The first-ever Olympics and Paralympics in South America are just days away. If you are a U.S. citizen traveling to the Games in Rio de Janeiro, you probably have a to-do list to make sure you don’t forget anything. In addition to the usual tasks, like calling your bank and credit card companies to tell them about your trip, we would like to suggest a few additional items for your list. Don’t worry – they won’t take much time, and you can accomplish them all from your smartphone while you’re standing in the line to purchase your travel-size toiletries!
Download the USinRio App. Available for both Apple and Android devices, this app is your one-stop shop for essential information. Contact information for the U.S. Embassy and Consulates, emergency phone numbers, list of hospitals, and instructions on how to make a phone call from a Brazilian phone -- it’s all here!
A screenshot of the USinRio App information online. [State Department photo]
Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This will enable the U.S. Embassy and Consulates to keep you up-to-date with important safety and security announcements, and help us get in touch with you in an emergency.
Opt in to SMS notifications. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your U.S. or local phone number, and you will receive important messages from the embassy or consulate via SMS. The service will only be used for emergency purposes, and it will terminate after the Games.
A woman sends text messages on her mobile phone. [AP Photo]
Print the special Olympics-Paralympics brochure to have important American Citizen Services information on-hand while traveling.
Follow us on Twitter @USCitsBrazil and join the USinRio Facebook event. Let us know you’re attending the Games, and you’ll be the first to know when a new article goes up on the #USinRio blog. We also post information and other announcements that will help you get around while in Brazil -- all right there in your Facebook feed (which no doubt will be full of magnificent Rio pictures).
Watch U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Liliana Ayalde’s welcome message to American Citizens. Mission Brazil has produced over 20 videos with useful tips about traveling in Brazil and the Games as well as fun and inspirational content about American athletes.
Bookmark Mission Brazil’s Olympics-Paralympics webpage and join our #USinRio social media campaign. For more information about #USinRio campaign, check out our special blog at https://www.usmissionbrazil.org/usinrio/.
Once you get to Rio, you will be glad you took these extra steps to prepare. All that will be left to do is cheer on Team USA and enjoy the Marvelous City.
If you are looking for tips on the best places to visit and how to stay safe while seeing the sights, check out the recording of our July 27 Google Hangout, featuring travel experts Lee Abamonte and Renata Pereira, as well as the Center for Disease Control's Kelly Holton.
About the Author: Beth Finan is the Brazil country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Office of American Citizens Services at the U.S. Department of State.
For more information: