How To Backpack South America

South America is one of the cheapest places for travel so it is a good idea to know how to backpack South America. The United Nations has predicted that by the year 2020, there will be 1.6 billion arrivals in international travel. Backpacking is affordable even for students with the right planning. South America is comprised of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Brazil is the most visited South American country. Here are things you need to know for backpacking South America-tips for both planning your trip and what to do during your tour: 
  1. Identify what kind of backpacker you are. Know what it is you are looking to get out of the trip. What would like to avoid during your trip? What activities do you enjoy? Some tourists love nature while others prefer to check out the night scene. Others hate the crowd and prefer more remote locales. South America is a big place so knowing what it is that would make your trip personally worthwhile will help you select which places to discover in the region.
  2. Balance your budget. The most expensive portion of your backpacking trip when coming from the United States would be your airfare. Consider traveling by land once you're in South America. This will save you money, and it is the best way to backpack as you get to see the local culture a lot more this way. Check prices of guesthouses and hostels in the cities on your itinerary. South America is relatively an inexpensive part of the world so other necessities like food and entrance fees won't be pricey for visitors from first-world countries.
  3. Know the world-famous travel spots in South America. The awe-inspiring lost Inca city in Peru called Machu Picchu would certainly be one to top the list of most backpackers. There are also the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador that would be enjoyed by a majority of travelers. One can't go to South America and miss out on the energy of vibrant Rio de Janeiro and the Amazon-both in Brazil-of course.
  4. Check local conditions of each country you visit before arrival. Use your favorite search engine and check the official tourism sites as well as the weather condition of each South American country where you plan to backpack. You would want to keep an eye on the political and environmental climate as both can immensely affect you as a backpacker.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the map of South America. Again, South America is not exactly a tiny continent for backpacking. After you have decided which countries to cover, you need to get to know the map. This will help you plot out your starting and ending points as well as your route.
  6. Get to know some basic Spanish and Portuguese phrases. English is not widely spoken in South America. The good news however is that people of this large continent converse in just two languages so there is less learning required from your part. Also, Spanish and Portuguese words can be similar to English. 
  7. Check with your doctor regarding vaccines. The shots you need would depend on the areas you plan to visit in South America. Those planning on trekking the Amazon for instance would be wise to get the typhoid and yellow fever vaccines. Pack a basic traveler's medical kit as well which should include over-the-counter medicine for fever, diarrhea, moderate pain, and the common cold. Include bandages, rubbing alcohol, and mosquito repellant as well.
  8. Get a great-quality backpack. This sounds like an obvious advice but a lot of people do like to tighten their budgets nowadays. Just make sure you don't compromise quality as this piece of luggage will be hauling everything you have during your backpacking trip.
Remember, the best traveling advice you will ever hear, especially when backpacking exotic locations, is to use your common sense. Don't walk along dark streets at night and keep an eye an your belongings at all times. Once you have common sense in sharp check, have fun immersing yourself in one of the most ebullient and fascinating areas of our planet.
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