5 hacks to make your overseas travel stress-free

Make sure not to forget your gadgets when packing for your travel adventures. Picture: Supplied

Make sure not to forget your gadgets when packing for your travel adventures. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 13, 2024


For most people the holiday season is a distant memory by now and thoughts have already turned to the next big adventure, so here are a few hacks on how you can pull that off.

According to Tracy Afonso, executive of Private Clients and Small Business Services at Nedbank, successful overseas travel is not only about enjoying your destination but also about enjoying every part of the journey.

Afonso said being well-prepared and equipping yourself with the knowledge you need to make the journey less stressful is a vital way to ensure the only memories you make are good ones.

She said while travelling overseas can be a thrilling experience, it requires careful planning and preparation and many of us tend to learn this valuable lesson the hard way.

So if you’re planning to explore the world in 2024, here are some travel hacks from Afonso on how to make your next holiday as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

Sort out your passport and visas early

Begin your travel preparations by ensuring your passport and visas are in order.

“The application process can take long, so it’s crucial to start early. When you receive these vital travel documents, be sure to make copies of the relevant pages and keep a copy with you, separate from your passport, and give one to a trusted friend or family member back home for safekeeping,” Afonso said.

She also revealed that you could skip the queue at Home Affairs by applying for your passport at participating Nedbank branches.

“It’s as simple as applying online and collecting your travel documents at a branch. When they’re ready, you will be notified,” said Afonso.

Have a mix of foreign exchange payment options

Afonso said using different payment methods is a smart move when travelling overseas.

She also advised travellers to carry only a small amount of cash in the local currency for day-to-day purchases and use a dedicated travel card or credit card to earn rewards for larger transactions.

“Nedbank Private Clients enjoy a range of forex services and benefits – complimentary delivery, a VIP rate, and the secure and convenient Nedbank Travel Card. You can preload multiple currencies onto the card, and use the balance to pay without additional costs,” said Afonso.

She said you can even manage your Travel Card on the go via the Money app.

She added that it’s imperative to inform your bank or credit card providers about your travelling dates to ensure you can use your cards overseas without them being flagged or restricted for suspected fraudulent activity.

Take full advantage of airport lounges

Afonso said airport lounges can transform your travel experience as they offer a serene retreat from the bustling, often stressful environment of airports, with comfortable and ample seating, wi-fi, power sockets, and even showers in some cases.

“It is like sanctuary from the chaotic airport atmosphere and can greatly reduce the anxiety that most people experience when travelling,” she said.

Afonso added that airport lounges are not only comfortable, but cost-effective.

“Airport eateries are known for their high prices, but lounge access typically includes complimentary snacks, meals and beverages. So, you save money while putting your feet up.”

She said Nedbank Private Clients enjoy access to local travel lounges with any of their Private Clients cards. Children who have active kids accounts get four free visits per year, and for Private Clients with Visa Signature debit or credit cards, the benefit extends to 10 free visits to more than 800 global LoungeKey lounges.

International lounges also have a plus-1 guest benefit.

Get the best travel insurance you can

Afonso said travel insurance is crucial for protecting you and your family financially in the event of unexpected medical expenses, trip delays, and lost baggage.

She revealed that when you pay for your flights with your Nedbank Private Clients Visa Signature or American Express Card, you automatically qualify for medical emergency cover of up to R3 million on American Express Cards and $750 000 (about R14m) on Visa Signature Cards.

Afonso said that Nedbank Greenbacks members now also enjoy local and international airline discounts, so before you book, check out the Nedbank Greenbacks programme.

If possible, travel outside peak season

And finally, Afonso said if you couldn’t join the holiday rush over December last year, you may have done yourself a huge favour.

“Travelling internationally outside peak season has many benefits for adventurous globetrotters.

“Beyond the obvious advantage of avoiding crowds and long queues, travelling outside peak season is often a less rushed, and more authentic and immersive experience. And it offers significant cost savings with lower airfares and accommodation prices.”