The first problem I encountered was getting my passport renewed. I was continually given the run-around at various Cleveland post offices. When I say continually, I mean for weeks. Eventually figured out that the quickest way to get my passport was to go to a passport agency, the nearest one being in Buffalo. I literally ran home, grabbed some cash, and caught the next Greyhound to Buffalo. Had my passport within 2 days. (Oh, and got to spend time w/ the bestest, which is never a bad thing.)
Next, I needed my visa. I had already been issued a visa, but it had been granted for my old passport. So now I had to go to New Zealand Immigration in London to have the visa placed in my new passport. I needed to do this b/c I needed to enter the country by 7 Sept. to activate my visa or else it would expire. My flight was scheduled to land in Auckland at 9:05am on 7 Sept… (facepalms are appropriate here)
Looooong story short: My flight – which was supposed to fly Hopkins -> JFK -> Heathrow > Hong Kong -> Auckland (which is almost two straight days of travel) – got rerouted through Minneapolis after JFK issued a groundstop (due to the god-damn hurricane) and I missed my scheduled appointment at NZ House. I spent the night at my aunt’s flat in London (I have relatives in convenient places) and was at NZ House before the immigration officers were. They issued my an extended visa that day, and back to the airport I went.
Trip from London to Hong Kong was the worst part of the trip, but the Hong Kong airport had several things that amazed me:
– a prayer room
– a smoking lounge
– a museum exhibit on display right next to my departure gate (I have pictures of this)
Also, I had to go through security again in order to reboard the exact same plane. I had the same seat and everything. Ridiculous.
Anyway, obviously I made it safe and sound, but a word of advice – if you don’t think travelling is stressful enough, I do not recommend putting everything off until the last possible minute to add a little pressure. It doesn’t make for a fun experience. Oh, and coins don’t count as money at currency exchanges, so bring cash money and be prepared to tell a lot of people to screw themselves.