SA will no longer issue temporary South African passports. The UK has already banned South Africans from travelling on temporary passports, due to security concerns. Remember if you don't have a passport that it takes approximately 4 - 6 weeks to be issued a new South African passport by the Department of Home Affairs.
Make sure that you have a passport that is valid for at least 6 more months before you travel - many countries will not issue you with a visa or allow you to enter should your passport be on the verge of expiry.
Make 3 photocopies of all your vital travel documentation (and get them certified) such as passport, air tickets etc. to avoid being stranded if your belongings go missing while overseas: keep one set with you, leave one in your luggage and leave the last one with a friend at home who can fax them to you if you run into trouble while travelling. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
VaccinationsWhen travelling to more exotic destinations, enquire whether any specific vaccinations or health precautions are required and have these done in good time.
5. TRAVEL INSURANCE
Never travel without adequate travel insurance. The free cover that you may receive from paying by credit card is generally quite limited and the excesses to be paid are high. Talk to US about our innovative and competitive travel insurance products - rather be safe than sorry!
6. MONEY MATTERS
Travellers ChequesOur foreign exchange rates are updated regularly. Through our foreign exchange partner AMEX, you are able to order your foreign exchange online from the Sure Travel website, indicating your nearest AMEX branch so that you can collect your foreign exchange. When collecting your foreign exchange remember that you will need to present AMEX with: your passport, air ticket, and documentation indicating your current address.Credit Cards To use yourATM credit cards with cash advance you will need a PIN number, ensure that you get this activated by your bank. It's a good idea however, to check before you go whether credit cards are accepted at your destination. Don't find yourself stranded!CashIt's often helpful to buy small amounts of foreign currency before departure for phones, buses or a taxi. The exchange rate might not be so good - but it saves you the hassle when you arrive.
7. BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
Remember that it is often best to travel just before or after the peak summer holiday season - it is easier to find seats on flights, prices are generally lower, the destination is not unpleasantly crowded and the weather is often more pleasant than in the height of summer.
8. RESEARCH YOUR HOLIDAY DESTINATION
Before you go on holiday, do some research on your holiday destination – Sure Travel’s website is perfect for this, look at our destination / city info. We are able to offer you an overview of the Destination, things to see and do, attractions, tours, restaurant info, visa info, airport info, currency info and much more all on one page…You will be armed with far more information and this will help you not to waste your precious holiday time scouting around once you get there. You can even e-mail this info to fellow travellers.
9. YOUR HOLIDAY ITINERARY
Don't attempt to cram too much into your holiday - too many sights, too many destinations will leave you exhausted and in need of another holiday to recover from the one you're currently "enjoying!" Relax and soak up the atmosphere and ambience of the destination.
10. PACKING FOR YOUR TRIP
When packing, collect everything you think you will need and then halve it. Travel light! Do not make the mistake of taking too much clothing - there is little worse than lugging a hefty bag for 3 weeks around Europe, only to find out when you unpack that you did not wear half your things. This way you will also leave some space for those "must-have" purchases that will tempt you at every turn. Do not take unnecessary valuables and jewellery. If you have to carry medicine get a doctor's note in case you are stopped by customs or loose your medication and need a replacement. Roll your clothing when packing, rather than folding it. You will be surprised by how much more you can fit in and also avoid excessive creasing....
11. SAFETY TIPS
Avoid walking around with a camera around your neck or standing on street corners looking at maps. This screams "tourist" to any unsavoury elements who may wish to take advantage of you. When you are in your hotel, avoid using the "make up the room" signs - it tells everyone that you're not around and the coast is clear. Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas. Do not accept packages from strangers. To avoid being a target of crime, try not to wear conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry. Do not carry excessive amounts of money or unnecessary credit cards. In order to avoid violating local laws, deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money or purchase art or antiques.
Make an effort to learn the basic greetings etc. of the local language and use them when interacting with the local people. They genuinely appreciate the effort and courtesy and you will generally be treated with even greater friendliness.
13. CONVERTING BACK TO RANDS
Never make the mistake of constantly converting expenses back into Rands - it will only make your holiday a miserable marathon, rather than the holiday of your dreams. Positive attitude is everything!
14. COMMUNICATION WHILST ABROAD
Making phone calls from hotels abroad can be astronomical, a good idea is to set up an e-mail account which will allow you to communicate via e-mail to all family and friends at an internet café. Most hotels also offer e-mail facilities. When abroad you can also buy a SIM card for that country and then buy pay as you go airtime. World traveller call cards can be purchased locally or abroad and can offer longer talk time.
16. INTERNATIONAL PLUGS
Remember to take an international plug adaptor for the countries that you are travelling to with you so that you are able to charge your cell phone, camera batteries, laptop etc.
17. DEPARTURE TAXES
Don't forget some countries have a departure tax which is payable in cash when you leave that country. Make sure you've got enough local currency to pay it.
18. CUSTOMS & LOCAL LAWS
Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling
19. JET LAG AND THE FIRST DAY OF YOUR TRIP
Anyone flying through time zones will have to overcome jet lag. Make sure that you leave home well rested. When you fly ensure that you drink plenty of liquids, eat lightly, and rest! Avoid coffee & alcohol. Try to get at least two or three hours' sleep during the flight. Very importantly reset your mind to local time. When the pilot announces the local time for your destination, reset your mind along with your wristwatch. Don't prolong jet lag by reminding yourself what time it is back home. On arrival, stay awake until an early local bedtime.
Saturday, 4 October 2008