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Packing smart


The currency used in Brazil is the Real (pl. Reais). The current exchange rate with the US Dollar is $1 USD = 3.21 $R. Most restaurants, shops, & bars will accept international credit cards; Visa and MasterCard are the most popular. The best solution for spending in São Paulo is to use a debit card to withdraw cash Reais from bank ATMs inside of branches OR to use a credit or debit card at each establishment. Make sure to check with your bank to see if there will be any additional international fees and notify them that you will be travelling abroad in Brazil. Typically, students spent between $150-$300 USD on all meals and personal expenses.


During the month of March, summer is nearing its end in the Southern Hemisphere. This means that every day will have consistently high temperatures (65-90+ °F). Brazil is typically categorized as subtropical with high humidity and frequent rainfall. So what does this mean when packing for this trip? Check out our easy-to-use guide below!

packing guide

before you leave:

  • Passport (Valid at least 90 days after program begins)

  • U.S. Travel VISA for Brazil (OIA leaders will go through this process with you)

Daily Necessities:

  • Wallet

    • Debit/credit card (accepted at most restaurants, shops, & bars)

    • Cash (for those places you can’t use your card)


    • Metro Pass

    • Addresses & Emergency Contact Card

  • Water Bottle - fill with the filter at Campus Casa

  • Compact umbrella or lightweight rain jacket


  • Bug Spray

  • Sunglasses

  • Deodorant

  • A purse/fanny pack/backpack with zippable pockets

  • Undergarments

  • Hat

Working at CISARTE/Vila Itororo:

  • Light, comfortable clothing

    • t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, leggings, tennis shoes

    • For those working in the woodshop, long pants are required

  • Backpack

    • Perfect for carrying any supplies needed as well as all of your daily necessities - all personal belongings are safe in the CISARTE or Vila Itotororo work spaces


Cultural Activities (Day Time):

  • Light, casual clothing

    • Short-sleeved blouses/button-ups, tank tops, jean shorts/skirts, jeans/khakis, casual dresses, sandals or sneakers

    • Typical summertime clothing

Cultural Activities (Night Time):

  • Summertime, Upscale Casual

    • Short dresses, blouses/button-ups, tank tops, jean shorts/skirts, jeans/khakis, sandals or heels or sneakers

    • Think “going-out with friends” attire


  • Bring as little as possible!

    • Swimsuit, clothes for over swimsuit on the bus, comfortable clothing for the bus ride back, sandals

    • Towel or scarf to lay on

    • Avoid bringing valuables, have someone watching belongings at all times

Personal Hygiene:

  • Shampoo & Conditioner

  • Body Wash

  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste

  • Contact Lenses & Solution

  • Hand Sanitizer

  • Facial cleanser

  • Lotion

  • Aloe Vera

  • Feminine hygiene products

  • First-aid kit

  • Medications (in original bottle/package)

  • Tissues

  • Makeup & Makeup Remover

  • Razor

  • Hair Brush & Hair Ties


  • For your carry-on

    • One back-up outfit in case luggage is lost

    • Eye mask

    • Sweatshirt

    • Z-Quil or Dramamine to aid with sleep and motion sickness

    • Headphones

    • Phone charger

  • Outlet adapter

  • Deck of Cards

  • Yellow card from the Yellow Fever shot

  • Notebook & Pen/Pencil


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