It’s my favorite part of my blog. This entry is all about my takeaways. If you followed or have read my past blogs, you’d know that after each trip, I write a takeaways entry – things I learned, will never forget about our trip. If you’re just catching up, here’s my entries about this trip to Peru:
- How we booked 2 business class seats to Peru with $0 out of pocket
- Finally, Peru!
- How we experienced Machu Picchu
- Dining at 3 of the 50 Best Restaurants in the World
- All things Cusco and beyond
- American Reps handled our itinerary from Lima to Cusco
Here are the 8 takeaways. Let’s begin.
1. Cell Phone Data SIM Card
In the past, I’ve resorted to using T-Mobile’s plan which allowed me to activate my T-Mobile service as needed. This plan gave me unlimited texting and internet surfing capability, and phone calls while on the Wi-Fi were also free. However, when I tried to activate it for this trip, it was going to cost me right around $100, a service which I only needed for ten days. Nope, not gonna happen.
Upon arriving in Peru, we decided to go with one of their local carriers, Claro. We only paid 30 soles (roughly $10). This included the SIM card and 3 gb of data (which really wasn’t a lot of data). BUT, the service allowed us to use the following social media services for free – Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp. We only purchased one SIM card. We used the SIM card and used it on Nancy’s iPhone X. How about me? I just used Nancy’s phone’s hotspot and connected. I tend to use Facebook quite a bit when I travel. It was perfect! The $10 went a long away. It was good for one month.
2. Treating ourselves in Business Class
Again, if you know me and my family, we get to travel quite a bit and do not mind flying coach or economy. But for this trip, we kicked it up a notch. We found a deal with Aeromexico and used our Chase Ultimate Rewards points and traveled business class roundtrip. I hate to admit it, but we really enjoyed it. We got to relax. We were able to recline. We raised our legs. The flight attendants were quite attentive and took care of us. I might get used to this! If we paid cash for this ticket, it would’ve been $659 for each of us (which was not a bad deal for a business class fare). But that would’ve set us back a little over $1,300, and we’d rather not pay. We’ve been diligently earning points, and we chose to use those points instead. We ended up using just over 80K points total for both of us (all taxes and fees were included). For details on how we booked this business class deal, click here.
3. Car Service Arrangements
For this trip, we worked with American Reps to handle our transportation to and from the airport. Since we flew Business Class, we were the first ones who got out of the plane. Plus, the fact that we didn’t have any checked luggage, that also decreased our idle time at baggage claim. So what’s my point? We were able to swiftly get through our airport activities and made it directly outside in no time. On the night we arrived, our plane made it to Peru around 11pm, and we were ready to leave the airport by 11:30pm, but our car service pick up was not scheduled until close to midnight. We waited a half-hour for our car service. As a feedback, I communicated with Sandra of American Reps to adjust our future airport pick-ups earlier rather than later. She understood, and all other airport pickups since then were timely.
4. Dined at three of the Top 50 World’s Best Restaurants
We started with trying to get ourselves booked at one of the three best restaurants in the world located in Peru. Thanks to American Express Concierge for helping us get hard-to-get reservations over at Central Restaurante (#5) and Maido (#8). I had to work my charm and got us a late night dinner reservation over at Astrid y Gaston (#33). Our 10-day vacation was quite unforgettable after our dining experience at the world’s best. It’s not everyday we get to do this. So we did. Now, the goal is to try and do this again on our future trips.
5. Blogging Nightly
Yes! I actually did it. I was able to capture the essence of our trip while we were on our trip. I kept a log of our activities and blogged about it. By the time we arrived in Peru, I had managed to write four entries already. I decided to slice and dice my thoughts instead of lumping ALL of them into one entry. I was happy with the outcome. I could only hope to keep this going moving forward.
6. Trusting a travel agent
This had to be one of my biggest takeaway, working with American Reps in booking our adventures in Cusco and Machu Picchu. It was the best thing we did. Nancy did a bit of side by side comparison, lots of what-if scenarios (what if we booked on our own)? But in the end, we both realized that it was going to be more cost-effective when we chose to go with American Reps. Our package was headache-free, worry-free. We had a car service upon arriving in Lima and Cusco (to and from the airport). We had our accommodations arranged for us, along with the breakfast, lunch, and dinner during our visit. We simply just showed up where we needed to go, and everything else was done for us. Again, many thanks to Sandra Inti of American Reps.
7. I have no bucket list
It’s true. I may have used #bucketlist as hashtags on some of my pictures, but I don’t have such list. Why is that? I go where the deal takes me. I’m very flexible. During the course of the year, we tend to go on quite a few trips with all six of us, and there were trips where it was just me and Nancy. The Peru trip came out of nowhere. I woke up one December morning, and there was an insane deal and I had to grab that deal. It was the same when we went to Italy and Paris in 2015. I found a deal with Emirates and followed my instinct. It was what happened when we booked our trips to Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Iceland, and Sweden. They were not on any kind of list, but when the deal popped up – I just grabbed the opportunity. This, to me, makes my adventures even more fun because I never know when the next deal will come up. Just for fun, here’s a slideshow of where we’ve been – many thanks to credit card points and miles we’ve earned.
8. There’s no better time than now
I always tend to have this as part of my takeaway. Hence, the keyword here is NOW. It’s part of my domain name, DaddyTravelsNow. I was amazed to see so many elderly people, so much older than me and Nancy who braved all the walking, hiking, and climbing in Machu Picchu. There was a sense of fulfillment, a sense of crossing things off their bucket list. Nancy and I were just fortunate to have had the opportunity to do this now. We’re not exactly getting any younger. We found the opportunity to go to Peru, we grabbed it, and now, it’s all history.
All in due time
So there you have it. Another trip had been fulfilled. Another one in DaddyTravels history. I remain extremely thankful that we were able to go on another trip. I know that not everyone has the opportunity to travel due to many constraints – it could be work-related, financial hindrance, or merely opposed to traveling. I say find what works for you. It doesn’t have to be a grand trip, but go do something that makes you happy, that enriches your life.
I’m extremely grateful that I found my niche, a way to make this desire to travel work for me. The best part? It had allowed me to share this with my family, my extended family, and little by little, a lot of my close friends and family are beginning to warm up to the idea of finding ways to travel for nearly free. I have made myself available to them whether it was merely on Facebook, or text messages, while others have made it a point to reach out to call and sit down with me and share my knowledge about traveling for nearly free.
I do not and will not ever claim to be the expert. I am learning everyday. I tend to be a creature of habit. I find a system that works for me and I stick to it. There are still so many untapped travel strategies that I’ve yet to try, and I will…in due time. I have another trip coming up very soon, and I cannot wait to share this next adventure with all of you. If you want to learn more about my favorite travel credit cards that I’ve used myself, click here for more info. Any questions, please feel free to reach out and ask. I
For now, thank you for following our journey. Thank you, Peru. Until then.