Trip planning checklist

When you start planning a trip there are certain important administrative things that you have to see to if you do not want to spoil an otherwise well planned trip. One should have a checklist that you look at when you start planning and then double check just before you leave to make sure that you have taken care of all the last minute arrangements as well.

Money matters

  • Make sure you have both a Visa and MasterCard in your travel party.
  • Notify your bank that you will be using your cards in another country during a certain period.
  • Draw up a budget for your trip.
  • Arrange for adequate amounts of currency from your bank.


Ensure you take the following numbers with you:

  • To report lost or stolen bank cards.
  • Medical aid and the international SOS number in case you have an emergency. Remember to take direct dial and not toll-free numbers.
  • Vehicle insurance in case of an accident.
  • Vehicle mechanic or service centre closest to where you will stay.
  • A friend who can assist with any emergency arrangements back home.


  • Make sure your passport is valid for six months after you are due to leave the country/countries you are visiting.
  • Make sure you have a visa, if you need one.
  • Make sure you have the correct documents for getting through the border.
  • Make sure that you have sufficient medical and vehicle insurance cover and you know the claims procedure.
  • Make sure you have all accommodation booking confirmations with you.
  • Make copies of your passport and all other documents and keep them separate from the originals.
  • Load digital copies of all important documents on a secure online server in order to be able to access them from an internet café.


  • Get the required inoculations and prophylactics for malaria if you are going into malaria areas.
  • Make sure your first aid kit is well-stocked and that medicines are not past their expiry dates.

Technical stuff

  • Load your route onto your GPS and make sure you have the right maps on your GPS.
  • If you are taking a two-way radio, make sure it is licensed to use where you go.
  • If you are going into remote areas, rent a satellite phone if you don’t have one.


  • Make sure your vehicle’s services are up to date.
  • If you are taking a trailer, have that serviced as well.
  • If your overland vehicle is in storage, make sure it was used from time to time.
  • Make sure your tyres (for both the vehicle and trailer) are in good condition and less than five years old.
  • Check mechanicals like suspension and transmission components and steering linkages, or have them checked by a mechanic.
  • Check tyre pressure, oil and coolant levels shortly before you leave.
  • Make sure all fuel and water tanks and containers are filled before you leave.
  • You need two emergency triangles and a ZA sticker if your vehicle is registered in South Africa.

4 thoughts on “Trip planning checklist”

    1. Hi Dieter, to my knowledge only two would be required. In all my years of travelling in Namibia I have never been asked for more than my license and road fund receipt.

  1. What other stickers are needed on vehicle , besides za sticker when travelling to Zambia from Sa

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