Africa is quite simply one of the most magical vacation destinations on earth. It is a place of breathtaking natural beauty and amazing adventure.
When it comes time to plan an Africa family vacation, there are plenty of things to consider. After all, the more you know about your destination, the easier it is to know what to pack and what to do once you’re there.
This article is here to help you. Let’s take a look at some tips that can reduce much of the stress and confusion you might experience as you plan an exciting adventure in Africa for you and your family.
1. Decide Exactly Where You Want to Go
Africa is a huge continent. Like really huge. So there is simply no way you’re going to be able to see everything in one trip. Even if you plan for Africa family vacation to be there for a few weeks, you’re going to need to limit yourself and plan ahead.
Keep in mind that there are 54 countries on the continent. That’s a ton of area to cover. Sit down with a pen and paper and start brainstorming things you’d like to see and do. That’s the best way to start narrowing down ideas.
Be sure to take into consideration the type of wildlife you’d most like to see, because each country offers something different.
There are also certain countries with beaches, or mountaineering and hiking, and other actives designed to get your adrenaline flowing. By focusing on the activities that most excite the members of your family, it will simplify the process of deciding where to go.
2. Start Saving Money ASAP
Believe it or not, vacationing for Africa family vacation doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. But it can start getting expensive as you add exotic activities and the type of travel and lodging you book.
This is obviously true of anywhere you travel, but Africa is not a place where you want to find yourself suddenly short on cash. You’ll want to make sure to book adequate accommodations, have plenty of money for the amazing food, and also a bit of emergency cash in case of an accident, sudden cancellations, or an unexpected change of plans.
Just be aware that the sooner you start saving for vacation, the more money you’ll have available when it comes time to start making decisions and finalizing reservations.
3. Think About the Time of Year You’ll Want to Go
The season you pick to travel can have a significant impact on your Africa family vacation plans.
For instance, certain activities will be seasonal. These include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, visiting Victoria Falls, or whale watching on the coast of Mozambique. You shouldn’t expect to be able to do anything you want any time of year.
A smart traveler will also want to take weather into consideration at different times of the year. Many parks are closed during the rainy season. Weather can also cause roads to become impassable. And don’t forget about mosquitoes!
Spend some time researching special events or festivals you might want to attend that only occur during certain seasons.
4. Start Adding Up Costs
Now that you have a better idea of where to go and what you plan to do while there, it’s time to estimate what your vacation is going to cost.
Start with flights, then lodging and other accommodations, pre-travel expenses such as visas, safaris and other activities, food, and transportation while you’re there.
The sooner ahead of time you can cost everything out and get a clear picture of what you’ll be spending, the sooner you can firm up your vacation budget and begin making reservations.
5. Finalize Decisions/Make Reservations
This is when things really start getting exciting. At some point you have to make some firm decisions and begin making reservations.
Some people prefer to wing it when they travel. These are the type of people who cherish the freedom that spontaneity offers. This attitude might work out fine for some, but we wouldn’t recommend it when traveling as a family.
After all, you’re going to be in some remote destinations, often with limited lodging, transport, and food options, and Africa is not a place where you’d want to suddenly discover that your desire for spontaneity has left you without a room for the night.
6. Get Vaccinated
That’s right, you’re going to need some shots.
Keep in mind that you aren’t going to Disney World. Africa family vacation may include a trip to see wild animals in huge sized parks and wonderful places, but it can also be very dangerous for those who don’t take all the necessary precautions.
Every member of the family will need to be vaccinated and get malaria tablets. We suggest checking this off your list at least 6 months before departure.
Some countries might require a Yellow Fever certificate in order to enter the country. Travel Health Pro is a great resource for finding out what you’ll need for the trip.
You will need to start taking your malaria tablets a month out. Malaria pills are much cheaper purchased over the counter in Africa, so consider buying enough for the first week or so at home, then buy more once you arrive at your destination.
7. Check Your Travel Documents
Your passport and visa are extremely important when traveling in most Africa countries. It’s a good idea to make sure your passport will be valid for 6 months beyond the date you’ll be leaving your country of destination, and have at least 2 blank pages in it at any one time.
If you don’t have a passport or visa, apply for them well ahead of time in case of delays.
In certain countries, you will be required to pay for your visa on arrival. In this situations, you’ll need to pay for your visa in dollars. Always check ahead to find out the requirements for every destination country you intend to enter.
8. Invest in Travel Insurance
This might seem like an extra expense, but we say better safe than sorry. In fact, we really can’t overemphasize how vital it is to purchase comprehensive travel insurance for your family before venturing to Africa.
You’ll want a policy that covers all travel requirements, such as possessions, health, and possible injuries.
After all, no one expects anything to go wrong, but it’s best to plan as if it will.
9. Plan What You’re Going to Pack
You’re going to be a long way from how, in a very wild place, so you’d better pack accordingly.
The best advice we can offer is to pack as light as possible. In fact, you likely won’t need half as much stuff as you might imagine. Just make sure you start thinking about what to take ahead of time so that you’re not throwing clothes into a suitcase at the last minute.
10. Prepare Yourself Mentally for the Trip
It’s important to keep in mind that you will be traveling to a much more primitive culture than what you’re accustomed to. Typically you won’t have the same amenities that you have at home.
Many roads will be poorly paved if at all, thus travel by vehicle is often very bumpy. You must be cautious about drinking water. There are many deadly insects and snakes, etc. And the heat can easily become overwhelming.
You will likely find yourself exhausted a lot, and the mosquitoes can make you lose your mind. So it’s best to prepare yourself psychologically, and get yourself in good enough physical condition to be able to handle the brutal conditions.
11. Organize Your Money
We all know how important money is. Anywhere you go, and anything you do requires cash.
One the most important tips in regard to money is to make sure that all your dollars are dated 2013 or after, and it needs to be in good condition. Thus it’s a smart idea to visit the bank prior to your trip and get new currency to take with you.
You’ll want plenty of cash, but keep in mind that you’ll be able to use your cards in most major towns and cities that you visit.
12. Arrange a Pick Up at the Airport
Most of the lodging providers can arrange for a taxi to pick you up at the airport on arrival. This won’t be a free courtesy, of course. There will be a fee, but this is typically just added to your bill.
Organizing a pick up ahead of time is a great way to not risk trying to randomly find a taxi when you get there. You’re going to be overwhelmed and exhausted enough as it is, so the last thing you’ll want to do is stand outside in the heat attempting to arrange transportation for your family.
Just be sure to tip your driver.
Tips for the Ultimate Africa Family Vacation
The world is full of wonderful and exotic destinations, but none are more exciting or inspiring than Africa. Planning an Africa family vacation is the perfect way to see the world with those you love, to have amazing adventures together, and to build memories that will last a lifetime.
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