Pre-travel Admin


If you’re heading off on an O.E there’s endless life admin before you even leave the country…ENDLESS! Just when you think you’ve sussed it all, you realize you haven’t and the list of shit to organize goes on and on. In this blog, I’ll help you sort out the pre-travel admin you need to organize before the holiday even begins…

Try to get stuck into your pre-travel admin like everyone who’s getting stuck into Pokemon Go. Or if that’s not your buzz, then how about NIKE – Just do it. Get yourself a pen and paper and write these things down. Sure some wont apply to you, but some will and hopefully one of you can at least think “oh shit yes, I can’t forget to do that!”

I learnt this the hard way. Flights from NZ to London…booked, Tomorrowland festival in Belgium…booked, all sorts of other exciting things to start the trip…booked, but travel insurance?… Not booked. Then can you guess what might have happened? Well I ended up in hospital with a punctured lung 10 days before leaving NZ. FUUUUUUUCK!

The first problem I encountered was learning that people who have a pneumomediastinum (an air leak from the lung to the chest and neck) have a mandatory 2 week NO FLY rule, from the day the puncture heals. So I could kiss goodbye my July 13th NZ-London flight with the girls :[ The second problem was that because I had no travel insurance, all the plans I’d made so far, can’t be covered! Suuuuuuuuuch a bitch! So take note…book your travel insurance first! Like literally do it first! The third problem was that I now have a bloody pre-existing medical condition! and wait for it… SEVEN insurance companies have already turned me away because I was hospitalised for it within 90 days of travel. “We are pleased to inform you that we can still cover your travels with the standard terms and conditions” they say “but unfortunately we cannot provide cover for the pre-existing condition you have.”

Moral of the insurance story? Book it first will ya? That way if something happens to you, you’ll not only be covered for any travel plans that change…but the insurance provider will also HAVE to cover the condition, as it wasnt pre-existing.

To be fair though, when researching online and hearing from mates who’ve travelled, Bryn and I found Southern Cross and 1Cover to be the cheapest and most popular. Bryns ended up going through Southern Cross and for a years cover he paid round about $700, which is way less than so many other insurance companies out there. I would have gone through them too but they just cant cover my condition. DAMMIT

Ask yourself this…can I get British or EU passport through family/ancestry? If yes, then you’re a lucky bugger and this is the route you should take! Bryn’s Welsh, so he’s been able to get his UK passport, allowing him to work anywhere in the UK/EU – Also allows him to travel freely whenever he pleases. Very handy.

If not then you’re like me. Now ask yourself this…where do I want to spend most of my time and do I want to work? If you’re not planning on working, you dont have to get a visa. As New Zealanders i think we get 90 days in each European country – but research this yourselves because I haven’t gone down this path. Because Bryn and I are set to do the ski season in France I’ve decided to get my French Working Holiday Visa, which lasts 1 year from the date you leave the country. You have to go to the French Embassy in Wellington for an appointment (which you need to book in advance) and yea, this can be a bit of a mare with costs/flights etc. This also means that if you’re already overseas and you want to get your French Visa…you have to get your butt home and go to Welly to get it. After my French visa runs out July 2017…I’ll probably apply for my UK visa (2 years) – and luckily I can do this from wherever I am overseas.

Bryn spoke about this in the 10 ways to fill ya piggie bank post, so I’ll only touch on it. But basically, if you’re heading off for a while, sell everything you own! I honestly reckon I’ve made $1000 on clothes! How good is that?! Also selling my car has been the only reason I can afford this O.E. Think of things you dont need, or shit wont take over seas and sell them!

CANCEL YOUR PLANS…No not your travel plans
What plans do you have going atm? Me personally, I have a Les Mills membership and my Vodafone plan. Both are plans I need to cancel/put on hold/make a plan for so that when I’m overseas I’m not being charged for them. Obviously if your only going overseas for a short while you wont need to do this, or you can put them on hold for the time you’re away, but for an O.E, they’re things you need to consider. My Les Mills membership expires in September this year so when I cancel it, I have to pay 1/3 of the remaining balance…bit of a bitch but not too bad! With vodafone, I’m on an open plan which means I can cancel at anytime and for free. If you’re on a contract…this can be more of a hassle, so if you have an inkling that you wanna travel in the next year or so, then dont get on a 24 month plan, it can cost you heaps to cancel it. I’ve cancelled mine from a week after I leave and I’ll go onto pre-paid (this is so I can keep my same number when I return…If you cancel your plan without going onto pre-paid, you lose your number too).

I’ve heard horror stories of people rocking up to the airport with an extra bag and finding that it costs like $100 per extra kg over the bag allowance! This is crazy! My brother is a prime example… he once had to pay over $1000 to check in his snowboard bag because his travel agent told him he could just check in the extra bag at the airport for no extra price…turns out the travel agent was wrong and as you can imagine, my brother was livid. If you need an extra bag, make sure to check out the rules of the particular airline. Bryn and I are taking a snowboard bag over with us, but we’re flying with Singapore Airlines and on Singapore you dont even have the option to check in an extra bag. However,  you do get 30kg which you can split over more than one bag, so we’ve had to make sure our travel bag + snowboard bag = 30kg. With Air NZ you can add another bag for like $200 I think, but you have to book that in advance! So if you think you’re gonna need an extra bag, contact the airline and see what the rules are around it. Also keep in mind, if you’re changing airlines at all, check out that airline also.

Something people dont think about when they head overseas is the fact that you pay extra fees (ATM withdrawal fees like the service margin fee, overseas ATM fee and local ATM fee) by using your NZ credit card or debit cards. For a long stay traveller, these fees will build up! We all wish we could just use our eftpos cards like we do in NZ but it just doesn’t work that way dammit! To learn more about this and ways to keep your fees down check out How To Avoid Bank Fees And Access Money While Travelling (Kiwi Edition) by blogger Brendan On The Road. He also elaborately goes through the 3 popular travel cards (Cashpassport, OneSmart and Loaded for Travel).

Bryn and I have decided to go with the Cash Passport. It was between that and the OneSmart, but we chose the Cash Passport because the exchange rate was reasonable, you get unlimited ATM withdrawals and it was an easy sign-up process through our bank ASB. I recommend research them both and making the call for yourselves, I’ll update you once we are in the swing of things with how high we rate the Cashpassport also :]

Honestly…get something with wheels that also has backpack straps if you need it. You can basically wheel your way around Europe, bar a handful of places like Greece etc, so having wheels just helps your shoulders and body out a little when moving from A to B. I use a Kathmandu 50L bag, which has been perfect for all my travels. Being a girl, we tend to overpack and this just wont cut it when you’re travelling. By having a smaller bag, like my Kathmandu, you’re forced to fit only what you’ll need, without all the added extra shit. When its jam packed it comes to about 20kg(ish) which is algood! Most of the domestic flights in Europe have a baggage allowance of 23kgs so you’re good there… and also it wont tip you right over if you do need to put it on your back.

Even though you’ll most likely be in a place that has medical care…I recommend going to your family Dr before heading off and getting a few things that you may or may not need while travelling. For example, Bryn and I have got antibiotics (incase we get tonsilitis or something similar), travel sickness pills, allergy pills, antiseptic creams, creams for infections, sleeping pills, anti-inflammatorys and painkillers. This probably sounds excessive but we’ve just put it all in a first aid kit incase we need it. We’ve done the same with our daily vitamins too!

Heres a list of other random things that we’ve done during our pre-travel admin

  • Changed our Spotify subscription to Spotify Family. For 19.99, 5 people can have the same Spotify account.
  • Ordered NZ patches from TradeMe and had them sewn onto our backpacks
  • Brought 2 silver fern NZ flags to wear at festivals (nothing like bumping into a fellow kiwi in the middle of the crowd!)
  • Gone through my phone deleting silly photos and apps to create more free space
  • Brought a Kindle so that I don’t have to hump books around
  • Kept a coin jar for this year then banked it the day before we left (Got $60 in coins!)

Does this help? I hope so :]
Thanks for reading!

Leah | free & addicted








Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *