31202A Backpacker’s Guide to South America

Backpacking is a great way of exploring the treasure trove of thrilling cities, breathtaking tropical beaches and astounding ancient ruins in South America. It could be the adventure of a lifetime! There are just a few things you should remember before setting off…

Bring Offline Activities

The easiest and cheapest way of travelling around is by bus (tip: you’ll want to get some specialist travel insurance for South America in case something happens to your luggage). These journeys can seem long if you haven’t got anything to do, so make sure you have some offline activities to pass the time. Books are always a good choice, but can be heavy to lug around. I’d recommend downloading apps and games that work without WiFi. You might also consider getting a language-learning app to brush up on your Spanish and Portuguese.

Research Your Accommodation

Winging it is never a could choice and sleeping rough won’t save you any money. If you improvise, you’ll probably end up spending more, as shelters and campsites can cost up to 60 bucks. You’re better off looking online in advance for a decent room in a ‘residencial’ or pension. There’s a wide range of backpacker-focused hostels available, usually costing about US$15.

Know the Exchange Rate and Set a Budget

Quick warning: the exchange rate varies dramatically from country to country in South America. Your dollar goes a lot further in Peru or Bolivia than in Chile, Argentina or Brazil. Considering this, you’ll want to plan your budget differently in each place. A takeout can be seven times more expensive in south Argentina than in the north. Where things are cheap, try and spend as little as possible so you won’t be stranded when things start to get pricey.

Be Aware of What You’re Eating

South America has some delicious traditional delicacies. Don’t be afraid to try pisco sours, salteña or comida por kilo joints. You just need to be cautious of where it’s all coming from. The sudden change in diet can cause an upset stomach (I’ll spare you the graphic details) as you get used to the foreign germs, so you’ll want to avoid stalls and eateries that lack hygiene. You should get travel insurance for South America just in case you do fall ill.

Party South American Style

South America is the heart and soul of the fiesta. You’ll know the legendary Carnival in Rio, but there are lots of other celebrations too. In Inti Raymi, Peru, there’s a week-long Inca festival, while Argentina hosts an exhilarating event that celebrates gauchos. Don’t miss the lively atmosphere, beautiful colours and brilliant dancing!

Keep Yourself Covered: Get Insured

Don’t risk having your off-the-beaten-path adventure ruined by pesky mosquitos, unhygienic food or pickpockets. Get travel insurance for South America. With InsureMore, you can protect yourself and your property with 24-hour emergency cover and quick online claims. Choose between a basic, standard or deluxe insurance package and be covered for medical expenses, personal accidents, travel delay and more, at a price that suits your budget.

Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, family and annual travel policies including travel insurance for South America. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays. 

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