Anyone can set up a trip to Peru, but not everyone can organize it well. The internet swarms with stories about people who didn't understand the extent of the planning it takes to get to and from the remotely located Machu Picchu. Do you know where the weak links are for planning your trip? And where you should pay special attention? A good travel agent should know how to reduce or avoid certain risks some of which is inherent while traveling. Travel agents hear outregeious stories about airports shutting down unexpectedly, hotels being flooded, trains delayed by strikes and hundreds of other travel tales that you don't want to know.

What's the difference between a Travel Agend and a Tour Operator:

A travel agent is a person who arranges flights, transportation, accommodations and tours for people who want to travel.

A tour operator is a person who creates a package vacation that includes accommodations, transport, tours and tour guides. It may or may not include flights. It can include tickets to performances, permits for hikes, or gastronomic activities. A tour operator can also be referred to as a DMC (Destination Management Company) known for their local knowledge, expertise and resources.

Travel agents often work with tour operators because of their connections to local resources.

Tips for your trip to Peru from a trusted Tour Operator:

  • Only licensed tour operators can get permits for the Classic Inca Trail hike. 
  • Get up-to-date information and advice about borders and airport arrival policies 
  • Provide locations and details about clinics for covid testing. Currently all US-bound travelers must show neg covid test upon arrival in the US. 
  • Every traveler needs "a fixer" to troubleshoot unexpected circumstances from time to time
  • Having teams of knowledgable local people at your disposal is more than handy
  • Best insight for activities and logistics for multi-generation groups based on experience and expertise
  • Do not use a tinted face shields in Peru. Transparent face shields are the only ones permitted for flights. 

Not everyone needs the help or advice of a travel agent or tour operator. Plenty of people do it themselves using free tools like Trip Advisor and notable travel blogs. 

Can travelers use a travel agent or tour operator to organize parts of their trip?

This depends on the travel agent. Some agents act as travel advisors and charge by the hour for their services. Tour operators usually don't charge for their advice. The cost of expert travel advice is included in the cost of the guided tours and activities you reserve. If you're not sure, just ask. 

If you made it this far in the blog post, I"m going to elaborate on our situation at Adios Adventure Travel. I co-founded this company with a native Peruvian man named Vidal Jaquehua. We started working together in 2007, then got licensed in 2009 when we realized we had a special approach to organizing trips, and many travelers craved hands-on travel experiences. Adios Adventure Travel is a tour operator although I live in the US. I have traveled and explored South America extensively. And much of it has been with Vidal or with his younger brother Hubert who also works with us.  All the experiences offered on our website are based on our personal hands-on participation. Another interesting factor about the way we established our company finances is that Vidal and i share equity. Not to mention responsibility. We review and discuss issues, solutions and our policies. It's a different approach to running a DMC, but we figured out how to make it work.