You did it. You finally booked your trip to the Land of the Long White Cloud. Now, the real fun begins as you figure out how to best plan your adventure.
In addition to figuring out your itinerary, your must-do activities and sights, you've got plenty of logistical questions as well. Namely, how are you going to pay for things? Your bungy jump? Your skydive? Your bottle of world-class New Zealand wine?
Here are some ways you can do this during your trip to NZ
1) Use a Debit Card
According to the team from Pronto Finance, “you can use debit cards all across New Zealand, including at ATMs and in smaller locations like grocery stores, gasoline stations, and cafes. Make sure that your card contains an electronic chip that can be used internationally.” You need load money onto your debit card ahead of time and then draw on the balance while you are travelling. You can also use online banking to top off your card while you are on the road.
It is better to use debit cards to withdraw cash instead of credit cards since debit cards don't have high interests and cash advance fees if your card is overdrawn. ATM machines are found all over New Zealand, so you won't have a hard time finding some place to withdraw your cash.
2) Use a credit card
If you are interested in applying for a credit card that you can use overseas, search for cards that do not charge you currency conversion fees while you are making transactions in a foreign currency.
Some credit cards offer a certain number of interest-free days whenever you pay the entire balance before the statement period ends, which can save you money on interest charges. Complimentary travel insurance is also offered by some credit cards, which can help to save you money and time compared to setting it up yourself. Nearly all cafes / restaurants / bars / shops / etc accept credit card, and you could nearly get by paying like this for your entire holiday.
3) Use a prepaid travel card
New Zealand dollars can be held on nearly all prepared travel cards that are available on the marketplace. You will also be given a backup travel card, which can be useful in case you lose the original card.
But there are drawbacks: there are several fees on both the back and front end of a travel card, including reload fees, initial load fees, card issue fees, and ATM international withdrawal fees. Some will even charge you for inactivity.
When using your cards in New Zealand, beware of potential credit card surcharges. This is a very common practice in the country. These fees usually range from 1.5 to 2.5%. Businesses do tell you in advance about them, but it is always a good idea to be aware of them.
4) Use traveller's cheques
Other types of travel money products have replaced traveller/s cheques, including travel money cards, credit cards, and debit cards. The major advantages that traveller/s cheques offer are that you can replace them if they are stolen or lost, and they can only be cashed by you.
5) Use cash
It is always helpful to have local currency on hand to pay for items you might not be expecting to buy or to help you if anything goes wrong with any of your cards. In order to be safe, this cash can be split up and placed in your carry bag or hand luggage. You carry some of it on your person.
At the Auckland International Airport, major currencies can be exchanged for New Zealand dollars. However, obtaining local currency before leaving home can help to minimize the number of things you need to do at the airport once you arrive. If this is the first time you are arriving in a country, the less you need to think about and do, the better.
6) Use online purchasing
This will not work for regular purchases such as restaurant meals or daily groceries, but for things such as accommodation or booking New Zealand activities, it is certainly an option. If you are going to book an activity or tour while you are in New Zealand, you can do so through websites. Or you can use your own device to use a payment solution such as PayPal or Apple Pay.
7) Use New Zealand Banks
In today's age of Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS) and ATMs, it can be easy to forget about banks. You’ll find all of New Zealand's major banks in the main cities and towns. You can also exchange foreign currency at a rate that is slightly better than those offered at exchange kiosks or retailers. There are also many banks with ATMs directly outside the premises.