Heading overseas for the holidays? Do these things before you travel and you’ll have a stress-free trip!
Avoid Visa Nightmares
Make sure you know exactly what you need when it comes to visas and the country you are visiting – and don’t trust the internet! Restrictions for South Africans differ to other countries and you could end up being sent back if you end up somewhere like Vietnam without a visa. Contact a visa agent at least a few weeks before you go. Also use this free travel app – Go Visa – that allows you to check visa requirements for your country.
Plan for Culture Shock
Do yourself a favour and do some research on the country you are visiting before you pack those new little denim shorts. Cultural norms are a huge factor to consider when travelling. If you wear a low-cut top in India for example, you’re asking to be ogled endlessly and will most likely offend local women. No time to hit the bookstore or just couldn’t be bothered to travel with books? No problem. Buy travel apps and eBooks from Lonely Planet here.
Take These Wallet Essentials
Forget Travellers Cheques – your best option is either a travel wallet type card which you load with dollars in advance. Some banks will allow you to use your credit card overseas for the same cost. Visit your bank and chat to a consultant and then choose the cheapest option – unfortunately you’re always going to pay a lot to withdraw overseas but at least if you know what that amount is you can budget for it. Also download a currency converter like this one and make sure you know how much money you’re getting for your rands. Also download the banking app from your local bank so you can transact from abroad if you need to.
Keep In Touch This Way
Do not use your SIM card and data overseas – you will pay through your teeth. If you want to get on Facebook and Twitter rather take out your SIM and hit the nearest Wi-Fi spot. And tell your friends and family that you’re only going to be available on email and social media. Holidays are to getaway anyway right?
Be Weather Prepared
Make sure you know what the weather will be like at your destination at the time of year you are visiting and plan and pack appropriately. That being said you could end up in the coldest spring your country of choice has had in 30 years. Sometimes that’s just how it is but it will make a great travel story to tell your grandchildren one day. Another useful app is your iPhone weather app (or you can download one for Android), which tells you the weather is whatever city you’re visiting in the world – so at least you can plan day-to-day activities.
Travel insurance is a must! Make sure you take insurance that includes helicopter evacuation and any other ‘special treatments’ you may need depending on where you are going – like treatment for altitude sickness if you’re climbing Kilimanjaro. You can also insure all your luggage (it could get lost or stolen) and against your flights so that if you miss your flight home due to unforeseen circumstances they’ll help pay for a replacement flight.
Visit The Travel Clinic
Make an appointment at a travel clinic near you and get shots for possible diseases you could encounter on your trip. Also make sure you get a tetanus shot and any other boosters you need if it’s been a few years since you last travelled.
What’s In Your Backpack?
You’re going to want to pack the essentials like your bikini, your running shoes and tampons, but don’t pack too much! You’re always going to be tempted to buy things when you’re at your destination, and unless you’re going to Antarctica, chances are you’ll be able to buy what you need there.