When I traveled to Brasil in June, 2016 there were definitely some things I wish I had known before travelling to make me better prepared, and things that I did that I was very thankful for doing. So for those of you that plan to travel to Brasil read this!
#1 Check the SeasonBefore I went some people warned me that the south of Brasil gets winter, and I was apparently arriving in winter. I honestly thought they were exaggerating about it getting cold, like come on, I am Canadian, we know cold. So, thinking I knew better, I barely packed any warm clothes! I literally packed no sweaters. Holy moly was I dumb. I could not believe how cold it could be especially at night. Ok, we aren’t talking about crazy cold but like 10 – 15 degrees celsius cold. I had to buy some sweaters when I arrived. So basically, check the season and pack accordingly. AND Brasil does get winter!
#2 Get VaccinatedBe sure to get vaccinated almost 6 months before you leave. Also be ready to pay a lot! I had to pay over $300CAD for the visit and vaccines. I wasn’t and am still not planning to travel near the amazon so there were some I didn’t need. The ones I did need were Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A&B, Typhoid Vi, and Dukoral. Make sure you have this all documented because you have to bring with you into Brasil. You may be asked to show proof of the vaccination.
#3 VisaThis is probably the most important step because the visa allows you to enter the country. You should apply for the visa 6 months before you go (also make sure your passport won’t expire). Documents I needed for the tourist visa were: a photo of me, proof of income from the last three months, tax records from the year before, a written invitation by family or a friend in Brasil stating they will be responsible for you, copy of their passport, your passport, driver’s licence, airline tickets, and an outline of your trip. It was actually quite easy and I got approved 2 weeks later and got the visa at the Brazilian Embassy. The reason I say to apply 6 months before is because it depends on how many people are applying and you may end up waiting for a while.
#4 Convert Your MoneyBefore going you should convert your money into reais. For me I sent money to Brasil through Western Union to my husband’s account because it was cheaper. But not everyone has that option, my advice is to check the rates. Western Union is probably your best choice than a bank.
#5 Prepare for the FlightTravelling from Vancouver to São Paulo was definitely a long flight. I first travelled to Toronto then from Toronto to São Paulo, and from there to Joinville. This was pretty much 2 days of travelling. Here are some items you should pack in your carry on to make your trip comfortable.
- toothbrush and toothpaste
- snacks (ones on the flight are pricey)
- phone charger
- second set of clothes
- another pair of shoes (changing your clothes and shoes make you feel more fresh)
- sanitizer cloths (clean your seat area on the flight to avoid getting sick)
- face wipes to cleanse your skin
- all important documents
- extra strong Tylenol (I get the worst joint pain when I fly and this helps, if you get ones that make you sleep, even better)
- book or magazine