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Quite frankly I find things like the ultimate travel packing list a bit useless. Unless you are traveling to a very extreme climate with special activities, do you really need someone to tell you how many undies you need for a week abroad? According to my father, it is three, but he also needs seven pairs of socks, so that lets me think the decision is a rather personal one, sometimes devoid of all logic.
When I went to Borneo, I was initially grateful for a travel packing list for my hike up Mount Kinabalu. Then I read it thoroughly and it just included too many things like fleece jackets and zip-off pants that I refused to use it. Oh, dear clothes for travelers, we really must have a chat… Read this awesome post from Geraldine over at the Everywhereist if you want to have a good laugh at the impossibility of finding nice and normal clothes for being on the road!
However, here I am writing a list what Brazil clothing and accessories you should pack because I realized I would’ve really liked one for my trip. While a few people told me they really liked how I dress I can only ‘blame’ that on the fact that I didn’t tend to look like a backpacker/Indiana Jones wannabe but wore my regular clothes. Can I toot my own horn and dare say I have good taste? Still, I took a lot of stuff I didn’t need and forgot a few things I dearly missed and I wouldn’t want that happening to you. So I decided to ask some of my travel blogger friends what they put on their beach vacation packing list or what take for backpacking in South America. We shall focus on some essentials that would work when packing for Brazil in most climates, as I said before, how many undies you take is really your business and your’s alone…
What to pack for Brazil?
You didn’t bring a rain jacket?! I got quite a few incredulous looks when I admitted that I a rain jacket wasn’t on my ‘things to pack for Brazil’ list because frankly I don’t own a rain jacket and I didn’t check the weather report. Ups. Bad traveler! I just sort of assumed that Brazil was always hot and sunny which of course, it wasn’t. Let’s just say, that I rocked that plastic poncho in lieu of a rain jacket. But in case you are not sure if you can pull it off, I recommend you take a proper one otherwise you will be wearing a rain poncho in the Amazon.
That was me at the Victoria Fall, not in Brazil, but still … you get the idea!*
“One of the things that has to be included in a proper packing list for Brazil is a good insect repellent. Especially if traveling to the Amazon, one that includes a good percentage of DEET is a must. DEET spray has to be applied regularly (depending on the percentage of DEET it has, every 4 to 8 hours) on every bit of exposed skin, including the face, neck, ears and even hands, to minimize the risk of being bitten by malaria (and other diseases) carrying mosquitoes.”
Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
A Portuguese Phrase Book
“I love the Lonely Planet phrasebook for my Brazil packing list. It is light and small, fitting in my back pocket. Even if I only use it a few times during a month long trip where I pack carry-on only (i.e. as light as possible), I find it useful. It often kicks off a connection with a new friend or provides a bit of entertainment on a long bus ride. I might attempt learning a bit more of the language or more easily ask my seatmate an important question like “Do you have children?” even if they are only 10 years old. It definitely provides some easy humor when the language barrier might otherwise make this difficult.”
Jess from Longest Bus Rides
BYOB – Bring your own Bikini
“When it comes to Brazilian swimwear, the general way of thinking is definitely “less is more”, if you know what I mean. And who can blame them? Brazil frequently tops polls as one of the sexiest nations in the world! But if you’re someone who prefers to cover up a little more on the beach, consider putting your own swimwear on your packing list for Brazil instead of purchasing when there, as you’re likely to struggle to find something you’d be comfortable with when it comes to a Brazilian cut bikini.”
Rhiannon from Wales to Wherever
By the way, gentlemen, the same holds true for your what to pack for Brazil list!
A Quick-Dry Towel
“One item which I never forget on my packing list is a fast-drying towel. Especially in hot and humid destinations, such as Brazil, these towels come extremely handy, since it might take forever for “normal” towels to dry (especially if you’re staying in a guesthouse or hostel without good AC). Bringing a towel might also be convenient when visiting the beach. After using it, you can give it a quick wash and it will be dry again just in a few hours and ready to use for other purposes. Fast-drying towels are cheap, light to carry and convenient and therefore should be one of your ultimate travel essentials.”
Patrick from German Backpacker
A Travel Backpack
“Whatever you decide to pack for Brazil, make sure you are packing it an adaptable piece of luggage. We like to travel with backpacks because they make the actual traveling so much easier.
A good travel backpack comes in different sizes – from carry-on to much larger. It should have comfortable straps and a waist belt. I also look for a U-shaped opening for easy access and a side handle for when you want to carry it like a regular bag.”
Mel from TravelingMel
Pepto Bismol To Go
“I love to try new food when I travel, but unfortunately, my stomach doesn’t always agree. Many times there’s nothing wrong with the food, but it may have different spices that I’m just not used to and I feel a little off.
There’s nothing worse than the fear of being ill while out so I never leave home without Pepto To-Go tablets, they are small enough to fit anywhere. I’ve handed out more than I’ve used when friends say “I don’t feel so hot.” I don’t want them to miss out on a good time, or not try something delicious like Brazilian shrimp soup because they are afraid of how they will feel. Pepto should be on the ultimate travel packing checklist for any country.”
Ayngelina from Bacon is Magic
Read more: Brazilian Food – what to eat & not to eat.
Filter Water Bottle
“Taking a filter water bottle to Brazil will save you a heap of money, stop landfills loading up with plastic water bottles and keep you healthy too. The primary reason for a filter water bottle is to remove Giardia and Cryptosporidium from untreated or contaminated water and other bugs which can cause nasty gastrointestinal diseases. Even when the tap water is good to drink but smells or tastes bad – even of chlorine my filter water bottle gets rid of it for me.
Add to that the fact that my filter water bottle saves me on average US$425 a year on buying bottled water. Now, why wouldn’t you want that?”
Sarah from ASocialNomad
A Map App
“Before leaving home (or at least, before leaving a good wifi connection), download google maps for the area you’re visiting. Alternatively, you could download the free Maps.Me app. Its detailed maps have many points of interest and it will create a route from your current location to a destination on the map. It’s free to download – plus doesn’t have ads or in-app purchases.
This tip will save you loads of money on data and also ensure you know where you’re going even when there’s no 3G network.”
Clare from Epic Road Rides
What not to pack for Brazil…
Really there is no point to do laundry in the sink because it.will.not.dry.ever. Fork out, pay a laundromat and save yourself the hassle of turning your room into a steam room.
Shampoo & Co
I realized that Brazilian drug stores are really well stocked with European brands. Vichy, L’Oreal, Nivea – you name it. Don’t worry about bringing bulk sizes, chances are you will find your preferred brand if you run out of something.
It seemed a bit silly to me to take my Havaianas as I was sure I was going to buy so many new pairs. However, they just looked at me with big eyes – they really wanted to visit their home. So just make them happy and take them with! In case they want to live out their old days at home, you can also take any old pairs to the Havaianas stores as they recycle rubber and PVC residue there. Otherwise, save the space and rather buy new ones in Brazil!
I was lucky enough to have a complete set of dive gear sponsored by Scubapro and honestly, nothing makes me happier than packing and unpacking my dive bag. If you are flying to Brazil with Latam Airlines as I did you can check in 2 pieces of luggage so it was a no-brainer for me to take it with. However, renting dive equipment in Brazil is not expensive at all. So do the math beforehand if it is worth paying excess luggage fees for it and schlepping it around.
Read more: The Ultimate packing list for a liveaboard.
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