Ok, so I NEED help! So I have yet to buy any major gear yet...because im still getting down the details of how my trip is gonna go down..
so, ive posted before about my trip to argentina spanning from buenos aires in August, Iguazu, Salta, Cordoba and (hopefully) Tierra Del Fuego by november and back up to BA by way of the coast by early december.
so one of the things about planning my trip has been the fact that i am paying for it with the money i've been saving in my last year of high school...so now that's 3000$USD, so hopefully ill have at least 1500 more by the time i leave july 30th...not to mention that i should probably exchange my money to pesos ASAP given the crazy inflation rate the dollar is experiencing....but i do have a plane ticket
anyway, for myself travelling as a solo, female, first time backpacker, what can i expect in terms of how im going to be making it on the road...is hitch hiking a NEVER? are tents/sleeping bags rentable if i go on an exsursion? what about couch surfing? any experience with this?
are excurions insanely expensive? where's a good place to research this?
any other advice would be great...i think im pretty good on general stuff, but some tips from seasonzed travelers are of course appreciated
Hitchhiking: never ever ever do that. It's not safe by default, and the fact that a) you're female b) you travel solo c) you're inexperienced make it worse.
Couchsurfing: proceed with great caution. It is not unsafe in itself, but female surfers should exercise common sense. Nothing to the disadvantage of 'latin' male hosts (in SA as well as Europe), but they are not all equally good at reading cues. Try to stay with female hosts as much as possible, agree to meet your hosts in public instead of at their place, and make sure that people know where you are. Also, consider using other hospex networks than couchsurfing.com, preferably one with better safety protocols. CS does not do well in this respect.
Rental equipment: if you don't go off the beaten track too far, tours come all-included. If you plan to do some hiking on your own around Bariloche, you can pretty much rent everything there. Generally, excursion prices aren't too outrageous, but much depends on what you want to do.
Money: it is extremely unsafe to carry around large amounts of cash. Better settle for a lesser exchange rate.
If there is anything else, don't hesitate to post back or contact me directly. I'm sure you will have a wonderful time; might run into you on Tierra del Fuego
As a local with 15 years receiving foreigners I can tell you not all is so terrible as Mr bentivogli says...
All-included tours are very expensive and not necessary for the kind of trip you are planning. All your places are very touristic and able to reach by your own with ease in comfortable buses, as you have time enough to travel (this is a very wide country and big distances take long trips).
About exchange, it's not as I understand you think: our inflation doesn't change the peso/dollar rate. So dosn't make sense to change to pesos ASAP. Change the moeny you need every tiem. Try to buy AmEx travellers cheques. For a small % you keep you money safe.
In case you need more detailed info, write me a private msg with questions and your email
a travelhelper in BA