Your Essential Holiday Travel Checklist
The December holidays fast approaching, and after another tumultuous year many South Africans are looking forward to a relaxing, carefree break as we pack our suitcases and head off on our holiday travels to our country’s beautiful beaches and safari parks.
In reality, leaving your home for an extended period, or taking your car on a long drive, requires some serious thought and preparation.
We’ve gathered these useful tips to create the ultimate holiday travel checklist so you can really relax on holiday, confident that your home – and your family – are taken care of.
Caught up in the excitement of getting packed and out of the door on your holiday travels, it’s easy to forget about some of the more mundane things that should be taken care of before your break.
Whenever leaving your home empty for an extended period, it’s important to prepare for your departure so you return to home sweet home, just as you left it.
- If you’re planning a longer trip, check your home and contents insurance is up to date and let your insurance company know, as some policies may contain an absence exclusion.
- Lock away any valuables and check your home security systems.
- Unplug appliances and electronics that don’t need to be on, or on standby. Having lights on timer switches are a good way of making your house look occupied.
- Deal with deliveries – a pile of post outside your front door is an instant flag for opportunistic criminals. Ask a friend or neighbour to look after any mail until you’re home.
- Remote monitoring is also possible, thanks to affordable CCTV camera systems that can be checked via an app.
On the Road
Whether you’re on a road trip to the beach, off on safari, or heading to the airport for somewhere more far-flung, the last thing you need is for car troubles to ruin your holiday.
Before setting off on your trip, it pays to carry out a few simple checks on your vehicle which could end up saving time, money and even lives.
Here’s a list of vital checks, courtesy of the AA:
- Check your engine oil, brake fluid and water levels and top up as needed. Don’t forget to top up the water for your windscreen washers.
- Inspect the condition of your car’s battery. Note any warning signs, including when your car starts sluggishly or if the engine light comes on.
- If your windscreen wipers are streaking, skipping or squeaking, replace them with new blades for optimum visibility in wet conditions.
- Keep it clean. When driving at night, dirty windows and mirrors increase glare and are more prone to fogging up.
- Check your tyres and the spare – are they inflated to the recommended pressure and does the tread depth measure at least 1 millimetre across the circumference of the tyre?
- Ensure all lights are in working order, including your indicators, brights, and emergency hazard lights.
- Don’t exceed your car’s maximum weight capacity. Overloaded vehicles are less stable and can be difficult to steer.
- Familiarise yourself with your route, and have an alternative route in mind, just in case.
- Check your car insurance is up to date, and make sure any emergency numbers are saved on your phone.
Last But Not Least…
So, that’s your home and transport ticked off the list – now, what about you? You’ve taken care of your home and your vehicle, so it makes sense to look after yourself too.
Travel insurance is the final piece in the puzzle, letting you relax with complete peace of mind knowing that should the worst happen, you’ll be covered.
It’s important to fully understand your travel insurance policy, from what’s covered to any exclusions you need to be aware of.
Most policies cover these main areas:
- Medical emergencies and evacuationThis is especially important if you’re going abroad, as most medical aids will not cover the full cost of treatment or repatriation outside South Africa.
- Trip cancellationIf your trip needs to be cancelled due to illness, an accident or the death of a close relative, travel insurance can help cover some of the costs.
- Baggage and personal belongingsThere’s nothing worse than being away from home and having your suitcase damaged or stolen. Be sure to check your policy covers higher value items like laptops and cameras.
And that’s it. Few adventures go exactly according to plan, but you can give them the best chance by taking care of a few simple preparations ahead of your holiday.
Get in touch with your broker today if you have any questions about your travel, home or car insurance.