We walk a fine line between being well-prepared but not locking ourselves into a tight schedule.

We don’t make a rigid itinerary because we want the ability to shape the experience as we go. We list all the kid-friendly possibilities, collect the research, and then book the things we have to book ahead of time.

It’s all about options and flexibility!

We collect our information from guide books (love Lonely Planet), travel Facebook groups, personal connections, blogs, and lots of googling. We make a ton of notes and wrestle with the calendar as if staring at it one more time will magically make a few extra days appear. We call each other up randomly, “Linnea! We have got to make it to one of those awesome libraries!” “Melissa! The tickets to that show have to be picked up in the subway station. Don’t ask me why.”

The thing is, we know that we can’t set everything up perfectly because that’s not how travel works, and that’s not how real-life-awesome-travel-moments arise. We know we have to just have faith in the adventure and roll with it, albeit armed with a 20 page google doc.

Here’s our current list for Peru:

  1. Machu Picchu. Obviously. Must book ahead.

2. Explore picturesque, small-town life in the Sacred Valley (easy train from one small town to the next), including markets, archeological sites, hikes.

3. Salt Pans of Salinas. Ancient Inca salt extraction that’s still being used!

4. Explore history around the Plaza de Armas in Cuzco, wander down narrow cobblestone streets in this colonial city and look for ruins from the Inca.

5. Learn about local daily living by getting food from the Mercado San Pedro and by playing in parks.

6. Visit artist studios.. textiles and alpaca-wool sweaters, wood carving studios, jewelry making, or pottery studios.

7. Sample local food and drink – from chicha corn drinks to roasted cuy, hearty vegetable stews, and of course chocolate.

8. Cooking, pottery, or chocolate-making workshop.

9. The Inca museum, Pre-Columbian Art Museum, Chocolate museum.

10. Visit the cathedral and churches for art and architecture.

11. Practice our Spanish.

We think that’s a pretty good plan. What would you most want to do in Peru?