Be it for business, holidays, family or some other emergency, the rise of international travel and South African’s increasing mobility has led to a high demand for a “go-bag”.
According to Theresa Szejwallo, MD for Trafalgar and The Travel Corporation there are a number of items that South Africans need to include in their emergency travel bag.
However, it really does depend on where you need to travel to and what sort of passport you have, she said, speaking to BusinessTech.
“First and foremost an up-to-date passport with enough free pages is a minimum requirement for travel outside South Africa’s borders.
“For South African passport holders there are limits in terms of destinations we can just hop on a plane and visit.
“For travel throughout Africa and to many countries in South America and some East Asian countries South African passport holders do not need visas.”
She also urged travellers to include a certified copy of your passport and South African drivers/ID and/or international drivers licence, a copy of any medical prescriptions, optical prescription, proof of residence, contact numbers of family and next of kin in your ‘go-bag’.
Costs on a shorter timeframe
Szejwallo said that travellers will almost certainly be paying more should they decide to leave the country last minute.
“Airlines and hotels work on load and yield basis so it is likely that the closer you book to your actual departure/arrival the more expensive the costs become,” she said.
“Sometimes it’s possible to get a cheap seat but the opposite is more likely.”
She also warned that there was very little leeway options open to South Africans who are looking to enter a country that requires a visa.
“It is possible to apply for an emergency visa for some countries (e.g. in the case of a death in the family) but this may require absolute proof (death certificate) and it will come at a hefty cost,” she said.
Provided that work is not paying for the trip, there are also considerations of how easily you can access your money outside of the country, explained Szejwallo.
“There are maximum limits a South African can take out of the country per annum (for over 18s) according to exchange control regulations.
“Getting access to your personal funds depends on the relationship you have with your financial institution.
“When travelling it’s best to have a mix of cash and bank cards,” she said.
Staying longer than planned
Given the rushed manner of the trip, it may also be difficult to estimate how long you will be overseas
If you’re in a country that has South African representation you could go to our Embassy and ask for assistance to apply for a visa extension, said Szejwallo.
However she warned against overstaying your welcome without permission as this may result in you experiencing trouble getting a visa should you ever want to return.
“If your passport is lost or stolen whilst overseas you will need to go to the SA Embassy for assistance with a new passport and then to the country’s local issuing authority to get help in issuing your visa,” she said.
“I recommend always taking with a certified copy of your approved visa and passport (kept in a safe place) in case this does happen to you.
“This will certainly go a long way to speeding up the process.”