Planning African tour – Are you a newcomer to the world of adventure travel? Welcome aboard! You’re in for an incredible journey, and we’re here to assist you every step of the way. Planning and budgeting for an adventure trip might feel a bit unfamiliar, but don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Let’s walk through the process together, making sure you’re well-prepared and ready to dive into this exciting experience.
Dreaming of an adventure in a distant and exhilarating location? Wondering how to turn that dream into reality? Follow the step-by-step guide below to help you meticulously plan for an extraordinary adventure trip!
1. Decide Where to go
Choosing a destination is typically the simplest aspect of planning an adventure trip. Perhaps you’ve been captivated by images of a place, or a friend’s enthusiastic recommendation has piqued your interest. It’s likely that you already have a destination in mind, possibly a place that has lingered in your dreams for years.
In our view, the crucial element when selecting a destination is making sure it’s a place you genuinely yearn to explore. Resist the temptation to pick a location just because it’s trendy or considered a rite of passage by others. Planning an adventure trip involves a significant investment of time, effort, and money. Therefore, it’s vital that the chosen destination truly excites you, motivating you to navigate through the necessary administrative tasks with enthusiasm.
The location should spark serious excitement in you whenever you think about it
Now, let’s talk about the administrative side. After finalizing your adventure travel destination, it’s time to delve into some research and kickstart the organization process. Our initial recommendation is to thoroughly examine the current health restriction situation in the host country or region. Unfortunately, the impact of some diseases still looms, influencing lives and policies.
2. Research if travelers are welcomed and safe in a destination you are going to.
Ensuring your safety during the adventure trip is paramount. While it’s a given that some countries are more traveler-friendly than others, it’s also crucial to acknowledge that specific groups of individuals need to exercise special caution when selecting a location.
Female travelers must be mindful of the fact that, in certain countries, they may not be viewed as equals in the eyes of the law, particularly in the Middle East. This discrepancy can render them more vulnerable, facing reduced rights. Solo female travelers, in particular, should exercise caution.
Check how women are treated in the destination
Moreover, adventure travel often unfolds in remote regions where traditional gender roles are deeply entrenched. It’s essential to consider whether you’ll be comfortable if societal attitudes and expectations towards women differ from what you’re accustomed to.
Additionally, reflect on your willingness to adapt your attire if local norms require it. While many of us are amenable to removing shoes and covering shoulders in religious or sacred spaces, how do you feel about more extensive coverings? Striking a balance between being a respectful traveler and maintaining your comfort is crucial.
Be sure if the destination is against LGBTQIA+ folks
Individuals within the LGBTQIA+ community should carefully assess whether the desired destination is both welcoming and safe for them.
Some countries, especially in Asia and Africa, may not be accepting of individuals of all orientations, even in legal terms. It’s worth contemplating whether you’d have a more fulfilling and secure travel experience in a destination with more liberal views and policies.
Safety and Security of the destination
Moreover, take a moment to assess the current stability of the destination country. If you’re not abreast of the latest news, conduct some research to uncover any ongoing conflicts or pertinent issues that might adversely impact your travels.
Consider whether your visit might inadvertently support a government that promotes tourism but may not align with your values or treat its citizens ethically.
Additionally, verify that the area you wish to visit hasn’t been affected by natural disasters, making it temporarily or permanently off-limits. However, once safety is restored, your visit could play a crucial role in aiding the recovery of a tourism industry that has faced hardships. Trips to destinations like Nepal, for instance, are greatly valued by local tourism stakeholders as they continue rebuilding after the devastating 2015 earthquake.
It’s prudent to ascertain whether your two countries maintain diplomatic relations and if there’s an embassy available for emergencies.
While we’re not dictating where anyone should or shouldn’t travel, for adventure travel newcomers, these considerations are crucial. Additionally, opting for an adventure tour operator can enhance your safety, especially if you perceive yourself as part of a demographic that might be vulnerable while traveling in a specific country or in general.
3. Decide your safari Duration and things to do
We recommend starting your adventure trip planning by jotting down all the places and activities you wish to experience, even before delving into budget considerations. Similar to creative writing, enjoy creating a dream itinerary, and then proceed with some thoughtful editing. This approach allows you to clarify your true desires and priorities.
Once you have your list of desired activities and an estimate of the required number of days, it’s time to delve into budget planning (and perhaps consider the duration of leave you can take). This is where you’ll engage with step #5, involving the costing of every aspect. Expect a back-and-forth process between your itinerary and costings as you gather information on prices and fees. Adjustments to your itinerary—whether removals or additions—may be necessary.
Strive to strike a balance between budget considerations and ensuring your adventure trip aligns with your true aspirations. Often, the opportunity to visit a special destination arises only once in a lifetime, so it’s crucial to ensure you experience the things that truly matter to you.
4. Research the health risks and requirements for your destination
Before embarking on your adventure trip, ensure you research and fulfill any health-related entry requirements for your destination. In some East African nations, proof of a yellow fever vaccine is mandatory for entry. Moreover, many countries now require evidence of a Covid-19 vaccine for admission. Stay informed about the specific health protocols in place to ensure a smooth and compliant entry into your chosen destination.
Pro tip: don’t leave things to the last minute. A yellow fever vaccine, for instance, can make you feel icky for a few days, and moreover needs to be done 10 days before your trip.
Additionally, determine if there are necessary precautions, such as anti-malaria medication. For high-altitude trekking, some opt for medications like Diamox to minimize potential side effects.
Regarding malaria, choose accommodations offering bed netting. Pack anti-mosquito spray or lotion, and consider wearing long pants and sleeves for added protection against bites.
It’s advisable to secure travel insurance tailored to your specific activities. For instance, high-altitude trekkers should obtain insurance covering trekking up to a designated altitude, as some countries may mandate such coverage for trekking participation.
At least you need a small first Aid Kit for your safety
We strongly advise packing a personal first aid kit for your adventure. While tour operators typically provide kits, having your own ensures you have specific items you may prefer or need. Some recommended additions to your personal first aid kit include:
- Sterilized cotton wool pad
- Plasters (band-aids)
- Small bandage
- Anti-diarrhea medications
- Anti-constipation medication
- Anti-nausea medication
- Hay fever medication
5. Make and Formulate your safari Budget
You need to carefully plan and be sure of your travel budget, its very important as we are going to discuss it for you below.
While it may take some time, investing in thorough research for these ‘big ticket’ items is essential to avoid unpleasant surprises later on. Here’s a list of significant expenses to research and incorporate into your budget:
- Airfares (ensure prices include airport taxes)
- New or renewed passport
- Local transport (covering airport transfers, trains, buses, etc.)
- Accommodation (check for included airport transfers and local travel options)
- Food and drinks (consider the need to purchase drinking water based on your destination)
- Travel insurance
- National park and similar permits and fees, which can be substantial
- Necessary gear and clothing
- Tour operator fee (mandatory for certain adventure trips, such as climbing Kilimanjaro)
- Tour guide, driver, porter, etc. (again, these roles might be mandatory)
Here’s a list of additional, more affordable items to factor into your budget, some of which may be applicable to your specific trip:
- Visa or visas (Note: For destinations like Bhutan, this could constitute a significant expense)
- Service tips (Check if tipping is customary for your type of adventure trip)
- International adapter and power bank (refer to step #17)
- Vaccinations or other medications, such as anti-malaria tablets (refer to step #6)
- Souvenirs and gifts (further details below)
Valuable tip: Explore acquiring a credit card that provides traveler rewards and includes travel insurance when used for flight purchases.
Understand your Tour Package
As mentioned in step #4, after determining the total cost, you can fine-tune your itinerary. Subsequently, upon settling on a final itinerary, consider allowing yourself several months for potential savings.
Make Savings Plan if you can
Many adventure travelers aren’t affluent individuals casually pointing at a map and swiping a credit card. Often, they are individuals who prioritize travel over other potential expenses. If you genuinely aspire to make adventure travel a reality and need to save, create a savings plan that you can start working on immediately. Evaluate if there are non-essential expenditures you can temporarily forgo, even if just for the current year, to bring your dream to fruition.
Simultaneously, if you find your savings plan to be too demanding and potentially stressful, contemplate revisiting your itinerary or, perhaps, extending the planned date of the trip.
Be informed about the booking fees
In a way, planning for an adventure trip requires two budgets. This is because certain deposits are typically due early in the process. Additionally, while purchasing flights in advance was common (though less so due to pandemic-related uncertainties), other expenses for the adventure trip often become payable closer to the actual trip date.
Therefore, we recommend determining the upfront (or earlier date) amount required and distinguishing it from the sum needed by the trip date.
Strive to channel your funds into the local economy.
Have you ever come across the term “economic leakage”? This occurs when the money you spend in a destination ultimately benefits overseas entities, often large multinational corporations. Unfortunately, this is a prevalent issue in many of the world’s stunning and frequently visited adventure travel destinations.
We advocate for choosing accommodations and services operated by or employing locals, including those in managerial positions, not just at the lower levels of the organization. For a more impactful contribution, seek out companies that engage local suppliers, such as purchasing produce from nearby farmers.
6. Check your passport expiry date
It’s common to overlook checking your passport’s expiry date until it becomes a last-minute concern. Avoid being caught in that situation!
Typically, you need a passport valid for at least three months beyond your return date. This detail is crucial, so be sure not to overlook it or miscalculate.
If you’re venturing into adventure travel and are new to international trips, you might need to apply for a passport. Depending on your location, the processing time varies, and it may not always be a consistent timeframe. Check your government’s website for specific details and initiate this step as early as possible.
7. Check the Visa Requirements
Organizing a visa may be necessary depending on your departure and destination. When dealing with government-related matters, avoid procrastination! Talk to our team about visa assistance.
While some countries allow visa issuance upon arrival, this isn’t guaranteed. Conduct thorough research in advance to understand the requirements and ensure all necessary documentation is prepared. Don’t leave this crucial step until the last moment to avoid potential complications. Stay proactive to get your travel arrangements in order smoothly.
8. Decide if you want to travel as a Sole Traveler or with a Group
Now is the time to secure any friends or family members you want to join you. Keep in mind that compatibility as travel companions may differ from everyday friendships. Ensure your fellow travelers fully embrace the planned itinerary.
Solo travel is a viable and increasingly popular option. Don’t delay adventure travel simply because you lack a companion. Embrace the independence and enjoy your own fantastic company!
Alternatively, tap into your social networks to gauge interest from acquaintances. Many are willing to join an existing adventure. Another option is joining a group of strangers; adventure travel groups often consist of individuals who become friends during the journey!
10. Choose between engaging a tour operator or managing bookings independently.
Whether traveling solo or with companions, a crucial decision is whether to plan and execute everything independently or engage the services of a tour operator. If opting for a tour operator, this step is timely in the sequence, as confirming dates is necessary before booking flights.
Organizing the trip independently is advantageous for those who prefer complete control or have a unique itinerary in mind. Smaller travel companies, like Kenlink Tours in Uganda often accommodate customized trip requests.
Individuals valuing solo experiences may opt to handle everything themselves without the assistance of a local tour guide.
Conversely, using a tour operator offers the benefit of having much of the logistical work handled for you. Tasks such as booking accommodation, obtaining permits, and arranging transport are delegated, allowing for a smoother process.
Moreover, tour operators possess extensive knowledge of the area, including highlights, challenges, pitfalls, and safety considerations. However, thorough research, including reviews, is crucial to selecting a reputable and competent tour operator for a memorable experience.
For adventure trips, selecting a tour operator is often the safest choice. Local guides employed by these operators possess intimate knowledge of activity-related dangers, prioritizing your safety as their primary responsibility. Additionally, they are typically trained in first aid. (Ensure you choose a reputable company with a strong safety record to fully benefit from this advantage.)
As highlighted in step #9, a tour operator becomes an appealing option if you lack travel companions and prefer joining a group. Many lasting friendships have originated from such group experiences.
Moreover, tour operators often secure special rates, enabling them to book accommodations and activities at potentially better costs than you could obtain independently.
11. You can now book your flights
Historically, booking trips and flights well in advance was a strategy to evade steep last-minute prices and secure a spot. However, the current trend favors last-minute deals as potentially the best options. In an industry marked by constant flux, there’s no definitive rule for booking flights.
The best advice is to remain vigilant for deals. Additionally, when incorporating stopovers, ensure you allocate a sufficient window to account for potential flight delays. Opting for a single airline for multi-flight journeys is advisable, as it holds responsibility for any missed connections, obligated to find an alternative flight at no extra cost.
12. Book Your Accommodation
While it’s advisable not to finalize any accommodation arrangements until your flights are secured, we recommend exploring accommodation availability before confirming your flights. This ensures availability in your desired location and, if you have a specific establishment in mind, guarantees they have an open spot for you.
A strategic approach is to outline your planned flights, pay refundable deposits for accommodation where possible, and then proceed to book your flights. This way, if any issues arise with your flights, you can cancel your accommodation without financial loss.
While this approach may not always be feasible, if faced with a choice, securing flights first and adjusting accommodation choices later is generally considered a more practical option.
13. You need to get your travel Insurance
Travel insurance is an indispensable component of adventure travel, especially when engaging in physically demanding activities that inherently carry more risk than conventional holidays like city tours or beach vacations.
It’s crucial to consult with relevant authorities to determine if any specific insurance is mandated for your particular adventure trip. For example, if planning to climb Kilimanjaro, ensure you purchase insurance covering elevations up to 6,000 meters above sea level. Proof of such insurance is typically required for mountain access, emphasizing its necessity for participating in the adventure.
Certain travel insurers offer policies that safeguard against travel disruptions related to the coronavirus. It’s essential to carefully review any policy under consideration, as not all coronavirus insurance policies are equal. While some cover illness caused by the virus, others may exclude disruptions due to border closures.
We highly recommend selecting a policy that comprehensively covers various virus-related disruptions. Although tour operators might suggest preferred insurance providers, they often stress the importance of individual responsibility in this matter. Each country, both home and destination, has distinct Covid-19 policies, and insurance providers vary by country. This administrative task cannot be outsourced and demands thorough attention.
Additionally, be well-versed in the fine print of your chosen policy, as some may not pay out if you’ve received compensation, even partially, from a third party. World Nomads is recommended as a reputable travel insurance company to consider, providing coverage for over 150 adventure activities, lost luggage, canceled travel, and more.
14. Check and confirm your packing list
Embarking on adventure travel often entails the need for various specialized equipment such as tents, outdoor cooking gear, kayaks, snorkels, flippers, emergency oxygen, and more.
If you’re venturing independently (as opposed to with a tour operator), diligent research and acquisition of the required equipment are especially crucial. In contrast, when traveling with a tour operator, they typically furnish most of the necessary gear, a significant convenience. It’s advisable to request a detailed list of included and excluded equipment in your package if not provided, ensuring clarity on what is provided.
You need to buy or rent some equipment
Renting equipment at destinations known for specific adventure activities, such as sleeping bags or trekking poles, is a practical option for several reasons.
Firstly, local rental shops are knowledgeable about the necessary equipment for safely and comfortably engaging in the region’s prominent activities. As long as you choose reputable establishments, you can rely on informed staff to guide you towards the suitable gear for your specific adventure.
Secondly, renting is ideal for expensive items that you may not use again. For example, if you’re camping in a cold climate for the first time, it may be more sensible to rent a four-season sleeping bag initially to gauge your enjoyment before committing to a significant purchase.
Lastly, renting eliminates the need to transport certain items, often heavy and bulky, across the globe. Even if you own a piece of equipment at home, renting it at the destination may be a more convenient and practical choice.
Certainly, conduct thorough research into the rental options available at your destination before considering this alternative. Allow sufficient time for any rental arrangements, ensuring you don’t rush crucial decisions regarding equipment.
With Africa Travel Hub, we ensure our clients have all the essential equipment for their adventures, including tents, camp chairs, sleeping bags, and sleeping mats.
15. Clothing type
Depending on your destination and planned activities, you might require specialized clothing that you don’t already possess. Items like snow boots, hiking shoes, a winter jacket, and thermal innerwear come to mind in such cases.
Conduct thorough research to understand the specific clothing and footwear needed for your type of adventure trip. It’s advisable to purchase certain items in advance, allowing time for testing and breaking them in if necessary. What might appear ideal in theory could turn out to be uncomfortable or inadequate in reality, so proactive preparation is key.
Renting certain clothing items, such as winter jackets and balaclavas, is also a feasible option. While some places even offer rental for hiking boots, we caution against this practice, as comfortable, well-worn shoes are often crucial for the success of an adventure trip.
At Africa Travel Hub, we provide the option to rent our specially designed winter jackets to clients, offering the convenience of one less bulky item to fit into your luggage!
16. Check and confirm your gadgets are working well.
Ensure a smooth experience with your tech gadgets by considering the following:
- Confirm the availability of plug points along your adventure route to charge your devices. If uncertain, bring a power bank as a backup.
- Research the plug points in the destination country to ensure compatibility with your devices. Acquire a suitable adapter if needed.
- For gadgets relying on batteries, verify the current charge and pack spares. Always bring extra batteries.
- Before bringing a drone, check the regulations in your adventure destination to ensure they are allowed. Compliance with local rules is essential.
Key advice: In certain locations, there may be charges for device charging. Determine if this is applicable, so you can budget accordingly and ensure you have cash for such payments.
17. You need to let your financial institutions like the banks about your travel plans.
Ensure that your bank is informed about your travel plans and dates to prevent any issues with your cards functioning in the destination country. This precaution is crucial to avoid potential complications.
It’s advisable to obtain some local currency before departing your home country as an additional backup. Having more than one card to draw from also provides added security.
Do yourself a favor by determining if your destination operates mostly on a cash economy. Make sure to secure some local currency before venturing into remote areas where ATMs may be scarce. This precaution is essential to avoid inconveniences when trying to buy a soft drink, make a souvenir purchase, or offer a tip.
While you can often obtain cash at the airport upon arrival, always have a backup plan in case the machine there is out of order. Preparedness ensures a smoother experience in unfamiliar and remote locations.
18. Let your relatives know about your travel plans by even sharing copies of your itinerary and insurance
Before embarking on your adventure, make sure someone close to you at home possesses:
- A copy of your itinerary.
- A copy of your insurance policy, with a highlighted contact number.
- The contact details of your tour operator and/or accommodation.
While the expectation and hope are that everything goes smoothly, and your communication with loved ones is filled with exciting travel updates, it’s always better to be safe. Ensure you’ve shared these crucial documents with someone back home.
19. Enable your phone to open in all countries connection, but allowing roaming.
The final reminder before embarking on your dream adventure trip is to switch your cellphone to roaming. It’s essential to keep folks at home informed with a text when you land, assuring them that all is well.
Consider the option of purchasing a local SIM card in certain countries, as this can be a cost-effective alternative to using your own SIM card.
Once your phone is on roaming and you’re boarding your plane, it’s time to relax and fully immerse yourself in the moment. With all the preparations completed, it’s now adventure time!
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