Peru Family Vacation: Kids Gear List
Most people can get themselves packed fairly easily for an international trip; assembling a wardrobe for the kids can be a bit more stressful. Here is the list of items we brought for Ben, who was 20 months old (almost two) at the time. We were gone for two weeks (including travel days).
From top left:Beco Gemini soft child carrier, Keens sandals, Chicco Keyfit 30 infant car seat, Steripen water purifier, fleece Sleep Sacks, ‘Lost’ card, Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier, REI polypropylene long sleeve shirt, pea pod travel bed.
I decided early on that we were going to bring as little as possible. We washed items in the sink every few days and did one big load of laundry halfway through the trip. Naturally, the kid was grubby, but that’s his normal state anyway. We went in September and packed for both warm and cool climates (and needed all the clothes).
- Sturdy shoes (1 pair)
- KEEN Sandals (1 pair)($40)
- Rain jacket and rain pants
- Socks (3 pairs)
- T-shirts (2) (REI polypropylene)
- Long sleeve shirts (2) (REI polypropylene)
- Fleece long underwear shirt & pants
- Shorts (2)
- Pants (3) – 2 pairs convertible zip-offs, 1 pair extra thick fleece pants.
- Sun hat
- Sun glasses (with head strap)
- Warm jacket
- Warm hat
- Tooth brush & paste
- Swim trunks & rash-guard
- Favorite blankie (most important item!)
We love both our child carriers. They are, hands down, the two best items we brought on the trip. We checked the Deuter carrier as luggage on the flights and used the Gemini exclusively for the airport. Given that we had three(!) layovers, it was nice to have the kid contained and out of harm’s way when traversing busy airports. (See note below about strollers)
- DEUTER Kid Comfort II Child Carrier ($250)(above). We have logged so many miles with this thing. Ben can store his snacks and water bottle in the upper mesh pockets and access them while riding. It has a five point harness and the seat is nicely padded. The lower zippered portion is good for gear and lunches and there are pockets for keys and other smaller items. The best feature? The adult carry straps are adjustable. Which is excellent, given that I’m 5’7” and my husband is a whopping 6’5”. Good for kids 1 yr – 3yrs. (Our son is four and he still loves to ride. We’re making him walk now, however, and he’s rather disgruntled about the whole thing)
- Beco Soleil Baby Carrier ($140). This is the carrier we use for the wee little babes (inward facing) and for the older kids (backpack configuration). It’s perfect for newborns all the way through 2/3 yrs (depending on how big your child is). The pack is fully adjustable and fits most sizes of adults. The waist band feature is particularly useful for adults with bad backs as much of the baby’s weight rests on your hips. Both my tall husband and I use this for the wee ones. Bonus: it doesn’t weigh much and can be packaged into a small bundle for travel.
I lost a lot of pre-trip sleep worrying over the sleeping situation. In the end, everything worked out and Ben slept in the provided cribs without too many problems. He’s a fairly athletic toddler and was able to extract himself from almost all of them (a prime example: The crib featured in the picture above from the InkaTerra Hotel at Machu PIcchu). That made naps difficult. Definitely a time when a high-walled crib or pack ’n play would have been nice (We lucked out with the crib at the Hotel Sol & Luna – no escaping from that one!). The hotels either provided them free or for a small ($10/night) charge. They all came with a complete set of linens (sometimes even comforters and pillows, which we set aside).
- HALO Fleece Sleep Sack ($18). Temperatures, particularly at altitude, can get chilly overnight so we brought a warm sleep sack.
- REI Long Underwear (price varies). Good for the chilly nights. We even added a hat to his ensemble in one particularly drafty hotel room.
- See note on portable crib, below.
Ugh. This was a hard one for us and is a struggle for many traveling parents. But we needed to have something as we were going to be spending serious hours in the car, shuttling between locations. Here is a general run-down of car seats for kids (this goes without saying BUT: check manufacturer guidelines for your particular child):
At home, Ben was in a giant convertible car seat and we quickly realized that lugging that thing to Peru was far from ideal. He was also way too small for a booster seat. In the end, we brought along an infant car seat, which he could still (barely) fit into. He was beyond the height recommendation but not the weight cut-off. We recommend the Chicco Keyfit 30 ($190). We bought one off of Craigslist for $30 and at the conclusion of our trip gave it to our taxi driver (who dropped us as the airport) as we didn’t want to haul it back to the States with us. Many kids in Peru don’t use car seats and our driver was delighted as he had a newborn daughter at home.
First up: diapers and wipes. They were easy to acquire at farmacias (pharmacies). They weren’t super cheap but it was better than lugging them down from Seattle. We bought them in Puno and Cusco; you’ll have a harder time purchasing them in Colca Canyon, Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu), and the Sacred Valley. We started with the following and bought more, as necessary:
- Disposable diapers (20).
- Wipes (1 Costco pack)
- Diaper bag/changing pad/wet bag
- Desitin (1 tube)
As for medications, we brought the adult basics (Tylenol, diamox (altitude), bug repellent, sun screen, imodium, azithromycin, pepto) but many of these couldn’t be used for kids. So we added the following to our kit:
- Extensive first aid kit. This was well stocked with your basic variety of bandages, wipes, New Skin liquid bandage, gauzes, etc.
- Powdered pedialyte (for kids that get dehydrated or have diarrhea)
- Baby tylenol
- A temporal thermometer ($29). Quick and easy! No messing around with sticking sticks in sensitive areas.
- UV drinking water purifier. Steripen ($77) We purified all our drinking water and Ben didn’t get sick at all. I had a few slightly rough episodes but I tend to be a more adventurous eater than either my husband or son. I just can’t stay away from the fruits/tomatoes/avocados. And they always do me in. I never learn.
Here are a few odd ’n ends that should also be noted.
- “Lost card”. Before we left, I printed out a business card with Ben’s name, our names, our cell phone number, our travel agent’s number, and the phone number of our local hotel. Then I laminated them and pinned one to his pants. And then we practiced what to do (how to pull it out and show adults) if he became lost. He was never without one (except when sleeping)
- A few small toys, stickers, blow-up beach ball, etc (good for the airplane)
- ipad and Kid headphones ($20). Anything to get through the long flights.
- Sippy cup/water bottle
- Snacks. I wasn’t sure what food was going to be available between meals and brought a large supply of granola bars, applesauce packs, cliff bars, fruit leather, and raisins. It was too much. Lots of these items (or similar) are available in Peru.
Things we didn’t bring but considered:
Small Stroller. We thought about taking a folding umbrella stroller for the airport but couldn’t justify lugging it around for a just a few hours in the airport. We used the Gemini instead and it was just fine. It would have been useless on city streets in Arequipa and Cusco.
Big Stroller. (Like a BOB Revolution – $360). We saw one family with a BOB and it was definitely the only type of stroller that could have handled the uneven city sidewalks and open ruin areas (like sacsayhuaman and Pisac). We have one at home and I take it all over the city and on local trails. It’s great for uneven and rough terrain. That said, there is no way I would have lugged ours with us. Too big & heavy.
Portable Crib. All our hotels were able to provide cribs, at little or no extra charge. Many were old wooden models and our son was able to crawl out of several of them. But they worked so we didn’t have to lug a crib down. If necessary, I would have gone for a KidCo Peapod ($70) over a traditional Pack ‘n Play($39), as they’re much lighter and pack into a smaller bundle. Do bring your own (warm) sleep sacks.
Here is the complete packing list in checklist format.
Full Peru Itinerary
Part 1. Arequipa
Part 2. Colca Canyon
Part 4. Cusco
Part 5. Machu Picchu
Part 6. The Sacred Valley