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The most uncomfortable portion of your planned safari is the actual flight to, and from, South Africa. To help make this portion of your trip a little more comfortable and worry-free, we offer the following tips.
Carry anything remotely valuable with you such as jewellery, medicine, fragile items and even irreplaceable photos.
Ask your airline what their baggage limitations are in advance. These may differ from airline to airline as well as aeroplane to aeroplane. Also, some airlines may calculate excess baggage based on weight and not number of pieces.
Double check baggage claims tickets immediately before your luggage is whisked away to ensure the numbers match your claim stub.
If checking luggage, learn the three-letter city/airport code for your destination in advance and be certain that the tag applied to your baggage is correct. You can learn the three-letter code by looking at your ticket or asking your travel agent. This helps to ensure that your luggage will go to the same city as you. The 3 letter code for Johannesburg is JNB.
Everyone has black luggage it seems so make yours distinctive by using bright or unique luggage tags. Better yet, purchase luggage in a different colour than black.
Even if you aren’t normally a gum chewer, pack some in your carry-on. If you experience ear discomfort while you are flying, chewing gum can relieve the pressure.
Sitting in an airline seat for several hours straight is dangerous. Even if you aren’t at risk for blood clots or phlebitis, it is a good idea to take an aspirin before flying to keep the blood thin enough to help prevent circulation problems. Check with your doctor to make sure you don’t have any aspirin sensitivities.
Flying is tough on you body so make sure you get up and move around often.
A good neck pillow makes all the difference when flying. Once you try one, you will never go back to those tiny aeroplane pillows.
Moleskin can be a life saver. Because you tend to walk more than usual as well as wear the same shoes over and over, blisters are almost inevitable. Be prepared by bringing packets of moleskin with you and hopefully, you won’t need it.
Be sure to pack in your checked luggage some sort of compact multi-purpose tool that includes a screwdriver, scissors, tweezers, etc. Once at your final destination, keep it with you at all times.
Travellers tend to walk more than normal because it’s the best way to see the sights. Pack new socks with well-cushioned soles rather than older socks that have become thinner with wear and the most comfortable, well-broken-in shoes you own no matter what they look like. Comfort comes first!
Make sure you pack a sewing kit so you can make quick repairs on the fly. Safety pins and rubber bands can be very useful as well.
Pack a few plastic bags (preferably the zip-top kind) for storing damp items such as laundry that hasn’t dried yet, washcloths and wet shoes.
Make copies of all travel documents including passport, front and back of credit cards and plane tickets. Leave a copy with an emergency contact back home and either give a copy to your travelling companion or place it in a different place than the originals.
Use a 3 x 3 index card or 2 to type all important information to keep at your fingertips when travelling. Important addresses, phone numbers, friend’s addresses, clothes sizes for gifts, international assistance information, etc., can be kept on the index card in the bottom of your purse or bag to avoid carrying a large address book.
Pickpockets are everywhere so keep your valuables in some form of money belt or pouch. You can always have a stash of mad money for smaller purchases more readily available on your person but no more than you can afford to lose.
Although it is convenient to have some local currency on hand, travelers checks are a much safer way to travel with your money. Make sure the serial numbers are recorded in a separate location and carry all valuables in a security wallet of some kind.