South America is a gem of the world that is recently becoming a popular travel destination. Many people who have never visited the beautiful continent before are booking flights to countries such as Ecuador, Argentina, and Venezuela, but is there anything you need to do to prepare for your travels? If you’re a first-time visitor to South America, make sure that you pay close attention to these 5 tips to make your travels easier.
Learn Some Language Skills Before You Go
One of the hardest things about traveling abroad is the language barrier. If you don’t know much about the language, then you can find yourself in all sorts of trouble, such as accidentally insulting someone, getting lost, or confusing similar words and conveying a completely different meaning to what you meant to say. For example, ‘ser’ and ‘estar’ both mean ‘to be’ but must be used in different situations. Learning the difference can be tricky, so don’t wait until you land to whip out your phrasebook or have a quick google – try and learn some language skills and simple phrases before you go to make your trip much easier.
Plan Where You Want to Visit and Book Tickets in Advance
The South American tourist industry is booming, and for must-visit sites such as Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu, the yearly footfall is enormous. That being said, you need to make sure that when planning to visit these famous sites, you buy tickets in advance. This will not only make sure that you are granted definite entry to the site, but also that you are not overcharged with on the day tickets or limited entry tickets. Sites like Machu Picchu may be a part of history, but they still require tickets to enter, so don’t spend hours and hundreds of dollars on tickets, make sure that you book in advance.
Make Sure You’re Vaccinated
A huge mistake that people make when they are traveling to any foreign country, not just South America, is failing to be completely vaccinated. We may be used to the illnesses and diseases that we can contract in our own country, but in other places of the world exist many dangerous and potentially fatal illnesses that we are not prepared for or are simply unaware of. For example, when visiting Argentina, there are many vaccinations that you need to have to ensure not only your own safety but also the safety of those around you when you return to the US. Illnesses such as Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever, Rabies and Zika Virus are all prominent in South America but not commonly found in the US, so make sure you’re protected no matter what part of South America you visit!
Consider Not Traveling Solo
Solo travel can be a fantastic option for many places in South America. However, traveling with someone is usually a safer option, whether this be a friend, family member or partner. That’s because solo travelers can be more easily targeted by criminals as they are not completely aware of their surroundings and often do not know the language. That means they can’t necessarily communicate with anyone that they are in danger should the need arise. You are less likely to be a target of muggings, assaults, and other criminal activities if you are traveling in a pair or group, as other travelers will be in a position to help you against your assailant or be viewed as witnesses. If you can’t find anyone willing to travel with you, consider booking onto a group holiday so that you are constantly surrounded by other travelers.
Be Prepared for Limited Wi-Fi Access
We are a society that is severely addicted to internet access, so prepare for some withdrawal symptoms when you visit South America! It can be very difficult to find Wi-Fi or a decent connection when you’re traveling, so make sure that you’re prepared for the lack of internet connection or look online to find reviews of accommodation and see if they have mentioned the Wi-Fi capabilities. Luckily for you, you shouldn’t need Wi-Fi most of the time as you’ll be out in the world enjoying the amazing experiences that South America has to offer – but be aware of the limited access when you’re wanting to contact family or friends.
Traveling to a new part of the world for the first time can be an amazing experience, but can also be very unsettling and difficult if you are not prepared for your travels. Make the most out of your trip to South America with these 5 tips for first-time visitors.