5 tips to beat pre-trip anxiety before traveling to Bolivia

Even those who love traveling can fall prey to pre-trip anxiety once in a while. Will you be safe? Will you be able to work and stay in touch with loved ones from your destination? Should you be traveling somewhere else, instead? Should you be traveling alone?  Just because you have these feelings doesn´t mean you should not travel. But you should definitely take them into account, find out what is triggering them, and take measures to put your mind at ease. In this post we share with you five tips (and a bonus) for doing just that.

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  1. Identify the source of anxiety

It´s important to figure out the source of what’s bothering you, to see if there are any measures you can take to feel better about the trip. Are you nervous about being robbed? Not being able to communicate with anyone? Are you afraid of flying? Or that you’ll be lonely? Do you think you’ll miss an important event at home?

Once you identify the source, see what you can do to fix it. Would you feel more confident about not getting your stuff stolen if you bought a camera bag that locked? If you’re nervous about meeting people, you could post a message on the local Couchsurfing group or book yourself into a dorm or private room at a social hostel.

With traveling so affected recently by the closing of borders and cancellation of flights and other services, it´s normal to feel nervous that your trip could suffer unforeseen changes. To be safe, you shoud deffinitelly buy travel incurance. Check out this article about the best travel isnurance companies for packpackers.

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Sometimes, the only problem is you´re worried about the unknown, and that is normal. But then, going out into the unknown is probably why you travel in the first place. To help ease the anxiety, it´s important to follow our next tip:

  1. Do your research 

If what is bothering you has to do with lack of information, then getting information is essencial. If not knowing is a problem, then plan at least the first days of your trip in detail, just to put your mind at ease. You can always cancel tours, move to another hostel, or go somewhere else once you´re feeling more confident.

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So, find out about the best hotels, the safest tours, what the people are like, cultural dos and dont´s, how you should dress. Answer questions such as: are there ATMs? Can you pay with debit or credit cards? What are the safest neighborhoods? What local food should you eat and what should you avoid?

Of course, find out what health measures you should take. For example, if you´re traveling to Bolivia or Peru, you might be uneasy about the altitude (3600 meters above sea level in La Paz). Check out this article about how to deal with it and stay safe. Once you have all the information, you´re ready for our next tip:

  1. Plan (and book) ahead

Aside from relieving anxiety and stress, planing and booking ahead can be a great source of pre-trip joy. Like we said before, planing the first few days in detail can help you feel secure.

So, what will you do as soon as you step off the bus or plane? Decide now if you will want to change money at the airport/bus terminal, or can wait to do it downtown. How will you get to your hotel or hostel? In Bolivia, the covid-19 crisis has made traveling in public transportation a less safe option, so we recomend you book a hotel that can send a cab to get you from the airport. They follow all the mesures to ensure bio-safety.

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Ok, so, you´re at your hotel. What then? Depending on what time you arrive, you might want to rest and leave the sightseeing for the next day. You can book a tour of the city to get your bearings in a controled way. No matter which city in Bolivia you are visiting, click here for a comprehensive list of certified tours you can book right away.

Same thing goes if you are traveling by bus. You can buy your bus and train tickets online for dozens of destinations in Bolivia  and to neighboring countries. Just click here, write in your origin and destination and the date you want to travel. You will be able to compare prices and services and choose the best option for you.

But, wait. Are you anxious too much planning wil stifle your freedom? Are you not ready to commit to a tight schedule? Well, that takes us to the next tip:

  1. Know you can always change your mind or cancel

Planning and booking ahead is a tool you use to ensure you get a room you like and you have your tickets secured for your trip, as well as giving you a feeling of safety and control. But this is your trip. You can cancel a hotel booking after a few days if you don´t feel comfortable, or have found a place that better suits your needs. You can cancel bus and train tickets and get most of your money back, as long as you do it 48 hours before the trip. Same thing applies for tours.

Of course, if you are tight on cash, your cancelling options might be fewer. But, if you book with Tickets Bolivia, you can even just change the destination or date of your trip, so you don´t need to cancel but you still enjoy the freedom of improvising as you go along.

You can do whatever you want on this trip. You can be more adventurous, or more easygoing. You can be social or a loner. You can have the  peace of mind that comes with booking everything ahead, with the thrill of making your trip your own as you go along.

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  1. Bring extra cash for safer options

Speaking of tight on cash, it is a very real thing that you should have extra cash you can count on in order to stay safe, especially if you are having doubts about the trip.

Safety and freedom to change your mind are things you should really invest in.  For example, if you need to take a cab because you don´t feel comfortable walking or taking public transportation, or booking into a more expensive but safer hotel, or cancelling a bus ticket without the possibility of a refund because you simply changed your mind.

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You may never need to use it, but you will be reassured just knowing that the extra money is there to spend it if you need it.

  1. Bonus tip: know you will probably be glad you came

99.9% of the time, you’ll be glad you came. You will look around you at the landscape, the view, the food in front of you, the new friends you´ve made and say to yourself: I´m so glad I went on this trip. But often you don’t realize that until you’re on the ground in your destination. Feeling the different temperature, the language of people, the streets full of different smells and colors. That may be all that it takes to remind yourself why you love traveling in the first place.

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Uyuni Salt Flat (by Gaby Iturri)

Of course, there are occasional instances when cancelling a trip altogether is the right way to go. Maybe the time is not right and you can make this trip later in the year. Maybe it´s something else you need to solve. In any case, se hope these tips are useful for making up your mind.

5 of the most amazing cities to visit in South America

South America has some of the most amazing cities in the world. Can you imagine traveling by land from Sao Paulo, the biggest city in the region, to Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America, to La Paz, the highest altitude capital city on earth, to Cusco, the party capital of Peru, ending in Lima, the city by the sea where trying the food is enough reason to stay? In this post, we tell you about six of the most amazing cities in South America and how to get from one to the other, crossing the entire continent by land!

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Park in Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo, Brasil

Sao Paulo, is the largest and one of the mos wonderful cities in South America, with endless things to do and see. The huge diversity of art, food, historic and recreational activities this city offers can be overwhelming (for example, there are over 15,000 bars) so find some cool spots to visit before your trip. This way, you are sure to use your time wisely.

So, any idea where to go? For food, the Jardins district is rife with little restaurants and art-house cinemas. While it’s not necessarily eye-pleasing, it is a sophisticated city with a melting pot of cultures. With influences from Japan, Italy, Lebanon, Germans and a growing number of Peruvians and Bolivians, to name just a few, the city has a unique fusion of culture. This post makes for a list of excellent restaurants where you can try just about anything.

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Street art in Sao Paulo

There are plenty of cool attractions in Sao Paulo alongside the museums and cathedrals. For an unusual art exhibit, visit Beco do Batman, Batman Alley, an open air gallery of street art attracting artists from all over the world. Or you can take a look at the world’s second highest Lego tower, made of 500,000 pieces. And of course, there are plenty of shopping options, from high-end designer clothes to markets full of antiques and handicrafts.

To get to our next destination, the capital city of Argentina, you can take a bus from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires. The trip is a long, but rewarding one, and you can buy your tickets online by visiting the Tickets Bolivia page.

 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Steak, tango, red wine and football. Buenos Aires, the ‘Paris of South America’, is known for many things. It has a reputation for being seductive, elegant and sophisticated. With theatres, opera houses, galleries, and French and Italian influenced architecture. Buenos Aires has a lot going for it and a lot to keep you entertained.

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9 de Julio Av, Buenos Aires

This city is a strong contender for South America’s best party city. It’s not just the nightlife that’s over the topt in Buenos Aires, as you’ll realise while you walk around its busy streets. For a dose of architecture, history and literature all in one, check out El Ateneo Grand Splendid, one of the world’s biggest and most beautiful bookstores that’s lived previous lives as a theatre and cinema.

The food is another erason to spend a few days here. You can´t leave if you haven´t tried a parrila, where heaps of steak, sausage, ribs are put on a grill and washed down with the best local Malbec.

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Tango Show in the streets of Buenos Aires

A great way to spend a day here is to explore the barrios, walking from one neighborhood to the next. They all have distinct personalities. For example, the lively La Boca is known for the rows of colourful houses, whereas San Telmo is famous for its eclectic markets. The elegant Recoleta has the lavish cemetery, while the trendy Palermo is great for people watching.

To get from Buenos Aires to our next destination, La Paz, you can buy bus tickets online. The buses are very comfortable and the journey takes around 30 hours.

La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz, the administrative capital of Bolivia, is the highest in the world. Located at 3,600 meters above sea level, in the Andes Mountains, you can take in gorgeous views of the city that literally clings to and sprawls down the canyon that’s incredible to explore.

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La Paz cable car view

If it’s the views you’re after, head on the aerial cable car system, Mi Teleferico. In 2014 the city introduced Mi Teleférico, the world’s highest cable car network. This transformed the city, lifting people up out of the traffic and turning an hour drive into a thrilling ten minute journey through the sky. As well as saving many of residents from commuter hell, the views of the city and the insight into life of the locals are amazing. Be sure to dress warmly and be prepared to spend some time acclimating to the high elevations. It can be tough if you’re not used to higher-altitude cities. For a few tips on how to cope, check out this post.

When you´re done with floating over the city, try walking it. Wander through the large food market, inspect the bizarre and gruesome things on offer in the witches market, and enjoy the intriguing architect style, a combination of concrete blocks against dramatic Gothic spires. It’s dizzy, gritty and chaotic but also exhilarating and enthralling with an endearing rough-around-the-edges charm.

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Streer fair in La Paz

Our next destination is cusco. You can buy bus tickets from la Paz to Cusco by cliking here, where you will also find the schedules and prices of the best companies offering this service.

 Cusco, Peru

Cusco is a city famous for being the gateway to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu. The city has many colonial cobbled streets, white buildings and ubiquitous orange rooftops, making it one of the most beautiful cities in South America. The spiritual vibration of the surrounding sacred valley is felt throughout the city, so yoga spots, meditation sessions and ethical vegan eateries are common. It’s also one of the best cities to visit in South America for anyone wanting to learn Spanish, with loads of local schools offering courses at cheap prices.

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Plaza de Armas Square

Cusco was once the Inca capital, and it was built on the ruins of ancient temples and palaces. It´s rich history is fascinating. Plaza de Armas is the heart of the city and an ideal starting point of any walking tour. Cusco is home to a lively nightlife, for which it has been named ‘party capital of Peru’. All kinds of bars and clubs surround the square, playing electronic, hip-hop and dance music till the early hours with street vendors on hand for when you make the journey back to your hotel.

Our final destination in this tour of cities is Lima. To travel by bus from from Cuzco to Lima, and to see the schedules and prices of the best companies offerind this service, click here.

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Inca walls near Cuzco

Lima, Peru

A lot of travellers pass through Lima on their way to Cusco and Machu Picchu or on their way back. Lima may get a day or two at a glance on most itineraries, but it’s not a city many stay in. Yet, Lima has a lot to offer travelers, especially foodies.

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A view of Lima

Founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro, Peru’s capital city is one of the best cities in South America to visit. Located between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Coast, you’ll find a huge amount of colonial Spanish buildings as well as ancient Incan archaeological sites close by. Some cool things to do in Lima include:

  • Visit El Circuito Mágico del Agua: The Magic Water Circuit is a night show of water and light in Parque de la Reserva: 13 water fountains that come to life with lasers, coloured lights, and music.
  • Eat ceviche: This popular seafood dish is made with raw fish cured in lemon. The fish is served with white corn, sweet potato, and red onions, typically for lunch. Some popular cevicherias in Lima include: La Mar, Punta Sal, Pescados Capitales and El Punto Azul.
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Seafood Ceviche
  • Eat peruvian food in general: Peruvian food has become known around the world for its blend of indigenous, spanish and asian cultures, and for the way its street food and popular cousine has been made gourmet with a few fusion twists. Peru’s cuisine has evolved, blended, and been adapted by the various cultures found within the country. Some prime examples of this include chifa (Peruvian-Chinese fusion) and nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese fusion). You’ll also find that dishes vary by geographical region, resulting in coastal, Andean, and jungle food. For all these reasons, Lima is considered the gastronomic capital of Latin America. From the most gourmet restaurants to the cheapest street-food trucks, the food in Lima is well worth trying.
  • Tour the city: The bus tour company Mirabus runs various tours within Lima.. If you want to get an overview of Miraflores and Lima’s historic centre, then their tour Lima by Dayis a good option. The tour last 3.5 hours and it is 70 soles.
  • Shop at Larcomar. Larcomar is a shopping centre located in Miraflores, which stands out because it has been built on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with amazing lookout points. People come here to shop, have dinner, or enjoy a snack with an amazing view.

We hope the information is useful and wish you happy traveling!