A week from today, my travels to Ecuador and Peru will begin. This will round out all travels for 2017 (see ‘Coming to a Place Near You’ page on http://www.traveltinerary.com) and I will be able to add them to the list of countries visited. The itinerary planning and research for these destinations have been extensive having read everything I can on both countries. After perusing other travelers comments and tips online, and talking with Ecuadorian friends, I had to concede (more like have a travel conniption) that I simply cannot do all the things I would like to do, or go to all the places I would like to visit within the allotted time-frame of my air ticket. Consequently, I had to make some changes to my plans. It would mean trimming the itinerary in a way that would afford me the most bang for my buck. Hence, The Galápagos Islands would become the “fall guy” because of time constraints, but Machu Picchu would remain on the must-see list.
The terrain of Ecuador and Peru does not allow for easy over-land travel. Internal flights are available but can be pricy for non-nationals. To capitalize on multiple territories, I purchased an open-jaw ticket, which in this case, is heavily bundled with travel connections, but the price could not be beat. Since I chose the low-priced ticket at the expense of much-needed travel time, flexing on the itinerary then became my next priority (see tips on ‘Itinerary Planning’ page). Once committed to a budget, one has to be willing to alter plans, if necessary. This is the way it works for budget travelers who do not want to break the bank, figuratively speaking or literally, but instead, wishes to enjoy as much of their destination as do their wealthy counterparts who spend heftier sums. Currently my budget is on track and well below the allotted self-imposed spending limit of $1,500 per country. I must interject here that this amount goes a long way in some parts of the world than in others. More spending power is available to me on this trip than would be on a similar trip to Europe. Still, if properly navigated, travels can be had within the budget you set.
“He who will not economize will have to agonize.” – Confucius
While I may forego The Galápagos Islands at this time, God willing, I hope I will get another opportunity to revisit Ecuador on a longer timetable. The flight schedule as it stands below promises to be quite hectic. To date, I have received one airline change to the ticket schedule since purchase. I hope there will be no further changes.
New York → Bogotá, Colombia
Bogotá, Colombia →Quito, Ecuador
Quito, Ecuador → Guayaquil, Ecuador
Guayaquil, Ecuador →Cuzco, Peru
Cuzco, Peru → Lima, Peru
Lima, Peru → New York
Following the pre-travel checklist posted last month has served to: keep my plans on track, keep travel essentials in view and keep travel acuity of the region high. Below are my last to-dos before I jet off to find the spot where I can stand on the GPS location – latitude: 0°, 00′, 00″ known as the middle of the world.
Pack travel bag
Check weather conditions
Give copies of itineraries to family members
Print boarding passes
Am I excited about the adventures ahead? A resounding YES! However, I do have a few reservations. Will I acclimatize in time to accomplish all the hiking I would like to do? Will my plans be sabotaged from altitude sickness? Will I enjoy the food in either country as appetizing as they look? I am no Bourdain or Zimmern, I draw the line on what goes into my body temple. So, no guinea pig thanks (pun intended). Will I feel safe walking around at night? Only time will tell the answers to my questions.
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Keep it real all.