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Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Olympic Dreams: Traveling to Rio

National Geographic Traveler editor at large Christopher Elliott is the magazine’s consumer advocate and ombudsman. Over the past 15 years he has helped countless readers fix their trips.

Here’s his latest advice:

Reader Question: I want to go to the Rio Olympics in August 2016. Can I make reservations now?

My Answer: You’re a tad early to book, but not to plan.

Most airlines sell tickets 330 days or so in advance—and many tour operators will begin offering packages around the same time. Hotel reservations follow roughly the same schedule. Event tickets should go on sale about a year before the opening ceremonies.

The best place to begin your Olympic journey is Rio’s English-language site, where you can research the venues and schedules as they’re made available. But take your time making a choice.

“It’s not ideal to lock yourself into something and then realize that there are other events that pique your interest,” says Ben Stasiuk, general manager for tour operator Goway Travel.

You’ll probably save money by booking a package before everyone else catches Olympic fever, but don’t expect the savings to be too aggressive. It’s also not too early to make sure you have a valid passport and can meet Brazil’s visa requirements.

Oh, and it’s definitely not too soon to start learning a little Portuguese. Boa sorte.

Christopher Elliott is Traveler magazine’s consumer advocate and pens the “Problem Solved” column for the magazine (this exchange appeared in the November 2014 issue). Follow Christopher’s story on Twitter @elliottdotorg.

Do you have a burning travel question? Share it with us in the comments section below for a chance to appear in Traveler magazine.

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