Brazil Beach 2

Traveling to Brazil has some unique challenges, just as any other country or continent has. If you’ve never been to this beautiful South American nation, then you’re missing out on a real treat! With stunning beaches, mountains that are covered in lush, green forests, and the chance to visit isolated environments thanks to islands of rain forests, Brazil provides the heartbeat of this continent.

Whether you’re traveling to Brazil for the World Cup or you’ve just made plans to enjoy the best of what this nation has to offer, then here are 7 ways you can survive your upcoming trip in style.

#1. Make Copies of Everything

It’s surprisingly easy to have your documents get misplaced when traveling to Brazil. It isn’t uncommon to have your documents stolen off of you either. Before leaving home, make sure you have created several copies of your documents. Take at least one set of copies with you and store them separately from your original documents. Hand another copy to a trusted friend or acquaintance so that they can help you out of a tight spot if you find yourself in one.

#2. Be Wary of Saving Money

In Brazil, there are a number of unmarked taxis and undocumented services that will make you a very attractive offer. Offering a low-ball fare is a good way to lure you in and then charge you double or triple when you arrive at your destination or receive your item or services. Stick with prices and fares that are transparent and published, even if it seems like a little more, because you’ll reduce the risks of having a true headache later one.

#3. Know Your Portugeuse

It’s a common misconception that Spanish is the primary language of Brazil, but it is actually Portuguese. You’ll want to learn some key phrases in this language so that you can effectively navigate around the country. This is especially so if you’re planning to see some of the more remote areas of this nation.

#4. Get Your Visa

If you are flying to Brazil to attend the World Cup in the next month, then you won’t need to pay for an entry visa as long as the sporting event is the primary purpose of nation entry. If you are going to Brazil for any other reason, you’ll need to pay for the $160 visa and have your documents in order before you attempt to enter the country.

#5. Update Your Vaccines

Even if you’ve been to Brazil several times, there are active diseases in this country that are likely not active in your part of the world. The most important inoculations to get will help you combat malaria, yellow fever, and typhoid. You may also wish to update your MMR vaccine, TDAP, rabies, tetanus if it is more than 5 years since you’ve had an update, and hepatitis vaccines as well.

#6. Don’t Pack Much

Traffic is heavy throughout many of the urban centers, so whether you’re off to see the rugged parts of this nation or you’re planning a metropolitan getaway, plan on getting to places more by walking than any other form of transportation. Pack comfortable shoes, pack just the essentials, and just plan on picking up some laundry soap when you get there. It’s pretty easy to just wash your clothes in your hotel sink and then let it dry overnight. You’ll also limit losses this way as well.

#7. Know How To Access Your National Services

Most countries have at least one consulate in Brazil and several have locations in most major cities. Make sure that you know how to access your national services from your consulate when you have an emergency. If you have a fee-based service emergency, however, you’ll also need to know how to access your embassy.

#8. Notify Your Financial Institutions

Your bank/credit union and your credit cards will need to know that you’re planning on traveling to Brazil because otherwise they may lock your accounts on you at a very inopportune time. Most major locations within the country will take your cards, but small hotels and restaurants are often currency based only. There are only a few ATM locations that will accept international cards as well, so plan a stop at a Banco do Brasil location before heading out on an adventure.

#9. Know Your Emergency Numbers

If you have an emergency in Brazil, you can’t just dial 911. You’ll need to know these numbers instead:

  • For police, dial 190.
  • For a medical emergency, dial 192.
  • For a fire emergency, dial 193

#10. Stick To Tourist Areas When In Doubt

A safe trip to Brazil is mostly about common sense. If you’re unsure about an area, then don’t go there. Most cities have tourists visit year-round, so your presence will be welcomed by many. Just remember that there won’t likely be a hidden gem to find down a dark alleyway.

#11. Speak To Your Insurance Carrier

Your health insurance may extend traveling coverage for emergencies that may occur while you are in Brazil. Not every insurance plan does this, however, so make sure you know what to expect while there. Some credit cards also offer travel and emergency health insurance as a perk, but you may need to activate this before you travel to take advantage of it.

#12. Be Prepared For Customs

The current limit on customs duties is USD $500 for items, no matter what your home currency might actually be. This means you’ll be charged customs duties if you bring your Apple MacBook, so plan accordingly. The value is USD $300 for border crossings that don’t occur by land or sea, such as roads, lakes, or rivers. The value above these amounts is charged a 50% tax, which means your $1,300 MacBook will cost you $400 to bring into the country and if you do not pay it, then you won’t have your items released to you.

The exception to this is if you are applying for a temporary admission. By proving you’re in Brazil for a limited amount of time, you won’t be subject to these duties, but you must have your application ready before travel and the admission documents must be in Portuguese.