Here is everything you need to know to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday this summer…
1. Is your insurance cover adequate?
“You pay for your travel insurance in rands and receive cover for medical emergencies in foreign currencies, which can run into the millions. It doesn’t matter if you are fit and healthy, as more than 55% of claims are for medical emergencies related to accidents. For example, a client slipped by the pool at a Mauritius resort last year and the hospital bill amounted to R650 000.”
Top tip: Purchase your flights with your credit card. This may afford you some complimentary medical and other emergency cover. However, make very sure you know what will be paid for in the event of a medical emergency, and invest in suitable top-up cover.
2. Prevent an upset tummy
Take daily prebiotics for a few weeks before you’re set to travel. This will boost good bacteria, protect the gut against infection, food poisoning and traveller’s diarrhoea. Try Probiflora Adult Everyday Flora Balance 2 Strain Probiotic, R84 for 30 vegecaps, Takealot.
Top tip: Pack rehydration sachets to quickly replace lost electrolytes in the event of traveller’s diarrhoea.
3. Avoid insect bites
Last-minute travel, ignorance about malarial hotspots, and failing to take anti-malarial pills or use mosquito repellent are some of the most common reasons for travellers contracting malaria. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to contract the disease. Some malaria-prevention tablets can be taken the day before you travel. Contact a Netcare Travel Clinic for advice and medication.
Top tip: Prevention is definitely better than the cure! Use Doom Destroyer Mosquito Spray, R32,95 for 180ml, Dis-Chem.
4. Stay water safe
Familiarise yourself with beach flags. Red and yellow flags mark areas that are patrolled by lifeguards, so are the safest places for swimming and inflatables. A red flag indicates danger – so you should never enter the water when this is flying. When you see black and white chequered flags, it means an area of water has been marked for use by crafts like surfboards.
Top tip: Whatever the water activity (even if it’s just sitting in a boat), make sure you wear a buoyancy device that fits, advises leisure safety expert David Walker. “Too small and it won’t provide enough buoyancy; too big and it will float up around your ears in the water, making it harder for you to breathe.”
5. Don’t burn
According to CANSA, South Africa has the second-highest occurrence of skin cancer in the world, so applying sunblock is incredibly important. “It should be applied half an hour before going outdoors, giving it time to be absorbed and start working,” says sun-care expert Clare O’Connor. Reapply every two hours, especially post-swim.
Top tip: Just in case of sunburn, pack a moisturising ‘aftersun’ like Nivea Sun After Sun SOS Instant Relieving Lotion, R79,99 for 200ml, Clicks; as well as ibuprofen to help with discomfort.
6. Are you protected against cyber crime?
Ever been on a shopping spree and one or all of your devices loses power? Nowadays, it’s quite an easy fix. You stop off for a coffee and phone recharge at the nearest charging station and all is well with the world. Right? Not quite…
Did you know that public charging stations can “jack your juice?” In other words, steal your data through what is known as Juice Jacking.
Juice Jacking is a cyber hack aimed at smartphones when using free public charging stations. Malware is installed on the device through the USB charging port and transferring all data is possible, according to cybersecurity business DB Africa. DB owns DataBlock, a device designed to shield users while charging smart devices in public.
Make sure you protect your online information from hackers by using a DataBlock USB whenever you need to charge your mobile devices in public spaces. Available online for R99,99.
Words Michele O’Connor and Belinda dos Santos. Additional words Michelle Nortje