How do I find a cheap flight to New Zealand? – Backpacking Tipps

Find cheap long haul flights to New Zealand

Today it's about the topic of cheap flights; after all, you have a few kilometers ahead of you to New Zealand. Be aware that you will be on the road for at least 26-30 hours coming from Europe, and more hours for a cheaper flight. At least you have one stopover on your journey, depending on the flight also two or more. As a transfer time, I can always recommend you at least 2 hours per airport, because then you have some time buffer for any delays or other unplanned time wasters. Nothing is worse and more annoying than a missed flight due to stupid coincidences or bad weather and a too short time buffer.


How do I start to search?

First, before you look for a flight, you have to know when you want to fly to New Zealand. At least a rough period should be defined by yourself to make your search easier. If you only want to spend a short holiday in New Zealand, you probably only have one day to fly, keep in mind that this limits your choice and makes flights relatively expensive. If you're going to New Zealand for a longer period of time, like a work and travel, then you'd rather only plan for an approximate time. The prices vary a lot during the week, so sometimes you can save a lot of money by choosing another day. If you have your period, continue with search.


Where do I search for flights

For example, you can easily compare in which time frame and with which route it is the cheapest way via the popular flight search engines (Idealo flights*/Skyscanner*/Google Flights/Momondo).
If you do not want to search for yourself, you can also request a travel agent specialized in this type of travel. Here, in our opinion, the service of STA-Travel* is a good choice. If you are still going to school or studying you can also use the special prices of STA-Travel for students*.


Look out of the airplane window on mountains

Look out of the airplane window



Depending on the booking variant and the time interval prices flying to New Zealand vary very much. Also in the course of the year prices are quite different. Expensive months to fly to New Zealand are in our opinion November to February. After that, it will be cheaper again in the months of March to October. Basically, there are higher prices that depend on the seasons. What prices you have to expect approximately, we explain at the different ticket types in the next section.


Types of flight tickets

Roughly speaking, there are 3 variants of how you can come to New Zealand for a Work & Holiday. The three options differ in their flexibility and minimal in price.
The three common options for you are:

  1. One Way Ticket (One-way booked only)
  2. Return ticket (return flight booked directly)
  3. Open Return Ticket


One Way Ticket (One-way booked only)

With the One Way Ticket you make it easy for yourself. You are looking for a nice one-way flight and need some extra money for your work and holiday visa (Work & Travel) in a bank account, with which you could book a flight ticket from New Zealand to somewhere else. In our opinion enough money should be an additional amount around 600 Euro as proof. Since you have only booked the outbound flight, you are flexible on your return flight and can book it later in the year if you think it's time to start planning the destinations after New Zealand. Also you have the possibility to change your route spontaneously. You may like travel so much that you would like to travel to Asia, choose Australia as a stopover, or perhaps you have developed quite different plans during your trip. With the One Way Ticket you are flexible. Every now and then there are stories of persons who had to buy a ticket at the airport before they were allowed to board the plane. Here it is important (should that happen to you) to have your visa with the regulations at hand. If the airline does not accept this, it will insist that you ask them to call the immigration office in New Zealand, and no later than when the visa is confirmed, there is nothing to prevent your entry with a straight outward flight. I traveled over Hong Kong and only had a one way ticket, no discussions or other problems on my way. So do not be frightened by such stories that might happen some times. Prices for a one-way ticket are approximately between 500 to 800 euros.

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Return Ticket (return flight booked directly)

If you want to book your flight back already, then your choice could be the return flight. With such a long haul, ticket prices are sometimes a bit cheaper than booking two a bit more expensive one way tickets. Make sure that, when booking, you can usually book only 12 to a maximum of 18 months in advance. Partly, the return flight cannot be booked as far in the future as you would like to. A travel agency (such as STA-Travel*) can partially book in a placeholder for your desired return date and then book your return flight directly if the flight plan for this time is available. Of course, you can also book a return ticket yourself, for example via the flight search websites (Idealo Flights*/Skyscanner*/Google Flights/Momondo). Return tickets are priced between 1000 and 1500 euros. Sometimes there are bargains that can be even a bit cheaper.


Open Return Ticket

An open return ticket is the flexible variation of the return ticket. You want to go to New Zealand and know when you want to go there, but you do not know when you want to go back? Then the Open Return Ticket is just right for you. Open return tickets are harder to book yourself. But here travel agencies jump into the gap and present good offers (for example, STA Travel* offers good advice here). With the open return ticket it is important to make sure that the ticket has only certain validity from the outward flight. Depending on the airline, normally the validity is 12 to 18 months, meaning you have to make sure that the conditions are long enough for your trip. Route changes on the return flight are also not always possible on all open return tickets, so if you want to customize your route make sure that the conditions are ok with it. If you do not find a ticket with the conditions you need, then just have a look at the One Way tickets.


Nice stopovers on the way to New Zealand

The best intermediate stops in our opinion coming from Europe are either via the Arabian Emirates, for example in Doha or Dubai. Also a nice stopover can be made in Australia. Especially on the east coast of Australia, you have beautiful cities that offer a short break. Sidney, Brisbane or Perth. The alternative flight routes go via Asia. Here are stops in Singapore or Hong Kong our recommendation. A stopover of 2 to 3 days, no matter where, should be enough to alleviate any jet lag or even to not get a strong jet lag.


Photo by Miguel Sousa on unsplash

Photo by Miguel Sousa on unsplash


Nice during the flight

To keep you fit during the long flight, I recommend regularly getting up. As long as the flight allows you can walk up and down the aisle a few times. This helps your blood circulation and prevents water retention in the legs and the risk of thrombosis. Personally, I always like to sit directly on the aisle on long flights. So you can always get up and go for a few steps without getting your neighbor up every time. For the board entertainment, you should check whether an app is needed. Some airplanes have no more monitors installed in the seats, but have the full entertainment system running via an app. If you do not have the right app then you cannot use the entertainment system. The longer the flight the more annoying this will be. Super cool things for long flights are noise canceling headphones. These headphones actively reduce ambient noise. That means you are sitting in the plane and everything is further away and much quieter than before with these headphones. Unfortunately, these headphones are not too cheap, but they are really ideal for a relaxed trip or even some sleeping on the planes. I myself had the Bose QC20 in ear headphones* alternatively, I have since been able to try the Bose QC35 over Ear* once. The over ear headphones are even stronger from the noise cancellation, but I didn’t like the bigger dimensions of the headphones. No matter which noise canceling headphones you take in the end (of course, there are other manufacturers* that offer this principle), be sure to try out the headphones beforehand or use the opportunity to test at home and if you do not like send it back. And if you prefer wireless headphones, consider that Bluetooth is not present on the plane for entertainment systems and sometimes not even allowed your phone. Also useful for the long flight is a book, just in case you are tired of having on a monitor to look on, or you want to read something nice. In order to buy books, we can recommend you an e-book reader* preferred. Nice books are great, but you can save most of the weight, especially on a longer trip. Apart from that weight on an e-book reader fit tons of books. An empty bottle is also convenient for the flight; in some airports there is the possibility in the international area to refill drinking water. Here it is helpful to have an empty bottle in your backpack. Note, however, that especially in the Emirates and the Asian countries it is sometimes a second check before boarding the aircraft. Here, the bottle must be empty or quickly drunk.

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Nice at the airport

Depending on where you land and how long you stay, your options will differ on the ground. If you have little stay, it is worth to walk through the airport and find a nice place with a view. If you have a lot of time to stay, depending on the country, you can visit the city for a short view. During my stopover in Hong Kong, I had 12 hours stop over time, perfect for a bit of sightseeing and seeing some skyscrapers and going on a little tour. This may also be useful for your stopover. At some airports there are also showers, perfect for your refreshment. Towels are then partly free for use or for a small fee directly in the airport. Just ask at the information desk if there are any showers and where to find them. Alternatively, put a small travel towel in your backpack. There is nothing better like refreshment after a long flight. In Abu Dhabi I had a shower, in Hong Kong there was unfortunately nothing at the airport.


Delays and cancellations of the flight

If you have booked your flight within Europe, there are relatively far-reaching passenger rights. Whether they apply in your case or not must be always reviewed on an individual basis. Do you have a greater delay or your flight didn’t take off? Let’s check free of charge if you are eligible for a cash refund. The company Flight right* represents passengers for free and helps you to get your money. The details and where you can check it out can be found here on Flightright*.


Questions, comments or ideas

If you have anything else you would like to know about this article, please leave us a comment below this article. Thank you!



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