So – unless you’ve been off the grid for 48 hours – you’d know that on my July 4th birthday, Access Bank gifted me a trip to watch the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.
Seeing as the second round of the tournament has already begun and Nigeria is playing Cameroun on the 6th of July, I had about 24 hours to get a visa, get a Fan ID, book flights, find hotels, purchase match tickets, reschedule all appointments, take care of pressing client needs, pack and catch a flight in time to watch the game live. How did I do it?
- Get a tour company
Unless you’re superman or you have connects in high places or you have a Passport that does not need you to have a visa to enter most countries, you need a tour company to take away the burden of sorting flights, visa, accommodation, and tours. Long or short notice, tour companies are experienced in handling things like these and having one as good as the one I used will go a long way. The guys at Irinajo were refreshingly quick and as at 9am on the 5th of July, less than 48 hours after I was gifted a trip, I had confirmation that everything – visa, flight, and accommodation was sorted.
- Document for easy handover
If you work in the corporate world, upping and leaving might be hard – especially if you have superiors who are not so nice. However, this is made simpler if you have a clear documentation process that allows you handover to someone who can handle what you do when you’re away. I work in Digital Comms, and I always tell my colleagues to document everything using sharable platforms like Google Docs, etc., so that in times like this, all you have to do is update status of every project you’re working on, and give next-step instructions. No matter what it is you do, unless you can comfortably work remotely, have a documentation/records process.
- Always have spare foreign currency
Stock up on dollars. I know times are hard, but I have this rule where there is always some emergency cash readily available to me. Naira, Dollars, and when I finally get a Schengen Visa, Euros. Having some change in dollars ensured I did not panic when I realized I couldn’t visit a Bureau de Change because of time. Having some change, and of course, my debit card.
- Profile your Bank Card for overseas travel
To protect your account from fraudsters, most banks will require you to profile your card for use in the destination country(s). Call their Customer Service line or – if your bank is active on Social Media like mine – send them a Direct Message on Twitter. I prefer to text/chat rather than call, because I like multi-tasking, and calling most times ties your full attention to that one thing. I didn’t have that kind of time, so I sent Access Bank a DM and after asking routine security questions, they profiled my card.
- Have clean clothes that can last 2 weeks
Imagine your box is ready, but you cannot find enough clean clothes to last you at least 2 weeks. Not sure I need to say anything else.
- Have a Mobile Bank app
That you are leaving the country does not mean you should be unable to carry out banking transactions. Not at all. Having a Mobile Banking app means you can take your bank anywhere with you and still do those things you normally do, without walking into a banking hall. I for example have to pay some vendors for an ongoing project; and if I did not have my Access Mobile App, it’d have been an issue. So, whatever bank it is you use, download their mobile app immediately and be your own bank manager.
- Have a ‘Segalink’s’ number
It is when you are most in a hurry that men of the police force will stop you and ask you foolish questions. They actually stopped me along that airport road and insisted they must go through my phone. I refused, telling them they had no right to access something as private as my phone. I did not have Segalink’s number – if you don’t know who he is, then where have you been – but I refused to give in, and insisted they call their commanding officer who eventually apologized for the delay and let me go. Have a plug the police respects, and enjoy your trip.
Did I miss anything?