Checking, searching, and waiting on airfare has been a daily part of my life since the start of this year. I was biding my time hoping to get a great price for our trip to Peru. My daily pattern is something that maybe many other people going on vacation don’t have the patience or desire to do, but I almost relish the hunt for low prices and getting the price I had been hoping for. During my hunt I checked fares multiple times a day because airline prices seem to be very fickle and appear to change sometimes by the hour without rhyme or reason. By checking multiple sites you also can get lots of different departure and arrival times at varying prices, so I would usually check at least a few every day. This time it took almost three months to find the right price on the days I wanted and pounce.
However, price is not the only consideration when I was searching because time matters as well. In my searches I was trying to avoid multiple stops, long layovers, and overnight flights. You can definitely save money on airfare if you’re willing to have the most flexibility, but I was trying to strike a balance between price and convenience, if affordable. Because of my own restrictions the search took additional patience and research. Finally, though, at midnight last Tuesday there was a drop in prices on the flights I was following that met my preferences and I pulled the trigger.
During my dedicated period of following flights, I began to do extensive research about recommended destinations in Peru. I scoured Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor, and tour guides checked out from the library for inspiration for our itinerary. With each new source, my aspirations for our trip grew, and as a result made the purchasing of airfare an even more complex task. As the list grew though I began to remember how rushed we felt in Paris and Southern England during our last trip and how taxing it was to have such a short time in these places, so I began the difficult process of paring down the list of sites I wished to see. I then ranked the remaining cities: 1) Machu Picchu/Cusco 2) Lima 3) Paracas 4) Lake Titicaca 5) Arequipa, so that should it be necessary to pare the list further I would know where the cuts could be made.
Fortunately, with the airfare I secured we will not have to shorten the list from those five cities.
Therefore the rough itinerary for our trip is:
- Arrive in Lima and spend the night
- Depart the next morning for Paracas and the Ballestas Islands
- From Paracas we will visit Arequipa and the Colca Canyon
- We will continue on to Puno
- Then six days in Cusco and Machu Picchu
- Finally we will spend four days touring Lima
I am doing something peculiar and a bit challenging for me in this itinerary. The only set dates for our trip are in Lima and Cusco, I’m leaving the other dates open so that we can extend or contract our times in those cities as we please. If we want to spend some extra time in Paracas or feel like moving on from Arequipa then we will be free to do so. I’ve never allowed for this type of flexibility in a trip we taken before, so I am somewhat excited at the prospect.