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6 Tips for a South America Family Trip

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Girl at Ilha beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Our six tips for planning a South America family trip will help you design a smooth travel experience that will introduce you and your kids to the continent’s marvelous ecosystems, wildlife, and cultural heritage.

Flexibility and logistical ease make any family trip more manageable and support creating the priceless memories you desire. From glaciers to deserts, colorful marketplaces to ancient ruins, knowing the elements that can assist in building your itinerary can ensure a successful trip according to your family’s goals.

From documents to packing, explore the key components that will make your planning process more focused before speaking with a South America travel specialist who can custom-tailor your entire experience.

  1. 1. South America Is Safe for Families
  2. 2. Understand Your Family’s Preferences and Concerns
  3. 3. Don’t Try to Do Everything in One Trip
  4. 4. Plan for Flexibility
  5. 5. Have your Family’s Documents Ready Ahead of Time
  6. 6. Don’t Overpack
  7. Plan the Best South America Trip for Your Family

1. South America Is Safe for Families

Family at the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

South America is a very safe destination to visit as a family with children. While some countries may have gained a reputation for political or social unrest, the vast majority of the continent is safe, accessible, and has fascinating opportunities for families with kids of all ages.

Common sense is key when visiting any country in South America, similar to traveling anywhere in the world. Traveling with the help of a country-specific travel specialist only enhances your family’s safety by crafting an itinerary around what your family wants, using vetted accommodations, guides, and transfers accompanied by local knowledge for a greater sense of safety each day.

Our list of some of the safest countries to visit in South America as a family includes:

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador & Galapagos Islands
  • Peru

Learn more: Is it Safe to Travel to South America?

2. Understand Your Family’s Preferences and Concerns

Paragliding in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

For a successful family trip to any destination, keep in mind the preferences and interests of the entire family, as well as your goals for the vacation. These could inform which country or place you choose to visit.

Do your children love hiking or prefer water activities? Are they interested in museums or do they have a particular taste in food? Do they have food allergies or asthma that can affect the way you travel and the excursions you take?

From the cobblestone streets of Buenos Aires to hiking the Inca trail, a Galapagos cruise to horseback riding outside of Medellin, knowing what your family wants to see, experience, or what they feel comfortable with, is paramount for a successful South America trip.

Learn more: 6 Best Countries to Visit in South America

3. Don’t Try to Do Everything in One Trip

Colorful and colonials street in Guatape, Colombia

Guatape, Colombia

South America is 95% larger than the United States and each country possesses its own unique culture, landscapes, and history. By trying to do too much in a single trip, you can inadvertently deny your family’s ability for richer experiences.

To best take advantage of your time, keep in mind day excursions instead of destination transfers. A day trip allows you to keep all of your belongings at your accommodations without repacking, rushing to meet transportation, or worrying about moving luggage to a new location.

raveling with children can be challenging no matter their age, which also makes visiting one country much easier during your South America family trip. By slowing down to accommodate the family’s energy levels, you can have a richer trip that uncovers more of a specific place and its surroundings.

4. Plan for Flexibility

Family hiking in the Chilean Patagonia

Family hiking in the Chilean Patagonia

When traveling with kids, a structure is essential to keep everyone engaged and ensure you have a good balance between activity and downtime. However, spontaneity is an exciting part of any trip.

Flexibility can provide much-needed time to try a new experience, travel to an unanticipated location, discover something you didn’t realize you and the family would enjoy, or a moment of downtime in which you can relax.

The right travel specialist can make plans or changes based on your interests while also anticipating when your family may need space to rejuvenate.

5. Have your Family’s Documents Ready Ahead of Time

Cable car and Metropolitan Park in Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

Different countries may require specific paperwork and documentation to cross their borders.

International travelers of all ages require a passport and passports for minors expire more frequently than those for adults. You may be responsible for paying a reciprocity charge per person or fill out visa paperwork. In addition, certain destinations require proof of vaccination for certain medicines that will help fight possible infections known to that area of the world. Before receiving any immunizations, you should speak to your doctor, pediatrician, or a dedicated travel nurse about treatments for the country or countries you visit.

Working with a local Zicasso travel expert can share the information you need regarding the paperwork, government charges, vaccinations, and visa requirements you can expect, as well as where to find necessary documents or where to send payment.

6. Don’t Overpack

View of coastline and avenue in Miraflores, Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru

Packing when traveling with children creates new challenges, especially if visiting a country with wildly different ecosystems. It helps to do a little research before a trip to learn about the average temperature, rainfall, or snowfall during the time of year you will be visiting.

Will you visit the rainforest or the Andes Mountains? Do you plan on hiking in Patagonia or taking a cruise to the Galapagos?

No matter where you travel in South America, always pack items such as bug spray, snacks, and at least one sweater for cooler nights. Traveling prepared is a great idea, but overpacking creates more complexities than it helps solve for unforeseen problems, especially when traveling with kids.

Plan the Best South America Trip for Your Family

Mother and baby sea lion hugging in the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Exploring new corners of the world provides an ideal opportunity to connect. Whether looking for an exciting beach getaway or a road trip through unique terrain, South America offers breathtaking vistas and unforgettable cultural bonds.

Take inspiration for your next trip with our Seven Itineraries to South America for Families or learn more about what you can do while exploring with our South America Travel Guide.

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