By Hilari Ross, Africa Specialist
You have your flights and hotel booked (hopefully through your Africa Specialist at South African Airways Vacations) – you are ready to travel to South Africa! I wish it were that simple for me. Unlike some travelers, instead of excitement, my mind goes straight to questions.
As soon as all the basic logistics of my trip to South Africa were settled, I immediately started a list (or five). There were so many different situations to prepare for! Here are my top five tips to help you prepare for your travels:
- Get the basics out of the way
There were a few big things I knew I needed ASAP: a passport, malaria medication and an unlocked phone. Once I got the process of attaining these items going, I was able to move on to the itinerary.
- Know when you need to leave here to get there on time
I hate being late, so this is essential for me. Research flight departure times, lengths of drives and tours, locations of your hotels and their surrounding areas, including what there is to do and eat! Analyzing and writing out all of these factors calms me. It makes the trip real, and that is when the excitement begins.
- Write a shopping list
This usually takes me some time, but it’s one of my favorite steps. Start the list on a Sunday and give yourself a good week before actually heading to the stores. We all know you think of things at all hours of the day and night. I know I certainly cannot sit down and think of every single thing I will need. To prevent multiple trips or forgotten items, take your time. Take it day-by-day and think of everything head to toe that you will need. Be sure to list even things you may already have. Once you have spent some time and effort on the list and have narrowed down what things you need that you don’t already possess, head on out there and keep your fingers crossed you will find what you need. This is the point where it is crucial not to get frustrated: there is always the internet!
- Be prepared for (almost) anything
There is no shame in being prepared. When someone needs a Band-Aid and you have one you are always going to be the hero. I’m not suggesting you bring your whole medicine cabinet but having the basics is always my rule of thumb: something for your hurting head, your tummy (whether it is upset or hungry), your spills, your dirty hands, your dry hands, your stubbed toe, your dried-out contacts, your stuffy nose or whatever else may come up. I know you can never have everything but putting an effort into being prepared will go a long way!
- Let go
Once you are on the plane you have to give up control. You have prepared excellently and done all you can. You now have to just go with the flow and hope that all of your planning will pay off; It’s time to have fun! You put a lot of hard work into preparing for this trip, now take a deep breath and keep positive, even if things don’t go according to the plan (which they almost never do).
If you take the necessary time to prepare, once the journey begins you will be able to let go and have fun!