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The following is basic, common sense advice that should be adhered to when travelling to any foreign country, but should not be taken lightly when travelling to South Africa.
More than 460,000 Britons visit South Africa every year. Most visits are trouble- free. The main type of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in South Africa in 2006 was for replacing lost or stolen passports.
Pack an extra set of passport photos along with a photocopy of your passport’s information page to make replacement of your passport easier in the event it is lost or stolen. Carry the minimum number of valuables, and plan places to conceal them. Your passport, cash and credit cards are most secure when locked in a hotel safe. When you have to carry them on your person, you may wish to put them in various places rather than all in one wallet or pouch. Avoid handbags, fanny packs and outside pockets that are easy targets for thieves. Inside pockets and a sturdy shoulder bag with the strap worn across your chest are somewhat safer. One of the safest places to carry valuables is in a pouch or money belt worn under your clothing.
If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair. Bring them and any medicines you need in your carry-on luggage.
To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original, labelled containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions and the generic names for the drugs. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country before you travel.
Bring travellers cheques and one or two major credit cards instead of cash where possible.
Put your name, address and telephone numbers inside and outside of each piece of luggage. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity or nationality. If possible, lock your luggage.
Consider getting a telephone calling card. It is a convenient way of keeping in touch. If you have one, verify that you can use it from your overseas location(s). Find out your access number before you go.
Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home in case they need to contact you in an emergency.
Make two photocopies of your passport identification page, airline tickets, driver's license and the credit cards that you plan to bring with you. Leave one photocopy of this data with family or friends at home; pack the other in a place separate from where you carry the originals.
Leave a copy of the serial numbers of your travellers' checks with a friend or relative at home. Carry your copy with you in a separate place and, as you cash the checks, cross them off the list.
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