Specific Travel Tips for Southern Africa
Check out our “Southern Africa Travel Tips” as you prepare for your trip and as a handy reference guide during your trip.
General Travel Tips gathered from Global Sojourns and GS sojourners
Before you travel
- Make sure your passport is up to date, has some blank pages in it and has at least 6 months on it before your travel dates and the expiry date
- If you need a visa, make sure you apply for it in plenty of time!
- Visit your physician and/or travel clinic to get appropriate vaccinations, prescriptions and travel medical advice; make your appointment date for at least 4-6 weeks before your travels
- Find out if, and how, your health insurance works abroad
- Make 1-2 photocopies of your passport and pack it separately from your passport -you might consider scanning your passport and putting it on line so that it would be accessible anywhere you can get an internet connection
- Carry 1-2 extra passport photos (in the unlikely event you lose your passport)
- Write down contact information for your health insurer, credit card companies and bank
- Give a copy of your final itinerary (with contact info.) to key friends/family
- Try and get a good seat assignment (all subjective of course); remember that each plane is different so while you might get a lot of leg room in a bulkhead seat on one place, it may be much more limited on another plane; check out www.seatguru.com or go to the airlines website to check on the specific plane and its configuration
While flying on international flights
Due to new and changing airline security regulations, contact the airlines or the following site to get the latest information on what you are and are not allowed to bring in your carry-on and checked luggage: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm
- Drink plenty of water on the flight
- “tune out” and reduce airplane drone (it’s said that the drone contributes to jet lag); Wax earplugs, found in many drug stores, are highly recommended.
- Consider noise-canceling headphones, and use them in conjunction with earplugs for maximum effect.
- Take off your shoes once you get settled into your seat and consider bringing a warm pair of shocks for the long flights
- Wear “layers” so you can adjust as the temperature changes in the plane -some people swear by carrying a “pashmina” or sarong with them as this can act as a sweater, a blanket, a pillow etc.
- Use an inflatable neck pillow (we recommend a quality one like those made by Eagle Creek; the cover comes off and can be washed)
- Use a comfortable eye mask
Practical items to have easy access to:
- pack of tissues
- baby wipes
- eye drops
- Listerine strips (for when you can’t brush your teeth)
- bring something to nibble on such as: nuts, dried fruit, energy bars, something sweet
Miscellaneous advice from past sojourners
- carry Salon Pas or similar to put on tight muscles
- use a product such as Thermacare Heatwraps to put on your lower back, neck, etc.
- put the airline pillow behind your back
- use “Airborne” or similar product that is marketed as boosting your immune system
Miscellaneous packing tips and suggestions
- pack light! and whenever possible, travel only with carry-on luggage
- get books on tape put into your I-Pod/MPS player
- pack some ear bud headphones which are comfortable if you want to listen to something and want to try and fall asleep
- Swiss army knife (if you’re checking luggage) with scissors, tweezers, wine opener, etc.
- pack a very lightweight backpack/bag that folds up in your suitcase and can be used for daily excursions, for checking in a bag for your flight home, etc.
- if doing a lot of activities in the sun, wear a hat with a flap that covers your neck
- travel sized games -travel Scrabble, Boggle, playing cards
- if visiting multiple countries, write out the exchange rate and your contacts #s on index cards- one for each country you visit
- pack favorite food items/spices such as “Sweet-n-Low”
- good flashlight or headlamp if staying in places with limited electricity
- a small reading light or a headlamp if sharing a room and want to stay up to read
- a sleep sack (i.e. silk) if camping, etc.
- bring lots of single US$s for tips, etc.
- get some money exchanged right when you land so you will have money for tips, etc.
- tea bags; if trying to stay well hydrated and if your burn out on drinking straight water, drop a favorite flavored tea bag in a bottle of water for some variety
- carry packets of Emergen C or similar product
- carry Castille Soap: a couple of clients swear by this (they recommend the mint flavor)- it can be used as soap, as shampoo and even to brush your teeth!
- a good medical kit; include prescriptions and items suggested by your physician/travel clinic; some things found in our clients’ kits include: -Neosporin, Band-aids, Cipro, Doxycyclen, Benadryl, aspirin, ibuprofen, a decongestant (for blocked ears, etc.), Afren (clears up nasal passage), throat lozenges, tea tree oil; Immodium, Pepto Bismol; sunscreeen, bug spray
- pack some ziplock bags (multiple uses)
- Getting/updating passports: http://www.travel.state.gov/
- Foreign entry requirements (visas): http://www.travel.state.gov/
- Health information by destination (recommended and required immunizations, etc.) from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov
- US Government’s tips for traveling abroad (ie. consular sheets, travel warnings, passport info): http://www.travel.state.gov/
Air Travel Information:
- Information about how to make a transfer, airport lay-outs, storage facilities, etc. from airports around the world: http://www.worldairportguide.com
- Airline seats: To view where your seats are located on your flights: Seat Guru and Seat Expert
Money, Internet, Adapters, and Weather Details:
- Currency Converter: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
- Guide to cyber cafes around the world: www.cybercafes.com
- Worldwide weather: www.qwikcast.com; http://weather.msn.com
- Answers to all Travel Time Zone Questions: http://www.worldtimeserver.com
- Plugs and adapters: http://www.escapeartist.com/global/Plug_Adapters1.html