Many countries in South America are tempting to visit for UK tourists as they have a lower cost of living and your money can go further. Brazil is especially popular, with its beautiful beaches and vibrant culture. But the high price of air fares makes it harder to justify taking a short trip. The best way to get around this is by being prepared and researching the prices thoroughly.
The more flexible you are in terms of times of year, the cheaper it’ll be to get to Brazil. The best times of year to fly are after the summer holidays in late September or after Christmas in early February. The cheapest plane tickets go from Miami, so you often have to make the journey in more than one leg. There are many price comparison sites on the internet which can help you find the most appropriate way to travel to Brazil for less.
Taxis in Brazil are very cheap but if you want to really save the pennies, go for coaches and buses to travel within the country. There are two popular bus services in Brazil called Electrobus and Tres Amigos with a nice, air-conditioned economy section which can be upgraded to luxury class for just a few dollars. This is usually worth it if you’re travelling between cities and will be on the coach for hours on end, possibly even overnight.
It can be tempting to book a nice hotel for a few nights while you get your bearings as they are cheaper than in the UK, but by using budget accommodation you will be able to extend your holiday and get to know people.
There are bed and breakfasts which are often on the outskirts of Rio in Copacabana or Ipanema. They are only a bus ride away from the attractions of the capital and it will allow you to experience the authentic Brazilian lifestyle. If you’re backpacking around the country, youth hostels (‘albeurges’ in Portuguese) are cheap and sociable. Although you may sometimes have to share a room, this is a great way to meet people of different nationalities.
It is often the case that the staff in cheaper types of accommodation don’t have very good English, so it may be worth looking into one of the many Portuguese classes London has to offer before taking your trip. This will help you to make the most of your budget and find the cheapest places to stay. Basic Portuguese is usually enough to get by, but for more extensive courses, check out websites such as www.uiclondon.com, which offer a comprehensive language learning technique.
Most hotels, bed and breakfasts and even youth hostels offer at least one meal a day included in the cost, so make the most of your breakfasts to keep you going through the day. If you take day trips out nearby, go back to your hotel for either lunch or dinner, as most places will have kitchen supplies where you can cook your own food cheaply. The good weather means that a sandwich or a salad on the beach is a cheap and easy way to have meals whilst out and about without spending too much money.
When it comes to eating out, try to find some of the cheaper, family-run restaurants that will offer you big portions at a lower price. This way you will have the opportunity to experience traditional Brazilian food.
For a real treat, head down to some of the most renowned restaurants in Rio, which will seem cheap by British standards. The Alcaparra Restaurant is located near the Flamengo Park and boasts excellent cuisine and a large selection of wines. Oro Brazilian Restaurant is also an incredible experience. The gold-themed décor is decadent and comfortable and the menu allows you to experience the modern fusion of regional Brazilian food in some of the best tasting platters.