Traveling to most foreign countries, be it business or pleasure, can and should be exciting, fulfilling and eventful. But without prior planning and knowledge even the most well intended may find themselves harnessed with unexpected events or situations leading to delays, discomforts, cancellations or other abnormalities not foreseen. This is especially important if you’re a first time traveler to a particular country. Brazil is no exception and armed with local understanding of the cultures, laws, customs, language and other nuances inherent to foreign travel, your trip should come off more convenient and pleasurable.
The following pages within this site contain considerations and factors which will help facilitate the planning and implementation of a successful and enjoyable trip to Brazil.
One major regard is the Climate. What are you going to be doing there and how will the weather effect your activities? Brazil is a big place and temperature zones, rainfall patterns and other climatic conditions vary by region. What clothing is going to be appropriate and what modes of transportation will prove the safest and most economical for those conditions? High and low travel seasons are common in Southern Brazil as dictated by the weather. The frugal explorer may opt to save considerable money, depending on the nature of his business, by intentionally traveling in the off season.
Another major factor will be the language barrier. While many Brazilians speak English and other foreign languages the majority of the populace speaks only Portuguese. Taking the time to learn some Utility Phrases in the native tongue will inevitably solve those exasperating combinations of broken Portuguese and hand signals. Unless accompanied by someone who speaks the language, at bare minimum carry some sort of pocket translator (printing out the utility phrases page would be a good start). Most hotel clerks in major cities do speak English or have someone near by who does. Taxi drivers typically do not so it is best to write down the address of your destination and show it to them.
For U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil a valid passport (one not expiring with-in six months) and one of the appropriate Visas is required for entrance to Brazil. (it may be required in other countries also, check with your consulate). There are different kinds of visas, exp. business, tourism and others each with their own set of requirements and restrictions. Informative also would be to familiarize yourself with the customs regulations both entering and exiting the country. What duties you might have to pay and what stipulations exist when importing or exporting certain items such as pets or plants? How much cash can one bring into the country or exit with? What is considered normal baggage? These and other questions should be answered before departing.
Health issues may also come into play when traveling abroad. Are you physically capable of withstanding the rigors of extended travel? Should one drink the water or not, and are there certain foods to shy away from? What are the ramifications of repeated and prolonged sun exposure and what protection will I need?
How about vaccinations and are there areas of the country more prone to communicable diseases?
Once in Brazil are you planning extensive trips throughout the country and what mode of transportation will you use for that Inside Travel? Are there shuttle flights between major cities and what’s the cost? Should you decide to rent a car, what are the road conditions where you’re going? Can I use a foreign drivers license, what are the speed limits, are the road signs in English? How would communicate with a taxi driver, what are the safest taxis and how much should I tip? What about busses and airport shuttles? In depth research is not required but get an idea before you go.
Another hot topic when visiting abroad is Money. Upon your arrival you’ll need to convert your currency to the Brazilian Real (“heh-ALL”). But what is the exchange rate and what are the denominations in both bank notes and coin? Where can I use my credit cards and do they even have ATM’s? Are travelers checks a good idea and where should I store my money? A failure to manage and protect your money properly could be costly.
Should Safety be a concern when touring Brazil? Generally yes but no more so than traveling around any large city in the U.S. Smaller cities and rural areas are very safe but see the list of usual precautions and follow them. What if I do find myself in some sort of trouble? Who and how do I call or where do I go? Are the police reliable? What are the phone numbers for the embassy or consulates?
Miscellaneous. Contained with in this section are some of the lesser thought of topics which can be equally distressing once encountered. Items such as how does one make a phone call to Brazil or how do I make one from Brazil? Will my electric hairdryer work when I plug it into a hotel outlet? What are normal business hours for government offices, banks, and retail establishments? What about conversions to the metric system? Are our time zones the same? And what about traveling over holidays? Everyone knows about Carnival but are there other holidays we may wish to avoid or schedule a trip around?
While this entire page attempts to answer many of the questions or concerns you may have it cannot address them all. Thorough, diligent research on your part is highly recommended. A good place to continue is with our sponsors on the right. They are knowledgeable, experienced and prepared to make your trip to Brazil a trip of a lifetime.
The above information is provided for the convenience of our visitors and we assume no liability or responsibility whatsoever for its accuracy.