Getting to the Rio Olympics: What to Know, What to Do

If getting to the Rio Olympics is your dream, here is information that will help but you must act now.

LISTEN: Travel expert Rick Seaney has more tips & tricks.

Getting to the Rio Olympics

Items for your check-list including how to find the best airfare deals.

1. Check documents

  • Entry requirements: You need a passport (and the U.S. State Department suggests it be valid for an additional six months after your return, though this does not seem to be a requirement of the Brazilian government).
  • Do I need a visa? Some visitors to Brazil normally need a visa to enter but this is being waived for travel during the Olympics for the U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan (no visa is needed for anyone in the EU, Russia, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa and more). Learn more here.

2. Find hotels, venue tickets

  • Accommodations: Book hotels now; that’s the advice from several experts. Back in June, the New York Times was reporting that rooms in most five-star properties had already been snapped up so hurry (and don’t forget AirBnB).
  • Olympics tickets: The U.S. State Department says there is only one “legitimate” ticket seller for those within the U.S. – – but the official Olympic site Rio 2016 has also stated it will sell any remaining tickets at venues throughout Rio (and beyond).

3. Find flights

  • Get airline tickets now: Flights to Rio de Janeiro from the U.S. currently range from about $1,200+ to $1,800+ but prices are trending upwards; again, do not delay.
  • Compare fares: Even if you’ve ‘heard’ that prices at one airline are better than all the others, compare fares anyway. If you don’t, you could spend more than you have to (possibly, a lot more).
  • Arrive late: If you don’t mind missing the opening ceremonies, plan to arrive during the second week of the Rio Olympics because airfares are running about 20% cheaper.

4. Be safe, be informed

  • Read up: Find great information and advice in the U.S. State Department’s Rio Olympics section including safety tips, using ATMs, medical insurance, embassy and consulate contacts and much more (and people from all countries will find useful tips here). See more good information at Rio2016, the official site for the Games.
  • Sign up: It only takes a minute for U.S. travelers to sign up for the STEP program (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) which will help authorities and loved ones contact you in the event of an emergency.


Updated: August 24, 2017