Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Exploring Africa

Africa is one of those places that evokes a sense of mystery and intrigue. From its rich history, thousands of different tribes, and exotic foods and animals, Africa truly is a unique destination. We have found 15 travel tips for those of you interested in visiting Africa. Like any foreign country, it is always wise to learn a little about where you are going, such as local customs, cultural norms, and always respect a cultures dress code and rules. Here are some tips to make your journey to Africa seamless and enjoyable!

  1. 1.     Take only one bag. Taking one bag will prevent you from having to watch multiple bags and manage them while traveling. One bag, well packed, is simpler and easier to control when in crowds.
  2. 2.     Pack less. Research the weather conditions, cultural norms in dress, i.e.: should women be covered, or is it inappropriate to wear shorts in certain places.
  3. 3.     Carry some kind of snack. Usually, you can always find food. If you are an adventurous eater, then this isn’t so much for you. If you are picky though, try and have a couple snacks handy incase you can’t find anything to eat.
  4. 4.     Techies: Bring your own computer. If you take thousands of pictures on a trip, it is recommended that you bring your own laptop or tablet and upload your pictures to that. Many internet cafĂ©’s are hotbeds for accidentally downloading virus’s.
  5. 5.     Bring a paperback. Having a book handy will make waiting times much more enjoyable, you’re in Africa now, things are a little slower- enjoy it and kick back with a good read.
  6. 6.     Cell phone? You have a few options when it comes to cell phone usage. You can either buy a cheap phone when you arrive and a local SIM card with minutes loaded, you can set up a global plan with your carrier (most expensive), or have an unlocked phone (Verizon and T-Mobile) and but a local SIM card to use there.
  7. 7.     Bargain on everything. Make a connection with your seller. Bargaining is a part of the culture. Explore all of your options and practice your haggling skills, the better you become, the better prices you will get for goods!
  8. 8.     Bring a camera. Unless your hobby is photography, or you are a professional, a small camera will suffice. One that fits easily into a pocket and is discreet will be your best bet. Bringing a big camera can be heavy and bulky, and with new technology, many hand-held cameras perform very well.
  9. 9.     Spread your money out. A general rule of thumb when traveling anywhere, you should never have all your money in one place. Keep a small amount on you, but be sure you don’t flash a lot of cash. That puts you in a dangerous spot and can make you a target.
  10. 10. Eat local. Learn from locals where they like to eat, research blogs about the best places to eat in the region your in. Immersing yourself in cuisine is a great way to experience the culture. Always make sure wherever you pick looks clean and uses filtered water though, contaminated water is the fastest way to get sick.
  11. 11. Bring insect repellent. This is especially important in Africa. Bring a bottle with you and make it a habit to spray yourself everyday. Bugs are carriers for a lot of virus’s, it’s easier to just be safe than sorry.
  12. 12. Bring adaptors. This is essential if you want your electronics to work. Make sure you have one for the country your are in, if you are going to multiple countries, they now make adaptors with multiple adaptions in one device.
  13. 13. Watches are overrated. DO NOT wear a fancy watch. This makes you stand out and can give the false impression that you have a lot of money- making you a target. Wear a simple watch if you really need one.
  14. 14. Drink a lot. Make sure you are buying bottled water and drinking a lot of it. You’ll be sweating more walking around, and getting dehydrated can be dangerous.
  15. 15. Embrace Africa. Don’t come with expectations, or base your idea of Africa based entirely off what you have heard or read. Entering a country with an open mind is the best way to have a great time. You won’t have your experience tainted by preconceived ideas. Have fun, after all, that is what a vacation is for!

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