Rich and Vivid
Vanessa van den Berg from Travel Temptations, in association with etravel, advises travellers to make copies of their passport and air tickets. “Leave a set at home with your emergency contact person and pack a set in your suitcase. Ensure you have two unused pages adjacent to one another available [in your passport] and that your passport is valid for at least six months after your return date to South Africa.” Don’t Leave Home Without Michelle Bullmore from Travel Counsellors says a multi-plug is an essential item to pack. “In that way, you can charge all your devices in one go, especially since hotels rarely provide enough plugs.”
Speaking of charging, a fully charged cellphone with a spare power bank is the ticket to making sure you’re always connected. Says Brink: “I have received calls from travellers who need help, but their phone is going to ‘die any minute’. I can’t help if I can’t communicate with you.”
Brink also carries a mobile router that allows multiple devices to connect to it. “This is really helpful if you’re travelling with a small group or as a family. Buy a local SIM and you can all connect to the Internet at local rates.”
Potgieter advises travellers never to leave home before they’ve bought travel insurance. “Even if you’ve booked your air ticket using your credit card or have private medical cover, make sure you understand what insurance is included and whether it will be enough cover for an emergency. The cost of medical expenses overseas is much higher than in South Africa and travel insurance is there to cover for that.” In Your Hand Luggage Mandy Maggen from Tella Travel, in association with etravel, never travels without at least a day or two’s supply of prescription medication. “If you packed your medication in your checked luggage and it gets lost, you’re in trouble.”
As the CEO of Thompsons Holidays, Joanne Adolphe travels a lot. “By trial and error, I’ve learnt what to take along and what to leave at home. I carry a pashmina for the plane which I can use as a shawl in the evenings, as well as an extra light holdall or shopping bag. Wet wipes are also useful and can also be used as loo paper if necessary.”
A final word on travel essentials is to check that the travel company or consultant you are working with is a member of an industry body, like the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA). “ASATA represents 95 % of South Africa’s travel industry and by entrusting your travel to the hands of an Asataaccredited travel company, you can travel with peace of mind,” says CEO Otto de Vries.