Tuesday, 28 January 2020


DOUBLE, NO, TRIPLE-CHECK YOUR DEPARTURE AIRPORT/STATION. Check, check, and check again because we’ve had moments where we've both mistaken flight times and terminals! It's easy to think a flight goes at 4pm when actually it goes at 14:00. Worse still, we have also been 10 minutes away from the bus station in an Uber which was already arriving late, to realise we had got the wrong station completely. By some miracle, we made that bus. It’s an easy mistake, I don’t need to delve further into the importance of checking your departure details.

RING THE AIRLINE FOR DIETARY REQUIREMENTS. This needs no explanation. Let’s just say, 13 hours is a really, really long time without a meal when you’ve got nothing else to do but sit and dwell on how hungry you are.

TAKE A BIG WATER BOTTLE. We’ve written about them in our packing essentials post here… but we’ll shout about them some more. Water bottles aren’t just great for reducing single-use, it’s also important for hydration levels. Our best friend Alex, also travelling with us, lost her bottle within the first week and ended up buying bottles of water in each restaurant or carrying a huge 2L plastic one with her! It's pretty inconvenient.

EXCHANGE CASH IN THE UK AND BRING IT WITH YOU. Argentina is not in a good way, economically. Great for us tourists until we realised: the country is in so much debt, there is actually a limit on how much money you can get from a cashpoint at any one time - about £60, plus £10 in transaction fees. So everyone (literally everyone) uses the ‘Black Market’ rather than banks. Even the banks tell you not to use the banks. We were lucky enough to have some friends to help us out, but to any travellers coming from the UK: just bring as much as you think you’ll need with you, as a lot of transport/attractions don’t take card.

CHECK YOUR ARRIVAL TIMES. Before booking a long-haul bus or flight, be sure to look at the estimated arrival time and then add 1.5 hours on to that ETA. Then think about whether a) you would feel safe arriving at that time. For example, if you arrive in the night it may be worth considering whether you feel confident to find your accommodation in the dark, b) If the accommodation has facilities like 24 hour reception and check-in c) a number you can WhatsApp to update them if your commute takes longer than expected.

BRING WATERPROOFS. Even if you’re don't think you'll need one and are sticking to beautiful beaches and sunny cities, bring an anorak. We were in Brazil during their summer and there was a storm for half of the time we were there. Sometimes you’ve got to bite the bullet and realise that, however much you may want it to be sunny the whole time, in a tropical rainforest zone, you’re going to end up a bit wet.

ORGANISE A SIM CARD. I was lucky because I came to the end of my contract with O2 around the time I was leaving, so I simply switched over to a SIM-only contract. I opted for the more expensive plan, £20 per month which includes the ‘Travel Inclusive Zone’ and £4.99 cap for countries that aren’t in the inclusive zone. Check out the countries you can travel to without paying any extra charges, you literally use your phone the same as you would at home and I got 20GB for the month too. Hazel chose not to get a SIM in any of the countries and still plans to travel without a working phone in New Zealand. I would say that that’s okay when you’re travelling with someone that does have a working phone, but if you’re travelling alone I’d definitely opt for either a contract with your UK broadband or buying a SIM in the country when you get there. Just to be on the safe side.

So there you have a few dos of South America. I wonder what our next post will be?

All the love, George and Haze xxx


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