On a date night last year, my husband Troy and I started travel-dreaming again. This time the conversation led us to our family travel bucket list. We started talking about all the places we want to visit as a family (and together as a couple) before the girls grow up and fly the nest.
One of the top trips on this list is to experience the majestic and spiritual beauty of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, in Peru. We can’t wait to explore the ruins of this ancient Inca civilization and experience the culture and food of daily Peruvian life. The biggest challenges to making this dream come true: Having enough time and money.
Thankfully, for trips like this adventure to Machu Picchu, rewards points and miles can come in handy. So when Expedia asked me to write about what I would do if I had 1 million Expedia+ rewards points (a prize valued at up to US$14,000), I instantly thought of Peru. My husband and I already have started the planning, and with flights and hotel (excluding ground transportation and activities) 1 million Expedia+ rewards points could send us on this amazing family travel adventure.
Here’s a look at how we’d spend our time on the ground.
Machu Picchu at sunset
Day 1: Arrive in Lima
We’d arrive after a long flight and stay at the Belmond Milaflores Park hotel in Lima. I have my eye on this hotel because of the property’s spacious suites, gorgeous views from the glass-enclosed outdoor pool, and full-service spa. We would spend our first dinner after a good night sleep at The Observatory Restaurant, located on the 11th floor. I’ve heard the dining room has sweeping views of both Lima and the Pacific Ocean.
Day 2: Explore Lima
With the Belmond Milaflores Park as our home (away from home) base, we would explore Peru’s capital city of Lima and the city’s food, culture, and museums.
Days 3-4: Cusco and the Sacred Valley
In the morning of Day 3, we’d fly to Cusco to begin our adventure in the Sacred Valley and at Machu Picchu. We would either stay at Tambo Del Inka, a Starwood Hotels & Resorts property, or the Sol y Luna Lodge & Spa, which frequently is included in many Machu Picchu luxury tours and has won a bunch of travel awards. Accommodations at both of these hotels seem stylish and efficient—two musts for us when we travel as a family.
With a day to adjust to the altitude (Cusco sits at about 9,000 feet above sea level), we would spend time relaxing at the hotel, exploring Cusco and soaking up more Peruvian culture, customs and food with a guide in the Sacred Valley.
Viewfinder Tip: When traveling with kids, make them feel more involved by allowing them to choose activities on the itinerary.
Day 5: Visit Machu Picchu
On Day 5, the four of us would make the trek by train to Machu Picchu and spend the day exploring the mysterious and majestic archaeological site. We’d hire a guide to learn about this incredible wonder of the world, and be sure to get all the best stories. At the top of the hill that overlooks the site, we would be sure to take a photo—an image we would treasure as a souvenir of a trip the kids will remember forever. (Fellow Expedia Viewfinder bloggers Deb and Dave inspired us with some of the images from their trip to Machu Picchu in 2013.)
Day 6: Return to Lima
On Day 6 of our visit, we’d return to Lima and head for home. Of course if we had more time (and more Expedia+ rewards points), we’d continue our adventure and add on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Galapagos Islands to explore the beauty and diversity of that famous spot.
There are no shortage of adventures and places to explore in the world together. The good news is that even small trips and hotel stays can add up to big rewards if we capture our trips in a loyalty program such as Expedia+ rewards. This fall, one Expedia customer has the opportunity to win 1 million Expedia+ rewards points and five runner-ups will receive 100,000 points each. See Expedia.com for official rules and to enter.
How would you spend 1 million Expedia+ rewards points?