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FAQs & Travel Tips – New Zealand Edition!

FAQs & Travel Tips

On this page, you will find organized and sectioned information that will prepare you for the upcoming trip abroad. Whether you’re a first-time traveler or a seasoned pro, we recommend that you check this page before departing for the trip. This page is tailored to the traveling chorister, so please consult this page as you pack and prepare to depart.

Drop-Dead List (TL;DR)

Packing

  • Passport
  • Sheet music (in your CARRY-ON! Don’t want to lose this if your luggage is MIA!)
  • Concert Attire (in your CARRY-ON! Don’t want to lose this if your luggage is MIA!)

Travel Notes

  • A little bit of research ahead of time goes a long way. Know a bit about what you are walking into when you arrive at a new location.
  • Trains, Planes and Automobiles wait for nobody! DO NOT BE LATE!
  • You MUST apply for your NZeTA prior to departure. It can take days to be approved, so take care of this NOW!

PLEASE read this entire document carefully, as it will answer many of your future questions!

Cell Phones

Before you leave for the trip you will want to check with your carrier about their international plan options. Cell service and data connection is good throughout Auckland but it can cost an arm and a leg if you aren’t careful and don’t plan ahead. Some carriers charge by the day, some have a monthly plan, others charge by the MB of data or number of minutes used. Some carriers will automatically sign you up for their (expensive) roaming plans if you don’t sort it out ahead of time. If you have an unlocked phone that will accept a SIM chip, you can buy a temporary SIM at the airport or order one ahead of time. There are a ton of different plans at different price points that mix and match the number of texts, minutes of calls, and MB of data that you have. If you go the the SIM route, the store clerk can help you set up your phone too. 

Here are a few apps we find to be super helpful. Be sure to download content where possible so they work offline. 

  • NZeTA – You MUST apply for this and be approved to be allowed into the country. The app is the cheapest way to apply.
  • Clipper – When we get to San Francisco, you will need to either have this app on your phone or purchase a Clipper card ($3 charge) to load your train fare to ride BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). We will ride BART from SFO to downtown San Francisco, so decide if you prefer the app with your credit card loaded or a physical card that you can load at a machine.
  • Google Translate Probably not needed for this trip, but always handy to have!
  • Google MapsDownload the cities we will be visiting it works offline!
  • WhatsApp – Critical for this trip for last-minute updates and contact! Like Zoom but you keep your phone number and can call internationally using Wifi or data instead of international minutes.
  • Your airline apps – ALL of them! Be sure to check codeshare flights operating the actual flight. (e.g. Air New Zealand connecting to United Airlines)

Packing

  • Bring a WINDBREAKER or WARM LAYER. One that folds into a little pouch is great!
  • Bring a little UMBRELLA or RAINJACKET / HOODIE too!
  • Layers! Your Napa attire can be work again in New Zealand with an additional layer added for warmth.
  • A waterproof simple light BACKPACK/DRAWSTRING that either works as a carry-on bag OR you can put into your checked bag is great for when you’re out and about!
  • Comfortable, lightweight WALKING SHOES. Sneakers are great!
  • CONCERT ATTIRE and REPERTOIRE (again, in your carry-on!)
  • A University of Delaware shirt
  • NZ POWER ADAPTERS (Plug Type I). Standard voltage is 230 V, so you’ll want to make sure you look for a power adapter that is the right shape and can handle that voltage, or borrow one from your neighbor 🙂
  • SUNSCREEN and sunglasses
  • Your own SHAMPOO/CONDITIONER and other TOILETRIES. You’ll need these for our night in the youth hostel and likely for your home stay in Napa. You do not need to pack a towel.
  • REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLE. See this article from Carol about hydration and travel. It’s a big deal!
  • Your own medicinal needs – Ibuprofen/Advil, Tums/Pepto Bismol, Dramamine, band-aids, or any prescribed medications. We will not be providing these, so please be smart about your individual needs!
  • Put an AIRTAG in any checked bag (if you have one). If your bag gets lost, this will help you see if your bag is in Auckland or if it got left in San Francisco.

Currency

NZD, or the New Zealand Dollar, is the currency that is accepted in Auckland. One NZD is equal to $0.61 USD (so that item that is listed as $10 is really $6.10 USD). The best way to get local currency (NZD) is to use an ATM connected to a local bank branch or post office. Don’t go to a US bank ahead of your departure, they will charge you an arm and a leg to get foreign currency. Don’t go to a money exchange with cash in the airport once you land, they also charge conversion fees. It’s best to go to an ATM connected to a local bank branch or post office (during business hours) so if the machine swallows your card, there will be a human there who will be able to help.

It’s worth noting that when Dr. Head visited Auckland, he primarily used his credit card or Apple Pay the entire time. Make sure that the credit card you use does not have foreign transaction fees, or you may end up spending a lot of extra money unnecessarily for every charge that you make.