From eSims – a game changer – to tracking your luggage, opening “international currency” accounts right here from home and wearing pyjamas on your flight… ja, that’s a thing I do! Here are some practical tips for South Africans travelling overseas.
Johannesburg, South Africa (19 June 2023) – Bonjour! I recently had the most incredible break in the beautiful city of Paris, and I thought it would be helpful to share some practical travelling tips for fellow South Africans heading overseas.
Whether you’re off to the City of Love or any other destination, these tips might come in handy. So, grab your passport and let’s dive in!
Visa Preparation is Key
Don’t underestimate the importance of visas. Trust me; I’ve learned the hard way! Make sure to apply for visas well in advance and familiarize yourself with the requirements of your destination. My French visa took just five days to get and they gave me three flipping years!!! To avoid any surprises, check out the list of 61 countries where South Africans can travel visa-free in 2023.
Book Flights in Advance
Planning your flights ahead of time can save you a fortune. I flew directly to Paris with Air France and they were absolutely incredible, from the flight itself to the team and even the food! And the best part was the awesome deal I scored by booking early. You’d be amazed at the prices you can find if you plan ahead. We tend to think travelling overseas is hellishly expensive but if you plan ahead, then you can get some of the best deals. Gain some perspective by visiting Air France’s website.
Open a Forex Account
Take control of your currency exchange by opening a Forex account in your local currency before your trip. Many South African banks offer these, I am a Discovery Bank client and they offer an excellent Forex account that allows you to save in your currency and have peace of mind when it comes to exchange rates.
Notify your bank and credit card company
Before embarking on your international adventure, make sure to inform your bank and credit card company about your travel plans. This helps prevent any unexpected card blocks or fraudulent activity alerts while you’re abroad. Inform them of your destination and travel dates to ensure smooth and uninterrupted access to your funds.
Track Your Luggage with Apple AirTag
Losing your luggage can be a nightmare, but with Apple AirTag, you can track your bags easily. I experienced this firsthand when my luggage got taken by mistake in Seychelles last year. Thanks to AirTag, I was able to locate and retrieve my belongings promptly. Read about my adventure here.
Protect Your Luggage
No one wants their bags to arrive scratched or damaged. Instead of resorting to airport wrapping services, invest in a travel luggage cover. The Luggage Glove Diamond is a fantastic South African invention that will keep your bags safe, secure, and scratch-free. It’s the must-have accessory for any traveller, and it even locks shut for added security. They are available at most luggage shops.
Embrace Comfort on Long Flights
Now, this tip might make you raise an eyebrow, but trust me, it works wonders. Consider changing into your pyjamas during long flights. Yes, you heard that right! While some may think it’s crazy, being comfortable on a flight can make all the difference. As I board, I change into comfy pyjamas and around an hour and a half before I land, I get into something a little more respectable. Don’t be afraid to relax and get cozy in your own personal comfort zone – unless it’s lingerie. C’est un non due (that’s a hard no).
Pack a universal power adapter
Different countries have different types of power outlets, and having a universal power adapter will save you from the frustration of not being able to charge your devices. Invest in a reliable universal adapter that covers a wide range of plug types and voltages to keep your electronics powered up throughout your trip.
Embrace the eSim Revolution
Say goodbye to hunting for local SIM cards as soon as you land. Instead, opt for an eSim. It’s a game-changer! With an eSim, you can load the SIM card before you even leave South Africa and have data as soon as you touch down in your destination. Airalo is a great service to consider for hassle-free connectivity.
Research local customs and etiquette
Every country has its own unique customs and etiquette, and it’s important to respect and adhere to them as a visitor. Take some time to research the local customs, traditions, and social norms of your destination. This includes understanding appropriate dress codes, greetings, gestures, and dining etiquette. Being aware and respectful of local customs will help you connect with the local culture and avoid unintentional cultural faux pas.
The funny thing is Paris has this social reputation of being unfriendly to “English” people and nothing could be further from the truth. They are kind, helpful and love tourists. I had the best time and I cannot wait to go back to experience the cobblestone streets, the fantastic brasseries and the feeling of being in the city of love.
There’s really something magical about travelling. It’s not just about exploring new places or ticking off destinations on a list. It goes deeper than that – it nourishes your soul. Travelling opens your eyes to the wonders of the world and broadens your perspective in ways unimaginable.
These tips are meant to enhance your travel experience and make your journey more enjoyable and stress-free. And I hope they do.
Bon voyage and safe travels!
Disclaimer: This article is not sponsored, but I have provided links for your convenience. Enjoy your adventures!