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August 22, 2016

Eight tips for buying foreign exchange

Buying foreign currency for your trip is something many travellers forget about until the last minute. Factoring buying foreign currency into your travel planning will not only save you valuable time but will also help your travel rands go as far as possible. We chatted to Travelex, the world’s largest foreign exchange retailer, who shared eight tips for buying your foreign currency…

Your Sure Travel consultant can offer useful advice and order your foreign exchange for you. Find your nearest Sure Travel agency here

Do your research

When planning your trip, be sure to include foreign exchange in your budget and planning process. Each country has specific requirements on how much money you need to have available during your trip, and you may be required to show these funds (whether in bank statements and/or proof of foreign exchange purchased) for any visa applications too.

When planning, also calculate how much you’ll need for anything extra that won’t be prepaid – such as activities, meals, sightseeing, transport, souvenirs and those important gifts to take back home. Be realistic when working out a daily budget and add on 20% or so to be safe.  Then calculate how much foreign exchange you need and buy it all in one transaction. Research can save you from buying too little or too much currency, both of which will cost you extra transaction fees.

Did you know? You can’t legally keep any unused foreign exchange after your trip. According to the Reserve Bank rules, all foreign exchange needs to be re-purchased, through an authorised dealer, within a month of returning to South Africa.

Avoid using credit cards

We’d definitely recommend taking your credit card along in case of emergencies, but try not use it unless you really have to. Your credit card is subject to whatever the exchange rate is at the time of you swiping for the transaction (the last thing you’ll want to do given the current economic climate is to be at the mercy of the exchange rate), and this plus the commission charged, means you’ll likely end up paying more. You don’t want to carry wads of cash on you so what to do…

Go for prepaid plastic

Gone are the days of traveller cheques… prepaid currency cards are safe, convenient and so easy to use. Use them to withdraw money from ATMs (with a minimal transaction fee) or use them like a credit card to pay for items directly. You’ll be able to avoid any unexpected surprises as exchange fees are locked in on the day of purchase and there are no point-of-sale transaction fees.

For example, the Travelex Cash Passport prepaid MasterCard allows you to load more than one currency and is not linked to your bank account. The Cash Passport card is chip and pin protected, is valid for up to five years and can be reloaded.

Travelex regional manager, Jacqueline Nosworthy, agrees that prepaid currency cards are the best bet for helping travellers stick to budgets. That being said however, the old adage is true: don’t put all your eggs in one basket so…

Mix prepaid and cash

A mix of cash and a prepaid currency card is a sensible and safe option. You can buy both at a rate cheaper than what you’d get charged using a credit card and the pricing and commission charges are often more transparent – so you know exactly what you’re getting and paying for.

Sure Travel Tip: Try to get cash in as low denominations as possible so you can use it everywhere (getting change for big bills at small places can be tricky) and it’s handy to have small bills on landing when you’re desperate for a quick snack or refreshment. 

Have the correct documents

To buy or collect your foreign exchange (as a South African passport holder), you’ll need to bring the below documents:

Valid proof of address – less than 3 months old
Green bar-coded ID and valid passport
e-Ticket print out – Departure beginning in South Africa and returning to South Africa

Buy before you depart

Foreign exchange can be bought 60 days prior to departure. Buy before you depart for your trip so you don’t need to stress about changing money at the airport where you could encounter long queues, exorbitant commissions and language barriers. Rather pre-order and have it delivered to your business address or collect from your travel consultant, Travelex store or airport outlet.

There are over 36 Travelex branches in South Africa where you can pick up your pre-ordered products, including OR Tambo Airport. Travelex is also the only foreign exchange provider at Heathrow Airport.

Your Sure Travel consultant can advise and book your foreign exchange for you. Ask them about ordering your foreign exchange for you online: 18 foreign currencies are available and online orders (for major currencies) can be collected the next day at a Travelex store.

Stay vigilant

Don’t lose all your street smarts when you’re travelling abroad! Stay vigilant, don’t flash large sums of money or your wallet around and be alert when drawing money from an ATM.

Sure Travel Marketing Manager, Geraldine Boshoff, advises travellers of the importance of never leaving your belongings unattended, specifically at the airport, hotel reception areas and on the plane. “There have been cases where passengers have left documents and wallets in the seat pouch of the plane, just for a few minutes, only to arrive at their destination with no passport and no money.”

Have an emergency plan

Always be prepared should the unforeseen happen. Have important numbers and contacts saved on your phone, written down AND elsewhere (eg: saved online on the cloud) so that should your card get stolen, you know exactly who to call to cancel it. Register with the nearest South African embassy and have their contact details. Your travel consultant, travel insurance contacts and hotel addresses and numbers are other important contacts you must have on you at all times.

Do you have any foreign exchange tips to share? Comment below.

Save time and money – order your Travelex foreign exchange with your Sure Travel consultant.

This post was sponsored by Travelex. The above guidelines do not replace the advice of a professional travel and foreign exchange consultant. Check terms and conditions of specific products when purchasing. 

August 5, 2016

Sure Travel supports teachers for Women’s Day

In celebration of Women’s Day this year, Sure Travel would like to support education and the arts, specifically showing our appreciation for our country’s teachers. We have chosen to support Divas Unite, who have partnered with the NGO Partners for Possibility, to host a star-studded concert in Cape Town on Women’s Day.

Featuring 12 leading South African soloists, an all-female Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and MC Katlego Maboe, it’s going to be a unique and wonderful event! The concert is taking place on Tuesday 09 August, at 15h00 at Grand West.

Concert tickets are R250 each - 20% of which will be given to Partners for Possibility to grow their education initiatives. In addition, Divas Unite will be giving sponsored tickets to teachers to enjoy this special event.

Sure Travel will be sponsoring tickets to the concert for 25 teachers. We would like to challenge you to support too! Buy one or two tickets – or 25! 

Tickets are available here on Computicket.

 Don’t delay – it’s going to be a fun afternoon for the whole family, with great music from classic to pop! And what better way to support our women and teachers.

For more information, please visit the Divas Unite website.

You can also win! You could win a week’s holiday in Mauritius with Divas Unite - take a selfie with your concert ticket, use #divasunite and post it on the Divas Unite Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages to stand a chance to win. The winner will be announced at the concert. 
More details on the Divas Unite website.

Which Beachcomber Mauritius resort to choose?

South Africans love Beachcomber resorts in Mauritius. With eight hotels in the 4-5 star categories, occupying the best beachfront sites on the island’s west coast, you'd be forgiven for struggling to choose between them. So, which Beachcomber hotel should you choose? We look at what makes each special so you can find your perfect fit…

Firstly, why the west coast of Mauritius?
The west coast is the preferred side of the island for its perfect sunsets and best beaches. It also boasts the best weather as it’s more sheltered from the trade winds.

Le Mauricia 4* - Best value for money

Best for: 

Fun-lovers, honeymooners, families and solo travellers who want to be in vibrant Grand Baie.

What makes it special? 

Cosmopolitan and relaxed, but with a festive buzz. Two swimming pools right on the beach, an array of water activities and you can also enjoy the facilities and restaurants at sister hotel Le Canonnier - two hotels for the price of one!

Don't miss! 

Dance the night away at Le Mauricia’s private nightclub, La Rhumerie, and watch live cooking on show at the main restaurant’s glass-fronted kitchen.

Le Canonnier 4* - Fun for all ages

Best for: 

Families, the fun-loving crowd, weddings and honeymoons.

What makes it special? 

Located on a peninsula 5km from the heart of Grand Baie, the hotel has 2 separate beaches each offering a unique sea view. It’s fascinating for those who enjoy a little bit of history - nestled in the tropical gardens are an old lighthouse, the ruins of ancient fortifications and old cannons.

Don’t miss! 

A spa treatment at Le Banyan Wellness Centre, built in the branches of a centuries-old Banyan tree. 

Did you know? Most standard Beachcomber packages booked through Sure Travel will include return airfare from Johannesburg, return airport to hotel transfers in Mauritius, accommodation, breakfast and dinner, and selected land and motorised water sports. Browse a selection of Beachcomber packages and enquire for more info.

Le Victoria 4* Superior – 5 star facilities at 4 star prices

Best for: 

Families, all who want easy access to the capital Port Louis and Grand Baie, shoppers, business travellers and groups. Read about a family holiday to Le Victoria here

What makes it special? 

Le Victoria is well known for its spacious rooms. Enjoy snorkelling in the Marine Park and walks on the long stretch of beach.

Don’t miss! 

The sensational sunsets – the perfect Instagram #sunset awaits.

Shandrani Resort and Spa 5* - Sporty and secluded

Best for: 

Action-filled holidays for families, groups and nature lovers.

What makes it special? 

It’s only 10 minutes’ drive from the airport – start your holiday immediately! Set on a private peninsula, Shandrani boasts three different beaches to enjoy. Take a turn on the hotel's 9-hole Par 29, "pitch & putt" golf course or head to the sailing club and dive centre. The hotel is surrounded by a marine park which does not allow water sports, so you can expect tranquil waters and excellent snorkelling.

Don't miss! 

A short boat ride inshore takes you to the famous Ile aux Aigrettes nature reserve where you can see giant tortoises and other unique species in their natural habitat.

Trou aux Biches 5* Superior - Made for Romance

Best for: 

Weddings, honeymooners - and families too.

What makes it special? 

All-suite all-villa accommodation - no standard hotel rooms here! Loved by generations of South Africans, it's an eco-friendly resort on one of the island's finest beaches.

Don't miss! 

Enjoy a magical shower under the stars - all villas come with an outdoor shower.

Planning your honeymoon? Read why magical Mauritius is the ideal honeymoon location by The Pretty Blog wedding experts. 

Paradis Hotel and Golf Club 5* Superior- The finest leisure resort

Best for: 

Families, golfers, pleasure seekers and sports enthusiasts.

What makes it special? 

It’s the ultimate five-star resort for all ages. A stunning beach that stretches for kilometres around the famous Le Morne peninsula. An 18-hole championship golf course. Eight dining venues to choose from (four at Paradis and another four at sister hotel, Dinarobin). What more could you want!

Dinarobin 5* Deluxe – Tropical elegance

Best for: 

Foodies, honeymooners and those looking for a grown-up luxury break.

What makes it special? 

Five accommodation crescents (all-suites and all-villas) with pools in the centre for privacy and relaxation. A superb mix of international and local cuisine for delicious meals.

Don't miss! 

Adults only? Dinarobin offers an adults-only accommodation crescent with extra perks and facilities only available to those staying there. 

Did you know? You can swim with the wild dolphins in Mauritius! Check out this videoIt’s a short boat ride from Dinarobin and Paradis – ask your Sure Travel consultant for more info when booking. 

Royal Palm 5* Exclusive - The most prestigious address 

Best for

Discerning guests, VIPs and those wanting only the finest things in life.

What makes it special? 

Royal Palm Mauritius is included in the Leading Hotels of the World portfolio. A high staff-to-guest ratio ensures superb, discreet service.

Don't miss! 

The Michelin-accredited executive chef delivers mouth-watering cuisine at the three restaurants and if you’re a half-board guest, both breakfast and dinner can be enjoyed in your suite at no extra charge.
Or if you really want to splurge, book a helicopter transfer from the airport to the on-site helipad. (Paradis and Dinarobin also offer helicopter transfers).

Have you travelled to a Beachcomber resort? Comment below and let us know!

Book your Beachcomber holiday with your nearest Sure Travel agency for the best travel experience from start to finish. 

July 18, 2016

67 minutes for Mandela Day: BFG Book Drive

This Mandela Day, Sure Travel Head Office staff decided to spend their 67 minutes promoting literacy. Joining forces with Mango, Gautrain and other big brands in the Big Friendly Giant (BFG) Book Drive, we searched our homes, collected and sorted books to donate to this book drive. Books will then be handed to hospitalized children by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust.

Book collection bins will be available at selected Sure Travel agencies, Mango check-in counters, Gautrain’s Midrand, Rosebank and Marlboro stations as well as movie cinemas and Exclusive Books outlets.

Find a list of participating Sure Travel agencies and more info here.

Most important of all, let’s remember that Madiba’s legacy of love and generosity belongs not just to one day in the year, but every day.

How did you spend your 67 minutes?

You can read about Sure Travel’s community and conservation initiatives.