It has been all fun and endless travelling until you realise your Working Holiday visa is expiring. That’s when it will probably start sinking in that you have to prepare for your departure from New Zealand. In case you have no brain space to think about what to look out for when you’re having the time of your life exploring New Zealand, read on for a quick checklist to see what I have for you:
1. Book your air tickets in advance – make sure you leave before your visa expires
Booking air tickets in advance would probably be the first thing you want to do to prepare for your departure from New Zealand! One obvious reason is that last-minute air tickets usually costs more. Also, you would want to be able to get a flight timing that suits your schedule. Once you lock in that last day, it’s then time to work backwards to determine:
- When should you quit your job there?
- Do you still have enough cash to spend for the rest of your time there without working?
- Do you want to spend the remaining time travelling?
- When do you need to arrive at the city in time for your flight?
- What should be your route to ensure you end at the city you’re departing from?
- Is the car rental company still open during your flight timing to return the rental vehicle before your flight?
2. What to do with my New Zealand bank account?
Secondly, if you’ve got a bank account open in New Zealand, that’s the next most important thing to deal with. I got so used to using my EFTPOS debit card for everything I did in New Zealand. From paying the petrol to buying my groceries, I bascially did everything all with my little blue card. It was a nearly cashless experience for me throughout my working holiday except at the start when I was waiting for my bank account to be set up. Honestly, that was one of the most convenient things about New Zealand that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed!
However, as you prepare for your departure from New Zealand, you need to also cancel your debit card. You do not have to visit the bank to close your bank account but you would need to cancel the card. That’s because maintaining a debit card, at least for the bank I opened my account with, requires an annual fee. You can check out this really comprehensive article by Money Hub NZ on the debit cards and their fees in New Zealand. Fortunately, you can cancel it over a phone call instead of needing a physical appointment at the bank. Hence, I did this at the last instant at the airport after I’m sure that I’ve no need for it anymore. I even withdrew my remaining balance at the ATMs at the airport. However, do note that you cannot withdraw to the very last cent or dollar given the limitations of an ATM. Hence, if you want to empty out your account, a visit to the bank is still necessary.
3. Prepare to sell your car WAY earlier than your departure date
Third on the list to prepare for your departure from New Zealand is to sell your car! It takes time to find a buyer for your car and that was so obvious but something I didn’t factor in entirely. I started looking for buyers around four weeks before I left thinking I had all the time I needed. However, I forgot to factor in my travels in the last three weeks! That meant I only had a week left to find a buyer and sell my car. Also, the deal had to be done earlier before I started travelling! My miscalculation costed me as I ended up having to sell it at a much lower rate than its market rate. I hope you can avoid all these by learning from my mistak. Remember to factor in enough time to find buyers for your own vehicle WAY before you leave!
4. Getting a job back at home
HOME SWEET HOME! Though getting back to work again is not going to be all sweet, it is still something you need to get to eventually. So why not start early? Start getting in touch with your network back in Singapore. Update your resume on LinkedIn, switch on the “Open to Work” button so recruiters have access to your profile. Indicate your earliest availability so recruiters know when they can expect you to start!
Prepare to talk about the 6 months’ gap during your interviews! Make sure you package it well so that it does not seem like the break was detrimental to your capaibilities, but rather an addition to yourself as a whole. Personally, I’ve learnt so much from all my travels and especially this working holiday in New Zealand. I matured so much in my thinking, learnt to live independently, and figured out what was most important to me. I’ve challenged myself to adapt to ever-changing environments and deal with the lemons that come at me in life. All in all, it is an experience I will recommend to my peers and the future generations too.
That’s all I have! Do you feel more equipped now to prepare for your departure from New Zealand after your working holiday? Let me know how you go 🙂