How to travel to Brazil 2014 on a shoestring?

How to travel to Brazil 2014 on a shoestring?

They say God created the world in six days and Rio de Janeiro on the seventh, is it true? I don’t know, but who cares, everyone wants to go to Rio, at least I do. For the football lovers (the real football, not the one they play with their hands and still call it football), this 2014 isn’t just a common year; it’s the year we’ve been waiting since the Spanish took the trophy in Johannesburg 4 years ago, it’s the year we paint our bodies with the color of our nation’s flag, gather our cultural wardrobes, sharpen our voices and get together as one nation, the football nation.

This year the FIFA World Cup takes place in 12 beautiful cities of Brazil, the land of the samba, caipirinhas, carnival, Pele and the ‘jogo bonito,’ among many other things. As expected, the cost of attending to an event like this one is very high. However, nothing is impossible. There are two ways of going to Brazil for the World Cup: The first one is to go to a tour company and buy a package. You won’t need to worry about anything; they’ll do everything for you, just like the saying goes, “Money talks and bullshit walks.” However, expect to empty your bank account because the cost will be off the roof. The second option is to go as an independent traveler and do everything yourself. Since I don’t have the funds to buy a tour package, I’m going to choose the second option, which it has always been my type of option and I enjoy it very much. Thus, since I do not have much money and don’t mind hitchhiking and camping, my chances of visiting Brazil for the tournament are very high.

If you think this is very risky or crazy, think again. How much risk do you put yourself into every time you get on your car to go to work? Crazy? It’s not that is crazy, it’s just that is not part of your comfort zone, you are not used to do things like this. However, it’s in our genes to do things like this. For the most part in human’s history, we’ve been a nomadic group, walking from place to place. Ancient men began to build roads in order to facilitate movement of goods. Later on, in the 16th century, people again took lots of risks by doing dangerous journeys driven by their religious convictions. The list goes on. You think people back then didn’t take risks? They did, and because of these risks they took is that we are what we are today, because someone took a chance and succeeded.

You can sit in your couch and enjoy the tournament through your TV, or you could purchase a travel package that will cost you between 6,000usd and 20,000usd give or take, not including airfare of course, or you could take a chance of going to Brazil on a low budget form of traveling: hitchhiking and camping. Depending in what part of the world you are, you probably are going to have to take a flight or a boat, with the exception of the Americas of course; you can actually do a mix of hitchhiking, take a flight, ride a train and get on a bus, it’s your decision.

The prices for hotel stay are expected to increase at least 50%. Transportation, food and probably everything else will be increased as well. Therefore, in my situation, staying in hotels and eating in restaurants are out of the question. I’ll be joining the group of enthusiastic people who will be hitchhiking from city to city, staying in campgrounds, eating in local markets and backpacking the country.

How am I going to accomplish this? Continue reading…

To begin with, I would highly recommend applying for tickets as soon as possible. Wait, why do you need to apply for tickets? Why can’t you just buy them? It’s simple, football is the most popular sport in the world; therefore, they want to give everybody a fair chance to attend the event. Only in the first hour of the opening sale people around the world requested almost 1.2 million tickets, by the end of the day there were almost 6 millions requests. The way this work is as follow: you request tickets for whatever game you want to attend and once FIFA does the lottery, you’ll find out if you won the tickets. There are 3 sales phases and currently the 2nd phase is taking place. For more information you can visit www.fifa.com.

Since I applied for the first phase and didn’t win, I went go ahead and applied for the second phase. If I still don’t win, I’ll apply for the last phase. If I don’t win, guess what? I’m still going to Brazil 2014. Chances are I might be able to buy a ticket out there. If I don’t, well, I still went and enjoy Brazil. Therefore, you have to take a risk on this one. You don’t know if you are going to get tickets, but if you don’t go, you’ll never know what might have been.

Once you decide you want to go even though you may not obtain tickets, you should plan the route to Brazil. You can either book a flight, which will cost you something in between $1,500usd and $2,500usd, maybe more. The other option is to do as I’ll do, take a risk and just go with the flow, hitch your way in to Brazil. There are many options and plenty of people to do this with or willing to help you. You just need to find them, there are hundreds of forums, websites and groups of individuals who are already planning a trip like this all around the world, just search for them.

Couchsurfing’s is a network page for travelers. In it’s simplest form, it allows you to contact travelers and ask them to stay at their place for the night. Obviously is more than that, but I don’t want to get off the point. You’ll need to make a profile and start asking people in Brazil if they would allow you to stay or know a place where you could stay, you don’t lose anything by trying. In Facebook there are lots of groups that talk about going together to the tournament, you just need to look for these groups and start a conversation with them. Lonely Planet’s forums also give a lot of information. The tools are out there, you just need to reach and grab them.

Once in Brazil, like I said previously, expect the prices for everything to be off the roof. I’ll be having contact with other fellow travelers in order to organize campgrounds for us ‘hitchhikers/backpackers’ to stay and watch each other’s back. Therefore, you can contact me and be able to find accommodation with us. Sleeping in campgrounds will definitely save you money and you can gather with the others to pitch in for food, which will save you more money. My daily budget is approximately between $15usd and $30usd. I plan to eat in the markets and street food, which I consider to be the best. Every person is different, so whatever your budget is, just make sure to stick to it.

The tickets for each game in the group stages start at $90usd each. After the group stages, expect to see an increase. It’s going to be hard to get tickets, but I’m willing to risk it. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” if I don’t put myself out there, how can I expect to obtain something out of it. Another option of getting tickets for the game is to buy them directly from Brazilians who are going to the game, make them an offer and see what happens next, you never know. In the case you don’t obtain tickets, don’t panic, is not the end of the world, just go to a bar and enjoy the party, you are not going to be the only one.

As a final thought, if you are serious about going to Brazil even though you don’t have enough funds, I would suggest you to do it, you won’t be the only one out there and the probability of assisting to a game will be much more than sitting in your butt. If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view. Do you have what it takes?

If you have questions or an opinion, please feel free to write them on the comment section below or e-mail me.

Additional – Here is a valuable vocabulary list to help you communicate in Portuguese: http://en.bab.la/doc/Football_phrases_en_pt.pdf


  1. Hi Oscar, how are you?
    Your blog and idea's sound very interesting and are perfect for the expensive world cup!
    I was wondering how the campsite was developing so far? Do you have any confirmed locations so far?
    Look forward to hearing back from you.
    Rob from England :)

    1. I've been only in Sao Paulo so far. There are many homeless people camping everywhere, parks, churches, plazas, etc. I thought we could do the same and asked a few federal police officers about my plans. They all told me the same thing: its possible but extremely dangerous, especially at night. During the day you see them sleeping, but at night they are awake. They said many of them are not mentally well and some others are ex convicted prisoners. Its sort of a rule to try to camp outside the city limits, although there are successful stories of people camping inside city limits without been harassed or robbed, but this is the 3rd most populous city in the world, so Im having doubts of camping inside the city limits in here. Im not going to be in Sao Paulo anyway anymore since Im going to Recife in a few weeks, but either way, if I was to camp in Sao Paulo inside city limits or Rio de Janeiro, I would only do it with a big group of backpackers. The only problem is that many individuals trying to do some type of robbery carry weapons with them, so it doesnt matter how many people you are camping with, if you have a gun in front of you, there is not much you can do. I will continue investigating about possible places to camp and post more detailed info.