How to Pack for a Trip to Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is one of the largest cities in Brazil. With a reputation as one the most beautiful, fun-loving places for tourists to visit thanks to its Carnival tradition, the samba dance, and the fantastic natural setting, it's important to be ready for an action-packed city visit. Here are a few steps you can follow when packing for a trip to Rio de Janeiro.


  1. 1
    Bring your passport. If you don't already have one, contact your local passport office for information on how to get a passport and the materials you will need when applying. Also inquire about any visas you might need, depending on your country of citizenship on the passport.
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    Bring a Portuguese to English language dictionary. English is widely spoken, but knowing key words and phrases in Portuguese will make your travels smoother. If you have an eReader, smartphone or electronic tablet, download an app with the dictionary to make it easier to carry around everywhere you go in the city.
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    Pack a camera. If you have a digital camera, pack extra memory cards; if it's a film camera, have extra film. Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful place and is extremely photogenic, especially if you're participating in festivals or other events. Once there, be sure to photograph the Christ Redeemer statue, document your view from the Sugar Loaf cable car, the Botanical gardens or one of the many beaches.
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    Bring a power outlet adapter. Brazilian outlets are either type A, B or C. Type A and B are common throughout North America, but older buildings in Brazil may still have C type outlets. It's helpful to have an adapter for your personal electronics, such as laptops, hair dryer or electric razor. However, if you forget to pack this, don't fret––either your hotel or a local electronics store should be able to sell you one there.
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    Pack suitable clothing. The seasons in Rio are the opposite of those in North America, with North American winters being Rio's summer, and vice versa. Rio has an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius, or 68 Fahrenheit, year round. Pack light clothing, especially when travelling during Rio's high summer months, December and January, when the temperature can reach 40 degrees Celsius, over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Dress simply but with style. Have day clothes and one flashier item for evenings out. Be aware that even the nightclubs are casual, so don't overdress. Good casual dress is fine for even the best restaurants.
    • Avoid the usual tourist garb of safari shorts and jacket, etc. unless you want to be recognized as a tourist.
    • Choose non-slip sandals and shoes because the sidewalks can be slippery when it rains.
    • Leave the expensive clothes and jewelry at home. You don't need them and they might make you a target for thieves.
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    Bring a bathing suit. Rio is well known for its beaches, which are accessible year round due to Rio's mild climate. Bring a suit and enjoy the beaches at Copacabana, Ipanema, or dozens of other popular tourist destinations.
    • You don't need to go skimpy but can if you want to! Bikini culture is truly alive. If you wear a one-piece, the locals will know you're a tourist but it's your prerogative. A wrap, sarong or towel can help to cover you more modestly if preferred.
    • If you don't want to bring a towel to the beach, the air is usually warm enough to air-dry you quickly.
    • Flip flops are useful for beach walking.
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    Pack sunscreen, sunglasses and a good shade hat. You will need to be protected from the sun as it's very easy to get burned, both walking around and spending time on the beaches of Rio. Of course, these can also be purchased in Rio if preferred; either way, just be sure to use them!
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    Bring money to exchange. The Brazilian Real is the local currency, and currency exchanges can be found in many hotels and banks. Many businesses that cater to tourists accept credit cards, but it is a good idea to carry Real additionally. You can also bring traveller's cheques.


  • Bring or buy toiletries if staying in budget to mid-range accommodation; many won't supply you with much of these. However, they're also easy and cheap to stock up on when you arrive in Rio.
  • If travelling during Carnival, be aware that you may have to purchase tickets from some of the larger parades. Be sure to have Real on hand.
  • Aim to travel light. Being unburdened by stuff is what Rio is all about. And it makes you less of a theft target.
  • Bring your reusable water bottle; tap water is generally safe to drink and this will save you money and save resources too.
  • If you intend on going into the mountains around Rio, bring something warmer to wear as it's much cooler up high.


  • Brazil does not require a certificate of vaccination to enter the country and Rio De Janeiro is not at risk for Yellow Fever, but it is recommended that tourists receive a Yellow Fever vaccination if travelling further inland.
  • Rio has a high crime rate, so caution should be taken when travelling on foot at night or alone. Also consider using a money pouch to protect your valuables.
  • When swimming, leave all valuables, including your camera, at the hotel. Beach theft is common. If you really want a camera for beach visits, get disposable ones just for these occasions.

Things You'll Need

  • Suitable luggage
  • Lightweight clothing and swimsuit
  • Power adapter
  • Portuguese/English dictionary
  • Passport and any relevant visas
  • Camera and memory cards
  • Vaccinations if going beyond Rio
  • Some local currency or ability to withdraw local currency
  • Money pouch

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Travel Packing