Kelly Bertrand’s one of the lucky ones who has managed to leave the country a few times in the last two years – here’s her take on what it’s like to dig out the passport, grab a suitcase and get the hell out of doge. PLUS, the biggest travel tip that’s saved her time, money and so much stress – it’s travelling in 2022, baby!
(Capsule x Wise)
I was sitting at Auckland Airport, bubbles in hand as I saw my plane pull into its gate through the window.
I’d already been through security in record time; my suitcase was (hopefully) about to be loaded on the plane and my boarding pass was in my hand. But if I’m honest, it still didn’t feel like I was actually getting on a plane and flying away from Aotearoa.
I half expected Jacinda to jump out from behind a potted fern, laugh and tell me, ‘Did you really think you were leaving!? Cute, Kelly’.
There’s no denying that the first trip you take after years of pandemic stagnation is weird. A colleague – a WELL-seasoned travel journalist – admitted to me the other day that she’d forgotten how to travel so badly, she’d left her passport in her checked-in suitcase.
But once you’re over that initial hump and you’re keen to start travelling in 2022 – my God, isn’t the world a glorious place to visit again.
Travelling in 2022 is a lot easier than you might think it is. Both of the times I’ve left New Zealand this year – once in March and once in May – the airport experience has been smooth, people have been friendly and excited, and planes have reassuringly stunk like Dettol.
Even when Capsule editorial director Alice and I popped over to Adelaide in 2021 during the Trans-Tasman bubble (lol remember that) we were pleasantly surprised at how easy the experience was.
But if I was going to give you one hot tip for any future international travel, it would be for the love of God, get a Wise card.
You might remember Wise in its former incantation, TransferWise – but the brand has had a glow-up and she is fierce these days.
As well as letting you send money overseas (great if you have mates in lots of different countries and you’re trying to plan travel) Wise lets you open multi-currency accounts, and exchange more than 50 different currencies, meaning no matter where you go in the world, you’ll never have to think about banking or exchange rates (a miracle for everyone like me who has been totally ripped off in Europe’s tourist traps).
You get a jazzy green card (which you can use with Apple Pay to really make your life easier) that lets you spend almost anywhere in the world. You first pick which currency you want to add money to within the app, then as easy as anything, pay for your funds via bank transfer. You can see all of your balances instantly and convert money from one currency account to the other.
(It’s also handy if you’re a freelancer or own a business where you get paid from international clients – I’ve used it like this a few times and it’s been a lifesaver).
Even in Australia, where it’s fairly easy to convert Aussie dollars to Kiwi, it’s worth taking as you don’t get stung by fees every time you use your debit card. Wise’s currency conversion fees are tiny, you get free ATM withdrawals and you can even use the app to help set up local account details to receive foreign currencies.
The next time I jump on a plane again, you best believe my neon green buddy will be coming with me. It’s one less thing to worry about – and after the years we’ve all had, we all deserve epic trips and travels that deliver on good experiences, not nightmares with money.
Capsule travelled to Adelaide with Wise’s assistance but all opinions voiced in this article are the author’s own.