Daily Travel Budget $$$ in BRAZIL - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW [ VLOG 8]
How to Plan a Trip to Brazil
If warm weather, sunny beaches, lush rain forests, and a vibrant nightlife sounds like a good time to you, you might want to plan a trip to Brazil! As with all international travel, there are some steps you need to take ahead of time in order to prepare for your trip—including getting your passport and tourist visa and making travel and lodging arrangements early. Once you have all of the important business in order, it’s time to plan some fun things to do!
Preparing to Travel
Make sure that you have a current passport.If you don’t have a passport yet, you will need to get one. If you already have one, check the expiration date and make sure it will be valid for at least 6 months past the date of travel. If you have less than 6 months until the expiration date, you will need to renew your passport.
- You will need your passport both to enter Brazil and to re-enter your home country.
- Start on this process early because it can take up to 8 weeks to receive your new passport. Even if you choose to pay the extra fee to have it expedited, it can still take 2-3 weeks to receive.
Apply for a tourist visa if you don’t have one already.All US citizens and citizens from most other countries are required to have a tourist visa in order to enter Brazil. You need this in addition to a valid passport.If you don’t have a visa for Brazil, some of the items you will need in order to obtain one include:
- A valid passport
- Photocopies of your roundtrip ticket
- Required application forms
- Immunization records for children
- Visit the Brazilian consulate official website to determine if you are required to obtain a visa. There will you find a list of which countries have had the requirement waived.
Learn some basic phrases in Portuguese to help you communicate.Most Brazilians speak only their native language, however, in touristy areas you will find many people who speak English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Phrases like “Hello” ("Oi"), “Thank you” ("Obrigado"), and “Can you help me?” ("Pode me ajudar?") are good starts, but you may want to get some other Portuguese basics down as well, just in case.
- Check out some videos on YouTube to get a better understanding of how to pronounce the words and phrases.
- Download a translator app to your phone to help with more difficult conversations.
Pick a destination based on your interests or the things you want to do.If you are looking for laid-back vacation where you spend most of your time relaxing on the beach or checking out the natural scenery, think about going to the Amazon, Bahia, Salvador, or Fortaleza. If you’re more into the night-life and party scene, definitely check out the Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo regions.
- If you want to visit multiple destinations, take domestic flights or long-distance buses to travel between different cities.
Check the typical weather in your destination during your travel time.Brazil is a huge country and the weather varies depending on the area you are visiting. In general, the weather is typically mild so bring lightweight clothing that you can easily layer. As most areas are tropical, plan to bring rain gear as well.
- Rio de Janeiro’s summer is December to February and temperatures can reach 104 °F (40 °C). There is still quite a bit of rain during this time, so don’t let the hot temperatures discourage you from bringing proper rain attire. Winter is in July and August and temperatures are usually around 70 °F (21 °C).
- São Paulo’s weather is pretty steady year round. The hottest month of the year is January, with an average temperature of only 76 °F (24 °C); while the coldest month is June, with average temperature of 66 °F (19 °C).
Figure out a communication plan to keep in touch with those back home.Since you will be in another country, it may be difficult to communicate with your friends and family if you need to. Consider purchasing a calling card or checking with your phone company about adding temporary international calling to your mobile phone plan.
- If you are planning to use your mobile device, you will also need to verify with your carrier that the phone will get service in Brazil and what the roaming fees will be.
- Wi-Fi is widely available, so check out apps like Skype as well.
Making Travel and Lodging Arrangements
Compare airline prices online to find the best deals.This is something else to do well in advance. The longer you wait, the more expensive the tickets can become. You can get the best prices on flights to Brazil when tickets are purchased at least 90 days before your travel date.
- Airline companies often run special promotions. Check their websites often and/or sign up to receive email newsletters and notifications so you don’t miss a deal.
- Don’t forget to check travel companies like Orbitz and Expedia because sometimes they end up having the best deals. They also offer package-deals where you can mix and match airfare, hotel, and transportation—and that might save you some money.
Find a place to stay as soon as you have your flight booked.The sooner you make your reservation, the less you are likely to pay—though lodging tends to be fairly expensive in general. Consider the number of people traveling and the type of experience you are looking for. Brazil offers accommodations including a range of budget to luxury hotels, to a more unique experience with pousadas, jungle lodges, or eco hotels.
- Pousadas are privately-run guest houses that are located in a variety of locations across the country and tend to be more affordable than the hotels. If you go this route, you may end up staying in a historical palace or convent!
- Stay in a jungle lodge and experience sleeping in the Amazon rain forest and waking up with wildlife.
- Take it a step further and try out sleeping in the treetops in an luxury eco hotel.
Purchase a Brazil Airpass if you will be visiting multiple cities.The Airpass is available through GOL and TAM airlines. It allows you to book 4 or 5 domestic flights and receive a reduced rate on additional flights. All flights must be reserved at the same time, though, so plan ahead.
- The restrictions on the Airpass are pretty hefty. For instance, it must be purchased outside of Brazil, is only valid for 30 days, and the routes cannot be changed (but the dates can be). Overall, it tends to be worth the investment.
- Expect to pay an additional airport tax when you check in for your flights.
Take a bus to travel between cities if you want a more scenic route.The long-distance buses are usually kept very clean and tidy and provide a nice, luxury-style ride. The entire bus system in Brazil is quite extensive and would be a great option to get around for inner-city travel as well.
- Riding the long-distance bus will take much longer than flying and the prices are typically comparable to flying anyway, so choose this option if you prefer to watch the scenery pass by or if you aren’t fond of flying.
Rent a car if you want to have a little more freedom to roam.This is a good option for those who are comfortable driving in unfamiliar places. The highway systems are fairly established and the roads are generally well-maintained. This is especially true in the southern regions.
- You have to be at least 21 years old to rent a car in Brazil. You will also need to have a valid driver’s license, credit card, and your passport.
- You aren’t required to have an international driver’s permit, but it is a good idea to carry one in addition to your regular driver’s license in case you happen to be pulled over. This makes it easier for the officer in case they aren’t able to read the language on your license.
Planning What to Do
Visit a bank before your trip or as soon as you arrive to get Brazilian money.You can exchange foreign money for Brazilian real (R$) at customs, travel agencies, and most hotels as well. Keep some bills and coins on hand since some smaller merchants, and those in rural areas, may not accept credit cards and because travelers checks aren’t widely accepted.
- The exchange rate constantly changes, so check the current rate when you arrive to give you a good idea of how much money you should convert. If you have leftover real at the end of your trip, you will typically need your original receipt to change it back to your home currency.
- Most major credit cards, particularly Visa, are accepted in larger cities, but be aware that you may be charged a foreign transaction fee for using them.
- ATMs are located throughout the country as well, though they have been reported to be problematic at times. As such, use this option as a last resort.
Visit a beach to experience one of Brazil’s best-known features.You have literally thousands of options to choose from here! If you are staying near the coastline, which many tourists do, definitely pack up your beach bag and make some time to visit a couple beaches.
- Even if you don’t visit one of the world’s best beaches, like Ipanema or Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, most of the beaches are worthy of a visit.
Take a boat ride down the Amazon river to explore the rain forest.Aside from a leisurely float down the largest river in the world, you’ll experience both aquatic creatures and jungle wildlife right from your boat. Book your adventure through a reputable company such as Reliable operators include Amazon Eco Adventures, Lo Peix, or Swallows and Amazons.
- The boats and tours range from budget to luxury, so there are options for everyone.
Party in Rio during Carnival if you are visiting in February or March.Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s biggest party spots, especially during Carnival, which attracts people from all over the world. If you like food, music, dancing, and parades, and are looking for an unforgettable party experience, you won’t want to miss out on this one.
- The celebration usually takes place during the last week of February or the first week of March. Search “Rio Carnival” and the year you are traveling to get the dates of the event. See if you can squeeze it in, or plan your trip around it.
Visit a bohemian neighborhood in Rio to admire local artwork.Stop by Santa Teresa located in the neighborhood, Lapa, and check out artwork that represents people and places from all over the world. You’ll see country’s flags, representations of each state in the US, and depictions of musical artists like Bob Marley.
Check out Ibirapuera Park if you are in São Paulo.Ibirapuera Park is a popular spot for both tourists and the locals. Relax and have a picnic, or take a stroll along the paths and bridges that overlook the creek and lake. Don’t forget to stop by the street vendors and pick up some souvenirs!
- Bring a bicycle or your jogging shoes along if you want to be more active.
- The park also offers lots of activities for kids, including 3 museums, a garden, and a playground.
- Bring comfortable shoes—you have to climb 215 steps to get to the top.
Video: Planning A Trip To Brazil? Check Out Rio's Hotspots And Beyond | TODAY
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