Pre-paid Travel Cards and Weather

We are going to Chile (Patagonia & Tierra Del Fuego Trip, code AGE) in December 2012, then on to Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.  Is a pre=paid travel card a good idea, loaded with US dollars?  Will the weather be mixed - hot and cold?

Staff member

Hello Maggie,

In terms of spending money, we generally recommend taking US dollars cash and a credit/debit card. Sterling and Euros can be exchanged in some places, such as Santiago, but not very readily elsewhere and the rates are likely to be poor. Dollar bills should be clean and unmarked, preferably issued since 2002; bring a sensible mix of denominations. Ensure to notify your bank in advance if you do intend to use your credit/debit cards whilst abroad. As you are planning to travel for some time after your Patagonia & Tierra Del Fuego tour with us, a pre-paid travel card might be another option, but there are various different types of pre-paid cards so I would advise you to check with the provider which countries it can be used in, and whether it can be used to withdraw from any standard ATM/cash point, or only specific types. When it comes to weather, I would advise that you take layers with you as you will be covering large distances and should expect to experience an array of temperatures and conditions. December is a good time of year to travel to this region, since it’s in the Southern Hemisphere where the seasons are the reverse of those in Europe. Chile and Argentina experience longer warmer days in the season between October and April, however the climate in Patagonia in particular is renowned for its volatility; be aware that Patagonia can experience all 4 seasons in one day, and strong winds are not uncommon. Summer temperatures in Buenos Aires on the other hand can reach up to 35-40 degrees Celcius, whilst in some years winds south of the Lake District can be exceptionally strong between November and February, and can bring in snow from the Antarctic! Be prepared, and layers are the key.

Many thanks  Jenny.  Your advice is more or less what we've decided.  we are taking dollars for our trip kitty and some extra.  Also we have preloaded Fairfx travel cards, they seemed to be the best rates.  We chose the travel anywhere card which you load with sterling and get the currency according to whichever country you use it.  I hope it works!  Unusually, we have almost packed, with still a week to go.  Layers are definitely the key, with a 15 kilos limit including sleeping bag etc there's not much room for many clothes.

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