While you may not have to worry about losing your way in the Lost City because local laws make it so that it is virtually impossible to do so since they require that you hike with a licensed company that acquires the proper permits for legal passage, that does not make Machu Picchu Treks any easier for novice hikers. If this is an experience that you have put on your bucket list there are a number of things you need to do to prepare.
First, be aware that Inca translates to stair people or at least that is what you will believe once you get done with a Machu Picchu hike. That is due to the fact that almost the entire trail is made up of what seems to be a never-ending staircase. However, when you get tired, you can just stop and look around. The beauty of your surroundings will push you forward. If not, knowing the view you will get when you reach the top should do the trick. Since there are so many stairs, it is recommended that you train for this trip by using a stair master. You are also encouraged to bring a walking stick or two as this will help to prevent knee damage.
While December through March is considered the rainy season, it has been known to rain at other times of the year. This makes the trail slippery and more of a challenge. While July and August are the height of the season, September through November are a bit less crowded and April and May are best for nature lovers. Regardless of when you choose to go, be sure to pack appropriately. That means good worked in waterproof hiking shoes and a rain coat. In addition, be sure that you include a good sleeping bag and a headlamp as the campsites do not have lights.
Another thing you need to know about this hike is that if you are not careful, it can make you sick. Altitude sickness is a real thing and while there is medication available to help combat it, there are steps you can take to avoid it altogether. One of the best things you can do is enjoy the view and take your time. Allowing your body to get acclimated to the new altitude, is the best way to prevent illness.
In addition to tour guides, you can also hire porters to make your journey more enjoyable and it may be the difference between making it to the top or turning around. No matter how minimally you pack, carrying your stuff on your back will become heavy and cumbersome quickly. Letting someone else do it for you will literally take the weight off your shoulders and allow you to climb unencumbered. Plus, you will also be helping the locals.
Once you return, you can then set your sites on your next quest, a Kilimanjaro safari. You will not only already know what to expect, and once you do so, you will then be able to brag that you conquered the tallest freestanding peak in the world.