IF YOU GO
Australia and New Zealand
• TripMasters.com — Use this site, which specializes in trips to Australia and New Zealand, to figure out an itinerary that works for you and to purchase your trip. Choose the cities you want to visit, which hotels you want to stay at and specific flights.
• TripAdvisor.com — One of the most helpful sites a traveler could ever find. Read reviews from thousands of other travelers to decide where you want to stay and what you want to do once you get there.
Things to do before leaving
• Pack accordingly — While most of Australia is rather pleasant even in the winter, the same cannot be said for the South Island of New Zealand. If just headed to Australia, a light jacket may do. If your plans take you farther south, you'll need a warm jacket, gloves and knit cap. Also, consider bringing rain gear. Beware! Baggage restrictions are stringent in this part of the world. Minimize the number of bags you take and the weight of each.
• Get your Electronic Travel Authority as soon as you can! — If you're headed to Australia, you'll need an Electronic Travel Authority, which is basically a 90-day visa you can apply for online.
• Inform your credit card companies — This will help ensure your card is not declined at an inopportune time.
Things to do after arriving
• Prepare for a two-hour wait in customs.
• Exchange money: There is usually a fee, so it pays to exchange cash as few times a possible.
• Figure out your phone: If your phone functions upon arrival, you will probably receive a text message explaining the price of service and further options. AT&T offered 120MB of data for $30, which worked in both Australia and New Zealand.
• Consider the train: Like everything else Down Under, taxis are very expensive. A trip from the airport to your hotel could easily run $55 to $75.
In New Zealand
• Expect a much shorter trek through customs.
• Exchange money: Put away any Australian currency you may have left. It is easily confused with the coins and paper bills used in New Zealand.