Whether it’s your first time or your hundredth time travelling through Africa, we’ve got some tips to make your trip easier, to save you time and hassle, and keep you safe and sane on your journeys. Remember … TIA – this is Africa – so take the time to explore and enjoy!
Tips to save face when travelling for business in Africa
- Learn your destination in advance – each African country is different, so spend some time getting to know culture, politics, and health issues. This information can be found online if you don’t have the time to buy a guidebook.
- Business travellers, particularly those of the female persuasion, should be aware of appropriate behaviour and clothing. If you don’t take cultural gender differences into consideration, you could experience some difficulty in getting around, as well as potential embarrassment.
- Pictures speak louder than words – use your phone to take pictures of important signage (like where you parked, which street your hotel is on, etc.). You’ll find this comes in handy to show someone if you need directions and you can’t speak the language. You can also use your phone to take pictures of receipts, which will come in handy for expense reports later.
Tips to save time when travelling for business
- Fly via regional airports – while your travel agent might push you toward flying through hubs located in major cities where there is more flight choices, flying out of smaller airports can save you lots of time and hassle as they’re not as busy. Security lines, parking, and check-in processes are often easier and quicker at smaller airports.
- Check in online – beat the check-in blues and frustrations of standing in a long queue when you check in online! This means that when you get to the airport, you can proceed directly to security. Bear in mind, however, that if you have luggage to check in, you won’t be able to do so online – so always travel with carry-on sized bags.
- Sit near an exit – more important than the aisle/window seat consideration is where you’ll be seated in relation to the exit. The closer you are to one of the exits, the quicker you’ll be able to disembark once you’ve reached your destination.
Tips to save sanity when travelling
- Fly in a day before your important meetings – this gives you the flexibility to spend your first day adjusting to your new surroundings and preparing. Have some plans in place but have the flexibility to spend the first day adjusting to new surroundings. If everything goes well, you may be able to hit the ground running. If a few parts of your travel plan don’t come off as anticipated, all is not lost, just a bit behind schedule.
- Pack lightly – if it doesn’t fit in a carry-on sized case, you probably don’t need it. Always pack more underwear than you think you’ll need, and take out that extra pair of shoes. Keep a list of things you’ve packed, so that nothing gets left behind when you pack to leave.
- Remember your power adapters – this applies for your cell phone, camera, and laptop. Know what the outlets are going to be like where you’re going so you can recharge your computer and/or camera.
- Spread your money out – never carry all your money in one place, rather carry varying amounts of cash in three different spots. Don’t keep your money and passport/identification in the same place. Know how much money you have in each location, so you never pull out too much. Carry ID on you all the time and keep certified copies of your ID and drivers licence (separate to the originals) somewhere in your luggage as well. Carry ID even when you’re out jogging or sightseeing.
- Be vigilant on your arrival and during your stay – this applies as much in Africa as anywhere in the world – but in Africa, the efficacy of law-enforcement might be lacking and recovery of stolen items is rare. Be aware that you’re carrying equipment that other people might want to steal. Be on the lookout for distractions and never leave your valuables unattended.hj
Got any other tips you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them! Leave a comment below…