Friday, March 15, 2013

Latin America Travel Tips For A More Comfortable Trip

By Hans Gerhard

Latin America travel can take tourists to many beautiful places. However, traveling in these countries differs significantly from a trip across Europe or the USA. Without proper preparation the trip can be uncomfortable, stressful and even unpleasant. With planning the vacation can be relaxing and comfortable.

The comfort of the trip begins at home with packing. Keep the bags light, especially if planning several destinations. Avoid taking any unnecessary items. Consider limiting one's shoes to two pair, one that is broke in and comfortable for walking in the daytime and a lightweight pair for wearing in the evenings.

Choose sturdy, yet lightweight luggage. It needs to withstand the tossing around that happens in bus and train stations as well as airports. If luggage is in poor shape, consider replacing it before leaving for the trip. While cheap items are available when traveling, they normally do not last long.

Several weeks before the trip, make sure all vaccinations are current. If a person must have a vaccine before leaving, they need a few weeks to develop one's immunity. If countries require a vaccination certificate before entry, be sure to have a current one.

Take both sunscreen and insect repellant along. Choose a high SPF sunscreen to protect from burns at the higher elevations. Insect repellent should contain DEET to prevent bites from insects that bring diseases including malaria, yellow fever and dengue. Avoid exposure if possible.

Make sure all electronic devices are compatible with the voltage and frequency where they are to be used. Either take or plan to buy an electrical adapter upon arrival in the location. Some devices may require a power converter as well as a plug adapter. While many laptops and other electronics are designed to work with many different currents, be sure to check. Internet cafes are an inexpensive option and can reduce the chance of damaged or lost electronics while traveling. If at all possible, avoid taking electronics as they can make the luggage much heavier for the trip.

Take bathroom tissue each day. Many public toilets do not provide tissue for users. Take a supply from the hotel room to ensure you are prepared if needed. The tissue is also useful if one develops cold symptoms in the high altitude.

Dress in layers. Morning, afternoon and evening temperatures can vary greatly, so it is better to be able to take off a layer as the day progresses. Lightweight raincoats or ponchos that fold to fit in a pocket are a great addition for the occasional afternoon shower.

Protect the valuables you take on a trip. Most hotels offer safes that should be used. When carrying valuables in the streets, keep them out of sight. A money belt is useful to prevent a pickpocket from taking your wallet. Never leave bags unattended.

The beauty of the area cannot be captured in photos but is something that is only experienced through Latin America travel. With proper planning the trip can be fun and enjoyable. It can be your vacation of a lifetime.

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