Careful planning is key to a carefree holiday. Here are some mistakes to avoid:

1. Always find out about visa requirements well in advance. Do not wait for the day before you fly to start your research. Long distance calls from Cape Town to Sao Paulo are expensive and the conversation with the machine at the embassy, which gracefully lets you choose your language with “pour le français en choisir un, para portugese escolher dois”, may not be very fruitful. If late at night you discover, through messages to friends already sailing in the area, that the normal rules do not apply to sailing vessels, then you have a perfect example of dumb luck.


2. Make sure there are no other diverse requirements for your journey. Two hours before your flight, at the airport, is not the time to discover that you need an original yellow fever inoculation certificate to board your flight. The fact that only one brother, with his slower more meticulous ways, has his on him, does not help. You do not want one person to phone frantically around to see if she can offer someone a lot of money to come and give you a jab at the airport. You do not want another to find out that the cost of moving your flight to the next day is R 9000 per person. You definitely do not want to find the now-not-so-slow brother at the colour photocopy machine at the printing shop, tippex in hand, scissors in his mouth. “What are you doing?”
“Quiet. I cut, you staple.”
Because then everyone has to run to the check-in counter, with brilliant acting, tears of joy and not a minute to spare.
“We, have it! We have it! Her sister brought it all the way from town!”
But they will be jubilant with you, phone to have the gates remain open and print boarding passes in record time.

3. And if, for some reason, you are running late, make sure there is not some whiskey in a hip flask in your hand-luggage. Otherwise you will have to quaff it right there at security, with a stupid grin on your face.

by Oloff de Wet