The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil will be the most exciting sporting event in the world, and you’re going. Lucky you! As you count down the days to football’s biggest celebration, use the following guide during your travel prep to ensure that you not only have the most epic experience, but that you survive it as well.

Football World Cup Home Base

Before you land in Brazil with a plan to city hop from one host city to another, remember Brazil is about the same size as the United States – in other words, big. (Brazil also doesn’t have a countrywide rail service.) Not to disappoint the dude who wants to catch all the major matches and grab a brew on the move, but Brazil’s 12 World Cup host cities are separated by some serious distance.

Start with a home base. If you bought World Cup tickets specific to a venue or match, then the city that is home to that venue, or host of that match, can be your home base. If you bought team-specific tickets, then you already know your destinations based on your top team and its group.

Where to end your journey? Rio de Janeiro, the Marvellous City, is like the heart and soul of the World Cup in Brazil. End your trip in Rio for the final, and you’ll experience the party of a lifetime. The official FIFA Fan Fest takes place on the famous Copacabana beach where you’ll party hard with thousands of World Cup fanatics and a caipirinha in hand.

Buddy System

The World Cup is the world’s biggest and most exciting sporting event, and you’re sure to make friends from across the globe along the way. Travelling solo and meeting people is cool, yes, but travelling during the World Cup with a buddy could be a better idea, especially in a country where football’s religion and celebrations are wild. How wild? Definitely more wild than your college homecoming with your fraternity brothers.

Travelling World Cup packages may not sound super adventurous, but these tours are helpful when it comes to arranging accommodations and transportation. Because the New Zealand team didn’t make it this time around, supporting the Aussies might be the next best thing. GGArmy.com offers football fans World Cup tours that include accommodations, Socceroos match transfers, and easy access to cultural sites and amazing landscapes.

Why not embrace the ANZAC spirit and bro out with other Socceroo fans on the Follow Australia tour? You’ll get to experience all three of the cities hosting Australia’s group matches and get right in the action during Socceroos victories.

Safety First, My Friend

Remember you’re at the World Cup. In Brazil. Things will get crazy. And anything could happen. Of course, no true football fan would be in Brazil for the World Cup and not party like a rockstar. To not do so would be shameful. But let’s be real, you’d agree you want to leave South America alive, and in the same condition that you arrived in – untouched, unharmed and not robbed.

Don’t neglect to remember these tips:

• Avoid wearing designer clothing and expensive accessories to attract unwanted attention.

• Discreetly use expensive gadgets, and secure valuables or cash with a money belt that’s out of sight or with a backpack lock.

• Be aware of pickpocketing, shoulder surfing, ATM skimming, and express kidnapping.

• Be attentive to your surroundings in large crowds; thieves loom around public festivals, targeting vulnerable tourists.

• Get travel insurance in case of a medical emergency or injury. Also, if your money is stolen leaving you stranded, you can rely on that insurance to get back home, notes Budget Direct.

• Keep your passport in a safe location; carry a copy of your passport and driver’s license with you.

• Use licensed taxis and never resist an attacker.

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