In 1 week I’ll be flying to Houston to catch my flight to Natal, Brazil with the American Outlaws US Men’s National Team supporter group. I started planning for this trip 3 years ago, and it is finally here. After buying the Rosetta Stone for Portuguese a year ago and barely getting through 5 or 6 lessons, I’m starting to get serious about what I’m packing for my 2 week stay (which includes day trips to Manaus and Recife for the USA games) in Brazil. Here’s a list of things I got specifically for this trip:
That’s me 3 weeks ago, if I were a 90-year-old lady who apparently ripped the sleeve off her jacket to get a vaccination. I got vaccinated for Hepatitis A and Typhoid, and have Malaria pills that I have to start taking on Wednesday (2 days before going to Brazil). Hepatitis B is also recommended if you plan on getting a tattoo, or possibly transferring bodily fluids with other people, but I won’t be partaking in any of that so I didn’t bother. Yellow Fever is also recommended if you plan on spending extended time in the rain forest or other areas where the disease is common, but I passed on that too. I’ll just be very liberal with my bug spray when I go to Manaus for the Portugal game.
As if getting a tat or swapping spit wasn’t risky enough, you’re apparently a mosquito bite away from becoming seriously ill in Brazil. Those blood suckers carry various diseases and are the main reason for the vaccinations listed above. For this trip, I opted for 2 forms of insect repellent: Off! Deep Woods Pump Spray and Tender Ben’s 30% Deet 12-count Travel Wipes.
The spray will be my main protection against the bugs, but the wipes will be my “holy shit there’s a lot of mosquitoes here, better put on more insect repellent” go-to. They come in individually wrapped packages and are easily portable. I bought 2 boxes of 12, just to be safe. 25%-50% DEET is recommended, and these fall on the low side of that. I’m wary of using too much DEET, as I’ve seen the high percentage stuff eat through certain clothing fabrics. There’s some people on the trip packing the 98% stuff. No thanks. I’m good with Ben’s and Off!.
Travel Wallets/Cash Stash
The lady in the above photograph got her chain ganked while being interviewed by a news reporter in Brazil about the high crime rate. Seriously. You can watch it here. Fans from the US traveling to Brazil have been advised to dress modestly, try to fit in, and not to bring any jewelry or anything they don’t want a mugger running off with. We’ve been advised in the event of a stick-up to just hand the goon whatever cash you have in your pocket, and to put away your cell phone or camera when not in use.
Crime is common in Brazil, and chances are someone on the trip is going to get robbed. It’s best to keep the majority of your cash locked up somewhere safe in your hotel room, and only go out with the amount you intend to spend each day. I’ve purchased 3 items to try to hide my loot: an Eagle Creek Undercover Money Belt, a Pacsafe CashSafe Travel Belt Wallet, and a FlipBelt.
Hopefully any would-be-muggers in Natal don’t read this post and know just where I’m keeping my loot. The undercover money belt is small, but it’s big enough to hold your passport, some cash, maybe some gum, your credit cards and hotel room key. You don’t want to stuff it full of crap like your wallet and cellphone, because the point is to keep it as flat as possible and wear it under your shirt. The travel belt wallet is for your emergency cash. It has a zipper that goes along the inside of the belt. Fold up some cash, stick it in, zip it up, and keep your britches up with it. In the event you do get robbed, it’s very unlikely the mugger is going to want your nylon belt. As for the FlipBelt, it seemed like the perfect item to keep belongings in on match days. The belt has a couple of openings where you can stuff things in. It comes with a free waterproof bag for whatever you don’t want getting wet. It’s inconspicuous when worn under your shirt and secure. All 3 are highly recommended.
Umm… yea. I’m gonna need you to come in on Saturday and bring me Pepto Bismol
Vacation hangovers are inevitable, and if you’re not careful with what you eat and drink, so is mudbutt. I’m packing a small bottle of Advil and a small bottle of Pepto Bismol to cure any ailments I may develop in Brazil. As for toiletries, I’m packing 2 toothbrushes (hopefully I won’t need the back-up, but you never know), a small bottle of Listerine (bigger than the travel size, but not too big), toothpaste, floss, deodorant, shampoo/bodywash, a razor, shaving cream, q-tips, chapstick, nail clippers, and some eyedrops. I’m also packing 2 bottles of sunscreen and some aloe. I’m pretty sure I’ve covered all my bases here, but something tells me I’ll get to Brazil and wish I brought something else.
I’d be pretty much inviting the maid to rob me if I brought all of the shit in the above picture. There will be no noise canceling headphones, lap tops, iPads, DSLR cameras, or Amazon Kindles on this trip. In the electronics department I’m packing light, but smart. I’m bringing my digital waterproof camera that’s about 7 years old. Honestly by the end of the trip I may take the memory card out of it and force someone to rob me like Bill Hader in that T-Mobile commercial.
In addition to the piece of shit camera, I’m bringing my cell phone, an old iPod touch, and most importantly, a PowerAdd Solar Panel Backup Charger Battery Pack. I’m hoping the hotel or my roommate has an outlet converter, but in the event that doesn’t happen, the battery pack can recharge my phone and iPod several times, and even recharge itself with the power of the sun. Natal is a beach city, so you can expect my battery pack and I to catch some rays on our off days.
My phone will be turned onto airplane mode once I leave the States and will only be used in wifi hotspots, and my iPod will be my primary source of communication via email and facetime. If some thug is unfortunate enough to steal my digital camera, the iPod takes decent photos, too. I’m also bringing a Deuce watch, and even though I didn’t get the Wondo version, I’ll be able to keep time with something cheap and inconspicuous. Last but not least, I’m bringing a USB drive with copies of all my important documents on it: passport, visa, ID, ticket confirmations, credit and bank information, and vaccine certifications.
I’m not a woman but I felt the need to stick a picture of Sydney Leroux in this article, because I can.
I’ll be honest, I went completely overboard with the USA and American gear when collecting articles of clothing I planned on wearing in Brazil for the World Cup. I have entirely too much shit that screams “I’m an American tourist, please take my organs and leave me in an icebath”. I’ve decided to wear the USA stuff on 7 days only: on the way to Houston and Brazil, to the 5 games that I’m going to (3 USA games and the Italy/Uruguay and Japan/Greece games in Natal), and on the way home from Brazil. While it’s going to be hot as balls most of the time, the weather in Brazil does vary and shorts and tank tops aren’t always appropriate. I’m bring a variety of clothes, short sleeve, long sleeve, pants, shorts, bathing suits etc, and a ton of underwear. Probably like 16 pairs. You can never have too much underwear when you go on vacation.
I know a lot of people mentioned doing their own laundry in the sink, and drying it off in their hotel as there will be no washer machines where we are staying. More power to ‘em. That’s some next level travel shit. I’ll try my best to pack enough clothes to wear each day, and not go crazy.
I’ll try to post pictures on Twitter as much as possible, and will be sure to do a writeup when I get back in a few weeks. If you’re going to be in Brazil for the World Cup, pack smart and be safe. Have fun, and most of all, let’s go USA!