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Preparing to Travel to South America

Posted by in Travel: Destination Guides: South America  ~  July 06, 2012 10:07:42 PM

Anyone who is planning to travel to South America for the first time is probably not quite sure where to begin or how to prepare. What exactly needs to be done to travel outside of the country? Isn’t it possible for you to contract diseases when you visit South America? Here, you will find out these and other questions about traveling to South America.

Obtaining a Passport

In order to travel to South America or any other country for that matter, you are going to need to obtain a passport. There are a variety of different places where you can apply for a passport, such as the post office and courthouses. You will need to show proof of identification. Driver’s licenses, military identification cards, birth certificates, and airline identification are just a few of the different types of documents that are accepted. There is also a fee that you need to pay when applying for a passport. Be sure to apply for a passport at least six months prior to the date of your trip because it can take awhile for a passport to be issued.


Anyone who is planning to visit South America will want to think about updating their vaccinations beforehand. There are certain types of diseases that you have probably received the proper vaccinations for in the past, but getting a booster shot may be a good idea or necessary to prevent you from experiencing the disease. Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Polio, Meningitis, Diphtheria, and Yellow Fever are just a few of the different vaccinations that you will want to ask your doctor about before traveling to South America. If your children are going to be coming with you, it is also important to make sure that they have had all of these vaccinations as well.

Bug Spray

When you travel to South America, it is important to keep yourself protected against the West Nile Virus, which is spread by mosquito bites. The best way to prevent yourself is to carry bug spray around with you. Putting it on frequently to keep the mosquitoes away is a good idea. Keep in mind that some hotels experience a great deal of bugs in them, so you will want to use bug spray even in the hotel room. Keeping doors shut as much as possible will help prevent bugs from entering.

Water Contamination

When you arrive in South America, it is important to keep in mind that water contamination is a problem in most of these countries. This is the most common way for people to contract some of these diseases which can be found in South America. It is also very common for you to experience traveler’s diarrhea when drinking the water. Most hotels and restaurants use water purification systems but unless you are absolutely sure that the one you are staying or eating at does, it is best to avoid any water unless it is boiled or bottled water. Remember that fresh fruits and vegetables that have been washed in tap water can also cause you to experience diseases.

Visiting South America can be a very fun and exciting experience. If you are visiting a South American country for the first time, planning your trip can be very overwhelming. As long as you remember to apply for your passport ahead of time and receive the proper vaccinations to protect yourself against contracting any diseases, it is likely that your trip to South American will be wonderful.