Is South America on your list of potential vacation destinations? Here are some things to keep in mind
You could spend a lifetime discovering and learning about South America because it is a vast and diverse continent. Because it has the infrastructure needed for such an endeavor and because driving gives you freedom that tour buses cannot, it is also a great place to explore.
You'll need to make some preparations if you want to travel across South America safely and comfortably. The majority of these focus on trying to foresee the types of problems you might run into and making advance preparations for them.
The Primary Language Is Not English
Since English is not widely spoken, visitors who assume it is are typically viewed as rude. The two main languages on the continent are Spanish and Portuguese, so if you intend to stay for a while, you should try learning a few words and phrases in those languages.
You should initially concentrate on a few key phrases that you'll use frequently. If you intend to travel throughout Southern America and want to venture outside of the main tourist destinations, the first thing you should learn to do in Spanish is how to order food or ask for directions.
Your best friend is sunscreen.
Some visitors are sometimes taken aback by the climate in South America. It's warm, and if you spend a lot of time in a car, it gets even hotter. You must always use the appropriate sunscreen because of this. Before the trip, it's a good idea to discuss which one with your doctor.
Having plenty of water on hand at all times is also helpful. Compared to sugary drinks, water is a much better choice. Finding out where' to buy water and where' to find clean tap water are also crucial.
Possessing the required documents
You will need an international driving permit issued by the International Drivers Association if you intend to drive across South America as a foreigner. Only a photo ID and the national driving permit on which it is based are accepted with it.
Only Brazil will not accept this permit; in that case, you must obtain a local permit or use the Intra-American Permit. You should try to renew all of the aforementioned documents before they expire and make sure they are all current.
Prepare for Changing Weather
As soon as the sun is out, the weather can quickly change, and it can easily get quite hot in the desert. When you're in a car and have nowhere' to hide, this can be uncomfortable. Because of this, you should pack wisely and have a few layers on hand for when it gets chilly.
When it comes to packing, layers and practical clothing are your best friends. In this manner, you won't overpack and can quickly change after the cold wave has passed.
Negotiation is Common
In the majority of the countries of South America, haggling is a common practice. Keep in mind that the price you're offered might not be the final price at all and that, if you're good at it, you can bring it down. In most cases, it's even expected. You'll probably improve with time.
However, this isn't always the case. In bars and restaurants, there is no way to negotiate a lower price. Small shops and markets are more appropriate for it, and there are many of them along the route. To avoid appearing desperate, keep your offers reasonable.
In some areas of the continent and in some particular nations, there are safety concerns. This is so because not all of the country is under the control of the central government, and locals are aware of which areas to stay away from to maintain their safety.
Additionally, there is some crime specifically targeted at tourists, such as muggings and pocket snatchings, but this is common in any major tourist destination. You'll generally be fine if you use common sense and stay in areas that other people are visiting. Make sure your car is covered by the appropriate insurance.
Pay Attention to the Altitude
The best tourist destinations in South America are located at fairly high altitudes. There is a list of common symptoms you should be aware of, and if you're not used to spending time on such a high, it will be noticeable.
When engaging in stressful physical activity, pace yourself, eat light meals, and drink plenty of water. Be careful not to consume alcohol while climbing. You'll become more accustomed to South America the more time you spend there. However, everyone can feel elevations higher than 5000 meters.
Which Currency Should I Use?
It's best to always have both US dollars and the local currency on hand. While other stores and shops won't accept US dollars and you'll have to use local currency in those, the touristy locations typically do. It's crucial to pay attention to the exchange rate and to only exchange money at a bank that you can trust.
Having some cash on hand is a good idea as well. In this way, you can tip and pay in stores that don't accept credit cards.
Obtain Travel Insurance
When traveling for a long time, insurance is crucial, and this is truer in South America where' there are many violent crime hotspots. The GPS, if you have one, and your car should both be insured. Additionally, there is travel insurance that will pay for any damage to your luggage and any equipment you're bringing.
These are extra expenses that you will incur, but they are worthwhile because they will protect you if something goes wrong along the way, which you can never be sure will. Shop around because prices often vary.