Freestyle travel is awesome! You get to hop off the bus wherever you like on the travel route and hop back on when you're ready to move on. Your pass is valid for a year from the date you purchased it, and a further year from your first date of travel, so hop on and off as much as you like. To ensure it all goes as smoothly as intended, check out our top 10 tips for a smooth ride...
1. Download the Stray Mate App BEFORE you start travelling
In fact, you might as well download Stray Mate as soon as you receive your booking confirmation email with your reference number. If you have only paid a deposit you will be able to log in to Stray Mate, but you won't be able to make bookings until you have paid off your pass. Please ensure you have paid the balance within 6 months, or at least 14 days before you start travelling.
2. Add your payment details to Stray Mate and tell your bank you're travelling
You can book Accommodation and Activities in Stray Mate at the special Stray rate. The first time you make a booking, you'll be asked to add the payment method (visa or mastercard) and a $1 NZD pre-authorisation transaction will be processed. This $1 will be refunded and your card will be saved to your account for future bookings. It's best to do this in your home country and inform your bank that you will be travelling in New Zealand so that they don't block international transactions.
3. Make your first bookings!
Once you've confirmed your start date and the first little bit of your trip, you can book your buses and your accommodation at your first destination in the Stray Mate app so you're all sorted when you arrive.
4. Stay connected
Before you leave home, make sure your phone is unlocked so that you can use an international sim card. You can pick up a free SimCard when you arrive at the airport, or come and see us at the Stray Travel Shop in Auckland City and we’ll hook you up. Wifi isn't freely available in New Zealand, so the most affordable option is to get a SimCard with a prepaid data plan.
5. Get off to a good start
On the day of departure, please be ready at the departure location at least 15 mins before the scheduled departure time as it takes about 15mins to load the bags on to the bus and we aim to leave on time. You do not need a ticket, but please have photo ID handy to show your Driver Guide.
6. Travelling in peak season
The busiest time to travel is between November – March and buses can fill up so we strongly recommend you book your travel dates as far in advance as possible during this period to avoid disappointment. If you're on a tight timeline, it's best to book all of your dates in advance so that you know that you will get to your final destination by the date you need to - you can always change them later if you change your plans.
7. Last Minute Bookings
If you make a bus booking in Stray Mate after 4pm for the next day, the driver might not have your name on their printed list, that's ok - just ensure you’re at the main pick up point nice and early to check in.
8. If the bus is full
If the bus is full on the day you wish to travel, you can go on 'Standby' (a waiting list). Nine times out of ten you will still be able to get on the bus you want as other people change their plans. Otherwise, you can contact reservations and we will work with you to get you on the next available departure.
9. Hopping off last minute
If you decide to hop off the bus at the last minute, it's no problem! However, you will be marked as a 'no show' and all your future bookings will be cancelled. This makes it easy for you to rebook them when you're ready.
10. If you miss the bus
If you miss your bus, your booking on that day and all your future bookings will be cancelled. You will need to rebook your dates when you are ready to get back on the bus. That's the beauty of Freestyle - you can just get the next one!