Travelling Tips

Included here are things we have learnt from mistakes made and good ideas implemented. We have succeeded in getting the weight of our suitcases to be no more than 15kgs each when travelling by air. Two things we have learnt are that others do not notice what you are wearing and that comfort is far outweighs looks when on a holiday. That does not mean looking dowdy but always think of comfort and then improve on that.

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The more you travel the more you will learn that an incredible amount can be spent on, what may be referred to as, the ‘Hidden Costs’. Before you know it, you are in debt unless you have planned carefully and given consideration to these costs. Here information on some of these costs is given. There may be others you have encountered and you are encouraged to share them by commenting below.

This article is written from the perspective of a South African traveller but has much information which may affect travellers around the world.

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  1. Every country has its own requirements and costs for visas. This is the case even within a bloc of countries such as the European Union (EU), Southern African Development Community (SADC) etc.
  2. Visa requirements differ depending upon which country the applicant has citizenship, not necessarily residence.
  3. Visas and the appointment for the interview cost money. Factor this in to your hidden costs. Making an appointment for the interview is very helpful as, those who simply arrive during office hours, will be attended to but only after those with scheduled appointments.
  4. Allow at least 2 hours for your time at the consulate or embassy
  5. Apply for your visa as far in advance as possible but ensure that you have ALL the required documentation ready. The documents Senior Citizens must produce often include proof of residence, ownership of property and investments in their home country. This is to ensure that we plan to return home and not quietly extend our stay with children who live outside SA. Both Western and some Eastern countries are battling with an aging population which is costly for the governments.
  6. Today, most visas are applied for on-line but must be printed and signed in readiness for the interview. (NOTE: If you use a small home printer, it is possible that the barcode does not print clearly enough so take the application with you on a memory stick.)
  7. Ensure that the person who takes your photographs is qualified to do photos for visas. The countries are very particular these days and will not accept photos which do not meet the digital and bionic requirements.
  8. With reference to point 1, many people believe that a Schengen Visa can be applied for through any country, even if it is one not being visited. Even though a multiple entry visa can be used in any country which is Schengen friendly, the visa must be applied for through the country where the most number of days will be spent.
  9. You may have to visit another city to attend the interview for your visa. Factor this into your planning – time, cost, travel etc
  10. Some countries allow for visas to be applied for at the border post but check first as it may involve an extra cost.


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About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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