Sports are one of the keenest ways we celebrate being Australian, both at home and internationally. Our love of sports is matched only by our love of travelling, so as Rio fever takes hold, many of us are opting for front row seats to support our athletes in their quest to bring home the gold. For Aussies, the route to Rio is no mean feat as the flight time is at least 24 hours. Hard tucker as the proverbial says. To avoid jet lag and make the most of the trip, we’ve come up with some proper travel hacks for the best stopover destinations en route to Rio. Meaning Aussies can have a breather, explore exciting destinations along the way, and maybe show our competitors what we’re made of before the final touchdown in Brazil.
Route: Rio de Janeiro via Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Taking a flight via the Middle East is one of the most direct ways Aussies can get to Rio, and Abu Dhabi is a mint destination for a vibrant stopover. Exploring the streets of Abu Dhabi is a total buzz; it’s city of contrasts where century-old mosques and palaces stand alongside state-of-the-art skyscrapers. Petrolheads rejoice! Aussie Revheads must take a spin and do a hot lap on the famous Yas Marina Circuit, home of the world’s most prestigious motor racing competition; get your motor running. The more ‘refined’ sportspeople among us can check out one of the world’s finest cricket grounds at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Route: Rio de Janeiro via Santiago, Chile
Aussies wanting the South American experience should head to Chile’s capital, Santiago, before landing in Rio. Football fans can watch a best-in-class match, with plenty of local games taking place throughout August and September. However, there’s much more to Santiago than its football culture and you should be sure get to know the city’s bohemian subculture by wandering the streets of the barrios (neighbourhoods). If you want to dive into the centre of cool, check out Lastarria, a hipster haven filled with eclectic cafes and wine bars. And don’t forget that you are on holiday and siestas are totally in Chile. If you want to relax like a local have a snooze in the sun at the nearby Parque Forestal.
Route: Rio de Janeiro via Buenos Aires, Argentina
Like Santiago, Buenos Aires is a football-mad city and with Maradona at the helm, soccer is usually the country’s greatest passion. But it’s the Argentinian Rugby Sevens team that’s recently captured the nation’s attention and 2016 is the debut of the sevens competition at the Games. Currently ranked number 5 in the world, the Argentinian team is the underdog of the competition, and with Rio being just a three hour flight across the Amazon it’s sure to receive plenty of local support. It’s bound to be a great team to get behind and a great way to meet locals and experience the true Argentina. If you’re looking for something to balance out the sports overload see how fancy your footwork is off the field by taking a tango class, or try tantalising their taste buds with a juicy Argentinian steak at one of the city’s best parrillas (steakhouses).
Route: Rio de Janeiro via Los Angeles, USA
Welcome to the jungle. With more and more regular routes available, Los Angeles is our gateway to the Americas. LA is a perfect pre-Rio stopover for Aussies hoping to balance some sightseeing and shopping with a little…ahem, ‘culture’. If you want to see what America’s passion for Baseball is all about try cheering on the LA Dodgers in a major league match-up at Dodger Stadium; complete with pretzels, warm beer and hotdogs. Fans of the silver screen or just those wanting to ogle their favourite star can try their luck at celebrity spotting by cruising through Beverly Hills taking a celebrity bus tour or hitting up the Brentwood Farmers’ Market.
Route: Rio de Janeiro via Lisbon, Portugal
Boom! Europe. Half of us have backpacked our ways through France and Italy etc, but how many of you can say you’ve seen Portugal? Well, now’s your chance. Packed full of sights, including the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Praça do Comércio or walking through Alfama, the old city, which often feels more like a maze than a residential area. Like Rio, an enormous statue of Christ towers over the city-dwellers below, keeping you connected and looking forward to the impending games as you check out the thriving party scene and excellent bars and cafes. If food’s your bag try fresh seafood direct from the Atlantic at one of Lisbon’s world-class restaurants or at the city’s biggest fresh food market, Mercado da Ribeira.
Debby Soo, KAYAK Vice President, APAC comments, “Whether for the love sport or not, the popularity of the Games is astounding and attracts fans from around the world to support their teams live on-site. At KAYAK, we’re passionate about helping you plan and manage your trips while providing inspiration on how to get the most out of your travels. Aussies heading to Rio should totally take advantage of the many stopover city opportunities en route to Brazil, to amplify their experience. By using our multi-city tool, which takes into consideration one-way fares and multiple airlines, you can take control of your itinerary and desired stopover destinations. It’s a great way to see more of the world while breaking up the travel time.”
Note to editors:
*The hotel prices (including taxes and fees) are for stay in a double occupancy room, and were collated on 20 June 2016 for travel in August 2016, for the respective hotels mentioned in the release with a minimum 3-star rating. Prices are subject to change and offers may no longer be available.
**The flight prices (including taxes and fees, excluding baggage fees) are for a one-way economy flight from Melbourne, Australia, and were collated on 20 June 2016 for travel in August 2016. Prices are subject to change and offers may no longer be available.
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