Top tips for an easy trip to Malawi
While travelling to a new destination is always exciting, it can be a little daunting too.
Our carefully recruited buddies are there to help you make the most of your vacation, but in the meantime, here are some extra hints and tips to help you get around safely and fully enjoy your time on holiday.
Tip #1 - Do you have the right Visa?
Check whether you need a visa to travel and if you do, make sure you apply for your visa as early as possible. It can take up to 3 months to apply for a Malawian visa for example, however some countries are allowed to apply for their visas at the Malawian airport.
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Tip #2 - Are you up to date on your vaccines?
Check what vaccinations are needed and make sure you take these before you travel. If travelling to countries with mosquitoes, remember to buy anti mosquito tablets a few weeks before you travel and also buy bug repellent. In Malawi drink bottled rather than tap water.
"Whether for diving, snorkeling, kayaking or chilling out on beaches and desert islands, a visit to the lake is a must." – Lonely Planet
Tip #3 - What you packin'?
Remember to check the weather forecast up to a week before travel. Don't forget your sunscreen, mosquito repellent, water purification pills, hand sanitiser, a map of the area you are visiting , waterproof jacket and sun glasses
Tip #4 - Mix it up
Dress is generally informal. Swimwear and very skimpy clothing should be confined to the beach resorts. For safaris, go for "natural" colours. If travelling upland, especially in the winter seasons, (April-September in Malawi), it can be cold in the evening, so bring warm clothing just in case. Don't forget comfy/walking shoes!
Tip #5 - Copy, Copy, Copy
Print paper copies your passport, driving licence and important documents. Take these with you. Also email digital copies to yourself. Where possible keep some of your important documents locked up at your hotel/accommodation when travelling locally.
Tip #6 - Get your money right
In Malawi kwacha is the local currency however dollars/pounds/credit cards are usually accepted in the bigger city shops, restaurants and hotels. We recommended bringing some pounds/euro/dollars to Malawi to change locally - at a Western Union for example. ATMs also exist in the main cities.
Tip #7 - Watch your stuff
It never hurts to be cautious, when travelling around, always keep a close eye on your bags/belonging at busy areas like markets and bus stations. All bags must be zipped close.
Tip #8 - You need wifi
We all need our wifi. Many big hotels and restaurants will have wifi available. You could also look for internet cafes. If you need constant wifi get a local sim card with data. Sim cards are very cheap. You usually need some form of identification to buy a sim card.
Tip #9 - Barter barter barter
When browsing at the local crafts market, be aware that the price a shopkeeper tells you is probably about 20% to 50% higher than what they would normally charge. Don't be afraid to bargain for it (that's expected!), and be prepared to walk away if you must - that often gets the price lowered!
Tip #9 - Say please
Very often people don’t like to have photos taken of them and in some cases they expect payment if you do. Always ask before you take photos of people and be prepared to tip. Especially if they are performers.
We hope that this checklist helps you start to prepare, even before boarding plane for your flight.
Have you got any tips to share?