Northern Explorer train from Auckland to Wellington

Interactive map

Click a route for times, fares & info...

New Zealand train map Dunedin-Queenstown by Taieri Gorge Railway Christchurch-Queenstown-Milford Sound by bus Christchurch-Dunedin-Invercargill by bus Christchurch-Greymouth on the Tranz Alpine train... Picton-Christchurch on the Tranz Coastal train... Wellington-Picton by Interislander Ferry Auckland-Wellington on the Overlander train...

Seeing New Zealand by train...

Whether you're an overseas visitor or a born-and-bred New Zealander, trains are the best way to travel between New Zealand's three main cities, Auckland, Wellington and (with a little help from the Interislander ferry) Christchurch.  Trains are also the way to reach the North Island's Tongariro National Park, the South Island's west coast at Greymouth, the whale-watching and dolphin-swimming centre at Kaikoura or the Marlborough vineyards at Blenheim.  See the route map opposite.

Unlike domestic flights, the trains take you at ground level past superb scenery that can't be seen by road, in civilised comfort that cramped and uncivilised long-distance buses can't match.  So ditch that short-haul flight and actually see New Zealand!

New Zealand's long-distance trains are operated by Kiwi Rail's 'Scenic Journeys' passenger division, originally privatised as Tranz Scenic but back in public ownership as part of KiwiRail as of 2008.  This page explains routes, train times, fares, the best way to buy tickets, and what there is to see on the journey.

Train times, fares & tickets...

Train times, fares & journey information for:

  Auckland to Wellington by Northern Explorer train (formerly Overlander)

  Wellington to Picton by Interislander Ferry

  Wellington-Picton-Blenheim-Kaikoura-Christchurch by Coastal Pacific train

  Christchurch - Greymouth by Tranz-Alpine train

  Christchurch - Timaru - Dunedin - Invercargill (bus service)

  Christchurch - Queenstown - Te Anau - Milford Sound (bus service)

  Dunedin - Queenstown (by Taieri Gorge Railway & connecting bus)

  Flights to New Zealand

  Hotels & accommodation in New Zealand

  Tailor-made tours & holidays to New Zealand with train travel

  Useful country information - currency, time zone, dialling code

Sponsored links...

 


Useful country information

Train operator in New Zealand:

Long distance trains:  www.kiwirailscenic.co.nzNew Zealand train, bus & ferry passes

Interislander Ferry Wellington-Picton:  www.interislandline.co.nz.

Auckland suburban trains, www.maxx.co.nz  Wellington suburban trains, www.tranzmetro.co.nz

Taieri Gorge Railway: www.taieri.co.nz

   

Time zone & dialling code:

GMT+12 (GMT+13 from the last Sunday in September to first Sunday in April).  Dial code +64

Currency:

1 = 1.9 NZ Dollars.   US$1 = 1.46 NZ$    Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.newzealand.com   Tripadvisor   Recommended guidebooks

Flights to NZ:

Scan multiple airlines to find the cheapest flights to New Zealand

Hotels in New Zealand:

Scan multiple hotel providers to find cheapest rates   Find backpacker hostels in New Zealand

Page last updated:

10 February 2014


Auckland - Wellington by train...

Auckland to Wellington on the 'Northern Explorer' train...  Photo James ChuangThe Auckland-Wellington Northern Explorer (formerly Overlander)...

This is an amazing journey, and one of my favourites, so ditch that domestic flight (or nightmare bus journey) and ride the Northern Explorer from downtown Auckland to city centre Wellington, stress-free and in comfort at ground level.  Stop off if you like at the Tongariro National Park.  This is an epic 681 kilometre (423 mile) journey right across the interior of the North Island, taking you in a single day past every kind of scenery there is, from coastline to volcanoes to mountains, from lush green farmland to thick New Zealand rainforest.  It will take you the length of the historic North Island Main Trunk Railway, completed in 1908, over such feats of engineering at the Raurimu Spiral, Turangarere Horseshoe and Makatote Viaduct.  It's one of the world's great railway journeys, yet is remarkably affordable!

For times, fares, information & photos,
see the Northern Explorer page
...


Wellington - Picton by Interislander ferry

The Interislander ferry...

It's one of the most scenic ferry crossings in the world, and THE way to travel between New Zealand's North and South Islands.  There are up to 5 daily sailings across the Cook Strait between Wellington and Picton, crossing time 3 hours.  The 08:25 sailing from Wellington and 13:15 sailing from Picton connects with the Coastal Pacific train to/from Christchurch, see below.  The Cook Strait has a reputation for rough seas, but only a third of the crossing is actually out in the Strait, and in my own experience it was rock steady on the big, modern and stabilised ship Kaitaki.

Interislander ferry "Kaitaki" at Wellington   Interislander ferry "Kaitaki" enters the Tory Channel between Wellington and Picton

The Interislander ferry Kaitaki at Wellington.

 

The Kaitaki  leaves the Cook Strait & enters the Tory Channel.

Interislander sailings from Wellington:  01:55, 08:25, 14:15, 18:15, crossing time 3 hours.

Interislander sailings from Picton:  05:45, 09:50, 13:15, 18:05, 22:05, crossing time 3 hours.

Times may vary, so always check ferry fares & timetables at www.interislandline.co.nz.

In Wellington, the Interislander terminal is a long walk north of the railway station, but a shuttle bus clearly marked 'Interislander' leaves from platform 9 at the railway station 50 minutes before each sailing.  The journey time is 5 minutes, the fare is NZ$2 per person, children under 5 free.  Foot passengers must check in at the terminal at least 30 minutes before sailing time.  All heavy baggage is checked in so only hand luggage is carried on board.  Passengers connecting with the train to Christchurch can check in bags in Wellington all the way through to Christchurch.

In Picton, the Interislander terminal is 200 metres from the station.  All heavy baggage is checked in so only hand luggage needs to be carried on board.

The 08:25 sailing from Wellington & 13:15 sailing from Picton connect with the Coastal Pacific train to/from Christchurch.  You can book combined Wellington-Christchurch ferry & train tickets  online at www.kiwirailscenic.co.nz, but see the advice bee below to get the cheaper tickets.  Both these sailings are normally operated by the Kaitaki, the largest ferry in New Zealand waters.

The Kaitaki may look familiar to ferry travellers from Ireland or the UK.  She started life in 1995 as the Isle of Innisfree on the Irish Ferries Holyhead-Dublin and Pembroke-Rosslare routes, and later the P&O's "Pride of Cherbourg" on the Portsmouth-Cherbourg route.  The Interislander ferry company was started in 1962 by New Zealand Railways, hence its close connections with the train service to Christchurch.  Another ferry company also operates several daily ferries between Wellington and Picton, www.bluebridge.co.nz, but these ferries don't connect with the train to Christchurch.

Kaitaki Plus first class lounge:  For an extra NZ$45 paid on board, you can access the Kaitaki Plus lounge with quiet seating, power sockets, free WiFi, complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and a free light hot meal.  Over-18s only.  On the down side, the views from the lounge are slightly obstructed, and you may spend much of the crossing on deck, gazing at the scenery!

A voyage on the Interislander...

Interislander ferry "Kaitaki" in the Tory Channel   Interislander ferry "Kaitaki" nrothbound in the Tory Channel

The Interislander ferry Kaitaki in the Tory Channel.

 

Another shot of the ferry in the Tory Channel.

The ferry terminal at Picton, seen from the deck of an arriving ferry from Wellington   Interislander ferry "Kaitaki" at Picton

The ferry arrives at Picton.  The Edwin Fox museum ship can be seen, with Picton station a red-roofed cream building just above and to the right.

 

The Interislander ferry Kaitaki at Picton.


Picton - Christchurch by Coastal Pacific train  

The Interislander ferry and connecting Coastal Pacific train are easily the most comfortable and scenic way to travel from Wellington to Christchurch.  It's also very cheap, with inclusive train+ferry fares from just NZ$139.  Named TranzCoastal until 2011, the train regained its original name Coastal Pacific when it resumed running on 15 August 2011.

IMPORTANT:  Wellington & Christchurch to be cut off from each other in winter in 2013 & 2014:  New Zealand appears to be closing for business in winter, as the Coastal Pacific did not run at all from 7 May until early October 2013, nor will it run from May to October 2014, leaving no civilised transport link between Wellington and Christchurch in a supposedly developed country, just planes and a bus.  You may wish to postpone your visit until New Zealand sorts itself out.

 Wellington ► Christchurch

 The Coastal Pacific

Daily October-May only *

 Wellington depart by Interislander ferry:

08:25

 Picton arrive by Interislander ferry:

11:35

 Picton depart by Coastal Pacific train:

13:00

 Blenheim

13:33

 Kaikoura

15:28

 Waipara

17:30

 Christchurch arrive by Coastal Pacific train:

18:21

* = IMPORTANT.  The Coast Pacific used to run daily all year round, but it did not run at all in winter 2013 nor will it run in winter from May to October 2014.

One class of seating, cafe-bar, open-air viewing platform.

There are other Wellington-Picton Interislander ferry sailings, see www.interislandline.co.nz, only the rail-connected sailing is shown here.

 Christchurch ► Wellington

 The Coastal Pacific

Daily October-May only *

 Christchurch depart by Coastal Pacific train:

07:00

 Waipara

07:56

 Kaikoura 

09:54

 Blenheim

11:46

 Picton arrive by Coastal Pacific train:

12:13

 Picton depart by Interislander ferry:

13:15

 Wellington arrive by Interlislander ferry

16:25

 Fares

 Wellington - Christchurch (combined train+ferry fare)

Flexi fare NZ$ 189 (99 or US$155)

Smart-Saver fare * NZ$ 159 (84 or US$130)

Super-Saver fare * NZ$ 139 (73 or US$115)

 Wellington - Kaikoura (combined train+ferry fare)

NZ$ 129-159 (68-84 or US$105-$129)

 Picton - Christchurch (train only)

Flexi fare NZ$ 159 (83 or US$130)

Smart-Saver fare * NZ$ 129 (68 or US$105)

Super-Saver fare * NZ$ 99 (52 or US$81)

* Super-Saver = limited availability, no refunds, no changes.  Smart-Saver = limited availability, $20 for any changes which can only be made more than 48 hours or more before departure.  These cheap fares disappear from the Kiwi Rail Scenic Journeys website when it is viewed from a computer outside NZ, so either use the Tor Browser workaround explained below or buy by phone!

Children aged 2-14 travel at reduced fare,  Infants under 2 travel free.

How to buy tickets...

You can buy tickets online at www.kiwirailscenic.co.nz with self-print ticketing, but be warned, Kiwi Rail have set up their website to detect your computer's IP address and suppress the cheaper Super-Saver and Smart-Saver fares if your computer is located outside New Zealand.  In other words, from a UK-based PC all you see is $189, from an NZ-based PC you'll see the complete and correct fare range, $139, $159 and $189 (assuming the cheaper fares are available, of course).  To buy a cheaper Super-Saver or Smart-Saver fare, you have three choices:  You can make an international phone call to Kiwi Rail Scenic Journeys telesales on + 64 4 495 0775, as all fares are available by phone, potentially saving money even allowing for the cost the call.  Or you can wait till you reach NZ, and book online in an internet cafe using an NZ-based computer, when all the cheap fares will show up.  Or if you're moderately computer-savvy, you can use the following workaround to book Super-Saver and Smart-Saver tickets online from outside New Zealand:

How to buy Smart-Saver or Super-Saver tickets online from outside NZ:  (1) Download the Tor Project's special Tor-enabled Firefox browser from the Tor Project's download page and install it following their instructions.  (2)  Open the Tor browser, which also opens the 'Vidalia' control panel.  (3) On the Vidalia control panel, click 'settings' then 'advanced' then 'edit current Torrc'.  (4) In the Torrc text file that appears, simply type a new line ' ExitNodes {nz} ' (without the quote marks, of course!).  Save these settings and reopen the Tor browser.  You are now browsing through a random relay of servers, exiting the relay with an NZ IP address.  The connection naturally works a bit slower than your normal internet connection, but it does work!  If you get any error messages, try removing the comment lines, starting with a '#' which the system inserts automatically, and try moving the inserted ExitNodes {nz} line to the top.  (5) Now go to www.kiwirailscenic.co.nz and book your tickets.  You should now see the full range of fares (if available).  Feedback would be appreciated!

One traveller reports:  "Thanks for the 'Tor' advice when booking Super-Saver tickets for New Zealand.  It worked for me, and I've saved a lot of money as I'm backpacking on a budget."

Or buy online at Rail New Zealand:  You can also check train times, prices & buy tickets at www.railnewzealand.com, although they say they don't sell Saver fares, only full-price.

Or book by phone, call 0800 872 467 (in NZ) or  00 64 4 495 0775 (from outside NZ)...

From outside New Zealand, call Kiwi Rail on + 64 4 495 0775, remembering that NZ is 13 hours ahead of the UK in the UK's winter, 11 hours in summer - you should be able to buy the full range of fares including Super-Saver and Smart-Saver.  When you're in NZ, call them on their free-phone number, 0800 TRAINS (0800 872 467).

Alternatively, if you live in the UK or Ireland you can arrange New Zealand train tickets or passes & reservations with UK-based train travel specialist International Rail, call 0844 248 248 3.  From outside the UK +44 844 248 248 3.  Lines open 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday.

On board the Coastal Pacific train...

Wellington to Christchurch by train: seating on the Coastal Pacific train.   Scenery seen from the Coastal Pacific train

Seats on the Coastal Pacific, in one of the new 'AK' carriages.  Half the car has bays of 4 like this, the other half is unidirectional.  Photo courtesy of Ivor Morgan...

 

The Coastal Pacific in the hills south of Blenheim, a photo taken from the open-air viewing car (taken before the train was re-equipped with the new 'AK' carriages).

The Coastal Pacific train stops at Kaikoura...   A typical view from a Coastal Pacific window!

The Coastal Pacific stops at Kaikoura, the South Island's whale-watching and dolphin-swimming centre...

 

The view from the window, a stone's throw from the sea...

Spot the seals from the train!   Misty Pacific coastline seen from the Coastal Pacific train

...98 km of wild misty coastline.  Spot the seals from the train!

 

Taken from the open-air viewing car.  This photo shows new 'AK' cars.  Courtesy of Ivor Morgan.

Travel tips...

The journey aboard the Coastal Pacific ...


Christchurch - Greymouth on the TranzAlpine...

Passing through the Southern Alps...The Tranz-Alpine is the most scenic train journey in New Zealand, and one of the most scenic train trips in the world.  Not surprisingly, it's become the most successful of all the Kiwi Rail Scenic Journeys passenger train services, very popular with tour groups because of the spectacular crossing of the Southern Alps between Christchurch and the South Island's west coast at Greymouth.  It's a fantastic trip, though in my opinion not as epic or historic as the Auckland-Wellington 'Overlander'.

See the TranzAlpine page for times, fares & details...

 

 

 

 


Christchurch - Dunedin - Invercargill  by bus...

Once important cities, Dunedin and Invercargill have declined in importance and apparently no longer justify a proper train service to the rest of New Zealand.  The last Christchurch-Dunedin-Invercargill train service, the daily "Southerner" over the South island's Main South Line, was withdrawn in 2004.  Nowadays, anyone wishing to reach these towns must endure a long bus journey from Christchurch.  Here are the main bus services, although an additional bus may run on Fridays and Sundays.  Please check times before travelling at the bus operator websites,  www.intercitycoach.co.nz.

 Christchurch ► Dunedin ► Invercargill  

 Bus service:

Daily 

Daily 

 Operator:

InterCity 

InterCity 

 Christchurch depart

08:00

14:00

 Timaru

10:30

17:00

 Oamaru

12:05

18:15

 Dunedin

13:45

19:50

 Invercargill arrive

17:40

-

 Invercargill ► Dunedin ► Christchurch  

 Bus service: 

Daily 

Daily 

 Operator: 

InterCity 

InterCity 

 Invercargill depart

-

08:45

 Dunedin

07:45

12:50

 Oamaru

09:30

15:00

 Timaru

11:20

16:20

 Christchurch arrive:

13:45

18:40

Fares & how to buy tickets...

 Christchurch-Dunedin costs NZ$33-$46.  Christchurch-Invercargill costs NZ$35-$67.  You can check fares and book bus tickets online at www.intercitycoach.co.nz.  You can also check bus times, prices & buy tickets at www.railnewzealand.com.

InterCity bus


Christchurch - Queenstown - Milford by bus...

There were never any train services to Queenstown, although historically you might have taken a slow train from Invercargill to Kingston (the preserved Kingston Flyer train uses part of this route), then a steamer across Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown, a route on which Queenstown's famous 100-year old working steamship Earnslaw would have worked.  Today, there are bus services operated by several companies.  You need to change buses and overnight in Queenstown if you are travelling to/from Milford Sound.

 Christchurch ► Queenstown ► Milford Sound   

 Bus service:

Daily 

Daily 

Daily 

Daily 

 Operator:

InterCity 

Newmans 

Newmans 

Topline 

 Christchurch depart

08:20

08:20

-

-

 Mount Cook arrive

|

14:00

-

-

 Mount Cook depart

|

14:40

-

-

 Queenstown arrive

16:20

18:20

-

-

 Queenstown depart

-

-

07:15

14:00

 Te Anau arrive

-

-

09:25

16:15

 Te Anau depart

-

-

10:05

-

 Milford Sound arrive

-

-

12:45

-

 

 Milford Sound ► Queenstown ► Christchurch   

 Bus service: 

Daily 

Daily 

Daily 

Daily 

 Operator: 

Topline 

Newmans 

Newmans 

InterCity 

 Milford Sound depart

-

15:15

-

-

 Te Anau arrive

-

17:10

-

-

 Te Anau depart

10:00

17:25

-

-

 Queenstown arrive

12:20

19:30

-

-

 Queenstown depart

-

-

07:30

09:30

 Mount Cook arrive

-

-

11:30

|

 Mount Cook depart

-

-

12:10

|

 Christchurch arrive

-

-

17:30

17:30

Fares & how to buy tickets...

 You can check times, fares and book bus tickets online at www.intercitycoach.co.nz, www.newmanscoach.co.nz & www.toplinetours.co.nz.  You can also check bus times, prices & buy tickets at www.railnewzealand.com.


Dunedin - Queenstown by train+bus...

The Taieri Gorge Railway Track & Trail connection...

The most rewarding way to travel between Dunedin and Queenstown is via the Taieri Gorge Railway's Track & Trail train/bus link.  The Taieri Gorge Railway (www.taieri.co.nz) is a preserved railway running daily year-round tourist trains through spectacular scenery over part of the old Dunedin-Cromwell branch railway.  Leaving from the beautiful and much-photographed 1906 railway station in Dunedin's town centre, it travels a few kilometres south over the South Island Main Trunk Line (still well-used for freight but sadly with no passenger service) before branching off inland through the scenic gorge that gives the line its name.  The train terminates at Pukerangi, 58 km from Dunedin (extended to Middlemarch on summer Fridays & Sundays, 76 km from Dunedin) and a minibus connection takes pre-booked passengers from Pukerangi to Queenstown.  Highly recommended!  The Taieri Gorge Railway now also operates a tourist train called the Seasider along the main line between Dunedin and Palmerston.

 Dunedin ► Queenstown

 Train+Bus service:

Daily

May-Sept 

Daily

Oct-April 

 Dunedin depart by train 

12:30

14:30

 Pukerangi arrive by train

14:35

16:35

 Pukerangi depart by bus

14:45

16:45

 Queenstown arrive

18:45

20:45

 Queenstown ► Dunedin

 Train+Bus service: 

Daily

May-Sept 

Daily

Oct-April

 Queenstown depart by bus

10:00

12:00

 Pukerangi arrive by bus

14:30

16:30

 Pukerangi depart by train

14:45

16:45

 Dunedin arrive by train

16:30

18:30

 Fares

 Dunedin - Queenstown

 (combined track & trail fare)

NZ$ 115 adult, NZ$58 child

Fares & how to buy tickets...

To check fares and buy tickets, contact the Taieri Gorge Railway on www.taieri.co.nz or call (03) 477 4449.

You can also book this train+bus combo using the online journey planner at www.railnewzealand.com.

Dunedin station   Inside Dunedin station's main hall...

Above:  Dunedin's magnificent station...

 

...inside the main hall.

A trip on the Taieri Gorge Railway en route from Dunedin to Queenstown   Taking the Taieri Gorge Railway en route from Dunedin to Queenstown...

Above:  A scenic ride on the Taieri Gorge Railway, for the daily onward bus link to Queenstown...

Dunedin station   Inside Dunedin station's main hall...

Above:  The connecting bus meets the train and takes 'Track & Trail' passengers to Queenstown.



Railpasses for New Zealand

New Zealand Scenic Railpass:  Check prices & buy online in UK...

There is an excellent New Zealand Railpass giving unlimited travel on all Kiwi Rail passenger trains, and (if you buy the ferry-inclusive version), the Inter-Island Ferry between Wellington and Picton.  If you're going to travel on all 3 trains from Auckland to Wellington, across on the ferry and down to Christchurch and on to Greymouth, the 7-day pass makes a lot of sense.  To buy online in the UK, see www.internationalrail.com.  For more information, see www.kiwirailscenic.co.nz.  Once you have a railpass, it's easy to make seat reservations to go with it simply by calling Kiwi Rail on 0800 TRAINS (0800 872 467) or from outside New Zealand, 00 64 4 495 0775.


Holidays & tailor-made tours of New Zealand

Railbookers.comAsk a train travel specialist to arrange your trip...

Tailor-made holiday specialist Railbookers can arrange tours or holidays around New Zealand using train travel rather than buses or flights.  A 7-night trip on all 3 classic New Zealand train rides, from Auckland to Wellington on the Northern Explorer, Wellington to Picton on the inter-island ferry, Picton to Christchurch on the Coastal Pacific, and Christchurch to Greymouth on the TranzAlpine starts at around 799 per person excluding UK-NZ flights.

  UK call 020 3327 0761, www.railbookers.com

US & Canada call toll-free 1-800-408-3280 or www.us.railbookers.com.

  Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526, www.railbookers.com.au


 


Recommended guidebooks

Lonely Planet New Zealand - click to buy onlineRough Guide to New Zealand - click to buy onlineMake sure you take a good guidebook.  The Lonely Planets and Rough Guides are easily the best out there for the independent traveller.  Both guides provide an excellent level of practical information and historical and cultural background.  You won't regret buying one of these guides..!

Click to buy online at Amazon.co.uk...

Lonely Planet New Zealand    Rough Guide to New Zealand

 


Hotels & accommodation in New Zealand

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Personal recommendations...

In Auckland, the Airedale Hotel or Mercure Auckland Hotel are both sound central choices, the latter right near the Britomart station and Devonport ferry terminal, though not the cheapest options.  In Wellington, the Shepherds Arms Hotel is a cosy gastro pub just 15 minutes walk from Parliament and the city centre with friendly staff, great food and good beer.  A top choice!

Other hotel sites worth trying...

Backpacker hostels in New Zealand...

www.hostelbookers.com:  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelbookers offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in many places in New Zealand at rock-bottom prices.


Flights

Overland travel by train & bus around New Zealand is an essential part of the experience, so once there, don't cheat and fly, stay on the ground!  But a long-haul flight might be unavoidable to reach New Zealand in the first place.

1)  Check flight prices at www.opodo.com...

2)  Use Skyscanner to compare flight prices & routes worldwide across 600 airlines...

skyscanner generic 728x90

3)  Lounge passes...

Make the airport experience a little more bearable with a VIP lounge pass, it's not as expensive as you think!  See www.loungepass.com


Travel insurance & health card

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least 1m or preferably 5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash (up to a limit) and belongings.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you're resident in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you're resident in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, and if you're not careful you can return home to find some huge bills waiting for you.  I've known people run up a 1,000 bill in data charges just by leaving their iPhone connected during a simple trip to Europe.  However, if you buy a global SIM card for your mobile phone from a company such as www.Go-Sim.com you can slash the cost by up to 85% and limit any damage to the amount you have pre-paid.  It cuts call costs in 175 countries worldwide, and you can receive incoming calls and texts for free in 75 countries.  It's pay-as-you-go, so no nasty bills when you get home.  It also works for laptop or PDA data access.  A Go-Sim account and any credit on it doesn't expire if it's not between trips, unlike some others, so a Go-Sim phone number becomes your 'global phone number' for life.

 


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