“BREXIT” has caused panic in the markets but that does not mean no more travelling – just better planning and here are a few tips to make this happen ?

Generic_WorldTravelcompiled by Chantell vd Heever – Director XL The Travel Professionals

With Britain voting to leave the EU, everyone is watching closely as we wait for the withdrawal process to unfold, and wondering what this means for us as Travellers from Southern Africa.

Short Term – the impact of the currency fluctuations on travel bookings is of course not favourable at this time. Forward buying does give somewhat relief in this type of situation for a short window period bit will definitely have an impact on pricing going forward. Medium Term – the question around visas, the Schengen border-free zone, any impacts on roaming charges and low cost flights are all questions that need to be answered, but for now it is expected to remain the unchanged. Some experts forecast that the pound could drop to below the euro, others remain optimistic about the effects of currency fluctuations. It is hoped that the “shock” will be short lived as the process to exit is expected to take 2 years but we have to prepare ourselves for a series of changes. Long Term – any long-term, future impact of the Brexit decision remains to be seen, with the UK needing to take stock of all the far-reaching consequences.

My advice to “counter” the negative effects that this major world event has on your Travel Plans ?

  • thailand-newsMy suggestion is to plan for holidays closer to the African Continent such as South Africa, Mauritius, Mozambique ( mostly Southern Part of Mozambique) , Zanzibar – where for the most part we can take SA Rand – since it is generally accepted in all of these countries. Also travel to “ low currency “ destinations – such as Thailand, Vietnam , Cambodia, Indonesia – where the N$ can be stretched a little further.
  • I would also suggest that you look at taking ALL INCLUSIVE holidays- so that you pay for everything here in Namibia before you depart. This will alleviate all the extra charges and nasty surprises that we normally get on holiday and – if the Rand weakens whilst you are on holiday – it will not make a difference as you have already paid upfront.
  • Also think of a holiday of Quality instead of Quantity – perhaps make your planned holiday shorter . Instead of a long budget holiday think about taking a shorter holiday, as this may make funds available to “ splurge” on luxury items, which you may not have been able to afford if you stayed longer.
  • Try to avoid flights over weekends – unless it is traditionally a Business Destination – then weekends are sometimes cheaper. Try to travel to the alternative airport of a city as it is cheaper
    than to fly to the main airport and in many cases a few kilometres difference. Also be prepared to travel via a connecting point if you are looking for cheaper offers on flights – the more
    direct the flight, the more expensive in most cases. Sometimes Business orientated hotels – offer really great deals over weekends due to their clientele staying mainly during the week. The
    same with car rental – generally cheaper over a weekend.
  • shutterstock_82771594Try to make your plans to travel in the Low Season ( of course weather permitting – some destinations are just awful in the low season- and just not worth the money you are saving)
    European weather is generally still great in September and you should pick up some great travel deals to Europe during this time – and the crowds are less. If your budget is tight – try to avoid travelling during Christmas Holidays, or Easter Holidays.
  • Do not skimp on Travel Insurance – my motto is – If you cannot afford Travel Insurance you cannot afford to Travel. Medical Expenses are very high abroad and you should always budget
    to include Travel Insurance. I have heard too many horror stories about people needing medical attention whilst on holiday and then cannot afford the care because they do not have
    Insurance. Also be careful – you get what you pay for –all the offers of Free Travel Insurance on credit cards – make sure that what you are getting is enough- and if not – pay for
    the Top Up Insurance. Also make 100% sure that you do not have to pay upfront and claim when you get back – this in itself could be a disaster. Also remember that your normal medical
    aid is not a Travel Insurance – you should ensure that the Travel Insurance part of your medical aid – if part of your benefits – is “ activated “ and that you get the correct paper work done
    before your depart. You cannot just hand in your medical aid card abroad and think you will be covered like at home ! Speak to your medical aid to ensure that you have everything in place
    and most of all – speak to your Travel Consultant!
  • travel-agentPlan ahead – I always advise , the earlier you book the better. Remember that prices are always determined by availability. Generally if you book long in advance the cheaper the price as it is
    more readily available. Last minute bookings are not really in the picture any more – maybe in Low Season when the supply of seats and rooms are more than the demand, but the rule of
    thumb – Plan Ahead! and stick to it!
  • Speak to a Professional! Now more than Ever! Remember – even if you are booking on the Internet – there is STILL always someone that is making money, in the background, from the site that you are using. It’s a bit of a myth thinking that the Travel Agent is way more expensive. I promise you – the travel industry have embraced the internet and if we can find a better deal via a reputable online booking site– we will offer it to you. We have access to all airline deals, all hotel deals and we have a vested interest in ensuring that our clients are getting the best value that their money can buy. I believe you cannot put a price on Peace of Mind and Professional Advice. You are spending a lot of money on a travel booking and you may not know the ins and outs of visa, health requirements, through-check-in , baggage restrictions, minimum connecting times needed between flights, airport changes, terminal changes and so much more to think about. Don’t make the expensive mistake by booking cheap via some website and then realizing afterwards that now you cannot travel because of some technicality.

Oh and you don’t have to book in South Africa – we have some very qualified , professional Travel Consultants in Namibia, who are geared to deal with our Namibian Travellers. We are so
often expected to “pick up the pieces” for clients that have booked on a website or in South Africa, just because they are not geared for the Namibian Traveller.

[box] …. And I promise the fee that a professional agent charges, is not thousands of dollars – and the probable saving that your professional agent passes on to you, is far more than the fee being paid.[/box]