How to Prepare for Your Next Trip to Africa
By Joshua Samuel
Africa is a diverse continent with diverse social, economic and environmental conditions. The treasure of East Africa in the name of Kenya offers what no other country offers on the African continent. Perhaps it's important to consider important pointers and travel tips visitors and travelers to this country can use.
Regardless of your budget, when you are traveling in Africa keep in mind that you are much richer than the majority of local people around you. While most people are honest, the sight of a tourist with cash to spare and cameras dangling is too tempting for some. To avoid being fodder for con-artists, petty thieves and opportunists keep some of the following safety travel tips in mind when visiting Africa.
Travel Tips to Keep You Safe During Your Trip to Africa
It is always a good idea to carry one bag rather than a number of bags. This is to ensure you don't incur extra costs when it comes to airline luggage charges but also avoid the stress of looking after so many bags.
Health matters should be treated with the seriousness that they deserve. It is always advisable to take the necessary vaccinations and anti malaria tablets as you travel around. Also, don't forget to follow the COVID-19 regulations in your destination city.
Get a local prepaid card
Sometimes, getting quick access to cash can be a headache because not all ATM accepts international cards. It is advisable to have an extra local bank card, mostly prepaid cards. Most African countries have prepaid cards that you can simply walk into the bank to purchase. Load it with the amount you need. Apart from saving you some currency conversion fees, it is safer than carrying cash or you bank ATM card.
Use a money belt
Money belt is a way of announcing yourself as "Hey, I'm a tourist with money waiting to be ripped off." If you have to use it, wear a flat money belt that fits underneath your clothes. Use this to keep your credit credit cards, passport and travelers checks safe.
Keep copies of your documents
Make a copy of your passport, ticket, credit card and traveler check numbers. Put these in your main luggage so if you do get robbed of the originals, you still have all the information for insurance and replacement purposes.
Always carry a lock
Safes in hotels are not always safe (ironically) so use a lockable pouch or bag to put your valuables in if your hotel has these facilities. Use combination lock instead of keys. Because if you lose your keys, you're screwed.
Don't be a lone nightcrawler
Don't walk alone at night especially in major town and cities and stick to well lit areas even if you are walking with a group. Taxis are available in every African towns and it's worth the extra money to be safe.
Don't be afraid to get lost
Don't look too obviously lost even if you are. You can always walk purposefully into a shop, bank or hotel to ask for directions or consult a map.
Don't be afraid to ask for directions
It is perfectly fine to be lost. Don't be too shy to ask for directions. Enter any hotel even if you're not staying there, and ask for directions from the staff. They will be happy to help you out.
Watch your belongings and pockets very carefully at busy bus stations, train stations, markets and bazaars.
Learn basic phrases in the native language
Learning basic phrases like hello, how are you, how to I get to the bus station, and yhank you is very important. It will make your communications with the locals easier as they will appreciate that you tried.
Stay in vacation rentals
Stay in vacation rentals like hostels, shared apartments among locals. They're mostly cheaper and the experience of living like a local is fun. More so, you get to live among other expats who share same interest. Use vacation rentals websites to book your accommodation.
Ask for recommendations
Ask your host or roommates for recommendations on the best food, cheapest attraction and fun activities in the neighborhood.
Pre-book your flights
Book your flights 2 to 3 months in advance to get the best deal on flight ticket fare.
Don't pay cash in advance for services to be delivered
Whether you buying items or searching for services advertised on social media, do not pay cash before delivery. Many ads on the internet are not what they seem, make sure you buy or book online and pay with your prepaid card or any form that gives you confirmation of payment. If it is not delivered or service not rendered, you can file a dispute and get your money back.
Eat street food
How do you get to experience a place without eating the street food? Street food is part of the culture and you don't wanna miss out on that. Most of the local delicacies are made and sold on the street. If kids are eating it, then it's healthy for you.
Try new food
Don't be rigid and don't ask too much questions. Just put the food in your mouth and savor every bite of it. If you're too rigid, you might miss out in some delicious local cuisines.
Locals don't eat out all the time, neither should you
You can learn the local's diet by the type of food they buy. You should go grocery shopping and cook your own food. It is cheaper and healthier.
Avoid eating or shopping close to a tourist attraction
Merchandises and restaurants near a tourist attraction are always pricey. You can get the same or more quality products and/or food two streets away at more pocket friendly price. This will save you a few buck.
There you go, use my top travel tips and have the best trip to Africa and beyond. Feel free to add what I may have missed in the comment section.
First published on ArticleBiz.com 29 November 2021. Joshua Samuel is Founder and CEO of Likizo Lettings, a vacation rentals company based in Kenya but with a worldwide reach.
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