BLOG: Don’t be an idiot: How to travel in Rio (or anywhere)


We, 50 Ball State University journalism students, trekked from the great state of Indiana to Rio de Janeiro to cover the Olympic Games. After a few hiccups, we’re practically travel experts.



-] Talk to the bank before you go. Not all cards work internationally. Seth Madden ran out of money and had to have someone send him money from his other bank account.

-] Skip the ice. Ice typically isn’t filtered water, and that’s how (we think) Elizabeth Wyman got her parasite. Don’t worry — she’s okay now.

-] Figure out stuff about your country. Someone who stayed at our hostel brought a Spanish dictionary to Brazil, a country that speaks Portuguese. Don’t be that guy or gal.

-] Have a backup plan. You’ll want access to Uber, taxis, the subway and a flying carpet. Kaitlin Lange and Robby General got stuck at Copacabana for over two hours because their Uber driver couldn’t find them.

-] Don’t flush the toilet paper. Really. Rio’s plumbing can’t handle the paper, and you don’t want to deal with a clogged toilet in the Subway. Trust me.



-] Pack light, then cut it in half. “If you love taking photos, why are you bringing three pairs of shoes instead of that extra camera lens?” —Alina Beteringhe, our assistant director and travel pro.

-] Laundry is a thing. Colleen Steffen, our resident faculty editor, brought a laundry line. “My underwear has been hanging on it for a month.”

-] Don’t act surprised at luxuries. “People have said, ‘Oh, you have Wi-Fi?’ Like, they’re so surprised. We’re not savages.” —Natalia Marques, our hostel’s receptionist

-] Don’t be a turd. “Three people have asked me, not in so many words, where to find prostitutes. They were requesting black women with big hips. I’m not sure if they thought all Brazilian women looked like this or what.” —Natalia, again (poor girl)



-] Janie Fulling : I wish I had packed q-tips. Lots of dust and sand blowin’ around.

-] Colleen Steffen: I wish I brought more vodka because I’ve been spraying it on all of my clothes.

-] Grace Hollars: Dry shampoo. I am in desperate need of it, for sure.

-] Robby General: A U.S.A. flag. I’ve gone to so many events, and I’m just sitting there like…

-] Kaitlin Lange: More underwear, I guess.

-] Laura Arwood: The party. I wish brought the party.

-] Seth Madden: Well, I’m taking Guarana (a Brazilian soft drink) back with me.

-] Casey Smith (while wrapped in a sweater): “Honestly, a jacket because it’s cold.”

-] Sarah Stier: Earmuffs. Our hostel is a bar. It’s impossible to sleep at night.

-] Nathan DeYoung: I wish I would have brought more snacks from the States.



“Do not wear socks with flip-flops. It is the ultimate sin.” –Jorn Seeman, Ball State Geography professor and Brazil citizen

Laura Arwood

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