Weather: During the day, temperatures are between 65-75F/18-24C and it is usually nice and sunny. At night, temperatures drop to the 20s and 30s F/-3 to 1C—make sure to bring warm layers so you can stay warm.
Luggage Restrictions: Students should bring one carry-on and one checked luggage weighing no more than 50lbs/25kg. Internal flights in Peru will not allow anyone to check more than one piece of luggage.
Laundry: Students will have the opportunity to do laundry one time while in Peru and should plan on paying between $5-$10, depending on the amount of clothes washed.
A school backpack or something of similar size is ideal for a carry on. You can pack everything you need for travel days in it, and then use it as a day bag on the program. Don’t forget your passport, and assuming any medication you need for your program is in compliance with TSA carry-on rules, it’s always a great idea to bring it in your carry-on so there is no change of it getting lost.
Pro Tip: Put money and other valuables in a secure place that is not easily accessible.
A traveler’s backpack or duffle is ideal luggage. When you don’t have to carry your luggage, you tend to bring a long of things you don’t need, so if possible leave the rolling suitcases at home. Also, there is little flat terrain outside of the airport so your rolling bag won’t be that useful on the program.
Sneakers for service, flip flops for walking around the hotel or lounging, and hiking boots for…well, hiking. If you don’t have hiking boots or don’t want to bring them, no problem; make sure the sneakers you bring are sturdy and won’t fall apart after a few trips up a mountain. Also, everything will get dirty, leave brand new things at home.
Bring your socks and underwear–enough for two weeks. We didn’t include a picture because you know what your underwear looks like.
Layering is key in Peru. A zip-up or hoodie is great for the day, and a packable but warm jacket (dark grey) is great once the sun sets. Look for one that packs into a built-in pocket. It can get really cold at night so a soft shell/rain jacket that you can wear over the puffy jacket that will break the wind and keep you extra warm is a great idea. Don’t forget your hat and gloves!
Athletic or gym pants are great for service, full length or ¾ pants are ideal. Jeans are good for walking around town and going out to eat. This is definitely a “rustic” program, no need to bring anything nicer than jeans and athletic gear. If you really want to bring shorts, just bring one pair, it’s cold at altitude and you will most likely want to wear leggings underneath.
During the day, a t-shirt/long sleeved shirt and a zip-up is the go-to outfit for travelers in Peru. If you’re hot, ditch the zip-up; a bit chilly, put it back on. Once night comes, add your puffy jacket, hat, and gloves and you are good to go.
Pro Tip: Base layers or long underwear are great for chilly Andean nights, especially while camping on top of a mountain.
This gear is essential for your program, don’t forget it! For your sleeping bag, pack it into a stuff sack which will make traveling with it infinitely easier, and then pack it into your checked bag or attach it to your carry-on.
These are most of the essentials, but check the packing list for items not included. Bring travel-sized products; you just need enough to get you through two weeks, not two months.
Pro Tip: Pack toiletries in resealable bags or a lined toiletry bags to prevent drama in case something leaks. DON’T FORGET YOUR MEDICATION!
A few more packing tips:
- Travel light. Pack only the essentials. You’ll need less than you think!
- Bring the right clothes. Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your destination and acceptable for service projects. This means bringing long shorts (think Bermuda and basketball shorts), t-shirts with sleeves to cover shoulders, and appropriate footwear.
- Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
- Check with TSA. Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.
- Extra paperwork? If you need additional forms filled out to get credit for your service hours, no problem! Bring these forms with you so they can be completed in-country.