A visit to Peru is on the bucket list of most people. Peru is a very large country and home to one of the most diverse and spectacular natural and man-made wonders of the world.
However, one of the biggest challenges faced by Canadians is the prohibitive airfare cost to most places in South America. While it is true that travel through Peru is relatively low-cost in comparison to some other South American nations, even some Asian nations, and definitely from most European destinations, the size of the country and it’s key attractions that are spread out across it, do jack up the local travel costs. In some cases, airfare is mandatory, such as for Nazca. This blog has a good post on typical cost breakdowns when traveling through Peru.
A common thing most budget travelers do is to hit Cusco and Machu Picchu exclusively or hike the famous Inca Trail before heading over to the next notch on the global bucket list belt. This is a mistake because there are many wonders of Peru, including its Amazonias, which I did not experience (but did in Ecuador). This mistake would be like visiting India to see just Taj Mahal or France to only see Eiffel Tower or Canada to just see Niagara Falls.You get the point! There is a lot to see and do in Peru besides the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.
For the first time, I will share with all travelers, but more specifically busy working-Canadian travelers, ways in which you can pack in a Highlights of Peru over 11 days to fit your budget and time away from work.
Tip 1: Package it!
Lets face it. For those limited on time and moolah, the live-in or wandering experience is out of the question. There are several travel blogs out there with great suggestions on “hacking” tricks to travel on the cheap. That works if you have TIME and willing to move on SHORT NOTICE and comfortable with SHARED ACCOMMODATION as offered on many popular sites. But most working folks tend to fall short on one or more of the above or just prefer a different experience.
The next best alternative is to package out an adventure trip (like this one in Amazon Jungles of Ecuador) on your own. As with previous scenario, this requires EXTENSIVE RESEARCH and TIME commitment. Plus, it is prone to errors in forecasting and planning local country travels in most cases. However, this is still one of my favorite methods of planning a budget adventure trip overseas.
The third alternative is to simply purchase a PRE-PACKAGED VACATION from a notable operator. The biggest advantage is that the operator has done the homework for you and presents a curated tour that is likely to appeal to most travelers, while also offering the option to customize certain aspects of the tour itinerary. For an immersive adventure travel experience to Peru, I recommend the 11-Day Affordable Adventure tour from Gate 1 Travel. I covered highlights of this tour on this blog here, but no blog or video is going to capture the personal thrill and excitement by the individual. I highly recommend this trip over the Inca Trail hike, but again, each to his/her own.
Note: I costed out every aspect of this tour based on local pricing to evaluate if one the price is reasonable if one were to research and book every aspect of this tour by yourself. I compared apples-to-apples to ensure consistency in comparison. The verdict is: YES, it is not only comparable to local pricing but may also be cheaper once you take in to consideration your personal time saved not planning, risk of unknown variables, and lack of access to bulk pricing rates afforded to tour operators. Add to this the aspect that if you booked on your own, you will mostly be traveling on your own or with your company and meeting new folks is a matter of chance during the trip. On a group tour, you are given a large cohort of adventure seekers to mingle with from the beginning. Some things to keep in mind!
Tip 2: Airfare it yourself!
While I recommend the curated package option for land based tours, I strongly advocate self research for airfare. While tour company operators can offer great airfares, they mostly deal with limited airlines and airports for their bulk pricing discounts. Most happen to be based out of USA for Peru (eg. Miami). What that means for Canadian travelers is your out of luck on bulk discount pricing out of Canadian airports. I have personally used CheapOair for my Canada – Latin America airfare bookings. While their site consistently matches or surpasses the lowest airfare found on competitor sites, they also offer instant discounts that you can apply right away! No credits to be applied for some future trip in the unknown future or if airfare drops in price by some magical reason. Cash money back in my pockets, TODAY, with CheapOair.
Discount airfare to Peru is typically based on season and for the most part, well under $1,000 (all in) from most major airports from Canada (mine is YYC). If you price yours over this threshold, you are probably searching during peak season and may want to consider traveling on later dates.
Tip 3: ‘MILE’age it
Now this is an offer exclusive to Canadian residents. The AMEX AeroplanPlus Gold Card was one I first found out about on travel blogs I follow. I was happy with my credit card/s and really didn’t want to sign up for another just for points, but this one had really good reviews from travel bloggers. So I did. There was no annual fee. The minimum threshold to earn the welcome points is just $500 within the first 3 months. I got my welcome points credited to my Aeroplan account within 2 months after reaching the threshold. With the welcome points, now I get to fly nearly free (tax to be paid) for an upcoming trip from Calgary to New Orleans. You only need 25,000 Aeroplan points to travel round-trip anywhere in North America. If you collect more points, you can fly to Peru for nearly free (you always pay the taxman!) or use the welcome points to fly to Miami and then get a cheap fare from Miami to Peru.
In conclusion, this is a great card for travel purposes and it also comes with numerous travel benefits that most cards don’t. Click here or on the image above to sign up for this card with the 30,000 welcome points.
Note: If you sign up directly on the AMEX Canada website, you will only receive 25,000 welcome points. You have to click on the link or image above to receive the card with the 30,000 welcome points!
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