Planning: The Stuff You Leave Behind

Two weeks to go!! I am so READY for this holiday.

Actually… no, I am not.

I am sitting here, making sure that the budget is tight for when we arrive. You know, the usual stuff: money for the petrol; money for groceries; money for sightseeing… the usual stuff.

But here is a timely reminder for anyone going on holiday soon: Make sure you also plan for the ‘stuff’ you leave behind.

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DIY v Travel Agent

It’s been a long time between fairytales, but we are finally back into it. And of course, the first decision to make is:

DIY or TRAVEL AGENT?

Almost all our holidays are DIY; the internet is awesome and I love planning a holiday almost as much as having the holiday. I get a real kick out of seeing the family react to some of my ideas, as well as having the fun myself! Even way back in 2008, when we were planning our holiday in Italy and Malta (and the Italians appeared to hate having anything online), I was still better off planning and booking myself rather than talking an agent through our ideas.

Not that we have crazy-horse ideas! It’s just, I have learnt that travel agents are really best for “cookie cutter” holidays. And I have never been a “cookie cutter” kind of girl. Mind you, neither has my friend The Cutting Cookies Solo Girl – she’s having her own grief.

But I always give them a chance. I start off with a rough idea of what we want, grab a bit of research, and then go and test them.

That’s right. I’m the pain in the arse who goes and tests you in your own job. And I’m glad that I do.

For example, I know I need a car seat for our 2yo in the campervan, but what about our 6yo? When the travel agent tells me no, I’d like to believe they know what they are talking about. I do not want to be arriving in Auckland and forking over an additional $50 because the agent didn’t check.

By the way: good thing I checked *rolls eyes* The cut off age is 7yo.

Look, there are some things agents are good for: like, ski packages and negotiating campervans. Both of which I have just booked and paid deposits for.

But when the travel agent jokes that the guy waiting to see her after me is having the same holiday as me because I have suggested so many great things to her … Then I start to realise I should stick with what I know and love.

DIY all the way, baby.

What’s your preference: DIY or Travel Agent?

NZ 2015 – Itinerary

It’s been awhile since I was last on this blog; It takes a new family holiday to motivate me again. I know I am WAY behind on the details of Borneo, let alone the previous trips to Italy, Malta, Hong Kong, coast of Queensland… But I am motivated again. Partly to catch up on the fairytales, and partly to be ready for the next great adventure: New Zealand. Yes! We are planning the next family holiday for this year. This time, we are a family of 5 (our youngest was born in 2013) and we are campervanning around the two islands. Here is the proposed itinerary, but of course it is in draft. I’ll update with any changes and I am always open for suggestions:

  • 09-Sept  Auckland
  • 10-Sept  Auckland to Bay of Islands (incl. Morn at Auckland Tower)
  • 11-Sept  Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Waipoua Forest
  • 12-Sept  Drive to Waitomo for Glow-worm caves (incl. Thames Butterfly & Orchid Garden)
  • 13-Sept  Drive to Rotorua – line-up Zorbing, luge/look-out and maybe a concert with a hangi (this is the city to lose your money!!)
  • 14-Sept  Thermal pools and Huka Falls before driving to Whanganui (via Mt Ruapehu – because S is reading The Hobbit with his dad)
  • 15-Sept  Drive to Wellington via Silky Oak Chocolates and Kaitoke Regional Park
  • 16-Sept  Weta Workshop, zoo, and some shopping (mostly for food)
  • 17-Sept  Ferry to South Island, and drive to Kaikoura (incl. Eco World Aquarium
  • 18-Sept  Drive to Christchurch (incl. Dolphin spotting, and Point Sheep Shearing Show
  • 19-Sept  Shop/bus ride around town before heading towards Arthur’s Pass
  • 20-Sept  Arthur’s Pass and Hokitika
  • 21-Sept  Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier (should we prioritise?)
  • 22-Sept  Haast to Wanaka (Puzzling World!!)
  • 23-Sept  Head to Te Anau (might stop in Arrowtown?)
  • 24-Sept  Doubtful Sound (playing with the idea of an overnight cruise…)
  • 25-Sept  Head to Queenstown and return the Campervan
  • 26-Sept  Shop/sightsee (incl. Gondola, Perugian Chocolates, and Winnie’s Pizza. And probably some souvenir shopping for the kids)
  • 27-Sept  Ski on the Remarkables
  • 28-Sept  Ski on the Remarkables
  • 29-Sept  Did I mention the skiing on the The Remarkables? – Yes we have arranged for lessons for all us (excl Z, the 2yo) with hubby and I splitting the duties with the youngest, and the final day is the family together to show-off. As you do.
  • 30-Sept  Fly Queenstown to Christchurch, with a 5hr stopover to check out the Antarctic Research Centre near the airport, before flying home in the evening.

So there you have it. Our next family holiday, in less than 6mths. What do you think? Hubby and I have been to NZ before – we travelled around both islands in a much smaller campervan during our much poorer uni days. I have been previous to that on a school trip. Means we have a fair idea of where we are going, but still looking forward to a fresh viewing through the eyes of our kids. Any suggestions, please share them in the comments. It is still early days, so I’m always looking for suggestions! Like Fran Josef Glacier v Fox for a Heli-ride. Or chocolate shops across the South Island. Or ANYTHING!!