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Ask The Travel Expert: What are some must-visit places in New Zealand?

Rakshit Desai, Managing Director, FCM Travel Solutions India, Flight Centre Travel Group Australia’s Indian subsidiary, answers your questions on Travel — howtos, trends, recommendations and more. Send in your questions to: askrakshit@in.fcm.travel

I plan to visit New Zealand in February. Which locations are a must visit? How long does it take for the visa?

February is a good time to visit New Zealand as the weather gets cooler but you still get to enjoy the outdoors in long daylight hours. I recommend a minimum of 10 – 15 days which is ideal to cover the best of North South New Zealand. One of the best ways to enjoy the scenic beauty of the country is self-drive. Start off with Auckland which is the gateway for North Island followed by Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activities and National parks. From there you can head to the northernmost tip of New Zealand at Cape Reinga and experience the Maori Culture.

South Island is the larger and more popular of the two islands as one gets to visit Christchurch. Some of the experiences you should not miss are taking a journey via the TranzAlpine train, a cruise on the world-famous Fjord of Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound and adventure activities in Queenstown like bungee jumping and kayaking. For the visa, it is advisable to plan and apply for it about 45 days in advance as the process can take anywhere between 15-20 days to a month.

Travel Byte

To maximise your chances of getting a visa approved, carefully read all application guidelines from the embassy website. Guidelines are different for different destinations.

My son is travelling to India from the United States in December. He wants to bring USD currency with him, can you advise on the process and on how much foreign exchange can be brought in while visiting India?

Your son should have no problem bringing in foreign exchange of any amount into India as there is no limit to how much forex a traveller can bring in from abroad. However, certain regulations must be followed. If the total value of the forex, be it currency notes or travellers cheques, brought in exce USD 10,000 or if the currency notes alone exceed USD 5,000, it should be declared to the Customs Authorities at the Airport in the Currency Declaration Form on arrival in India.

We are planning to travel to Italy, France, and Switzerland in Europe in December. Our family includes a kid. How cold will it be? Is it recommended to visit?

If you are looking to experience the famed White Christmas in Europe, then you should plan a visit to these countries. With beautiful decorations and Christmas markets, December is a festive time in Europe. However, weather will be very cold during this period and temperatures can range from 0 to minus 5 in Switzerland and between 1 to 5 degrees in Italy and France. You should carry suitable warm and thermal gear especially since you are travelling with a kid.

Flight Centre Travel Group, headquartered in Australia, is one of the world’s largest travel management companies. In India, the group operates an extensive portfolio of corporate and retail travel brands including FCM Travel Solutions and Corporate Traveller (corporate travel management), Travel Tours (leisure travel), FCM MICE (incentive travel and events) Travel Money India (foreign exchange), FCM InComing (inbound travel) and Travel Air Representations (travel wholesalers).