Now that you are actively planning a trip to the South Pacific, we would like to offer some advice garnered over many years of personal travel that will help to make your travels an even more enjoyable experience.
DOCUMENTATION: A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you are traveling on vacation and plan to stay in any one country no longer than 90 days, in most instances you will not require a visa. The primary exception is Australia. The Short Stay Visitor ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) allows for the entry of individuals traveling to Australia for tourism, to visit friends or relatives, or for short-term study. A visitor ETA entitles the holder to make multiple entries to Australia and remain in Australia for up to three months on any one entry. Most US and Canadian citizens qualify for an ETA which ANZGS can issue on presentation of a copy of the inside cover and first page of your passport. For more information and to determine if you qualify for an ETA, please check the following website: www.austemb.org.
Please note that your passport should be valid for at least six (6) months beyond the proposed date of entry into any country.
PACKING FOR YOUR TRIP: It is important to remember that seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are reversed. When it is winter in North America, countries in the South Pacific will be enjoying summer. Most experience travelers will tell you that the less you pack the better. Airline baggage restrictions determine the maximum size, weight and number of bags that you can take with you but you can pack light and still have everything you need. Typically, if you are traveling in economy or business class, you will be limited to no more than two (2) pieces of checked baggage, the total dimensions of which must not exceed 106ins and no single piece of more than 62ins. The maximum weight of each piece is 70lbs. Carry on baggage is necessarily limited for reasons of safety and customer comfort. In addition to personal items such as a coat, handbag, small camera, etc. economy class passengers are allowed one bag, the total dimensions of which cannot exceed 45ins for a bag or 73ins for a non-rigid garment bag and with a maximum weight of 15lbs. On some domestic flights, further baggage restrictions may apply.
MEDICATIONS: Ensure that you have an adequate supply for the duration of your trip. It is strongly recommended that you carry these in their original containers for security reasons. These should be kept in your carry-on bag.
PLANNING TO DRIVE (?): Make sure that you bring a valid drivers license with you. Most South Pacific countries will accept your US or Canadian license, however a local drivers permit is also required in the Cook Islands and Samoa. In Australia and New Zealand, people drive on the left-hand side of the road. It is recommended that you make yourself familiar with local driving regulations before you pick up your vehicle.
TRAVEL EXPENSES: While many of your expenses will be prepaid, you will still require funds for meals, sightseeing, shopping, etc. Most major credit cards are accepted throughout the region. Additionally, cash can be withdrawn in local currencies from ATM machines that are widely available. To determine ATM locations in the country that you plan to visit, please check the following websites.
Mastercard ATM locator www.mastercard.com
Visa Card ATM locator www.visaatm.infonow.net
LOCAL CUSTOMS: Please remember that you are a guest in the country that you are visiting. As a matter of courtesy and to prevent embarrassment, before you travel, please make yourself aware of local customs so that you will be fully comfortable in your new surroundings.