My trip to South Africa is exactly one week away. I’m super excited but I still feel like I have a million things to do before taking off. Buying the plane ticket is the easy part but what comes after can seem a bit daunting. This is my top 5 travel Checklist!
1. Check the weather
I can’t stress enough the importance of checking the weather not only after you purchase airfare but also before you purchase airfare. A couple of months ago, my sister and I were looking at flights to go to Southeast Asia in November. Well it turns out that many countries in SE Asia experience the rainy season in November. As result, we decided to postpone that trip for a different month. Looking up the weather is also important because it helps you determine how to pack. There is nothing worse than arriving at a destination only to find out that you packed the wrong clothes. As result, you might find yourself spending more money than you had planned to in order to purchase appropriate clothing. One of my favorite websites to check the weather is Accuweather because you’re able to check the monthly forecast several months in advance.
2. Look up local currency exchange rate
Taking the time to check the currency exchange rate will let you know if you will be a millionaire once you reach your final destination or not. I remember when I was in Bali, I exchanged about 2-$300 and I immediately felt like I had hit the jackpot. 300USD$ is equivalent to 4.2 million Indonesian Rupiah. I was officially a millionaire. If I were to have gone to somewhere like Norway, that definitely would not have been the case, 300USD equals 2,506Kr Norwegian Krone. I recommend that you download a currency conversion app on your phone like XE or GlobeConvert. Both are available on Itunes. Also, be sure to look up how much an average meal costs because that will tell you approximately how much you should budget for food.
3. Research Attractions
TripAdvisor and the Lonely Planet are my go-to websites to figure out what attractions are must sees. I love reading the reviews of others because they’re always very candid. They also provide helpful information like hours of operation as well as any entrance fees associated. Some attractions are closed on specific days so if you know this information ahead of time, you can plan accordingly.
4. Decide whether a hotel, hostel or Airbnb is more cost effective
Lately, I’ve been leaning more towards Airbnb. One of the reasons why I love Airbnb is because they allow me the opportunity to stay in unique places that I can only dream of one day living in. I’ve stayed at hostels and I’ve had positive experiences but they are somewhat limited in what they offer. Hotels tend to always be the pricier options unless it’s a 2* hotel so I don’t tend to stay in hotels on vacation. On the way to Johannesburg, I have a 14hour layover in Abu Dhabi and I’ll be staying at hotel that’s connected to the airport. In both Capetown and Johannesburg, I will be staying at apartments found on Airbnb. Always read the reviews before booking a hotel, hostel, or using Airbnb. Use the link below to get 20$ off your first Airbnb experience.
5. Place travel notification on credit/debit card
Calling your bank ahead of time can be all the difference in the world between the awkward moment of your card being declined. I have had that happen to me while abroad and it wasn’t fun. Today I called my bank to alert them of my travel plans and due my bank’s safety concerns with respect to South Africa, I was unable to do so. Basically they told me if I use the card in South Africa, it will be blocked. As result, I’ll then have to call and have them remove the block. It already seems like a hassle but I don’t have any other option. You can call your bank as early as two weeks ahead of time to alert them of your travel plans.
How do you prepare for an upcoming international or domestic trip?