Before you go travelling it’s natural to hop online and research the city and country you’re visiting. But, you’ll rarely find out everything you need to know. Sure, you can check on a map how far away the local amenities are, or which bus you need to book for a day trip. Yet, it’s easy to overlook certain things, things you’ll only become aware of once you’re there, and you experience them for yourself.
To bridge that gap and help give you a better insight, we’ve asked a fellow traveler to answer ’12 things I wish I’d known before moving’.
Meet Martin Mifsud, he’s a keen photographer and biking enthusiast from Devon. He’s travelled to many places but has fallen in love with New Zealand. The scenic landscapes inspire his photography and give him a great excuse to jump on his bike and explore. Here’s the 12 things he wish he’d known about New Zealand prior to his departure.
1) “Setting up my bank account required an address alongside a letter from the owner to prove I lived here. The whole process is long, so it’s worth sorting out before you leave the UK. Also, worth mentioning that unless you’re using your own bank to withdraw money, ATMs charge a small fee.”
2) “Your Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number takes a few weeks to arrive before you can start work, so get it done as early as possible.”
3) “You have to wear a helmet on your bike or you’ll get a fine. No excuses, no playing dumb. If they catch you they will fine you. Don’t find out the hard way.”
4) “Journeys take a lot longer than you think, because the hills are so big and the roads twist their way around them, not through them. A to B isn’t always as simple as it looks on the map.”
5) “If you’re driving, the police can catch you speeding towards them. You’ll lose your license if you’re 30kmh over the limit.
6) “The Department Of Conservation (DOC) website is amazing for hikers and touring cyclists. It’s worth checking out and discovering the local events. Most of them need booking in advance, and some walks are only open certain times of year.” http://www.doc.govt.nz/
7) “Ski & bike park passes are always on early bird sales before the season starts, so if you know you you’re going, it’s worth booking in advance to save some money.”
8) “Campsites and accommodation in Queenstown sell out early at busy periods. If you plan on visiting, don’t leave it until the last minute, as it’s likely you end up disappointed.”
9) “You ALWAYS need id on a night out. No matter how old you are!”
10) “Some towns don’t allow you to ‘freedom camp’. That means parking your camper, car or pitching a tent – you’ll end up getting fined. Do your research before setting off.”
11) “When camping overnight, take insect repellent, wear long sleeves and joggers. Trust me you don’t want to suffer sand flies and mosquitoes bites.”
12) “And finally, if you’re travelling with sports gear, particularly if it’s used in mud – it needs to be 100% spotless going through airports.”
“In general though this place is awesome and nothing is really a hassle. Just plan ahead and everything should be dandy. You have to visit New Zealand, I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
We’d like to thank Martin for his time and insights, hopefully they’ll help you prepare for your trip. If you or anyone you know has some top tips, please get in touch. You could feature on our blog in the near future.