Saying goodbyes at airports can be a heart rending experience and everyone has their own views on it. In our case, we got a family friend, with whom we were not too emotionally involved, to run us to the airport. He drove a small minibus which proved ideal with our eight suitcases and as all our goodbyes were said at the house, there were no tearful scenes in the departure lounge.The flight, which is long (normally averaging a total of about 24 hours) and can be tedious, may be improved by a good supply of books, and some music to listen to. I would strongly recommend foam ear plugs, as the drone of the engine can be extremely tiring. An inflatable pillow, that lays flat behind your neck and eye shades can make all the difference between being able to snatch a few hours sleep or not.
Walking around the aeroplane periodically and drinking plenty of water is meant to help avoid swollen legs. By avoiding too much alcohol you should arrive in reasonable condition to start the great adventure.
If you are travelling with children, at least they can move around more freely on a plane, than they can in the car. A good supply of puzzles, books and tapes can keep them amused and of course the novelty of airline food packaging can keep them engrossed. Avoid fizzy drinks as these can cause tummy aches at such high altitude. Even children who normally travel well may suffer from motion sickness and travel pills could prove a wise precaution. Enquire about cradles that are provided for young babies
During the first few days you will probably experience a range of emotions from exhaustion to exhilaration and I would strongly urge you not to make any major decisions in the first two weeks.
It is advisable to sort out your accommodation before leaving the UK. Motels are very popular and particularly good for families. A family unit will, in addition to bedrooms and bathroom, give you a living area and kitchen. Having a kitchen has two advantages, firstly it will save you money if you do your own cooking and secondly you will not wish to be tied to fixed mealtimes for the first few days as your internal clock will be adjusting to the 12 hour time difference. (New Zealand being 12 hours ahead of England).
Do not feel, however, that you have to do all your own cooking as there are many inexpensive takeaways around and often motels provide breakfast on request.
Dairies (corner shops) can be found dotted around every neighbourhood and carry most things you need, including newspapers. Supermarkets are open seven days a week, often until midnight. They are cheaper than the dairies.
Very quickly you will find you need a car, a bank account, a place to live and so the work starts. If you can afford to have a proper holiday either when you arrive in the country, or en route, then you will possibly be more rested for the busy weeks ahead.
Everything will seem new and strange, so take your time for the first few days. Just relax and enjoy your jet lag!