Surviving The Holidays

The holidays are around the corner – but this year we’ve decided to make it just that bit easier for you. We can’t guarantee you the perfect Holiday Season, but we can try to make everything run a little smoother. Here are some helpful tips to help you navigate the Holiday season:


  • If you are travelling outside of South Africa, make sure you have notified your medical aid provider and where applicable, obtain the contact details for their overseas providers. Keep this information with your travel documents.
  • If you are travelling by car across the South African border, ensure that you have a valid driver’s license and that you have a letter from your Insurance company and from the finance provider allowing you to travel with the vehicle outside of South Africa. If you are taking a boat or jet ski with you – the same applies. Some countries require very specific safety items such as reflective triangles so make sure you find out what they need before you depart.
  • Make sure your car has been serviced and that the tyres and shocks are roadworthy. The same applies to your trailer. In particular, have the wheel bearings and electrical connections checked.
  • Test your vehicle tracking device.
  • Test your house alarm and security system before you go away to make sure it is in working order prior to your vacation. This will make any insurance claim smoother in the unfortunate event that something does happen.
  • Leave a spare set of keys, as well as a contact address and phone number, with a trusted family member, neighbour or friend in case of an emergency such as an extended power failure, fire, burglary, burst geyser or resetting your alarm. If you can get someone to house sit for you, even better!
  • If you cannot find a willing friend or family member to house sit, consider appointing a reputable house sitting service to keep tabs on your property and to switch on lights, feed pets, clear post boxes of mail, water plants and put out rubbish bins on collection day – and to let you or your neighbour know if there’s a problem.
  • Place any weapons, valuables and important documents in a safe or a bank safety deposit box and don’t leave the keys at home.
  • Lock the electricity mains box outside your property.
  • Invest in a few timers and day-night switches for your lights. Don’t leave lights burning 24/7 – not only is it a terrible waste of energy, but it’s also a dead giveaway that no one is at home.
  • Ensure that your electric gate motor is secured with a locked safety bracket.
  • Cancel deliveries of newspapers and arrange for a neighbour to clear your post box.
  • Disconnect computers, TVs and other lightning-sensitive equipment including TV aerials.
  • Immobilise any vehicles you leave behind and lock the keys for them in your safe.
  • If you have loaded up the cameras, cellphones, iPads, designer sunglasses and handbags, make sure they are properly insured under the All Risks section of your policy.
  • CCTV camera systems have become very affordable, so invest in them and link the system to your armed response company if they offer this facility. Many of these systems can also be linked up to your laptop or smart phone so you can stay in touch no matter where you are in the country. Being caught on camera is also a deterrent for criminals.
  • Check that your insurance details and premiums are up to date and make sure you have your broker’s details stored on your phone.
  • If you’re flying, tie a coloured ribbon around the handle of your luggage to ensure you can spot it quickly on the turnstile. Ask the check-in attendant if she can put a “Priority” tag on your luggage for you. If he / she agrees, this will ensure that your luggage comes out first.


Medical preparations.

  • Plan ahead and get extra medication refills from your pharmacy before you leave for your holiday. If you run out of medication on holiday, you can phone your regular pharmacy and ask them for assistance. If you are travelling overseas, you can request a copy of your script in case you need it.
  • Purchase a first aid kit or re-stock the one you have. This is essential if travelling to neighbouring countries. Your pharmacy can help you to re-stock this.
  • Ensure you have plenty of sun screen with you.
  • Take insect repellent with you, especially if travelling to a malaria area. Citronella candles and citronella oils for burners are a great and effective option.


Christmas shopping.

  • Try to get all your gift shopping done now. This is a stressful time of year and we are sure you do not wish to be running around the busy shopping malls on 24th of December purchasing last minute gifts. Online shopping can even take some of this hassle away for you – but order early to ensure the gift(s) arrives in time.

Article written by Génevieve Dicks and Jeremy Squier