Incredible views of Camps Bay

Interested in going to Cape Town? Don’t miss Savannah Ballard’s blog below! A sophomore at the University of Alabama and LEAD Cape Town student, Savannah is already a pro on tips and tricks!

1. Journal

A travel journal is a “must have” because you never know when you will encounter something that could possibly change your life. When you return home from your adventures you’ll want to have your own writings to look back on. Through your own thoughts you will be able to relive those experiences again and again.

2. Sunglasses

Summer, spring, fall, and winter you will need your sunglasses. They are not only fashion accessories but they protect your eyes. Don’t be like me when I was caught on a group tour looking at the ocean. I couldn’t even see in front of me because my eyes were torched by the glare of the sun. BRING THEM EVERYWHERE!

3. Be mindful of pulling out money

This may seem different but it will help in the long run. Many of us are accustomed taking our money out of our wallets and counting it before giving it to the cashier or vendor, but in Cape Town, it could make you a possible target to get harassed or even pickpocketed.

4. Camera

You need to take pictures! Cape Town is one of the most beautiful and cultural places you could ever get the chance to visit – and for some of us, we’ll only go once. So document your experience, but remember, you’re here to experience it for yourself, not always through a lens. Remember to be in the moment. Your time here will go by faster than you think.

5. Travel bag

When traveling in general it is good to consider buying a bag that has a zipper. Having a bag or a satchel with a zipper is a smart way to try and prevent pick-pocketing and it reduces the chance of losing your valuables. I made that mistake on tour when climbing a rock to overlook the ocean. I brought my bag that only had a magnet to close it and I ended up losing my the case for my sunglasses. Since then, I always bring my zipper bag and I haven’t lost anything yet! It also would be wise to keep the zippered part close to your body to insure nothing happens to your belongings.

6. Water Bottle

STAY HYDRATED! With all the moving around you’ll be doing, make sure you carry some water with you. And I know the drinking age in Cape Town is 18 but remember to work a round of waters into the mix! It is really easy to forget to drink water but it is really important that you hydrate, your body will thank you…

7. Don’t be a sore thumb

Know the season when you travel to Cape Town. In the United States our summer months are roughly June – August but in Cape Town these months are their winter. Because of this, make sure you pack accordingly. I made the mistake of wrongfully packing only three long sleeves and all the rest short sleeves. But, if you do make this mistake, there are plenty of stores where you can buy really cute outfits!

8. 911

Have all of your emergency contacts all in order. You never know, you might get lost in the crowd. Have a list of who to call and a plan as to what to do if you get stranded from the group. Luckily I was able to rent a phone through my program which had every student and faculty’s number already programmed in it. But carry the list with you (in your zippered bag) in case you lose your phone or your battery dies!

9. Wear a Watch

“What time is it?”
“I don’t know… hold on…”
Unfortunately, if you’re not wearing a watch, you will have to pull out your camera, water bottle, journal, sunglass case, and wallet to find the time on your phone. Wearing a watch is simply easier when traveling. It also isn’t as flashy as pulling out your iPhone after everything else in your travel bag.

10. Have the right attitude

It is important to view the world with open mindedness because not everything you see will be alike. You should take this time abroad to learn and enjoy the different cultures out there. ALWAYS try something new. If we never tried anything different, never went on adventures, our lives would be bland. Take your time abroad to embrace discomfort, talk to locals, heck try an ostrich burger (trust me it’s amazing!), and most importantly have fun!

Record store in Cape Town