“Hey – do you need help?”
I was on the big, blue bus headed to Rocinha during a humid, summer afternoon in Rio.
I overheard three women travelers figuring out how to get to their destination.
“Oh yes! We do. Does this bus go to Ipanema?” a girl with brown, curly hair replied.
“Yeah, you’re on the right bus, what street do you need?”
I discovered the women were from Israel and they were in Rio for vacation. They didn’t speak any Portuguese, but they seemed to be doing just fine. They were excited to hit the sandy beach.
I gave them a bit of advice on how to navigate Brazil and told them farewell as they left the bus.
They didn’t ask me how safe Brazil was for them – they were already in the country and ready for action.
But, its a common question.
Guys ask me all the time:
“Shad, is it safe to travel to Brazil?”
These are grown men who are worried about their safety.
So, it’s not surprising women ask the same question.
Should You Travel To Brazil Alone As A Woman?
Recently, I received an email from a woman headed to Brazil next year.
She wanted to know “Is Brazil safe for a woman traveling alone?”
First, I respect women who want to travel to Brazil without a friend. It is very bold and it takes a lot of courage to travel alone.
Many people won’t go to the movie theater without someone by their side.
Now – I’m obviously not a woman. My travels to Brazil alone are different from a woman’s experiences.
BUT – I’ve met plenty of women in Brazil who arrived alone. And they did what every woman should do before traveling to Brazil.
Usually – these women were volunteers for English schools so that means:
They Connected With People Before They Arrived
That’s Rule Numero 1 ladies.
You must connect with people before you head down.
It’s easier to get around and you’re less worried when someone is waiting for you to arrive. The scariest part of traveling to another place by yourself is not knowing anyone.
Brazil becomes less scary when you have friends already.
So – how do you meet people before you get to Brazil?
Facebook is the new Yellow Pages.
It’s a great way to connect with businesses, old friends and potential friends.
Use it before you head to Brazil.
On Facebook, you have these little communities called GROUPS. There are thousands of groups on Facebook about anything.
Like going to Brazil or learning Portuguese.
HelloTalk is a great way to connect with Brazilians while exchanging language tips.
It’s a smart phone app available on iPhone and Android.
I wrote a review article about it – click here to read it.
Basically – The Entire Damn Internet
The Internet is at your disposal.
Once, I emailed an English school in Sao Paulo before visiting. I didn’t know a soul in the biggest Brazilian city. But when I got there – I already had friends.
So – you can use email to connect.
You can also comment on blogs like this one.
The young lady who asked me about traveling to Brazil is now going to have friends in the country before she even arrives.
More Safety Tips For Travel To Brazil
- Only use public transportation to populated areas: Getting lost in Brazil can be scary. Use your phone GPS to make sure you are going the right direction. Check out my article here to get a cheap SIM card for your smart phone.
- Clothing: From my experience, you can wear what you like in Brazil. There is no strict dress attire.
- Don’t take drinks from people you don’t know: Common sense, but some people get caught up in the moment. Keep an eye on your beverage.
- Keep money hidden: By habit when I go out – I keep at least $20 in my shoe. Don’t flash cash – obviously.
- Stay confident: Bad people pick on others they sense are weak or scared. Always keep your head up. Speak firmly.
- Learn a little Portuguese: If you want to have a great time in Brazil – it’s beneficial to learn a bit of Portuguese so you can experience things the average tourist won’t. Check out my #1 resource for learning Portuguese by clicking here.
- Have a reliable friend for “one of those nights”: You might have one of those nights where you drink a little too much. That’s when a good social circle comes in. We all need people we can trust to keep an eye on us.
- Do your own research: It’s always smart to have a basic understanding about what you are doing or where you are going. Read up on the areas/places you want to visit in Brazil and take notes.
- Scan and save your documents and keep the files in your email. Don’t keep your passport on you. One of my friends visited the United States. He kept his passport in his backpack while he was in the library. He stepped away from his belongings for a quick second and when he returned – you guessed it. His backpack was gone. So, leave it hidden in your apartment/motel.
Overall, being a solo woman traveler in Brazil is fun and exciting. The women I know fell in love with the country.
What tips would you give to a woman who wants to travel to Brazil alone?