We had never heard about TravelBird before, but for this winters trip we did some research and stumbled across their web page. We were actually looking at trips to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, and found one interesting trip. Everything was organized; the hotels, transportations and even some trips and guided tours, and it was not a group tour. It sounded too good to be true, and when it does you know it usually are… But since our first trip were in November we postponed the Asia trip a few months cause of the season. Instead we decided to take a trip to Peru first, still organized by TravelBird, with everything included. We had never been in South America before so about time!We were still a bit skeptical, because we found the trip cheap-ish (starting from 2755US$ pp.) for everything that was included. We are talking about flights to South America from Scandinavia, private transport, first class busses, accommodations, domestic flights, guided tours, transport to Machu Picchu and entrance tickets, etc. But we decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, twice, because we booked two trips with them this winter, both Peru and Asia.
It has been a month since we got back from Peru and we can tell you about our experience with TravelBird and how it worked on this trip.
The train to Machu Picchu
About the Tour
The tour was an individual tour, so you are travelling on your own. But other TravelBird costumers can have booked the exact same dates as you so you may end up in the same transportation, the same hotels and share the same tours, but what you do with that is up to you. In our case we met a lovely couple from Belgium, which had booked with their agency in their home country. And we enjoyed the company and got together whenever we wanted. We met up on our “free” days and ended up having several dinner dates.
The four of us with a Taxi driver who drove us around for a whole day in the Sacred Valley
But enough about that, and back to the practical and how the trip was organized…
When Jon and I arrived Lima we were met by a man holding a sign with our names. He was our contact person in Lima and he were there to give us some practical info on our way to the hotel, in our private transportation. He gave us all the vouchers we would need and explained about this and that.
We won’t tell you all day by day how it was, because it worked in the same way all time, but we just want to give you an idea.
The bus rides
Already the next day we were taking the bus to Ica, south of Lima, approx. 5h long bus ride. They picked the four of us (Jon and I and the Belgian couple) up at the hotel and drove us to the bus station. The driver told us where to go, what to do, where to drop of our bags and so on. We did all that and boarded the double decker bus. The company was Cruz del Sur, and we got a pleasant surprise! The worst-case scenario in our heads was to share bus with live poultry (haha, we know!). But oh, the bus was so nice! The seats were wide and comfy, you could recline, and you even had a footrest, your own table and your own screen where you could watch the movie that you wanted. Everyone got pillow and blanket, and on longer bus trips (like the 5h long) we got served food and something to drink.
On the night bus (a 9h long bus ride) we got a warm meal in the evening and cold food for breakfast, and we had different seats situated on the first floor, seats with more legroom that can recline a bit more.
Arriving the next bus station we were met by another man holding a sign, then we were driven to our next hotel. This was how it worked the whole time; they picked us up, dropped us off, and they were always on time! It felt so safe and even though it was a bit of a rushed holiday we could relax and did not have to think that much because everything was organized for us. We just had to get packed and be there in time to be picked up.
On some days we had trips booked through TravelBird or the excursions already were in the program, but we also had free days and we could do whatever we wanted. So on the free days we either had booked something in advance from home or we just rented a taxi or booked something spontaneously.
Our ride in the Amazon jungle
We went on one route with a tourist bus
We are so happy with our adventure in Peru with TravelBird. Everything went just fine, oh, except for one incident… To make a story short: the guide at Machu Picchu didn’t show up, so after waiting for 30-40 minutes we decided to hire another guide to not waste more precious time. That meant we had to pay twice for a guide. But the boss of the collaboration partner of TravelBird met us right away when we arrived back at the train station at MP. He had somehow heard about the incident and he gave us a refund immediately. And we think everything turned out to the best as according to our program we were suppose to enter MP three times, and that was not allowed at the time we were there (only two times). And the «new» guide (no names mentioned!) was so nice and snuck us “back in” so we could spend some more time when the guided tour was finished. We were so lucky, and felt so badass!
The hotels were nice, usually simple but the standard was okay. A few of the hotel was quite unique, with a pool or a beautiful garden, or just surrounded by the jungle. The location was usually very good with a walking distance to the town square. Breakfast was always included. During our stay in the Amazon all meals were included (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
Our hotel in the Sacred Valley
Sand Buggy was one activity booked through TravelBird
Another beautiful unique hotel
From a guided walking tour in Lima
We can’t wait to our trip with TravelBird in Asia in February, traveling in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Hope it turn out to be just as good!