Each year, over 30 million people travel to the second largest continent in the world, Africa. When it comes to planning your first trip there, you’ll want to gather as much information as you can get your hands on to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. It can be daunting, and whether you’re travelling for a holiday, to backpack across the continent or even to relocate, a little help and guidance can never go amiss. If you’ve booked your travel adventure to Africa, or are even just considering it, have a quick read through these top tips.
- Research your destination
It really goes without saying that the destination you travel to will ultimately have a big impact on your overall travel experience. There’s an abundance of information out there for you, so take the time to check out some online articles, blogs and read people’s personal experiences of their time spent in the area you’re heading to. If you haven’t yet narrowed down whereabouts you want to visit, with 54 countries, you certainly won’t be stuck for choice. Just be mindful that you pick somewhere suitable for your personal travel needs.
- Make sure to get a VPN before travelling
When we book a trip, often the last thing we think about is security. It’s much easier to assume that we are totally safe at all times and that nothing bad could possibly happen. In actual fact, you would be surprised at the sheer amount of hackers out there who steal information from travelers who are often none-the-wiser. At the end of the day, internet access is a must for many travelers. Whether it’s for checking emails, staying on top of work, keeping up to date with social media or simply browsing the web. Doing so means you’re more than likely to use public or semi-public Wi-Fi on an unsecure network, which is why getting a VPN is highly recommended, especially when travelling long-haul to a destination.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, which will keep your information safe and encrypted when using an insecure network. Take your time to do some research to find out which VPN best suits your needs. With most VPN accounts you sign up for, you can use the sign-in on a number of devices. There are also a number of payment options available to purchase at a small fee per week/month, which you can choose from depending on the length of your stay.
- Don’t bring your brand new smartphone
If you want to save your pennies and eliminate the risk of losing or damaging your expensive smartphone whilst travelling in Africa, consider buying an older model smartphone and a standard, affordable sim-card from an African phone provider that will fit into it. Doing so means you won’t have to pay expensive data roaming charges on your provider back home, which allows you to have more money to spend on your travels, which is always a bonus.
- Be mindful about clothing
Depending on where you decide to travel in Africa, you may be travelling through developing countries and tribal villages where the locals are living below the poverty line. As well, you will want to bear in mind the religious and cultural context of the places you visit. For example, in some areas with heavy religious influences, women will be expected to cover up. With that in mind, be respectful with the clothing that you wear. A sarong will be your saving grace, as it can make an outfit appropriate for any occasion and will show a mark of respect.
- Chat to your GP
In the early planning stages of your trip, book an appointment with your GP to discuss your travel plans with them and the possible effects it could have on your health. Your GP will then be able to advise you on what is best for you in terms of vaccinations that will be necessary for you to have prior to leaving and medications to take with you whilst travelling.
- Ship your luggage ahead
When it comes to carrying luggage on a flight, many of us have experienced the harsh reality of having to pay out for excess baggage fees at the airport check-in desk just so we can bring our beloved personal belongings with us on our trip. But what if we told you that you can ship your luggage ahead to your destination at a low cost and it’ll be delivered straight to your destination, without you having to worry about a thing? Well, you can. Luggage shipping companies are used by many travelers and holidaymakers as they are incredibly convenient. Your luggage is collected straight from your home and delivered to your destination in Africa!
Written by Stuart Cooke, blog writer at UniBaggage.com.