Most international flights to Brazil land in Sao Paulo and then go on to Rio de Janeiro, but flights can also land in Recife and Salvador before travelers fly to other cities via regional airplanes. If you’re going to be flying around the country, consider getting an Air Pass, which can save you some money. Air Passes are only sold to travelers who hold a return ticket and are outside of the country. It’s quite common to travel inside a city on buses or other public transportation. Taxi drivers often do not even run the meter for tourists and will quote an exorbitant rate once they’ve reached their destination. If you do have to take a taxi, agree on a price before you get in the car. If you’re looking to travel long distances, long-distance bus travel is a quite common and comfortable way to get around the country. There is a nationwide bus service that links all major cities in the country.
Whenever you travel internationally, it’s a good idea to pack a small first aid kit in case you start feeling deathly ill (or just need a bandage for a paper cut). It’s also advisable that you bring any important medications with you in your carry-on bag in case your baggage gets lost. Pack medicines that may be difficult to obtain in the country you are traveling to. This could also include glasses, contact lenses, and even diabetic supplies. Aside from prescription medications, consider packing some small travel-sized doses of common over-the-counter drugs.
You also don’t want to wait until you’re sick to have to make the journey to a pharmacy in your foreign destination, even if the drugs are common at your holiday destination. Some common medicines you may include: antacids, antihistamine, cough drops, motion sickness medicine, a decongestant, ibuprofen, aspirin, or other pain reliever medicine, diarrhea medicine, and a cough suppressant. Other useful tools to think about bringing: sunscreen, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, and sunglasses.
Try to avoid looking the part of the oblivious tourist by reading up on some local etiquette guides before you go, in addition to being observant when you’re there. In Brazil, keep the following in mind:
Making the OK sign with your hand is considered very rude, so in turn give the thumbs up.
It’s courteous to shake hands with men and give women brief kisses on the cheek (left then right) when greeting Brazilians. Locals who are familiar with you are glad to give you a slap on the back or a hug, too.
Brazil is a country where looking good is very important to men and women. In general, Brazilians enjoy dressing up. Keep this in mind and try to overdress for an occasion if you’re not sure what to wear. Women tend to wear tighter or more revealing clothes that enhances their beauty.
It’s okay to sometimes invade the personal space of others in Brazil- they don’t see it as a huge social faux pas as Americans or Europeans do. It’s common to stand close to one another and even touch each other’s arms or backs in conversation.
If you haven’t been able to tell, Brazilians are very warm and sociable people. They tend to value relationships over contractual agreements because they value face-to-face interactions.
Arriving “fashionably late” to dinner or a party is also common. This is because, to Brazilians, time is no issue during mealtimes or celebrations. In fact, meals can last upwards of two hours, and parties almost never have a specified end time.