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‘Go On,’ Stay Safe with These Travel Tips

In America, their travel advisory for South Africa reads, ‘Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution’. And look, we like to think of ourselves as overachievers, especially when it comes to rugby (no New Zealand, we will never get tired of making this point), but we will be honest, seeing precautions like these regarding visiting our country make us a little sad, extremely necessary though they may be.

Truth is, as South Africans, who live here and navigate this crime situation every day, we tend to get a little blasé with regards to our personal safety and security at times. At this point we all know someone that has had an incident or 10, that someone is reading this right now, so while we’ve got the tee-shirt, or more likely it was stolen off the line (incident 11), we’re all a little desensitized. That’s not good news, when all signs indicate we should never let our guard down no matter what or where we are (FWIW we never let out guards down, but that’s another article for another day).

All this preamble brings us to this, “hey, it’s the holidays, so, if you are going away and / or travelling local, as we tend to do, we would like to recommend that you heed America’s travel advisory and ‘Exercise Increased Caution’ yourselves”. Here is a handy list of dos and don’ts to get you there (wherever that may be).

From Lock Ups to No Go’s.

  • Packing your car for your trip? Kudos on the playlist and good luck with the snacks, they’re gonna take you precisely 300meters. But while we have your attention, may we humbly request you do this all in your garage, with the door closed.
  • Do a perimeter check before you go. Make sure there is nothing hampering electric fences, and that the lights are all working, unobstructed, and set to a timer.
  • Switch on the alarm. Please. Before you drive away, watch the little light go from green to red, or the app to say ‘armed.’
  • Don’t forget your cameras can be linked to your alarm and your app, so you can check in from wherever you are.
  • If you are leaving pets with a house sitter, please run them through the house security features (the house-sitter not the pet, they know what’s cutting), give them our number and inform us of the situation.
  • If you do not have a house sitter, please put your pets in boarding and once again inform us that you are going away. Yes, we’re ‘momming’ you. You like it.
  • If you get to the bottom of the street and wonder if you did something, go back and check. And unplug your electric appliances while you are at it.

Driven by a Need for Safety

  • We are just going to go ahead and assume that you had your car checked and serviced to make sure it is roadworthy for this trip to wherever you are going.
  • Keep a medical aid kit in your boot. Super useful in so many situations.
  • Make sure your jack is in the back. If you don’t know how to change a tire (and even though YouTube has a video for that and everything else), depending on where you are, what time it is, and how bad it is, you may need to find a service station, or call roadside assist. If it’s the latter, stay in the vehicle with the doors locked.
  • Make sure your phone is charged and that you have Waze or Google Maps or whatever doing its thing. Follow it’s directions (even when you yell at it that you know better) to avoid hazards, broken down vehicles and accidents. (Remember map books? Hahahaha *cries* – these are clearly better days).
  • You have insurance, right? Right?
  • If you are not driving your own vehicle, please use Uber when e-hailing, but make sure that you are booking their services through the app. If you get into a vehicle driven by someone that is bettering the price by not using the app, you are exposing yourself to needless risk. With Uber itself you have tracking options and safety precautions.
  • Car rental is also a solid option, so please make sure you have your driver’s license on you and are ready to sign your life away (only mildly dramatic). Somehow there are fewer t’s and c’s involved in catching a flight to some obscure mountain range half the world away.

Are We There Yet? Eh, Nearly.

  • When you arrive at your destination, remember while you are South African you are still a tourist in this situation and you need to be vigilant.
  • Investigate your destination. Know what you want to see and where you want to go. Choose safe routes and options.
  • Don’t go off the beaten track.
  • Don’t go off alone.
  • Share your live location with someone else if you are out exploring
  • Don’t wear expensive jewelry or be obvious with phones, watches, rings and things.
  • Cash is in fact, not king (it’s an easy target thing). But do keep a couple notes for emergencies.

It’s often said that while abroad South Africans are hard to take advantage of. Some may call us a bit anxious; we call us a lot smart ;). We just need to remember to apply the same rules in our own cities, provinces and country.

Remember to let us know when you go. And if you know anyone hitting KZN, tell them to call us, In Case of Anything.

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