South America is such a beautiful continent, with so many incredible places to see. When traveling down there its important to be aware and remember these tips:
1. Always have small bills and cash
When buying from local markets and most stores, change for big bills is difficult to come by because everything is pretty cheap. Always carry cash because most places do not take credit or debit.
2. Carry toilet paper
Most public restrooms do not supply you with toilet paper unless your willing to pay for it, and sometimes even then it is unavailable. So always carry some with you.
3. Catch a a taxi outside the bus station when arriving at a new town/city
The reason for this is because taxi drivers have to pay a fee just to enter the bus terminal so the price will be much cheaper if you leave the bus station first.
4. Keep an eye on your belongings at all times
Theft is a big issue down there especially for travelers because they all think were rich, so always keep an eye on your stuff. My husband and I would always try to get a window seat on the side of the bus that our backpacks were on just incase it was snagged during one of the stops the bus made.
5. Always look both ways when crossing the street
You may be thinking, duh thats just common sense, but be even more careful when crossing the streets in South America because pedestrians do not have the right of way. If you get hit to bad, so be careful!
6. Know the exchange rate
Always know the exchange rate for a few reasons, one being you could think your getting a good deal on something when your really not. Secondly when changing currency to a new one you may or may not get a good exchange rate depending were you go. Always knowing is important, it gives you the opportunity to haggle if your not getting the deal you want.
7. Bargaining is a skill you need to acquire
In South America you can pretty much bargain for anything unless the price is already set (commercial stores, some food places, etc). Gaining this skill is very important or you will find your self paying way more than you should be.
8. When taking a taxi always discuss the price before leaving
Most taxi’s do not have meters in them to price by how far you go so generally the driver will give you a price to get to a certain location. The first price is usually more expensive then what it should be, so using your bargaining skills discuss a price that caters to both of your budgets.
Hope these tips and tricks help with your next adventure in South America!