minimize the impact of the item is key. Be sure to research the temperature and typical weather for the time of year you’ll be there. Remember, just because it’s summer where you are it might not be summer where you’re headed. For most trips, I have one or two items that I’m really particular about. These are the things I research a lot and am willing to spend a little extra money on the ensure they’re exactly what I need. Essentially I build the rest of my list around those items. In Thailand, that thing was this great (& cheap) dry bag and in Ecuador, it was the Patagonia Torentshell raincoat.

Our first few days were in Lima – think the big city and gorgeous restaurants. The weather was a bit cool first thing in the morning but was pretty warm by mid-afternoon.

From Lima, we headed to Cusco, high up in the mountains where the temperature dropped significantly. Cusco is still very much a city but seems to be much more relaxed in attitude and style. The buzz of tourists coming or going from Machu Picchu is in the air.

From Cusco, we visited Aguas Calientes, Ollantaytambo and of course Machu Picchu. All in all, we hit four different cities with temperatures ranging from low 40’s  to mid 70’s.

Peru is located in South America, which means their seasons are opposite of the ones we’re used to in North America. While the temperature is slightly different in the winter, the biggest difference in seasons is the amount of rain. The winter, May – September is the driest season. Summer is a bit warmer but also comes with a greater chance of rain. People visit year round however an obvious increase in tourism occurs in the dry summer months.  We chose to visit in late November, the temperature in Lima consistently fell between 60-70 degrees. While we saw virtually no rain the temperature in Cusco was a bit cooler, ranging from mid 60’s to the low 40’s.

Pack

 Meg took her go to 44L Cabin Zero Pack (check out our review), which fit everything she needed. It’s easy to carry and overall just an easy grab and go pack. I packed my trusty bright green North Face – its 34L and so old it’s impossible to find a link for. I’m super picky about what I need in a pack and have been holding out on a replacement even though it’s starting to show its age. Ten outta ten would recommend a North Face, it has been worth every penny.  Spoiler:: I’ve since found a replacement the makes my eyes and heart flutter. Review on my new baby is in the works.

Large Dry Bag

 It’s a much have when rain is in the forecast. If you get stuck in a major rain storm it will pay for itself 10 times over. This particular dry bag fits our DSLR, extra lens, both our phones and usually a dry shirt for both of us.

Black Leggings

They match everything, they’re comfortable, look good in pictures and you probably already have a couple pairs. Look for the ones with the small hidden pockets, it’s a great place to carry a little emergency cash. We grabbed a few pairs of the Kirkland brand at Costco. They’re cheap and get the job done but they’re probably not going to last years. I mostly wear them on travel days for comfort plus it minimizes some of the gender weirdness while traveling.

Joggers

 Call me crazy but I see them as casual enough to hike in but still nice enough to pair with a button up shirt for dinner. I always opt for the neutrals the keep things simple. Plus joggers pair much better with my boots than most other pants.

T-shirts

 Again, the neutral colors are key. I make sure that all the t-shirts I take match with all my pants and flannels. That way I can wear the shirt alone or wear it as a layer. This Adidas shirt has been my favorite for so long, Meg told me I can’t pack it anymore because I’m wearing the same shirt in all my travel photos.

Polo Shirt

My dads daily “uniform” my entire life has included a polo – apparently, I’m becoming my father. With that comes a recent interest in bright colored polo shirts. I’m still trying it out and Meg’s skeptical but I did bring one to Peru. I bought a second one while we were gone so I guess you can say this new relationship is going well. 

Flannels

 Layers are key and a flannel is the ultimate in layering accessory. Meg and I both wear them, most mornings we threw one on and then tied it around our waist as the afternoons got warm. Some flannels pretty thick while others are almost a long sleeve t-shirt. Having a couple of both is helpful.

High socks

 After spending 6 months in only sandals we were a little worried about closed toe shoes. We had great success with our wool socks in Ecuador so we took the same couple pairs. We both made it through with no blisters at all. We also brought along several pairs of Happy Socks to Lima so I could have a little fun playing with all the colors.

Raincoat

 Being not sure what to expect from the rain we packed raincoats. We didn’t end up wearing them often but of course, when you need one there’s really no substitute.  They were also a nice extra layer on really chilly mornings. Meg has this one from Patagonia and mine is North Face.

Dresses

 Meg feels most confident in a dress so she always packs a couple. On this trip, she took two casual dresses and mostly wore them when we were in Lima because the weather was warmer. 

Denim Jacket

We took a distressed denim jacket that we shared early in the trip.  It was perfect and paired with everything. Unfortunately, we left in a restaurant never to be found again. This is a staple in both of our wardrobes so we’ll definitely be buying another one. 

Shoes

 Meg hates closed toe shoes – boots or sneakers – it doesn’t matter, she hates them all with equal passion. She usually wears either her Steve Madden soft leather sandals or her well-worn Tevas from their collaboration with Free People. Every time we pack for an adventure travel type trip this is a point of contention. For this trip, I took my favorite Palladium Waterproof Boots and a pair of weatherized Vans. I got these Vans specifically for this trip and really love them. They work great for all day city walking and have significantly more traction than traditional Vans for trails. Meg knew it’d be too cold for sandals so she took just her favorite pair of Pumas and wore them the entire time. I don’t recommend only taking one pair but hey, I’m learning to pick my battles.  

Hats

We each took one of these beanies and wore them a couple times. It was much more a style choice than actually being chilly enough to need a hat. I also always take one dark and one neutral colored hat.

Underwear

 Bring more than you think you’ll need. We took about 5 pairs each but know we had a washing machine in our Airbnb. Seriously, take a bunch there are few things more annoying than running out of fresh underwear.

Toiletry items

Outside of our usual hygiene stuff, bug Spray, sunscreen, pain reliever and tampons are pretty much all we take with us. The bug spray would have been super clutch had we remembered to actually use it. I ended up with all kinds of big swollen bites on my arms at Machu Pichu. We ended up stopping in a pharmacy to grab some cream so I didn’t itch my arm off. While traveling, finding tampons has been expensive at best and impossible to find at worst. The other option there is the Diva Cup, it’s less to pack and better for the environment.  Make sure you check and double check your bag for any prescription medication you need. While we’re on trips where Meg knows we’ll be taking lots of photos she likes to pack with her a few pairs of lashes. She says it makes her feel camera ready without much other makeup on and minimal effort. Lately, she’s been wearing Oh So Sweet by Esqido.

Tech Gear 

 We carry a Nikon D3400 with two kit lens. It’s been a perfect starter DSLR for us. We also pack our Nikon J1. It’s small, compact, and takes incredible pictures on auto. It’s a mirrorless camera so it has most of the features of our DSLR. We always carry it as a backup even though it gets used only on rare occasions. A GoPro Hero 5 is always on us, along with a handful of GoPro accessories. When we first got the GoPro we bought an accessory bundle so we could figure out what mounts and hookup we like. It was the most cost-effective and gives us the freedom to get creative. We also finally found a camera bag and case that we love from  Mega Gear. The bag is small enough that it’s not annoying to carry and big enough to fit the essentials. The game changer addition for me is easily the wrist strap also from Mega Gear. We both carry our MacBooks for work and the occasional evening Netflix binge.

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