Have South Africans become travel ‘unfit’?

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3 min read

Ten tips to get you back in the game

South African business travel is rapidly accelerating in 2023 as most travellers have by now dusted off their suitcases and started taking to the skies again. Interestingly, former road warriors may have become slightly ‘travel unfit’, according to Bonnie Smith, GM Corporate Traveller, leading to mistakes, oversights, or difficulties during a trip.

“While it’s understandable that certain aspects of travel may have slipped from people’s minds, ensuring you have enough information and are well-prepared before starting any trip is important. This can ensure that your travel experience is stress-free and enjoyable while preventing avoidable complications, such as being refused entry to a country,” says Smith.

Smith continues that not being accustomed to the routine of travelling is leading some travellers to forget important steps or items necessary for a successful trip.

“They may forget to pack essential items, such as their medication, they may not be aware that their passport has expired, or they may not be familiar with the current travel regulations and requirements. They may also struggle with logistics, such as navigating airports or finding transportation at their destination. This can be inconvenient and lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety,” says Smith.

Smith suggests that individuals who are planning to travel should review and take measures to adhere to the following:

Check travel restrictions: Before you travel, review the travel restrictions and prerequisites in your destination country, which may still include vaccination obligations.

Get vaccinated if required: Consider vaccinating against COVID-19 if you haven’t already. Some countries may require proof of vaccination for entry.

Carry necessary documents: Essential travel documents include a valid passport, visa, travel insurance, and health records. If you’re considering bleisure trips with the family remember that minors need proper identification and a notarised consent letter from the absent parent(s) if travelling with only one parent or without both. Some countries require additional documentation or permits for business-related travel.

Pack essential items (correctly): You can bring electronics and prescription meds in both carry-on and checked luggage, but they might need extra screening or permits. Remember that liquids are still restricted to 100ml per container and must be in a clear, resealable plastic bag no larger than 1 litre.

Check on your flight: Check in for your flight online and verify that the flight schedule has remained the same. Additionally, ensure that you know the airport check-in and boarding time for your flight.

Stay informed: Stay informed about the current situation in your destination country, including any safety or security risks, natural disasters, or civil unrest.

Plan ahead: Consider your transportation options, such as rental cars or public transportation, and book them in advance. This will save you time and money and ensure you arrive at your destination on time.

Keep your valuables safe: Ensure your valuables are secure at all times, and remember not to leave your luggage unattended.

Follow local laws and customs: Respect local laws and customs, and avoid activities that may be considered offensive or illegal. Familiarise yourself with the local business culture and traditions, as they can differ from what you are used to. This includes proper attire, greetings, and business practices.

Stay connected: Stay in touch with colleagues and family back home, and let them know your travel plans and itinerary. Having someone who knows where you are and how to reach you in an emergency is always a good idea.

Winging it is not an option when travelling for business, warns Smith.

“By enlisting the services of a reliable TMC, you can ensure that you are thoroughly prepared for your trip, including obtaining the required visas and permits and being aware of any risks. In addition, a TMC like Corporate Traveller provides real-time alerts to keep all travellers informed. In the event of any disruptions to the trip, having accurate information on the location of your travellers is critical and their travel manager can provide them with the necessary assistance,” concludes Smith.

For more information about Corporate Traveller, or to interview Corporate Traveller South Africa GM Bonnie Smith, call Dorine Reinstein on 083 278 8994 or email dorine@bigambitions.co.za.