Use Common Sense and You'll Love Brazil (Brasil)
Much safer country that it is given credit.
Common sense Acommon Travel rules as to where ever you go.
#1. Don't go where you shouldn't go.
#2. Follow the rule of law in the country that you reside.
#3. Adhere to the rule of law from your home country.
#4. Respect and "pre-" read up on the culture(s).
#5. Gain some familiarity with the country's national language prior to your trip.
#6. Practice the local language with the locals.
#7. If concerned with lodging then don't do what isn't familiar to you.
#8. Eat what has been cooked.
#9. Drink bottled water that has a seal. Open it yourself.
#10. Know your coordinates (esp. North & South). Memorize the major cross-roads prior to taking your trip.
#11. Have a copy or two of your Passport in a safe place (either on you personally or in an emergency place).
#12. Go electronic (with back up paperwork) when you can.
#13. Be reluctant to share your full plans with strangers.
#14. Be flexible.
#15. How you handle "it" determines whether it'll be a good event or day or not. Understand that something weird, funny, or bad might occur.
#16. Watch your travel companions as they might just as well cause trouble by accident / unknowingly or on purpose.
#17. International travel is not a time for pranks. (Stay away from pranksters that want to travel with you)
#18. Just try to remember that "nothing" is for "free". (This goes for women too! Crazy partying guys should know this.)
#19. Silently meditate as to rehearse (or re-play) plans.
#20. Always be prepared for a back-up exit plan (... where ever you are (and check for exits)).
#21. Travel with flex travel time on the front end but esp. back end of your visit. This'll reduce your frustrations if there happen to be delays.
#22. Pack light while being wise.
#23. Be nimble. (physically)
#24. If you have good judgment with befriending people (anywhere) then be social with out giving away too much information.
#25. Know your money. Where it is. How much is on you. Denominations in order. Minimize coins if possible (don't need to be heard walking around jiggling).
#26. When driving a rental car ... pay the extra for full coverage. (Take it from a guy that has had 2 separate flat tires and locked up engine all in the same trip. Can you guess where?)
#27. Walk like you know where you are going even when you get lost. The best way to not get lost again is to remember where you were when you were lost.
#28. You are not a "stick" in the mud if you choose to stay away from the "loud" crowd.
#29. Avoid traveling during the host country's elections.
#30. Be aware of political and labor union protest. Don't accidently get caught up.
#31. Never walk away from your open beverages and/or food. Once you've stepped away then pass on further consumption as to be cautious.
#32. Ladies and guys, know that you will meet lots of wonderful people plus some not so. Don't be fooled by "beauty" or a "handsome" face. Danger lurks. If you have a bad judgment of character domestically then it is not going to get any better outside of the country.
#33. If you're not considered "HOT" back home then don't be fooled when you are abroad. Money matters. It isn't really your looks.
#34. The money train gets you access but it can also generate trouble.
#35. Make certain Taxis / Limos drivers happen to be locked into the price and directions prior to departure.
#36. Know the weather conditions prior and during your trip.
#37. Read the local newspapers / journals prior to arrival. (seek to understand cultural, social, economic, etc topics of the day)Related to:
- Sailing and Boating
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renting a car
yep. it's INSANELY expensive to rent a car, especially if you're not dropping off in the same location. i tried to rent a car from rio to floripa and just the "tax" alone was over R$1000. this was for a two day trip.
also, like the above poster said, if you don't speak portuguese, you're pretty much screwed if you have any problems/get lost/break down. there have been many conversations by brazilians on here about driving in brazil. there are tons of warnings. just something to consider.
DO NOT GIVE THE 'OK' HAND GESTURE
In most countries in the world the ‘OK’ symbol made using one hand means just that – OK. In fact, in all South American countries that speak Spanish, the OK sign is OK. Here in Brazil it means something much much worse and is shockingly offensive. Don’t do it or you may just get a punch in the nose. Or worse. In fact, I don’t even have a picture of this offensive gesture, so please enjoy some random photos of Brazil I have loaded for your viewing pleasure.
At Rio de Janeiro's international airport the fingerprinting of Americans is quick and easy.
Seated just behind the business class section of my American Airlines flight (from Miami), I was among the first off the plane and first to immigration.
After my passport had been stamped, I -- being an American -- was sent to a second window. There an agent took a digital photograph and fingerprint. It added maybe a minute to the process.
It remains amazing that a single judge in a far off province could impose this requirement on Americans -- and on Brazilians. As a writer in BRAZZIL magazine has pointed out, the cost to Brazil is significant and the likelihood is that nothing (apart from random filing) is ever done with the photos and prints.
UPDATE (2008): Americans entering Brazil are no longer photographed and fingerprinted.
Don't be put off by scare stories
On no account be put off your visit by the scare stories you will certainly hear, here and elsewhere: as long as you're sensible you'll come to no harm. I first came to live in Rio 38 years ago, have since lived all over the world but revisted for a month almost every year, and have recently chosen to retire here. Touch wood, I have never been the victim of, nor witnessed, any crime here. Be careful of the driving, though - that's near-criminal!
People giving out your personal details
This is something that happened to me time and time again in different places in Brazil. I think it's particularly worth pointing out as a danger because, unlike the more familiar scams, pickpocketing and dodgy casanovas travellers encounter. As it was something I'd never experienced before and had not been warned about, it took me a while to realise it's something that happens a lot.
I found that over-helpful people were only to keen to pass on my contact details to blokes who had taken an interest. It ranged from neighbours (opened the door of my building once to find a man I'd only met once before waiting on the steps for me), to my ex-landlady (her neighbour's scary son turned up at my new flat one evening demanding to be let in) and hotel staff (I received direct calls to my room from guides and fellow guests trying their luck more than once ).
It's irritating at best and downright threatening at worst. I would encourage travellers who don't want to be hassled with this to - gently in the case of friends and acquaintances, more firmly with hotel staff - insist that their phone numbers and addresses are not passed on. And that strangers aren't let into your building/flat/room by some kindly soul! It's a little tricky as it seems to me to be a cultural thing, with the people concerned obviously thinking they were being helpful. But ultimately safety and feeling safe is more important, so be tactful but firm!
Rio: Really can be dangerous!
Rather be safe than sorry, I never believe when people say a place isn't safe, but one girl in our tour group got a necklace ripped off her neck and another a purse stolen at Sugarloaf( tourist attraction).
To be safer, don't wear any real jewelry, and leave the name brands (aka gucci purse and louis vuitton luggage) at home.
NATAL: NO VALUABLES AT BEACH
Do not bring any valuables when you head out to the beaches of Natal.
Unfortunately, I was robbed of my camera. 2 boys jumped on me and fought me to the ground. When they had run off with my camera and my watch, I simply got up and watched them disappear. I looked around me, many stared at me, but no one helped. I guess they are used to seeing such crimes.
Even at the police station later trying to report this incident with my friend, we met a Brazilian couple there who had also just been robbed. Gosh, what are the odds of 2 robberies (or more!!) happening at the same time!?? I learnt that they were robbed at gun-point. Gosh... now, I was 'relieved' that I was not.
Anyway, according to my friend tourists had been killed before for a watch. So, just be careful.
I was recommend exchanging money at the airport. We were stupid and did not check the exchange rate before we left and just exchanged at our hotel and banks. The best rate we got was 1.93 Real for 1 US Dollar. When we were leaving we saw that the airport wwas giving 2.13 Real for the Dollar. So basically we lost about $10 for every $100 we exchanged.
ANTI-MALARIAL PILLS NOT DISPENSED
If you are going into the Amazon Jungle and are those who prefer to protect yourself against malaria, do arrange to purchase your anti-malarial pills before you arrive in Brazil.
Here, you CANNOT buy anti-malarial pills from pharmacies.
But, if you get malaria, of course, they will TREAT you.
Beware, Brazil is a very dangerous place. Don't carry large sums of money in your pokets and try to travel in groups. Also, don't wear flashy jewelry as it may attract too much attention. Especially at night, you need to aware of your surroundings (Copacabana area)
Ouro Preto-COLD AND FOGGY
When I went to Ouro Preto it was the end of July-Brazil's winter. However, being from Los Angeles, CA I brought mostly summery light clothing. Unfortunately, Ouro Preto gets very cold at night and in the mornings and very foggy. It rained at night and the visibility was depressingly low. However, by midday it cleared up enough to see the beautiful churches lining the little valley and almost made the car ride worth it.(see next tip)Related to:
- Historical Travel
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Losing all your money
I can not think of anything worst than being on vacation in Brazil or any other place, for that matter, with no money. This is the danger of carrying just cash, or just a credit card. It is also the reason that I do not carry all my money or equivalents in one place.
I would recommend that you take a credit card with atm utility, cash and a good quanity of travellers checks, especially if you can buy them with 1 percent or lower commission [Many banks will give them to long time customers without commission.]. I prefer American Express because they have offices in Brazil. Never hand your card to someone and let it go out of your sight. Use usual atm precautions. Do not travel with much more cash than you are willing to have stolen. I carry travellers checks as insurance and a reserve for special purchases. They can be inconvenient to exchange but very useful if the atm machines or your card does not work. Plus, of course, you are protected from loss.Related to:
- Road Trip
ATM Machines : HSBC saved my life !
I must pay a special tribute to HSBC banks, that have been especially helpful during my trip in Brazil.
I have a VISA international card, however i had a very hard time trying to get some cash from ATM machines, especially in Minas Gerais. Banco do Brasil is a good bank, but not all of their ATM accept Visa.
The only banks where it always worked was HSBC.
When I was in Ouro Preto, I really got in trouble. After paying the hostel, I only had 5 R$ left ! I spent my day going from banks to banks... and impossible to get some cash ! I was starting to think about selling my camera to eat or something... I had already tried 6 banks.
Then I arrived to the last bank that was HSBC. I went anxiously to the ATM and ... it worked. I think the security guard at the bank though I was crazy because I almost cried of joy !
Thanks HSBC !
"Help" Club in Rio
There is a reason this place is called 'HELP.' Located in Copacabana, this is the epicenter of prostitution and crime on gringos - avoid at all costs. If you are interested in prostitutes for some reason, then stay away from this place as well. You will lose your shorts in more than one way. I would also avoid even walking by this place at night, especially if you look really gringo.
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