12 December 2018

Island hopping and Pina Coladas – savvy travel tips

Submitted by Teresa Settas

An exotic island getaway is a dream holiday and chances are, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most.  To make the most of your exotic travels, Chubb Travel Insurance provides a few savvy tips to consider before you cross the ocean to your beach bungalow.

  • Research your shortlist of preferred destinations via local government websites and get information from the relevant consulate at home.  Subscribe to travel alerts that will warn you of any adverse weather developments or security issues. 
  • Check what travel documents you require for your trip including visas, any vaccination or health requirements and get these in order well in advance to avoid a last-minute run around.  
  • Season and time of year play a huge role in timing your visit.  Plan your trip according to what you want to see and do and what season is best for this.  Also, the tourism season dips between certain times of year – you might be able to enjoy more reasonable hotel prices and still have great weather just outside of the peak (and more expensive) - tourism season if you do your homework.
  • While beachwear is appropriate attire at most island resorts, remember that the dress code in the inner cities and suburbs may be completely different.  On some islands, the local religion and customs may dictate far more conservative wear and even head scarves and so on for women.  On some islands civilians are even prohibited from wearing camouflage clothing such as Caribbean countries like Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and Dominica. Check out the customs and prepare and pack accordingly.
  • The mode of local transport is also a consideration.  You may need to hire a car for your stay or perhaps public transport such as taxis and buses are readily available.  You may even want to view the island from a different perspective and hire a bicycle for the day or throw on some hiking shoes to start a great adventure.  Whatever you choose, confirm that you have connectivity for satnav or at the very least invest in a comprehensive map of the island to find your way around. 
  • Sunshine is synonymous with an island adventure, so make sure you pack plenty of max SPF protection, a hat and sunglasses to enjoy your time in the sun, minus a blistering sunburn and arc eyes. 
  • Insects are not something you would normally think of, so make sure you check whether you are entering a malaria area or if there are any other insects that carry diseases or nasty bites.  Pack a good insect repellent and check if it’s necessary to pack a mosquito net for the bed.
  • Check if water is drinkable from taps and water fountains.  If not, make sure you stock up on bottled water or carbonated drinks that are tinned.  Also remember to ask what water is used to make ice cubes, as this is often overlooked. 
  • Pack a small medical kit with essentials like plasters, pain and fever relievers, cold/flu remedy, medicine for stomach troubles, allergy tablets, ointment for bites and stings and an antiseptic.  It will save you from having to visit a foreign pharmacy for a minor ailment, and if you don’t need it, even better. 
  • Keep valuables with you – Keep your valuable items with you, such as your wallet, travel documents, smart phone and any jewellery.  Pack a change of clothes and essential, travel-size toiletries such as toothpaste and a toothbrush in your carry-on bag in the event that your luggage goes AWOL. This will ensure that you can get by for a day or so while tracking down your luggage.
  • Get travel insurance – Besides providing an essential lifeline should you face a medical emergency while travelling, travel insurance will come to the rescue should you be in the unfortunate position of having to replace a lost or stolen passport, claim for necessary items that are out of pocket as a result of delayed luggage, or require financial relief should your baggage go on a trip of its own.   

With all your preparations done, you can look forward to an exotic, happy trip filled with sunshine, and island-style memories.  For more travel tips visit www.chubbtravelinsurance.co.za