If you’re female, traveling alone and planning to stay in Buenos Aires for a long time on a particular project or as part of a gap year, you’ll need some help and advice from a single, British female who has lived in Buenos Aires since 2009. Here’s how to get set-up and organised in Buenos Aires in just two days…
1. Before you arrive
If you’re going to be staying in Buenos Aires for a long period of time (anything from one month or more), it’s best to avoid staying in hostels and rent a room in a shared house or apartment instead. The best site for a foreigner to visit when looking for shared accommodation in Buenos Aires is Craigslist, but it’s not a good idea to tie yourself into a month’s contract or more in shared accommodation before you arrive.
What’s more, it’s well worth stating that on Craigslist most foreigners are charged in US$ and not in Argentine pesos. Some deals via Craigslist are arranged in pesos, but at the time of writing, for shared accommodation, prices are coming in at around 3000 pesos or more. The Connecting Worlds Team is able to help you find shared accommodation, priced in pesos, and for less than 3000 pesos a month.
Feel free to contact us directly at Connecting Worlds too. We can help you to get set-up, we can be here to greet you and we can help you get organised or find projects that you are interested in getting involved in too.
One final tip would be to unlock your phone before you leave your country and bring it with you. When you arrive to Buenos Aires, you will then be able to insert and Argentine cellphone chip into your phone. Phones are not cheap and having one ready to use will make life a whole lot easier upon arrival.
2. At the airport
Use the Manuel Tienda Leon service from the airport to arrive to the centre of Buenos Aires. It’s a lot, lot cheaper than a taxi and very comfortable. You can buy your ticket as soon as you come through into arrivals.
Don’t change all your dollars in the airport, as you’ll get better “blue” rates in the centre, but do make sure you change US$100 upon arrival. US$100 will cover your Manuel Tienda Leon ticket, your first night’s accommodation, food and travel needs for the first two days, going on the idea that you are on a budget and you’re not going to go out partying like a mad woman during the first few days
3. Day 1
After your first night in the hostel of your choice, it will be time to get set-up and organised with the basics. The four most important things to do during your first day in Buenos Aires when staying long-term include the following…
Buy the GuiaT – it’s a small map of the city which lists the subte, train and bus routes too. You mustn’t be without it.
Travel around on the subte and on the buses for a few hours. Get a feel for the city and how to get from Palermo to Boedo or from Almagro to Caballito, for example.
Change your dollars. We recommend that you contact us directly to find out where the safe places are to change your dollars using the “blue” market at the time of travel, as things change all the time in Buenos Aires when it comes to foreign currency exchange.
Get your Sube card. You will need your passport to get the Sube, (a card which is used to travel on all buses, the subway and the trains in Buenos Aires, including those trains which go to the provinces). It’s worth completing the forms and lining up to get your Sube because you will end up having to pay double on transport every time you travel if you don’t have one and you will also always need to have coins to pay for your travel on buses, which can be a real pain.
Visit Movistar, Claro and Personal (the three main cellphone companies in Argentina) and find out what chips are available to you for your cellphone. Take note… to get a contract (as opposed to Pay As You Go) you’ll need a DNI number (Argentine identification number). Therefore, you’ll either have to find someone who can help by allowing you to use their DNI number or you’ll have to settle for a Pay As You Go chip.
4. Day 2
Start making useful contacts. Begin connecting with people/groups of interest to other travelers and expats in the city. Making friends should be high on your list of priorities if you are alone and wishing to stay for a long period of time. For example…
Contact us here at Connecting Worlds for projects, placements, internships, working holidays and more… we have projects available all over the country, not just in Buenos Aires.
Contact VOS Escuela for Spanish classes and to take advantage of their cultural programme.
Contact the guys at Spanglish to find out about their language exchange nights… This is a great way of meeting native Spanish speakers too!
Contact me directly at The Jolly English Pirate. I specialise in helping women traveling in Buenos Aires on their own. I can be a helpful source of information, a friend when you need one, or someone to go partying with when the mood takes you too.
Spend the rest of the day getting your accommodation finalised. Finding the perfect “home” will be just as important to you in the long run as making friends.
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