Do I need to carry foreign currency in cash or will my local bank card work abroad?
It is always advisable to carry some cash when you are travelling. But you can use your bank card almost anywhere nowadays to withdraw cash from an ATM, or at merchants. Just remember to advise your bank that you will be travelling. Please note that if you in Bali as an example, you can withdraw Bali Rupiah at the ATM.
What currency should I buy?
You need to research what currency is used at your destination. If it is a major currency, like USD, Euro and Sterling, you can buy these quite easily at a bank or authorised dealer. Please note that banks do not hold all currencies. In order to buy currency, you need a copy of your flight confirmation, and your passport. If you work at a bank, you usually qualify for preferential rates.
Can I use my phone internationally?
You will need to check this with your network provider. The rates charged internationally are not the same as in SA, and free minutes etc do not apply. Data costs are exceptionally high so you want to switch off your mobile data just before take-off. If your hotel has free wifi, you can link up when you there.
Network providers also offer sms roaming, which you need to activate before leaving SA. But this disables all calls, and data. And the sms’s are charged at a higher rate usually.
Travel tip: We always attempt to get a sim card at the airport when we land. We either take a spare phone or just swop out the sim card for a few days. Test to see that you can access data and make calls.
Do I need travel insurance?
If you pay for your flights using your bank card, you will qualify for the travel insurance from your card provider/bank. This is usually sufficient. Always check to see if the cover includes items like baggage delays, missed connections, emergency and medical expenses etc. If you are not entirely satisfied with the cover, you can always purchase other travel insurance.
Travel tip: Try to pay for your flight tickets using your bank card to qualify for the free travel insurance.