If you’re a New Zealand rugby fan, you’ll be counting down to the Rugby World Cup in France, which runs from September 8 to October 28.
Some of you might even be going to join 600,000 of your nearest and dearest friends at a match in Europe.
I’ll be in Europe, but not in France. I’m hosting a small group in Italy in the middle of it all, plus a cruise around the Adriatic. I can’t wait to be in some Italian bars watching Italy or the All Blacks play.
If you’re going to be in France for the RWC, there are a few things to make sure you’ve sorted before you go.
Will you be driving in Europe?
Firstly, check when your New Zealand (or whichever country you are from) driver’s license expires as you’ll need that, plus you’ll need an International Driver’s Permit (IDP).
My license expires next month (they run for 10 years here), so I lined up today at the AA (Automobile Association) to get my new one sorted and was issued a temporary license while I wait for it to arrive. Then once it does, I can apply for the IDP. They also told me IDPs can only be issued if your license has at least a year left to run before it expires. (*runs to wallet to check)
The IDP costs $45 and you’ll need a passport-size photo. You can apply online or in person with the AA.
If you are renting a car, you will love this post on how to drive in France where writer Delwyn Sinclair did a 2-week road trip in France.
Check your travel insurance
Have you taken Comprehensive Travel Insurance cover? That’s good. But if you are going to be doing a cruise as well, have you checked the cruise add-on box? Some insurance companies charge an extra levy to be covered for cruises. If you don’t have a NZ motorbike license, don’t ride any bikes over 50CC.
Print out your insurance certificate and take it with you, plus email a copy of it to someone at home (next of kin) in case they need to assist.
Here is my post on how to choose which travel insurance is right for you.
Log your travel with MFAT
This is not something I’ve done before, but the SafeTravel.govt.nz website, not only lists countries and areas with travel warnings (which, by the way, your travel insurance won’t cover you in), but asks Kiwis to add their travel details when going abroad so they can help you if some national emergency arises.
Of course, it’s a bit of a pain, but it’s one way to be sure that they know where you are if (God forbid) there’s an earthquake, flood, terrorist attack, etc. You could do like I do and plan to enter your details by ‘marking yourself safe’, but that kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it, if you can’t actually get to the internet DURING a crisis…
Tell your bank
It’s always a good idea to send a message to your bank (you can do this via your online banking, or send an email) to let them know your travel dates and countries you will be visiting. That way your spending won’t be marked as fraud and your cards stopped while they try and make contact with you to ensure it really is you spending up a storm!
Remember to vote!
In New Zealand we have our general election on October 14, 2023. If you are going to be away for it (the RWC final is October 28), cast your vote early before you leave. Early voting starts October 2.
Before September 27, the Electoral Commission website will have updated info on how to cast your vote from overseas, either at a consulate or online.
Beware of scammers and pick pockets
I am taking two groups totalling 26 people away to Europe, and I sure as heck hope no one in my group gets scammed or their things stolen. Be super aware in crowded spaces of pickpockets jostling you in a market or on public transport while their accomplice is nicking your wallet!
I sell a beautiful leather travel bag, made in Italy, which can be worn on your front or back, and it’s ideal for this sort of thing with zip pockets that you can do up your jacket over, or just clasp your hands over the front. Shipping NZ-wide only, soz.
Using ride-share in France
It goes without saying, but don’t get into a taxi until you have verified it is legitimate. (See above!)
You will find Uber in France, but they also have other ride-share apps. Check out Free-Now, which is used in many cities across Europe. Rick Steves recommends it, as well as a couple of other apps. And if it’s good enough for travel guru Rick Steves!
RWC 2023 schedule
And finally, in case you want to check which games will be playing when you are in Italy or on your cruise (*wink), here’s the Rugby World Cup schedule on their website.
Go the ALL BLACKS!
You might like to read my post on the translation of Kapa o Pango, the All Blacks haka.