Later this month I will be heading across the ditch to visit New Zealand. The trip has been on my mind for a few months. However, I just had not got around to doing anything about booking it. Since the time was fast approaching, I needed to get something sorted out and booked.
My greatest challenge has been getting back into the mindset of planning and booking travel. It has been over three years since my last overseas trip. Potentially longer since I did any of the planning and bookings for that trip. But with a little research, I soon enough had everything sorted.
New Zealand Trip Outline
When I first sat down for the planning, I knew I needed to be in Christchurch for a few specific days. The rest of the time was pretty much open to what I wanted to do. My original plan involved a campervan for two weeks tripping around, but the idea evolved.
For some reason, I kept procrastinating, and I soon was getting fairly close to the travel dates to be booking. In the end, everything came together nicely and below is the scheduled itinerary.
Brisbane > Auckland (staying 4 nights) > Christchurch (5 nights with a camper van) > Wellington (staying 4 nights) > Brisbane
In the past, my travel planning has had some reasonable holes in it. One of the biggest problems is booking bits and pieces at different times, which has on occasion resulted in having to pay for expensive airfares or hotels to fill the gap.
I had already had a little bit of a scare like this when looking at prices for this trip. I had checked prices for camper vans and found roughly 14 days for around $1,100 at the time. Well, when I searched the next time I changed the date slightly with the last day on 1 November. The result was 14 days going to cost over $2,000.
With a little more searching around I soon realised that the single day of November put the whole booking into peak period pricing. Although I was relieved to find the pricing could still be the same as I originally found, I decided first time in a camper van for that many days may not be ideal just yet.
Planning Power Session
It was one evening that I had time at home, and the realisation was closing in that I needed to book this trip to New Zealand soon or risk paying a premium. So I started throwing together a few options. I checked some flights and found some decent prices. I checked some hotels and found a couple that seemed like reasonable prices for something suitable.
This session lasted maybe two hours and at the end of it I had what I thought was a good rough outline of the journey. But it was late, and I was ready for bed soI just left it at that. Still, nothing booked.
New Zealand Booked
With the outlined completed last night, I was all ready to get booking. The next morning I left to go to the coffee shop with the rough outline in hand. Two weeks in three different cities with two hotels, a campervan and four flights all booked in less than two hours. In total with research, I estimate around 4-6 hours.
Getting the booking done like this was purely a result of the planning that I had done the night before. I sat there and just followed the rough plan. Starting with booking the first flight, followed by a hotel in Auckland. Then the flight to Christchurch, followed by the camper van. Next up the flight to Wellington and the hotel there. Finally booking the flight home to Brisbane.
There is one big benefit that worked to make it a little easier in this process. When flying to and from New Zealand, there is minimal different between one way and return flights. It would have been a different story if I had to work around flying in and out of the same city.
Ready To Travel
With the booking out of the way, I am pretty much ready to head over to New Zealand. Just one last thing to organise which is the travel insurance, for me an essential.
I would love to hear about your travel booking adventures, so feel free to share in the comments below.