Brazil – Part one
I travelled to Brazil in July 2019. It has taken me so long to document this trip because I was looking for the perfect moment of true inspiration, not to say that it has befallen me now that we are living in the dark times of a pandemic, the Corona virus. It meant the world to me to be able to take this trip because at the time I was celebrating 2 years having worked in corporate and I felt deserving of a treat. I did it over the span of two weeks.
I will document this series in 3 parts. This first one will be on travel tips based on my experience, then I will document Sao Paulo in the second series and Rio in the third one
I travelled South African airlines and here are few tips I gathered when booking flights for personal travel:
- Book your ticket and pay for it at least 3 months in advance, The savings are so significant, that you end up paying almost a third of what you would pay if you did it less than 30 days close to your trip. The biggest trade-off for me was having a 16 hours layover at the O.R Tambo airport but the savings I made were totally worth it and I could channel those funds to other activities. Skyscanner is a fabulous app to use to search for flights.
- Pack your most valuable items in your hand-luggage which include a change of clothes, some personal effects for keeping you refreshed throughout your journey and your valuable items. I pack my hand-luggage such that if my suit-case was to get lost, I would be totally fine, the other use for my hand-luggage suit-case is where I pack my souvenirs and the items I bought in the country of travel, this means that all my valuable are with me at any given time.
- Hostels are a super affordable choice of accommodation, which you also need to book and pay for at least two months in advance. The most beautiful thing about hostels in the different type of people that you get to meet. At the time of travel, Copa-America was happening so I really enjoyed interacting with different people from various nationalities in Southern America. The disclaimer here is obviously check that your destination country has a hostel culture because personal safety is the most important thing to you
- Travel with a friend where possible, I was really lucky that my friend was working in Brazil at the time, so she really made the planning of this trip super easy because we planned everything together, since she had been living there for some months, she had so much insight on what we could do.
- Pre-plan all you activities and cash them up. The thing that makes travel so much fun is the ability to explore the country you are in and immerse yourself in the various sites and activities. The biggest risk you run when you do not plan your activities in advance and most importantly attach a cost to them is that you will end up blowing your budget or running out of money.
- Change only the bare minimum money at the airport. The cost of Forex at airports is really high. In my case I was changing USD to Br. reals and I made the mistake of changing a significant amount of my money at the airport, when I later went to one of the malls, I realised that their exchange rates for Real tto USD were so much higher and I have got to tell you, I really felt the loss.
- Get a local sim-card. The procedure is pretty simple, you only need to provide your details, the reason for this is at any given time, you will need an internet connection for Ubers and to communicate back home with family. On arrival, I used the Airport wi-fi to get my first uber.
- Google maps saves lives, seeing that I was in a foreign country, the likelihood that I would remember my accommodation residence or even know the time spent in travel from one location to another would be really low.
- Check the weather of your destination country on accu-weather so that it informs the kind of clothes you will pack, but basic essentials are always pack a water-proof jacket and a really warm sweater because even during the flight sometimes the temperatures drop a really
- Strap your passport and cash on you, on your fanny pack. I was pretty paranoid about losing my travel documents so I carried a fanny pack that I strapped around my waist my entire travel time so I on top of the fact that I had my hand luggage I did not worry that I would lose anything. Also it did not help that in the 16 hours I was at the airport the announcement that continued to come on in a heavy South African accent was, “Watch your bags, they might be stolen.”
- Finally, a lesson I learnt through this trip, spend the least money on shopping and more money on experiences that you will forever cherish
Tune in for the next part of this 4 part series
Thank you for reading my work with your precious time.