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Every day at FinGlobal we deal with expats from all over the world and we have picked up some valuable ‘travel hacks’ that will help you feel more relaxed and in control on your travels. Make your expat journeys smoother, with these expert expat travel tips:

10 Travel tips and tricks

Book your trip on a Tuesday

If you are looking for cheaper tickets, then Tuesdays are regarded as the best day to book your tickets. Also, be aware that the best fares are advertised 50 days ahead of departure, with the most expensive fares being advertised three days beforehand. So, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will pick up a cheap ‘last-minute’ deal when it comes to international airfares.

Break your journey

It’s often more expensive to fly directly to your destination. Rather break your journey with a short stopover to switch planes. By doing this, you can save large sums of money and keep your budget intact.

Sandwich your seats

If you’re travelling as a pair, then don’t book to sit next to each other in a row of three seats. Rather book the aisle and the window seat. Unless the flight is packed, no single travel will choose to sit in the middle seat – which means you can ensure you have the entire row to yourself. In the event that someone does book the middle seat, you can just ask to switch seats, so you can sit together.

Look for experienced travellers

If you are in a rush, don’t look at the line’s length at the baggage scanners, rather look at who is in the line. Look for single travellers or pairs and avoid queues with families and children with lots of bags.

Be adaptable

Left your universal, international plug adaptor at home and have no way to charge your phone? Don’t stress, if you have your standard charger with you, you can usually plug it into the USB port at the back of most TVs. Remember to travel with your laptops. You’ll need these on arrival for research, communication and keeping the children (and you) entertained until the TV is installed.

Roll your clothes

Experienced travellers always roll their clothes when packing. Not only does this increase the space in their suitcases but also ensures that their clothes arrive on the other side relatively crease-free. You can also use your clothes rolls as cushions for any delicate items – which you can simply place inside the rolls. Check that you have all your family’s medications in your hand luggage, together with relevant prescriptions in case you are asked for them at customs. Be aware of medication regulations in the country you are going to and ensure you have the right paperwork.

Mark your luggage as fragile

Always mark your luggage as fragile. This is a great way to ensure that your baggage is always handled with care. Your luggage will be kept at the top of the pile, which will ensure that it also one of the first bags to be released.

Look for longer car insurance

If you need to hire a car, avoid daily car insurance deals, which can cost a lot more money. Aim to buy the basic package without any add-ons that can significantly increase the price. Rather than being caught short trying to organise car insurance at the airport, arrange your car cover beforehand or get a general travel insurance package that also covers car hire.

Minimise your jet lag

To minimise jet lag on long-haul flights, get plenty of rest 48 hours before and stay hydrated on your flight. It is also recommended that you choose a flight that gets you to your destination in the early evening – and then try and stay awake until 10 pm local time before you settle down to sleep.

Plan your route

To minimise stress when you arrive in your new destination, download the area you’re travelling to on Google Maps before you leave home. The GPS on your phone will work without using mobile data and with a downloaded map you’ll always be able to navigate your way around an unfamiliar area. On your first morning, find your nearest supermarket, pharmacy and park. It will help you to get your bearings, and once you know where to find, medicine and recreation, you’ll feel more confident! If you are relying on taxis, add the number of a recommended taxi company to that list.

Seasoned expats will know how first impressions of a new place can change over time, once you get to know your new neighbourhood and make new friends. After the stress of the move, you will be tired and emotional. Don’t let your first impressions set the tone of the rest of your stay in your new country, but instead recognise that you’ll get used to your new surroundings and keep positive! Enjoy exploring your new home, seek out new foods and experiences, and have fun as a family. The first few days before “normality” sneaks in can feel like a holiday, so make the most of it.

If you are a South African living or moving abroad and would like to know more about how you can maximise your finances through financial emigration from South Africa, accessing your South African retirement annuity and our tailor-made tax solutions for South Africans around the world, contact FinGlobal today.