Are you planning to travel internationally but don’t know what to do before the trip? Worry not because this information will be helpful to allow you plan well and in advance for the trip.
Research and get more information about the destination such as what you can and cannot bring into the country, how to get to your hotel from the airport and local tourist scams of the place you are visiting. Traveling to Uganda involves;
- Finding out what documents are required to enter Uganda
Any tourist traveling to Uganda is required to present a valid passport and Visa for 6 months or more, except if you are a citizen of Visa Exempt country such as Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Comoros, Seychelles, Ghana, Djibouti and Gambia among others. Also, make sure your visa and passport are up-to-date.
- Purchase travel insurance
Before you even think of traveling, it’s a good idea to first check with your insurance provider to see if you may need to purchase insurance cover and against what risks. Additionally, you will also have to check with your personal doctor to ascertain whether you require any medical prescriptions or vaccines prior to traveling.
- Call your bank
It is important to first inform your Bank that you are planning to travel even before leaving because this allows you to make any necessary purchases with your credit/debit card while in Uganda for holiday.
- Pack appropriately
Packing light and right is the number one principle when planning a safari to Uganda or any other African country. Some of the essentials are long trousers, long sleeved shirts, short sleeved shirts, hiking boots, First Aid Kit, sandals or flip-flops or moving around the Hotel or safari Lodge, rain jacket, sweater, Umbrella, backpack, camera, pair of binoculars, wide-brimmed hat, gardening gloves, insect repellent, toiletries and cotton socks among others.
- Check the weather forecast before even leaving
Checking the prevailing weather or climate allows you to pack right for the safari. If it’s cold within your country, it doesn’t mean that the same will apply to the country you are traveling to thus if you are traveling to a destination with warm climate, pack appropriately (heavy jackets may not be important).
- Print out hard copies of the itinerary and confirmations
Unlike your home country where Wi-Fi is available everywhere, you won’t be lucky in most African countries where internet is found within some few places thus you are advised to print out hard copies of your conformations and itinerary and bring them with you. This is important because hotels and Safari Lodges can make mistakes in reservation and try to overcharge you for it but once you have evidence, you will be safe.
- Check for the different travel warnings and advisories
Travel advisories are important for ensuring your safety during Uganda tours and this usually depends on where you intend to travel thus you should always be aware of such advisories. You health or travel insurance may sometimes be invalid if there was an advisory put up.
- Stock your wallet and have some emergency cash on hand
One common mistake done by tourists is relying so much on their Credit/Debit cards and yet there are some places in Uganda where your cards may not be applicable (especially remote areas with no Banks). It is therefore important to have extra cash, preferably of the local currency to make small purchases such as buying souvenirs, snacks or even paying for food in restaurants.
- Read more about the locals of the destination and their local language as well as cultures
Reading and understanding about the customs or cultures of the host communities (final destination) will avoid offending them. Therefore, dressing appropriately and conservatively is important and tipping is good although in some places it is not mandatory, hence the reason you will have to conduct some research prior to travelling. Not only that, you can make an effort to learn about the local language-especially with key words or phrases of the local language.
- Determine and secure all necessary documents and make copies of them
There have been cases of theft of tourist documents during Uganda tours. You can imagine the dilemma of losing your passport while on a safari hence it is a perfect idea to make backup copies just in case of theft.
Additionally, other essential things to do before traveling overseas include crosschecking the current exchange rate, getting vaccinations and fill prescriptions, finding out where your consulate or Embassy is found so that you can always visit in case of emergency cases and also search about how to reach your hotel from the Airport (if its within Entebbe or Kampala Towns).