With a Brazilian Hubby, my family has traveled to Brazil over a half dozen times in the past 10 years.  We have also had the opportunity to live there for 6 months when Anthony was a toddler.  With all these trips under my belt, traveling to Brazil has become second nature.  However I still remember the stress of the unknown the first time we booked plane tickets.
 
Here are a few tips to help your international travel go smoothly.
 
1.  Get your paperwork and travel plans together in advance.   American citizens needs passports and visas to travel to Brazil,  both these applications require both parents to be present when applying for a minor.  Visas are obtained at your local Brazilian consulate office and you will need to schedule an appointment for this in advance.  The wait time can differ greatly depending on the time of year and what Brazilian holidays are coming up. 
 
2.  Think about where your staying.  When we go to Brazil we stay with family so hotels aren’t something we think about often.  However we did stay at a hotel in Rio once and on Praia da Costa in my husbands state, Espirito Santo.  When staying in a hotel in Rio I highly suggest either reading as many reviews online as you can or going with a trusted resort chain.  The crime rate in Rio is very high and the neighborhoods can range from beautifully upscale areas to favelas that are mainly controlled by drug gangs.  You want to make sure that your hotel is in a safe area before you begin your trip.
 
3.  Add some Portuguese to your vocabulary.  I have used several language programs, but right now my favorite is Rocket Languages.  The Portuguese program is interactive and you are able to record yourself in conversations which is extremely helpful when trying to get the pronunciations correct.  The program is also fully available online with 24/7 access, which is a huge plus for busy families.

4.  Packing, remember that a lot of brands your used to using in the USA may not be available in Brazil depending on the parts your traveling to.  Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have more American brands for things like makeup and baby formula however expect the cost to be at least 3-5 times as much as you’d pay in the US.  If your going to a less touristy area of the country these brands will likely not be available and you’ll have to use the local equivalent and many items are a lower quality.  When our kids were still in diapers and we traveled, I always tried to pack as many diapers as possible to bring with us because the quality of the diapers there, even the name brand packages weren’t very good.  I also packed extra bottles, pacifiers, and formula.  These are all available in Brazil however a $3 bottle from Walmart will easily cost over $30 in Brazil and baby formula was sky high.

5)  Cellphone Service, before traveling check with your cell phone carrier about their international pricing.  If its not available and your cell phone is unlocked, you can go to a Brazilian cell phone companies kiosk in any local mall once you arrive in Brazil and purchase a prepaid sim card.  However we haven’t found a company that offers unlimited data with prepaid plans yet, so we usually spend a lot more than the average person refilling our data with both me and the hubby working online. 

We love Brazil and it is our second home.  Once the planning, packing, and traveling is over, make sure you relax with an agua de coco and enjoy the beautiful country!

Now for the Giveaway!
Enter for a chance to Win the Rocket Languages Portuguese Program:
Giveaway ends: February 27, 2015


 
*I received a press sample of this language program to facilitate this review/giveaway, All opinions are 100% my own*

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