Travelling overseas is exciting, and whether you’re travelling for business or leisure it’s always nice to have a travel checklist to refer to, to make your preparation a little less stressful.
There are a few important items that need to be on every travel checklist you compile. You can start with our suggestions below and add new items to your personal travel checklist. The more you travel the more you’ll wise up to your general needs.
- Don’t forget your Passport
- Passport & Visa
- Forex – This can be in the form of a travel credit card, cash, and traveller’s cheques
- Travel Insurance
- E-ticket & itinerary
- Overseas adaptor
- Camera and spare batteries
- Cellphone – Make sure you’ve put your phone on international roaming and don’t forget your cell phone charger
- Make your luggage identifiable by tagging it. I’ve used white duct tape in the past and wrapped it around a handle Business travellers – remember to switch on that out-of-office autoresponder
Travel Packing Tips
Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or thinking of taking a holiday for the very first time, it’s always worth asking the right questions before your trip so you’re well-prepared.
It’s not only what you ask, but who you ask when it comes to planning your holiday, says Otto de Vries, CEO of the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA).
“Whether you’re looking for a new and unexplored local destination to surprise your beau or an affordable trip abroad for the whole family to enjoy, having an accredited travel agent on your side is always a step in the right direction.
“A supportive and knowledgeable consultant can make all the difference between a just good trip and an outstanding experience. Often times, they’ll supply vital information that you wouldn’t have even thought about, and more importantly, be able to effectively assist if you find yourself in a tricky situation while on your trip.”
To help get you started, here are a few standard questions compiled by ASATA that you can ask your travel agent.
#1 When is the best time of the year to go?
Depending on when you can take leave, or want to travel, your agent will suggest destination options, or similar alternatives if the weather in your chosen destination is unsuitable. If you don’t mind more people, go for peak season. If you prefer privacy, cooler temperatures and paying slightly less, the off-peak season is the way to go. Most travel agencies have deals depending on the time of year, so keep this in mind when thinking about your dates.
#2 What documentation do I need?
It depends on where you’re going, but some countries will require visas which means there will be some added paperwork involved. Your travel agent will know, or refer you to a visa agency who knows what documents will be required, how much it will cost so you can budget accordingly, but also how far in advance you will need to apply so that it can be processed in time.
#3 What do I need to pack?
If you have a destination picked out already, you’ll want to be prepared for the weather. Your travel agent should be able to supply you with a packing list to help, with info on which plug adapters you will need, and if towels and hairdryers will be supplied at your accommodation. Try not to overpack and ask your agent about luggage restrictions if you’re thinking of checking-in luggage.
#4 How much should I budget?
Your agent can work with your budget, tailor making your itinerary according to what you can afford, or what you might like to spend a little extra on. He/she can quote you according to what’s included as well as giving you an estimate of what you might need to budget extra per day, and how much you should pay as part of a deposit to secure your booking.
#5 What travel insurance would you recommend?
It’s always important to stay safe whilst travelling, and travel insurance provides security in case something goes wrong whilst travelling. There are various insurance providers to choose from, so don’t worry about going in circles trying to find the right one. Your accredited travel agent will be able to recommend a suitable option. Use Google docs to upload copies of your important travel documents thereby making them accessible from anywhere in the world. Avoid hassle at the airport by paying attention to the LAGS regulations. LAGS stands for Liquids and Gels and there are restrictions on the number of LAGS you can take in your carry-on luggage.
- Your air ticket and vouchers should be issued in the exact names that are reflected in your passport. i.e. If you are newly married and your passport is in your maiden name, your travel documentation must be issued in your maiden name.
- Your passport should have a validity of a minimum of six months following your return and have at least three blank pages.
- Have you double-checked whether you require a visa for the destinations to which you are travelling? Or a transit visa?
- Have you checked your final itinerary to ensure that it reflects the full and correct details of your travel plans
- Have you checked your terms and conditions to ensure that you’ve understood the restrictions, change and cancellation fees and refund policies?
- We strongly suggest that you buy Travel Insurance, which meets your personal needs (including cancellation)
- Ensure that you disclose pre-existing illnesses when buying insurance.
- All quotes – air tickets and land arrangements – are subject to a ticketing time limit and foreign exchange fluctuations. The price of your travel arrangements is therefore not fixed until it is paid for in full. Pay early and secure your booking at the rate that it was quoted!
- Have you advised us of any special dietary requirements or special meals required for your flights? We need at least 72 hours prior to departure to request this for you.
- Please check your baggage allowance as this varies from airline to airline.
- Many airlines charge for or restrict seating until 24 hours prior to departure. If you want to reserve seats we recommend that you do an online check-in prior to your flight.
- It is important to reconfirm your flights whilst overseas for any changes in departure times.
- If you will be driving overseas please ensure that you obtain an international driver’s license prior to departure.
- If you are travelling with children under 18 do you have their Unabridged Birth Certificates? If they are just travelling with one parent or a guardian do you know what important documentation is required?
- If you are paying a deposit on your booking and have payment terms for the outstanding amount are you familiar with this GENERAL INFORMATION – RATE OF EXCHANGE / CONDITIONS. Rates are quoted in South African Rand. Owing to the volatility of the rand, all rates quoted are to serve as an estimate and are an indication only. A booking needs to be made within 24 hours of the quote being provided in order to secure the rate quoted. Airfare prices are based on classes available at the time of the booking being made. Rates are based on prevailing hotel prices, land costs, accommodation availability, airfares, fuel taxes and rates of exchange. The Company and it’s suppliers reserves the right to adjust prices on all quotes and bookings in accordance with increases as well as any seasonal adjustments and currency fluctuations and therefore all rates are only guaranteed once full and final payment is received. All efforts are made to advise clients of an impending increase however in certain instances there is no advance warning when an increase is beyond The Company’s control. Increases or currency adjustments and surcharges are calculated on the total package price of the outstanding service ie land transport and accommodation using the prevailing rate of exchange on the day, and not on the difference owing in the case where deposits have been paid or on the rate of exchange on the day that the booking was initially made