Planning a trip to the largest country in South America? It’s best to be prepared. With plenty to do and plan for in one of the largest countries in the world, it’s easy to forget some of the recommended prep work before departing. Here, we have the top travel tips to keep you ahead of the game and stress-free.
1. Book in Advance
Whether it’s your flight, accommodations, or excursions, booking in advance always saves you from travel headaches – especially when visiting Brazil during peak times. If you’re planning on visiting during Carnival or other festivals like Festa de Peao, it’s recommended to start planning at least three months in advance. This way you’re able to get first dibs on plane seats and hotel rooms and it will save you from spending a ton of money on last minute options.
2. Visa Required
US citizens travelling to Brazil will be required to present a visa Brazil upon arrival. No visa, no entry. Fortunately Brazil is launching an e-visa program in 2018 that makes visa for Brazil easy for American, Canadian, Australian and Japanese citizens to apply online. Instead of the long interview process, travelers will now be required to fill in their application from home, before receiving an answer in just 3 days. Your approved visa will be sent to you by email where travelers will then only have to print their visa to show before boarding their flight. By doing away with the original cumbersome process, Brazil hopes to increase tourism in the years to come.
3. Check Your Passport
While your passport is the document you need to get into another country, it’s easy to overlook. Before you tuck it away into your carry on, make sure that it’s updated and valid throughout your entire stay. Be sure to have enough space for travel stamps as well.
4. See Your Doctor
Before any travel or start processing for a visa to Brazil, it’s always recommended to check in with your doctor to see if you are up to speed on your vaccinations. The usual Hepatitis A and B as well as Typhoid vaccinations should be up to date. Whether or not you should get additional vaccinations depends on where in Brazil you plan on visiting. If you plan on spending time in the Amazon, it’s recommended to get a vaccination for Yellow Fever, and Malaria as well. Some doctors mention that the Zika Virus may be a risk in Brazil, so pregnant women should avoid travelling or take extra caution.
5. Currency Swap
To avoid any hiccups on your arrival, it’s best to already have some Brazilian currency on hand. Airports often have abysmal exchange rates so a visit to your bank before departure is recommended. You’ll be exchanging your home currency for Brazilian Reals ($R) and having some reals on hand will help when grabbing transportation from the airport (or satisfying your post-flight cravings). Visa and Mastercard are both accepted almost everywhere while travelers checks are mostly used at very touristy places like upscale hotels.
6. Secure the Best Price
Don’t just settle for whatever price an airline throws at you right off the bat. Do yourself a favor and do a little research to make sure you’re getting the best price on your flight. Browse around the interwebs to see what you can dig up and if all else fails, sites like Brol will always deliver.
7. Go Everywhere
If you’re planning on seeing more than just Rio or the capital city, it might be best to invest in an Airpass. This pass allows you to travel between cities as many times as you choose within any 21 days for one flat fee. This option is only available to those outside of Brazil so be sure to grab it before entering the country.
8. Get Acquainted
Getting to know the areas you’ll be visiting before arriving will save you time, frustration and hassle when you finally get into the country. Spend some time reviewing maps and guides so you can get an idea of the lay of the land instead of fumbling around for directions on location. This makes it easy to plan out your days, and discover new areas to add to your list.
9. Friends from Afar
If you don’t already have friends or family in Brazil, it can be beneficial to get in with some locals before arriving. Living in the age of the internet makes it easy to connect to people overseas in a matter of seconds, and websites like Meetup and Couchsurfing are great at lending a helping hand. On these sites you can see what events are happening around each area – don’t forget to RSVP so everyone else on the guestlist knows you’ll be going. These websites also make it easy to reach out to specific individuals that you feel you might get along with or who can show you some locally-known locations around town.
10. Learn the Language
Brazil is predominantly Portuguese speaking and is the official language of the country. It’s only obvious that it would be beneficial to learn some Portuguese before visiting. Even the basics will help to integrate you into the culture and impress the locals with your efforts. If you’re not into lugging an English-Portuguese dictionary around, apps like Duolingo will help you brush up on your phrases.