YES! The US Men’s Soccer Team has earned their invitation to the Brazil World Cup 2014.
Are you planning to go? Wonderful! Start saving your pennies because this won’t be a cheap trip for you. Although the actual tournament doesn’t start until June of next year, there are some things you need to be aware of and taking care of right now if you plan to go. I suggest doing the following in this order, and I will explain why:
- Apply for match ticket purchase
- Book hotel rooms
- Find a flight to Brazil
- Apply for a visa to Brazil (yes, you need one)
The reason I suggest this order of taking care of business is that perhaps if you are lucky enough to purchase tickets sooner than later, you will be able to jump on good hotel deals in Brazil according to where you know you will be. If you don’t get tickets in the next couple of months, you may have to wait to book any hotels until you know if you are able to purchase tickets, which may not be until last minute. Even if you can’t get tickets until last minute, don’t wait until then to book a flight, because you will need proof of your round-trip ticket to apply for your visa, which needs to be in your hands by the time you leave for Brazil.
How to get World Cup 2014 tickets
Group Stage match tickets start at $90 (although the opening match is $220), and throughout the tournament prices will go up to $440 per ticket. Check out prices here. Brazil is a rather large country (that’s a bit of an understatement). It could be likened to the US hosting the World Cup, and you know how the World Cup works: the biggest venues from across the country host the matches. So imagine what you would pay either by bus or plane to get from one city to another in the US, and that is what it will be like in Brazil. You could easily spend 20 hours on a bus in between venues. That being said, don’t forget to figure in time and travel expenses if you plan to visit several stadiums. World Cup match tickets will be distributed by a lottery system this year, so the best you can do at this point is apply for them, and you’d better do it soon. The “Random Selection Draw Period” stops accepting applications October 10. It is free to apply, but there is no guarantee that you will be awarded the chance to purchase tickets, as you are competing with eager fans from all over the world. Apply for your World Cup 2014 Tickets here. If you don’t get lucky enough to win an opportunity to purchase through the random selection, you may have a few last minute chances to buy in April-June next year through other ticket sales, but don’t let that keep you from applying right now.
Hotels in Brazil
If you are lucky enough to purchase your tickets sooner than later, that will help immensely with your hotel booking decisions because you will know exactly where you will be on what dates. My favorite online hotel booking website is Booking.com because I truly believe they offer the best deals. Get online and book a few hotel rooms if you know where you will be. There is no point in waiting as the prices will only go up, and the competition will get worse. Book your hotels here. If you prefer hostels, you can book hostels in Brazil here. If you don’t get to buy tickets until next year, you could still get hotel rooms now and take a chance that you will get tickets in those cities, as you can always cancel your reservation and make new ones later.
Finding flights to Brazil
Flying to Brazil from the US will be as much of a journey as flying to Europe from the US, it’s way down there. Airlines are most likely going to raise their prices to Brazil for June-July next year just because they can. You should probably be prepared to pay $1,500-$2,000 for a plane ticket, depending on where you are flying from. Prices will vary depending on where you are flying to as well, so be sure to check other airports besides Rio de Janeiro if it may help. You may end up watching games in Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Manaus, Brasilia, Cuiaba, Fortaleza, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Sao Paolo, and Salvador. These stadium cities span the entirety of the country, so definitely keep this in mind when you book flights.The best days to search for a flight are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Again, the best days to search for a flight are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which is when the airlines often put out sales. Prices go back up for weekends so just don’t book your flight on a weekend. Book on a Tuesday or Wednesday for the best deal. The best days to fly are generally Tuesday through Thursday, again, midweek. I find that this is the most commonly broken rule, so be sure to check all possible days and combinations of dates to find the best deals. However; generally the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday through Thursday. If you are definitely going, you might as well buy your plane ticket as soon as you find a price you are willing to pay. I usually suggest buying international flights 3-4 months in advance of your trip; however, for the World Cup, waiting may not be advantageous because prices are sure to go up as it gets closer. Purchasing sooner than later will allow you to start the process of applying for your visa, which cannot be left to the last minute.
Here are some booking engines to help you get started:
Americans NEED a visa to enter Brazil
If you learn nothing else from this article, at least learn this: AMERICANS NEED TO SECURE A BRAZILIAN VISA PRIOR TO DEPARTURE FROM THE US. Yes, prior to departure. There is no “Visa On Arrival” for Brazil. You will notice that when you go to check in for your flight (while still in the US), the airline employee will check your passport for a Brazilian visa (or at least they are supposed to). If you fail to have it, you will not be permitted to board your flight. Period. If for any reason you slip by without one, you will make it to Brazil (congrats) only to be turned around and sent home without permission to pass through Brazilian immigration (told you so). You will be refused entry. The US government cannot help you if this happens to you.
How to get a visa for Brazil
Start by checking out visa requirements for Brazil on the travel.state.gov website so you know I’m not pulling your leg about all this. Then proceed to the Brazilian Embassy website where you need to pay attention to your jurisdiction. For example: notice the first consulate listed is in Atlanta, and the jurisdiction is Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee. This means that if you happen to live in any of those specific states, you will need to contact the Atlanta consulate to get your visa. Go to the website of the specific consulate listed for your jurisdiction for further steps toward acquiring your visa.
There are a number of documents you will need to collect and take with you to your appointment or send via mail. Your specific consulate will have rules about whether you must apply in person or have the option to send your documents via mail, so be sure to check the rules before you act. They may also have different requirements than another consulate, even if they vary just a little bit, so make sure you know exactly, exactly, what your specific consulate requires before you send everything off. The necessary documents to apply for a Brazilian Visa will include:
- Valid US Passport (must be valid for at least 6 months after your visit to Brazil)
- Passport Photo
- Signed Visa Application Form plus one copy
- Appropriate payment ($160-$180, the amount will be posted on your consulate website and will most likely need to be paid by money order)
- Travel itinerary or round-trip ticket (this is why you should get your flight first)
- Proof of sufficient funds for your trip (sometimes a bank statement will do, sometimes a letterhead from your bank is necessary, be sure to check your specific consulate)
- Proof of residence
- You will most likely need to provide a return envelope with postage paid
The bottom line here is to be aware of all that you need to take care of for this upcoming trip to Brazil. It may seem like a lot, and getting a visa is usually a big pain in the butt, but it will definitely be worth it.
I hope you can get through all of these things and secure your trip to Brazil, because the US will need some representation down there! Just remember: don’t wait until the last minute and you should be fine.
Want to learn some Portuguese? Here are some words that might help you once you’re there:
hello- oi (oy) or olá
please- por favor
thank you- obrigado (male) obrigada (female)
beer- cerveja (j is soft- like zh)