As we wrap up week three of our New Zealand lockdown, I’ve noticed a few common themes across friends’ platforms expressing how we’ll never take our travels for granted again. And I wholeheartedly agree.
Sitting at my home in Wellington, I’m grateful for the luscious native bush and the constant chatter of the New Zealand birdlife surrounding my home, however, all I can think about is getting into our car and going on a long road trip. Head to the mountains, go for a long hike, camp, cook from the back of our van and enjoy mother nature.
As travellers, I think we all feel a longing, a sadness and an uncertainty of not knowing when we’ll return to our national parks, campsites and huts, but as the title of this article expresses, there is no time like the present to plan a trip you’ll never forget.
Is it a month-long road trip wandering slowly around the South Island? Is it a campervan adventure across Australia’s red centre, or maybe you’re finally ready to plan that overseas trip you’ve been talking about for years? Well, I’m here to give you that push, to persuade you to map out your dream trip to manifest it into a reality.
Let it be a little exciting project to bring some positivity to your day.
Your type of trip
What’s your dream holiday? Months of backpacking across multiple countries and embracing the slow pace of life is one way, and one I’ve been lucky enough to experience twice. Another big dream of mine involves a campervan and covering heaps of distance.
For those who love the freedom of the great open road, there are endless opportunities for bucket-list road trips. Drive the eastern coastline of Australia, live in your bathers and breathe in the salty sea air each and every day. Choose the option to wake up at the beach every morning with a campervan hire, letting your wheels also be your home, or find accommodation along the way.
Maybe your bucket list holiday includes an extreme trip like hiking from the top of New Zealand’s North Island to the very bottom on the South Island on the Te Araroa trail. Plan your campsites and hut stays using the Campermate app, and tour the entire country on your own two feet.
Regardless of your type of trip, take this extra time to plan your dream scenario.
Sort out your budget
Finances aren’t always the most fun to sort, however, in order to ensure your trip comes true, we must be realistic about how much it will cost. I’d recommend using a spreadsheet to add in the types of expenses and a rough estimate of each cost.
Here are a few ideas of what to budget for:
- Car hire
- Campervan hire
- Consider hiring a self-contained vehicle to save on campground costs
- Hotels, motels, hostels, AirBnBs, holiday parks, campgrounds, hut fees
- Petrol costs
- Check the average price per litre, give a rough estimate with how many kilometres you plan on travelling and always round up.
- Food (grocery shopping, eating out, road trip snacks)
- Is any new equipment needed for the trip? Hiking boots, tent, torch, etc.
- Yearning to bungee jump, sky dive, safari ride, scuba dive? Think about must-do activities and check out prices at possible spots
- Other expense that may arise
- Visa costs, speeding fines, parking, entry fees, souvenirs, travel insurance
Choosing your date to set off
Once you have an idea of your budget needed for your trip, next is to choose when to go. Here are a few things to consider in order to set your date:
- How long will it take to save the desired amount?
- Can you take a sabbatical from your current job or possibly quit?
- You will miss future engagements like birthdays, weddings, etc so consider which ones you don’t want to skip and play around those dates.
- What season is best for your trip? If a snow-filled adventure through New Zealand’s Southern Alps is for you, then plan it during June to September or chase the sun during Australia and New Zealand’s summer from December to March.
- High season vs. low season? Depending on your type of adventure, you may want to avoid the crowds. For example in New Zealand, December and January are jammed packed with tourists from around the world and campervan hire must be booked far in advance.
Searching for your dream accommodation
Bucket list trips include bucket list stays. It may be as simple as a high-end motorhome from Maui rentals or a sustainable eco-hostel in the Australia rainforest. The options are endless.
If you’re tottering around in a campervan for weeks or months at a time, you may want a nice stay for a change of pace. If you’re on a tight budget, check out hostels with private rooms or try self-contained cabins at places like Tasmania’s Seven Mile Beach caravan park.
Stay in a treehouse, ball out in a mansion, find an oceanfront property, whatever your dream accommodation is, book it, the opportunity might not arise again.
Creating a must-do, must-see, must-eat guide
How do you like to spend your time while travelling? What are your top must-visit spots during your trip? From scenic viewpoints to world-renowned museums to bungee jumping off the tallest bridge or eating at Michelin-star restaurants, there is an activity out there for every type of traveller. Sit down and make lists for your must-dos on your trip. Search tour prices, hiking guides, scuba diving or snorkelling sites, vineyard visits and more.
While physically packing your suitcase might be a while away, you can still have fun creating a packing checklist for when the big day comes.
Consider the weather and climate for your destination and make a list of essential items including, but not limited to, a passport, first aid kit, hiking gear, torch, power bank, jetboil, and camping gear.
Every list will look different depending on the type of trip. For those heading off on a campervan trip, check out these caravan packing tips.
You’re ready to go
And now we wait. Hopefully, the world will open its doors again and we’ll be back to travelling, road tripping, camping and hiking, appreciating what we missed during these lockdown days.
Enjoy your time planning and stay positive, we’ll be back in the great outdoors soon.