Wherever you're planning to spend your scarce time off, the inevitable factor of what exactly you can afford influences every decision you make. My trips usually fit into the budget somewhere between the soul searching traveler with just the shirt on his back and having a budget of maybe a few grand to stretch.
I booked a trip to Peru not really having much of a plan of where I would stay or who I would meet. What I quickly realized is Peru isn't such a bad place for a traveler on a tight budget.
You can either live like Tupac (Túpac was the name of the Inca Yupanqui emperor) and stay at a fancy renovated castles, or get by with next to nothing drifting between hostels and wilderness treks. I found my usual balance somewhere in between, because a good rest is as valuable as a good adventure!
The current exchange rate of the Peruvian Sol is about three to every US Dollar. That means hotels can cost less than $15 and beer is around $0.92 in USD.
For a little more than $10/night, I crashed in hostels where experienced travelers with loads of tips and stories that inspire your next move kept me from going to sleep at any reasonable hour.
Although more preferred accommodations in popular destinations like Cusco may fill up in advance, there is always something available.I recommend looking at the room in person before booking, especially for longer stays. I got a few rooms I booked online that turned out to be a disappointment, luckily, still doable. Sometime the internet lies, not sure if you knew that. What was great was stumbling upon a few comfortable stays that weren’t listed online that had incredible rate!
There are planes, trains and cars for your traveling needs. Traveling will be the most costly part of your budget. Flying is the most convenient way to get around. If booked in advance with domestic carriers, tickets won’t set you back too much. More common and affordable forms of transport are various types of buses and mototaxis. A mototaxi is a motorcycle with a modified cart attached. Much like the tuk tuk of Thailand, the drivers take much pride in decorating and customizing their rides and are an easy and affordable way to get around town.
The buses range from commuter vans called “collectivos” that cost only a few soles and if you don’t mind getting packed in with a bunch of locals can get you from town to town. Luxury overnight buses with reclining seats will get you between larger cities. If you travel during the day you will be forced to stare out a window with a view of mainly nerve-racking cliffs dropping off the side of the road promoting those terrible thoughts of a miscalculated driver and your long, plummeting fall to death. Yet no time for that, we gotta get to that next city!
Whatever way you choose to get around it will surely be an adventure and you will realize how wonderful it is to have the infrastructure of roads that aren’t being constantly washed out! Anyways, the journey is more important than the destination and there will be no connection that doesn’t carry its fair weight of adventure!