Personal Documentation

Home Affairs

Need a ‘care of’ address for postage etc. if renting out house and a reliable friend/relative, regardless, to take care of post and issues arising and to deal with any other ‘problems’.

We rented out our house and went for a full management package to take care of any arising problems.


Documentation - General

Copy all documents and store electronically on computer and USB stick and secure website, if available, or internet email provider. Since returning to the UK we now use a system called dropbox which stores "somewhere" selected files that can be accessed from any computer and ensures a master copy. Paper hardcopies, several, of important documents should be stashed in various places within the vehicle. Leave a USB stick with all documents thereon back in the UK.


Personal Travel Insurance

Specialist 1 year insurance required as most ‘ordinary’ policies only cover 90 days. We got ours via the internet and went with Campbell Irvine and got a very reasonable single trip package for about £350 each, giving us 12 months worldwide cover (but excluding USA). Take contact details in case you need to make a claim or arrangements etc.



Make sure your passport expires at least 6 months after the end of your trip; this requirement varies from country to country but 6 months seems to be the longest requirement in the region. Have plenty of spare pages; some officials like to have their own clean page to stamp and some countries have large visa certificates that take up a whole passport page. If your passport is relatively full before you go probably best to renew early.


It is possible have a second passport issued in exceptional circumstances, for example visiting between countries with restricted travel. If you can get a second it would be handy as a spare.


Proof of wealth

It is a condition of entry of most, if not all, countries that you are entering for a legitimate purpose (holidaying for example with a return flight) and are able to support yourself. We took a copy of our premium bond certificate on the basis we would be unable to produce a recent paper bank statement. However, the one and only time we had to prove our wealth (Home Affairs Office in South Africa) the premium bond certificate was greeted with a blank face and the production of a credit or debit card was sufficient in any event.


Air Flights

As a one-way flight was nearly as much as a return, we opted for what we thought was an ‘open-ended’ ticket. This had a nominal return date of the 28th October 2009; not sure where this date came from but would have been about 10 months after we booked the tickets and 8 1/2 months after we flew. We were advised this could be extended for a fee; British Airways was the cheapest at £50 each. When we came to extend the tickets with BA in South Africa it transpired there was an absolute maximum extension of 12 months from the date of the out-bound flight: this was when we intended returning anyway but could have come unstuck had we planned a later return date. In addition to the £50 each for the extension we also had to pay an unexpected £24 each for the re-issue of the tickets. Whilst we were able to extend the tickets over the phone without pre-payment and pay on departure this meant we couldn’t check in on-line. There was a complex bank transfer procedure but we opted to pay at an airport with a BA desk prior to departure date.


Most countries expect proof of an intention to leave the country rather than become a permanent resident and this is usually evidenced in the form of a return ticket.