Travel tips for the peak season

10 November 2015

It’s that time of the year again – we’re counting down the days until our December holidays, booking flights, getting passports and visas ready, and doing last-minute pre-holiday shopping.

We frequently get so carried away by the excitement of our upcoming trip, however, that we forget that the devil is so often in the detail.

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Flight Centre has compiled a list of handy information and tips to help you prepare for that long-awaited trip.

Passports and visas

  • All passengers (including children and infants) must have a passport for international travel
  • Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months after your intended return, otherwise you won’t be allowed into another country
  • Dual passport-holders must travel with both valid passports
  • South African passport-holders require a visa for most destinations, so check visa requirements with the relevant embassy or consulate for all stopovers, ports or transits
  • Find out how long the processing of visa applications for your destination usually takes and apply well in advance. If you’re going to Australia, for example, you need to apply a minimum of six weeks prior to departure
  • Have all the necessary documents available when applying for a visa
  • South African regulations for international travel with minors have recently been amended, so make sure you’ve familiarised yourself with the new rules

Correct Names

  • Names on tickets are generally non-transferable
  • If the name and surname on your flight ticket don’t match what appears in your passport, you won’t be allowed to board
  • Passengers who recently got married need to ensure that their ticket reflects the name appearing in their valid passport

Vaccinations

  • Check with your consultant or your local travel clinic which vaccinations are required for the countries you’re visiting
  • Make sure you get the necessary vaccinations in time (usually a minimum of 10 days prior to departure)

Flight schedules and times

  • Check your departure times, and your return and connecting flights, with the airline or your consultant 24 hours prior to travel
  • Be at the airport three hours prior to departure if you’re flying internationally, and 1.5 hours before domestic flights
  • Allow enough time to travel to the airport, since they are generally busier during peak season
  • The departure and arrival times on your itinerary will always reflect the local time of the country you are departing from or entering

Cancellations and amendments to travel dates

  • Make sure you’re aware of the penalties imposed when having to change or cancel your booking
  • You’ll forfeit your ticket if you don’t notify the airline or your consultant that you’re no longer travelling at least 24 hours prior to departure
  • Should you not check in for your flight, the airline will consider you a “no-show” and your ticket may become non-refundable

Travel plan and documents

  • Ensure that you have received all relevant vouchers for your travel prior to departure
  • Ask your consultant all the questions you may have regarding your travel plan
  • Keep an electronic copy of all travel documents
  • Have your consultant's business card handy should you need to request additional copies while travelling

Contact details while travelling

  • Always provide your consultant with contact details they can reach you on while you’re travelling; he or she may need to notify you of schedule changes or cancellations

Car hire

  • Car hire companies won’t release a vehicle if the driver is unable to present a valid driving licence and credit card
  • You’ll need to present your RSA driving licence along with your international driving licence for international car hire

Baggage

  • Draw up a list of what you need to take along and tick each item as you pack it
  • Some airlines, especially internal carriers in some countries, may charge you for baggage – always check with your consultant, as well as the airline's website, as to your baggage allowance
  • Adhere to baggage regulations at all times
  • Make sure you don't have to throw away lovely Christmas presents when checking in for your flight by familiarising yourself on the policy regarding the carrying of liquids, aerosols and gels

Checklist

Before you head to the airport, ask yourself if you have the following with you:

  • The luggage you want to check in
  • Your carry-on luggage
  • Passport for international travel, with all applicable visas
  • RSA identity document for domestic travel
  • The credit card used for booking the tickets
  • Travel documents such as your itinerary, travel vouchers and travel insurance (highly recommended for all travel)
  • Your travel consultant's business card
  • Emergency contact numbers for your consultant's branch
Please contact your consultant if you have any questions regarding your travel arrangements. 

Flight Centre

Flight Centre is all about amazing travel at the cheapest available price. We have over 125 Flight Centre stores all around South Africa, making us the largest total travel specialist in the country .