How to find the best value vacation from New Zealand

Jessica Satherley
How to find the best value vacation from New Zealand

Finding a good value vacation that doesn’t leave you with a maxed-out credit card on your return trip home can be a struggle from New Zealand.

Most of the world is a long haul flight away and our currency is consistently lower than the US dollar, British Pound and Euro.

However, by planning at least eight months in advance and looking at destinations that have a fair exchange rate with the NZ dollar, you could end up with a luxury holiday at a fraction of the cost of a European voyage.

People often gravitate towards Australia or the Pacific Islands to get good rates and value for money. Fiji and Australia are great options, but venturing further off shore is possible too when booking 8-10 months in advance, says Nicole Knapp, Manager of Retail and Development at World Travellers.

“The competitive nature of airlines is benefiting the consumers with great flight prices these days, and direct flights keep opening from New Zealand. This competition is helping us get around places like South America – with great deals to places like Buenos Aires”, says Knapp.

“In terms of value for the NZ currency, both South America and South East Asia are fantastic options. You can book five star hotels in Vietnam for a much lower price than you would in the USA or Europe”, she added.

Senior Markets Strategist at Westpac NZ, Imre Spizer, says: “Inflation in Argentina is running at around 45% per annum, which means in real terms a tourist is 52% better off in 2019 versus a year ago.”

Even though Argentina is around the same distance from Auckland as Los Angeles or San Francisco, our exchange rate with the Argentine Peso means it is much more affordable once you get there.

“The NZ dollar to the Argentine Peso has appreciated 97% over the past 12 months,” Imre Spizer says.

Despite the attractive exchange rate, Knapp emphasizes the importance of not overspending on vacations though, as the whole point of de-stressing from work and personal struggles is counterproductive if you come home $10,000 in debt.

“There is no need to get into debt. Stick within your budget and find a good agent to help you do so,” she says.

Knapp has no criticism of people doing their own research and bookings online with third party applications, but notes that the savings aren’t necessarily any better than using a travel agent.

“The savings aren’t as big as people think and that’s a misconception.

"The goal of a good travel agent is to save you money and time. I don’t believe there are necessarily better rates through Kayak or We have an account with Expedia for example, so we deal with them anyway and get a better rate.

"Airbnb can also be an amazing alternative for people who don’t need full service,” she noted.

One important difference between booking your own flights and accommodation rather than using a New Zealand based agency though, is that if your hotel shuts down or the airline goes under, you will not be looked after by the Travel Agency Association of New Zealand (TANZ) and therefore lose your money.

“Booking your trip shouldn’t be a stressful experience, it is part of the whole excitement and anticipation of the vacation. Just as your return trip home should also be an experience leaving you fulfilled with the actual holiday and feeling grateful for the lifetime of memories you have just created,” says Knapp.


Example Prices of Good Value Deals (booking through a travel agent 8-10 months in advance):

Family of 4 (2 kids under 12) to Fiji for 1 week:

  •   Currency Conversion: $1 NZD @ 1.4 Fijian Dollar

  •   7 nights at Plantation Island in a Garden View Room (entry level). 

  •   Flights with Air New Zealand in the seat plus bag only product

  •   Transfer from Airport to Island via Bus and Boat and vice versa

  •   Comprehensive Travel insurance

  •   With American Breakfast only: $6,500

  •   With Half Board (Breakfast and Dinner): $7,500

  •   With Full Board: $7,900

**If clients only book American breakfast in advance and pay for the rest of the meals there, kids under 12 eat free so it can be cheaper to wait in this case.**


Solo Traveller to Vietnam:

  •   Currency Conversion: $1 NZD @ 16,023 Vietnamese Dong

  •   Fly from NZ to Ho Chi Minh City

  •   4 nights Ho Chi Minh City in 4-star hotel

  •   Fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang

  •   2 nights Da Nang in 4-star resort

  •   Fly from Da Nang to Hanoi

  •   4 Nights Hanoi including in 4-star hotel

  •   Fly from Hanoi back to NZ

  •   Comprehensive Travel Insurance

Price will range from $3,000-$4,000 depending on airline choice (this is using China Southern, which will be fine for this trip), and hotels to stay in that 4-star/nice accommodation range.

You could also quite literally do this holiday for like $1,500 if you went mega budget on the accommodation (think $20/night guest houses).


Couples Trip flights and nice accommodation in Buenos Aires

  •   Currency Conversion: $1 NZD @ 29.05 Argentine Peso

  •   Flying with Air NZ ex Auckland

  •   14 nights Buenos Aires at a central Palermo Apartment (if you’re staying two weeks you definitely want an apartment)

  •   Comprehensive Travel Insurance

  •   $7,500-$8,500 for a couple depending on choice of accommodation

**Note: You could add approximately $2,000 to the budget to turn a two week city-stay into a proper explorative holiday around the country of Argentina.

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