How Stray works, tips on using the app, and getting the most out of your experience in New Zealand!
So you’ve booked your Stray pass, and now you’re fizzing with that pre-travel excitement, that feeling that we all know so well. Whether you were inspired to travel New Zealand by the golden sand beaches of Abel Tasman, or the thrill-seekers paradise of Queenstown, there is something for everyone in this tiny, action packed country. You’ve probably scoured the internet and read articles about where to see wildlife, which National Parks are worth visiting, and maybe even how to work or volunteer while you’re here.
Now we introduce our secret weapon, our tool to give you control over your trip and keep you organised – the Stray Mate App! Ta Da! Learn about the amazing destinations you’ll visit on your trip, book your activities and accommodation, and reserve your seat on the bus, all in our handy dandy little app.
Here at Stray, one of our mantras is to see more, do more. With this in mind, we designed Stray Mate to allow you to organise your life quickly and easily, so you’ve got more time to experience the incredible sights of New Zealand. One of our motivations for doing this is our commitment to the environment, or tiaki, our promise. The app allows us to operate a paper free bus (woohoo!), and put the power in your hands to book your customised itinerary. You can live your own adventure, your time, your way!
Here’s what you need to do to make your trip as smooth as the peanut butter you brought from home:
Book your first bus
Once you’ve signed up and logged into the app, it’s time to get the ball rolling. The only thing you absolutely need to do before you travel with us is book your first bus. This should be totally intuitive for your savvy millennial brain, but if you need help, check out our step by step guide to the app here. Some of you may have booked your first bus when you booked your pass – you go Glen Coco!
Book your first night’s accommodation
Now that you know where you’re heading on your first day of travel, you can book your first night of accommodation in advance (just load your credit card details first). That means on day one of your big trip, all you need to do is show up with your bags and your ID, and let your awesome driver guide take care of the rest.
Create your activity wish list
Under each destination in the app, you’ll see a list of all the activities you can do while you’re there. Scrolling through these activities you might feel excited, nervous, overwhelmed, poor, or all of those things at once. It’s a rollercoaster, we know. Some of the most highly rated activities ever (like the Franz Josef Heli Hike) are also the most expensive, and it can be heartbreaking trying to budget all of these incredible experiences.
We recommend a process of elimination to help you get the most out of your time and money. Tap the heart icon in each activity you want to do, and the app will save these as drafts in your itinerary. Then you can scroll through and organise/budget as required. Don’t forget that your trip will also be full of epic free activities, like taking a short hike to a waterfall on a travel day or visiting a colony of adorable Fur Seals.
When the day has finally come, and you’re as ready as you’ll ever be, there’s only a few things left to know.
- Meet at the bus stop at least 10 minutes before you’re due to depart. Bonus if you’re a little earlier and get a chance to meet some of your new friends before you jump on the bus.
- Speaking of friends, you’re going to have up to 44 new ones! Don’t be afraid to start a conversation, just say hello (everyone else is probably as nervous as you). Most people on the Stray bus are solo travellers when they begin, but that doesn’t last for long.
- Take heaps of photos, start a Whatsapp group to share all your pics with your travel buddies, and when you upload to the gram, #straynz to get your pics featured! You can also score free cash and merch with your travel snaps. Here’s how.
Live the dream
Along with everything you’ve dreamed about, researched, planned and booked, there are parts of your trip that are probably still unfamiliar. We reckon these parts are the best bits, like our two night stay at Blue Duck Station. Blue Duck is a Stray fave, and most people don’t want to leave this remote country paradise in the heart of the Whanganui National Park. Choose to see the sights at full speed with a jet boat ride, take it slow with a stunning horse trek, or go for a (free) walk to some epic private waterfalls. You’re bound to have a blast in a truly authentic rural Kiwi setting (did we mention there are real life Kiwi birds living there?).
Above all else, have fun, embrace new experiences, and get out of your comfort zone – after all, isn’t that what travelling is all about?