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I haven't been everywhere yet,

but it's on my list!

  • Writer's pictureDeborah Latham

Planning a Bucket List Trip to South Africa

From Picking a Tour Group to Staying Connected, it's almost adventure time!

table mountain from signal hill
Table Mountain and Lions Head, Cape Town, South Africa

When I was a little girl, I read books about people going on Safari! I dreamed of one day going on a safari myself. Africa seemed so far away and like it would be an unattainable dream. Then, I started doing some research. I knew that my husband wouldn't go with me as he says that 16 hours in a plane is too long. So that meant traveling alone. After looking at several different tour companies (I knew I wouldn't feel safe going to South Africa completely alone and not on a tour), I decided to go with SmarTours because they had very reasonable rates, a great itinerary with multiple safaris, and the lowest single supplement fees I'd found. Figuring out which tour company to use was honestly one of the hardest decisions to make, and I'm so glad I found SmarTours!

I was nervous. I was flying 16 hours away to a country I'd never been to, to travel with people I didn't know, completely alone. Shore excursions on cruises were the only tours I'd ever done up to this point. I didn't know what to expect.

My cellular service provider does not have a good international plan, so my first concern was working on my trip and staying connected with my family and friends. I knew the hotels would have Wi-Fi, but after looking at the itinerary and also taking into consideration the time difference, I wasn't sure that I would be able to just rely on that. Since I am a small business owner, I have to be connected. Just another thing that I had to research! I found an awesome company called Airalo! Airalo offers travelers eSIMs from over 200 countries and regions. To activate an eSIM, all you’d need to do is download the Airalo App, buy the desired mobile plan, and load the eSIM profile onto your device (provided the device supports eSIM technology). I had service the entire trip, and I also purchased one for a trip to Costa Rica. I highly recommend Airalo (especially if you work remotely while traveling) and will use them for all future travel!

Work issues taken care of, I planned my packing list and purchased all the things I needed! I also had to get my flights from my airport in TN to Newark, NJ as they weren't included in my trip. I decided to go a day early to NJ so that if there were any flight delays, I wouldn't miss my main flight to Johannesburg! I also stayed an extra night in Newark on the return so that I wouldn't have to worry about traveling the rest of the way home exhausted. I booked a hotel with a shuttle so that I wouldn't have to worry about transportation to and from the airport.

The great things about traveling with a tour group is that all your hotels are picked for you ahead of time, your guide is already set, your transportation is already set, over half your meals are already planned, and once you get the packing done, you have no more worries! It's just time to enjoy the trip!

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1 Comment

Aug 16, 2023

Thank you for choosing to travel with smarTours and for sharing your wonderful experience! We're thrilled to have been a part of your journey and are excited to read more about your trip! 💛

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