Home Travel One Bag Travel for Women: Pack for a 12 Day International Trip

One Bag Travel for Women: Pack for a 12 Day International Trip

by Bethany
one bag travel

We went to Peru! If any of you follow us on Twitter and Instagram you will know we travel hacked a fantastic trip to Peru this year. It has been on our dream list for some time now and it exceeded our expectations, and one bag travel made it even better.

Our trip was a total of 12 days and included climates from snow to 98 degrees and 100% humidity. Despite this, we still made the trek with one bag each. One 40 liter backpack did the the trick for us and it made grabbing our connections, jumping on a boat in the Amazon and wandering in the main squares easy instead of a hassle.

One bag travel means you do need to pair it down to the essentials. This means having clothing that works for multiple purposes (See: Travel Clothing Checklist) and making sure to plan it out (See: Her Packing List and His Packing List).

Our One Bag Travel Through Peru Itinerary:

Day 1: 

Fly into Lima. Grab a Taxi. Pray to God we made it to our hotel in Miraflores in one piece. (Driver was  insane! But really they all are.)

One bag travel

Day 2:

In Miraflores – explore the ocean and coastline of Lima. Go to Lacomar and eat above the water at a nice restaurant. Walk to the Lighthouse. Explore the city. Take an evening walk by the waterfront.

One bag travel

Day 3:

Started at 5am as we went back to the Lima Airport and flew to Cusco. Meet our private guide and head to Ollantaytambo. While driving, stop at Chinchurro to see how textiles were made by the locals. Another few hours on the road to Ollantaytambo and check in to our hotel- grab lunch then head over to Pumamarka Ruins. (GORGEOUS and not filled with any tourists) Explore the city and grab dinner.

One bag travel One bag travel

Day 4:

Start at 7am. Visit the Incan Fortress in the town that we had been looking at on the hillside by our hotel. Go to the Salt Mines via a back road and see views of all the Sacred Valley. Head to Moray and learn about the Incan Farming tactics. Back to Ollantaytambo for the night.

One bag travel One bag travel

Day 5:

Start at 5am and head to the train station. Take a train and a bus to Machu Picchu.  Hike around the city of Machu Picchu then enter the trail for huayna Picchu and the Moon Temple. A long steep climb of a million stairs up to the top at 10,000 ft. Stairs back down to the valley for the Moon Temple in a cave and then the same long climb up to Machu Picchu city. Bus back to the town- grab food and catch the train back to Ollantaytambo.

One bag travel One bag travel

Day 6:

Easy morning. Head to Cusco at 11am with a stop at the Pisac ruins (again EMPTY and gorgeous) and the Pisac market. Once in Cusco head to Hotel- Illa Cusco. Walk around and explore the city (very touristy) but we had the BEST food of our entire trip and finally a Pisco Sour.

One bag travel One bag travel

Day 7:

Starts at 2 am. Check out of Hotel and get picked up by our guide for the Rainbow Mountain Hike. Long bumpy ride to Rainbow Mountain, start our hike in the snow as the sun starts to rise. First group (6 of us hikers) to the top with a stunning view and elevation of 17,000 feet. Decend the mountain, meet a llama again, and generally feel like a total badass. Back to Cusco City main square for a few hours, grabbed some food and took a Taxi to our overnight bus.

One bag travel

One bag travel

One bag travel

Day 8:

Overnight bus to the Amazon (Puerto Maldonado). Wake up in a hot, stuffy space, feeling less than rested or well. Wait at the bus station for driver from our lodge. Head to the port. Take a boat to our lodge on the Amazon. Check in. Start sweating- only to find out you will never stop while in the jungle. Afternoon boat to the Island of the Monkeys and return by dusk for some dinner. Do a night boat ride to see the Camen.

One bag travel

One bag travel

Day 9:

Leave at 4:30am by boat to see the parrots who come in droves to lick minerals from this rock wall. Return for breakfast. Leave again by boat to hike Lake Sandoval. Then get in a rutted canoe in a swamp in order to get out to the lake. See SOOOO much stunning wildlife. Return to lodge and eat dinner. Do a night walk to see the insane creatures out there like Tarantula and feel a little more respect for the jungle.

One bag travel One bag travel

Day 10:

Breakfast and time to pack up. Boat ride back to the port. Bus ride to the airport. Get on a plane to Lima.

One bag travel

Day 11:

ORIGINAL PLAN: Get to Lima and have a 12 hour layover. Go past security and pay to get into a lounge so we can shower, get some sleep, and free Wi-Fi. NEW PLAN: Get to Lima. Realize they will not let us past security until the day of our flight at 2am…meaning we have 10 hours the sleep on a concrete floor in a hallway with many other smelly passengers like us. Luxury was not happening.

Day 12:

Get into Toronto Canada. 6 hour layover. Feel blessed to brush teeth, wash face and use toilet paper. Change in the bathroom with a pit wipe and watch my sweat drenched hair finally dry after 3 days in the Amazon.

Day 13:

Arrive home (Portland). Shower. Crash.

What I Wore:

I packed simple and light, and one bag travel was outstanding. Each day, I wore either a capri or long breathable and stretchy pant everyday. I had gray and white T-shirts, a fleece, a merino wool long sleeve and jean long sleeve, a raincoat, a scarf, plus my trail runners and black flats. My Amazon clothes were two pairs of long black hiking pants, socks, trail runners, tanks with a sun shield shirt over them. Sadly I realized we took NO pictures of us in the Amazon- we were so obsessed with the animals. I was so grateful that we did spray our clothes and brought those breathable sun shield long sleeves due to the bugs.

Here are a few of the outfits. The layering system is so helpful and important when packing one bag for a trip with multiple climates like this one.

Tips and Suggestions:

My one backpack and purse.


Sarah | Smile & Conquer October 3, 2018 - 7:58 pm

Your packing skills are super impressive!

Just before you guys went my bf and I were watching the Anthony Bourdain episode when he was in Peru. It looked fantastic and we added it to our must visit list. When I saw you were going to I stalked your Insta! Your pictures are gorgeous and now I want to go even more.

Bethany October 3, 2018 - 9:14 pm

Thank you so much! I LOVED taking photographs there. 🙂 You will enjoy your trip I am sure.

E April 12, 2019 - 9:09 pm

One bag for 12 days is impressive! I always default to a small carry on and a backpack. Looks like a fun trip!


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