Amazonian rainforests, golden beaches and colourful streets; football enthusiasts will be treated to an outstanding backdrop at this year’s World Cup in Brazil. While the country offers gorgeous scenery and a wealth of culture, there have been a few concerns about Brazil’s high levels of crime and poor public services in lead up to the Cup. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you stay safe and healthy in Brazil so you can sit back and enjoy the games (and scenery!).
Register your travel plans
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade encourages all Australians to register their travel plans through their Travel Registration website. Registering travel will allow the government to contact or find you in an emergency- be it a natural disaster, civil disturbance or otherwise.
In addition to registering your details, make sure you photo copy your travel plans and documents, such as your passport, flight confirmations, hotel names and addresses prior to leaving. Keep your originals (of course) and copied versions of these with you, as well as handing a copy to a close friend or family member.
Visit your doctor
“Catch World Cup Fever, Not Yellow Fever!” is the message being spread by Australian government officials. Yellow fever, a potentially deadly virus spread by mosquitoes, is considered endemic in Brazil. The Australian government strongly recommends travellers be vaccinated against yellow fever before heading to the World Cup.
It is also recommended to acquire medication against malaria as the disease risk is extremely high throughout the year. Other insect-borne diseases are common in Brazil (such as dengue fever), so make sure you discuss preventative measures with your doctor ahead of time. It pays for all travellers considering a trip to Brazil to visit your local GP at least two months’ before you’re heading to the country: some vaccinations require at least one-to-two months settling time in order to be effective.
Pack the mosquito repellent
You’re going to need it. In addition to the risk of insect-borne diseases its humid, tropical climate means mosquitoes are everywhere in Brazil. Make sure you buy a repellent with a high DEET content (the active ingredient in most insect repellents). The higher the DEET percentage, the better your protection. If travelling with children, pick a lower DEET content repellent for their use- The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne’s website has a great list of repellents that are safe for children.
While there will be extra security and police deployed in World Cup areas during June and July, it’s still best to take precautions in a country where there’s been over 30,000 robberies in the past year. It’s advised not to wear jewellery, expensive watches or carry around your iPad: this will make you more vulnerable to opportunistic thieves. Above all, don’t wear tourist merchandise- you’ll stick out even more.
Use your best judgment – walk with intent, map out your surroundings before you head outside, stash some spare cash in your sock, and carry just enough money to get you by.
Most importantly, stay away from Favelas (the term for a Brazilian slum). The Australian government advises all tourists to avoid these areas as the crime rates there are very high.
Take out comprehensive travel insurance
The Australian government strongly recommends that you take out comprehensive travel insurance for your journey to Brazil. Your travel insurance should cover some emergencies that could be encountered in Brazil such as medical bills, hospital visits, lost luggage and theft of belongings. Compare policies to get the best deal, and make sure you check the Product Disclosure Statement to see what activities and circumstances are included and excluded.
You could be reading this thinking Brazil is a no-no; however, with over 7,000 military police monitoring the streets of Rio during the World Cup, there’s never been a safer time to visit. By following these health and safety tips you’ll be playing ball with the locals at Copacabana beach in no time.