I have purposely left this until I finished the trip, in case it gave useful information to rob me of everything, although trust me I do not carry a lot. My rule of thumb is don’t take anything that you would be quite upset at losing!
Hopefully it will help others in some way
Whilst I am very proud to be Scottish I always felt wearing a kilt would serve other purposes, and this indeed proved to be the case.
- Kilts mean you will never be lonely whilst travelling alone
- Who is going to try and rob a man in a kilt? No pockets for a start 🙂
- It makes you very identifiable which is a good deterrent to kidnapped.
- When people cannot stop laughing, its a great ice breaker especially when they cannot speak English !!
If you are like me and lose them all the time, then you need them strung around your neck on a landyard at all times unless they are in the ignition. Thats exactly what I did because without them you will have a big problem that would be a bit of a pain.
Tinted windows: Yes I know I didnt have them in Africa but I felt really safe there 🙂
- Tinted windows are mainly for security in that they stop people seeing inside the back of the car especially when stationary and they also prevent drivers following you seeing that you are on your own.
Graphics on the car and crime prevention of the car
- Again graphics on the car deter someone stealing it if its very identifiable rather than a plain looking car. I carried a wheel clamp in Europe and only used it in Greece when I left it for a few months util collectional. I used a steering wheel lock in both cars and always left it secured wheever I left it for more than a few minutes. It’s a good visual deterrent. I also had locking whel nuts fitted on Saxo’s wheels as theft from motor vehicle is much more likely than theft of motor vehicle.
Security safe in boot
- I had a digital combination locking safe bolted inside the rear boot. My most important load was the vehicle registration document and anything to do with borders eg Insurance, carnet, permissions etc. All this was in the safe along with the least amount of money possible, remember it’s emergency money, not for day to day use
- Carry as little as possible. Use “best rate” credit cards for all purchases (including accommodation) where possible. Unfortunately in lots of African its cash only. I used Western Union for big money transfers (eg releasing the car from customs) and sent a small payment in UK to test it before I left. Don’t use banks to collect western union cash from, you will wait ages becasue normal bank customers take priority and you wait and wait and wait…..trust me! If you go to a Western Union office, its paid fairly quickly depending on the queue. Cost of Western Union transfer is a little more than my normal route, but reasonable as it saves you carrying large amounts of cash around.
Credit and Debit Cards
Use specific foreign cards with good exchange rates and make sure you have 3 or 4 cards from different accounts all in different places. eg car, rcucksack, money pouch etc I use Revolut and Fair FX but there are many new one’s coming on the market so always check with Martin Lewis’s web site or similar.
I always carry my passport on me, with copies in two or three other places just in case it gets stolen. The copies are also handy to offer Police “if they seem a bit dodgy”. Doesnt always work but you can say the original is at the hotel etc I feel more secure carrying it as if its going to be stolen I want to know its gone!