With an estimated 480,000 tourists set to visit Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic and Paralympic games, many Australians will be packing their Aussie flags to join in on the festivities. Ahead of this big travel period, InsureandGo is reminding those visiting Brazil during this Olympics to protect themselves from common travel risks or mishaps like unexpected illness, cancelled flights or stolen personal belongings before the celebrations begin.
“The Olympics are a time when the world comes together to celebrate our shared love of sport and competition. But with hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting Brazil during this Olympics it’s more important than ever that Australians are prepared for the potential risks and have the appropriate level of travel insurance cover,” said Mr Jonathan Etkind, Commercial Manager of InsureandGo.
“There are simple steps travellers can take to have a smooth holiday like visiting a doctor before they leave to ensure they have any necessary vaccinations. It’s also important to do things like research potential risks in the area, register your travel details on Smart Traveller and leave a photocopy of your passport at home,” said Mr Etkind.
The Brazilian government has also made it easier for Australians to visit Brazil this Olympics, allowing Australians to travel without a visa for stays up to 90 days between June 1 and September 18.
If travelling outside of this period, tourists will need to obtain a visa before travelling to Brazil. They will also need to ensure that they have a minimum of six months’ validity on their passport.
For those taking part in the action of the Olympic season in Brazil, InsureandGo offers five tips to help make their visit a gold winning experience.
- Pay attention to your surroundings – Whether you’re travelling on your own or with family it’s important that you’re keeping an eye on your surroundings. Keep any bags secure with a travel lock or held in your lap when sitting down. Also if your camera has a strap be sure to wear it around your neck and keep it in front of you at all times. In the event your belongings are stolen, ensure that you visit a police station to report the incident and obtain a police report so that you can make a travel insurance claim when you return home.
- Keep valuables stored in a safe – If you’re just spending the day sightseeing there’s no need for valuables like your passport. Before you leave for your day store valuables like these in a locked safe at your hotel or hostel as they can’t be covered if left unsecured in your room. For added security, you can also ask if your hotel or hostel has a separate safe for valuables.
- Stay healthy – Before travelling to any country be sure to check with your doctor to see if you need any vaccinations. Different parts of Brazil have different risks including Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A and B and Typhoid which require vaccinations. Be sure to pack essentials like mosquito repellent and sunscreen to protect yourself against unwanted illnesses, pesky bugs and excessive sun exposure. If you’re feeling unwell, it’s often worth visiting a doctor and if you’ve purchased travel insurance, your medical costs can be covered by your policy.
- Back up your data – There’s nothing worse than taking that perfect shot in front of the Christ the Redeemer only to have the photo lost forever after your camera or phone is stolen. Back up content as you go by uploading photos to a cloud based service or send them to yourself via email. Travel insurance can help with the cost of stolen or damaged cameras and phone, but unfortunately it can’t help with lost photos.
- Learn a few phrases in Portuguese – Navigating a new country can be tricky but one sure way to make things easier is by learning a few phrases in the local language. English isn’t spoken widely in Brazil so be sure to learn things like greetings and how to ask for simple directions in Portuguese. If you have an emergency while travelling, most insurance providers will have a 24 hours’ emergency assistance line and can deal with doctors in different languages.
 The Rio Times – IOC Predicts 480,000 Tourists in Rio for 2016 Olympics: Daily
 Smart Traveller: Brazil