While I am not planning anything past touching down and spending my first week in Auckland, there still has been a lot of time spent on making sure I have everything I need to GET there, and be ready to go once I arrive. Overall I do plan to keep track of my budget on a month to month basis, simply for curiosity on my part and because others may find it useful. Just in case such a trip becomes a possibility for someone else!
My trip begins July 23rd, and I’ve spent the last week organizing and setting up the various things I feel I need to make the most of my time down there.
Working Holiday Visa – This is the first and most important item to make this all happen – Getting accepted into New Zealand’s Working Holiday Program. The time it took was actually pretty minimal – About 30 minutes to fill out the online application, and I got accepted shortly afterwards. No interview, no detailed paperwork, nothing. Easy as could be, and the first step was done. $140NZ
Flight – I guess the most sizable initial cost for most people would be the flight to New Zealand. One way tickets often run $800+. Here, I cheated and used my Aeroplan points to book a flight for minimal cost. There are direct flights available from Vancouver, but my points were best used flying through the states to keep taxes down. $100CAD
Backpack – I bought a new backpack for this trip, the Osprey Farpoint 70. I was looking for something durable, lightweight, easily openable/lockable, and had a good detachable daypack. It took me a while, but the Farpoint fit everything I was looking for. $250CAD
Travel Insurance – Proof of Travel/Emergency Medical insurance is mandatory for entering New Zealand, and there are a lot of options to choose amongst. Thankfully, there are companies in New Zealand that offer it specifically for those travelling on a working holiday visa to New Zealand. I chose Orbit-Protect for the simplicity and low cost. Hopefully, it won’t be used at all! $300NZ
Bank Account – While I’m not required to have one, a New Zealand Bank Account comes in handy if I want a job that pays me money – so working on farms likely won’t require one, but a job in a city would. Plus, having locally accessible funds keeps the cost to me down, I won’t be charged for currency conversion constantly and won’t have to keep an eye on currency conversion rates. So I opened an account with Bank of New Zealand, which was the only bank in New Zealand that I could find that allowed me to open an account before I arrived. This was very convenient, as I was able to transfer money easily to the bank from here in Canada. The account still isn’t fully accessible – I have to go into their downtown headquarters in Auckland to finish setting things up, but most of the difficult stuff is already complete. Free!
Mail Service – One thing for setting up the bank account and getting my IRD number (sort of like a Tax ID number) is I need a mailing address. This is something else that isn’t too hard to find in New Zealand thanks to the abundance of backpackers. The service I chose here is offered through a backpacking website, who coordinates with a hostel in Auckland to handle mail and forwarding as necessary. As I only plan to need a mailing address for the first couple of months, I chose the shortest term time available, 6 months. $27CAD
And that’s about it for pre-planned expenses. Many of them are upfront costs that will last me throughout the year, and by paying up front I get them out of the way and I’ll be able to more easily settle right in somewhere in New Zealand and start enjoying the country sooner, rather than later.