Citizens Advice Bureau
So, you’ve decided to take that long planned-for trip overseas.
You’ve been to the travel agent and left the arrangements in their hands, your flight, and your accommodation. Or maybe you have booked online. But you don’t really know what to do next.
After your ticket, your passport is the most valuable item you need.
Your travel agent will have checked your passport, but if you booked yourself, be aware that your passport should have six months validity remaining after your intended departure from a country.
If you are a New Zealand citizen and you need a new passport or need to renew your passport, you may be able to apply on line at www.immigration.govt.nz.
Always keep your passport in a secure place.
You can buy a special pocket for it that hangs around your neck under your clothes.
The next most important item is your money.
This can be carried in various ways. If you carry cash, you are not allowed to take more than $10,000 out of New Zealand without declaring it to Customs.
I usually carry a credit card but have found that a more convenient way is to buy a Money Card, which has the currency of the country to be visited loaded onto it.
This way you are not paying conversion fees each time you spend.
I have found it very useful to also carry a small notebook which contains all my emergency numbers, for example, who to call if your credit card is stolen, or the number of your travel insurer in case things go awry.
Many people find airports confusing.
It is a good idea to just stop when you arrive inside the airport and slowly check where everything is.
Look for the sign displaying your airline.
First you will need to check in.
This is easily done nowadays by just sliding your passport into the check-in machine.
The machine will recognise your booking and print out your boarding pass.
Once this is done you can take your baggage to the bag drop area, where they will weigh it, label it and load it to the aircraft.
Make sure the size and weight of your bag conforms to the airline’s limits.
Your next step is customs.
At the moment you still need to fill in a New Zealand departure card, but from November this will no longer be required.
Before you leave home, it’s vital to check the requirements for aircraft safety.
You should not carry any flammable goods or sharp objects.
At this stage, you will only be carrying your carry-on luggage.
Once again there are limits to the size and weight of baggage which can be taken on board.
Do not pack liquids or gels of more than 100ml each in your carry-on luggage.
Put your toiletries and prescription medicines into a clear zip top plastic bag so Customs can clearly see what you are carrying.
Your baggage will be x-rayed, and you will be asked to walk through a metal detector.
If you have a pacemaker, let the customs officer know beforehand and you will be directed on a different path.
Having safely negotiated customs, you then move on to Immigration.
Here, New Zealanders are able once again to just slide their e-passport into the machine, which reads it, and the camera uses facial recognition techniques to match your face with the photo on the passport.
Now you just have to walk through the duty-free shop area and on to your boarding gate.
You will find the gate number written on your boarding pass.
From there, you will be called onto the aircraft and you are on your way. At last!
Sit back and enjoy your journey.