Seven Essentials to Pack in Your Hand Luggage When Leaving South Africa



You may be so excited to head off to a new country and start a new life, whether it’s temporary or permanent, but have you worked out what you will pack in your checked baggage and what you need to keep with you in your hand luggage?

Aside from the obvious wallets, phones, hand sanitiser and in-flight entertainment items (like headphones, iPods, books or Kindles), there are a few key things you should ensure go in your hand luggage to make life a lot easier when you eventually arrive.

1. Essential documents

Most importantly, pack ALL your documentation in your hand luggage. Visa grant letters, all forms of identification, references, police clearances, skills assessments, qualifications, resumes – if you need it, pack it!

You have invested so much time, effort and let’s face it, money, in gathering all these documents and securing your visa, the last thing you want to do is have them go missing before you even arrive.

2. Medication

If you are taking any regular medication, always pack a three or four day supply of it. The rest can go in your checked luggage but at least while you are travelling and for the first day or two, you won’t have to think about where it might be and which corner of which bag you tucked it into.

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3. Phone/Laptop Chargers

The last thing you want to worry about when you get to your destination is having a low battery or worse, a dead phone! In the event of a delay you’ll always be fully charged and you will be able to let friends and family know you have arrived safely at your destination.

4. Plug adapters

Following on from chargers, you are definitely going to need a plug adapter if you want to use any electrical items you have brought with you. My advice is to bring at least three or four, it’s crazy how many items you will need to plug in and it saves waiting for someone to be finished with one before you can use it.

5. Cash

Even if you have opened an overseas bank account already and transferred your funds across, you are going to need some cold hard cash before you can get to the bank to access it, especially if you arrive on a weekend.

So remember to order your currency before you leave (airports can be crazy expensive for changing money) and pack it safely in your hand luggage.

6. USB Flash Drives

A few USB’s are a great addition to your hand luggage. They are tiny and often contain invaluable data so are perfect for keeping with you at all times.

Bring some empty ones and others with your important documents on them as well (see point 1 for what you should save to your flash drive).

7. Change of clothes & pyjamas

Arriving at your destination and feeling tired and unclean is one of the worst feelings – all you want to do is take a shower and if it’s later in the day, probably go to bed.

Having a change of clothes or your PJ’s ready to change into makes arriving all the more easier. No digging around in suitcases trying to find a set of clothes for everyone at 2am.


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