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Travel Tips
 

 

Cheap Car Rental in NZ & Abroad



Use a search site that collates the cheapest deals from each of the big car hire firms such as Avis, Hertz, Budget etc.:


Compares prices for different size cars for a number of different car hire firms for the dates you select including last minute.
Offers deals in New Zealand & Australia!

A new service that has appeared is CarRenter. We haven't heard much about this service as yet but maybe free to try.

 

Motorhome Rental Deals in New Zealand:
Apollo Motorhomes
Motorhome & Car Rental in NZ & OZ.
They often have one way rental relocation deals from $1/day in Australia & NZ! These are mainly in the summer but can be year round depending on demand, check the above link!

FindaCamper compare prices and facilities in one website but doesn't necessarily have all the companies so it is worth checking out the above links as well to compare prices:



Prepaid Car Rental
For Prepaid car rental service where more likely to save money for car rental in New Zealand or abroad.
Compare prices at:
They have a find a better price guarantee subject to their terms & conditions
A new way of renting in Australia is DriveMyRental. This allows you to rent a car from the owner directly backed by comprehensive insurance. Check it out below as it may save you quite a bit in car rental costs.
Budget Deals in OZ:

InterIsland Ferries in NZ

Interislander ferry deals Can be booked online

BlueBridge Ferry Often can be cheaper than interislander. travelled on both and they are both fine.
Coach & Bus Deals

Try these sites for coach deals as they can be much cheaper than driving yourself, especially with these petrol prices.

Naked Bus
Don't worry you don't have to go naked just bare good deals from $1 for travel in NZ. Coach equivalent of low cost airlines!

Intercity Bus National network of buses in New Zealand


Check out these sites for advice when you go travelling. Alot of comments have been submitted by travellers but be aware the tour operators can be posting items as well!

Virtual Tourist

Thorn Tree
By the Lonely Planet team. Great especially for backpackers, where you can share your ideas

Remember the people who reply could be acting on their own best interest (ie if they suggest you should stay at a particular hotel etc) but generally you can tell if obviously plugging their own company.


Internet Access Abroad
Local libraries are often a great way to get cheap or free internet access whilst abroad.
Also if you have a laptop check out wifi hotspots. McDonalds in Australia offers free wifi at most of its locations.
Calling Home from Abroad
Use Skype. If you get internet access & the person at home has skype you can call each other for free anywhere in the world.
Phonecards.
Do not use hotel phones as these often work out extremely expensive.
Text messaging with your mobile. It doesn't cost anything to receive a text abroad but can be quite expensive to send texts depending on where you are (approx 60c-$1.20).
You will need to setup global roaming before you leave.
Prepay:
You can often automatically use your Prepay mobile on a number of networks around the world.
See the your mobile operators website for the latest information about whether roaming is possible with your phone & mobile operator..



Travel safely abroad

For guidance whilst travelling abroad go to the NZ Government website re safer travel & visa/passport information:

Safetravel NZ

Offers an ability to register your details which can be useful to help find you in emergency or get information to you.

Healthy travelling

Check out this website for information about what vaccines etc you may need.

Travel Doctor NZ

When travelling abroad NZ has reciprocal health agreements with:
UK & Australia

But you should always have travel insurance when travelling abroad as they only treat you under certain situations.


Your Holiday Weather Forecast

MetService NZ Weather in New Zealand

Yahoo Weather International Weather forecasts


Find the Best Seats on the Plane.

Seat Guru
Shows the best places to be sit on the plane.
In Flight Entertainment

If you're flying soon you can often check out what the in flight movies will be before boarding the flight but sometimes its fun to look forward to this. Means you don't go to cinema just before the flight and realise you have seen everything they're offering!
Frequent Flyer Mile Programmes


When flying to or from New Zealand you can gain large numbers of frequent flyer miles esp if flying to Europe!

Frequent flyer miles gives you points/miles each time you fly. These miles entitles you to is free flights, hotel stays, car rentals & more once you have built up sufficient miles.

For example a return trip from London to Auckland can accrue enough miles on may schemes to get you a free flight within Europe from London or you can save up the miles for a trip to USA, if you plan on doing more flying.

Once you have frequent flyer membership, it is worth trying to fly with the same airline or alliance so that you can build up your miles quicker..

There are 3 main Airline Alliances:
  1. Star Alliance (The largest, Air New Zealand is a member)
  2. One World (Qantas, BA are members)
  3. Skyteam

Always keep your boarding passes to claim back unclaimed miles in case they don't add them on to your account once you get back.

Save money getting Cities in NZ
Here we show you how to save money getting round cities in New Zealand & how to make this much easier for you by way of traffic cameras in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington & Tauranga.
SuperGold Card holders as they now benefit from Free Off Peak Public Transport.
There are lots of online resources but if you have found a good one for your local area, let us know via our contact us page, so we can share it with others.
Auckland
Maxx offers a journey planner with timetables & maps to help you use the public transport system in Auckland; by bus, train or ferry. It offers information on fares charged.
Just type in the street where you are, the street you want to go and the time you want to leave and it will show you the options to get there.


Wellington
Wellington offers the MetLink site
It again offers a bus & train journey planner to help you get round Wellington as easy as possible. It also offers information re fares.
It also offers information on other transport options & school bus services in or from Wellington.
Christchurch
For Christchurch there is the Metro website
It also offers a journey planner similar to the Maxx service for Auckland but for buses only of course.

Webcams of the Motorways
Check out latest traffic reports with live webcam views of the motorways & main roads in the Major Cities.
Useful if you want to decide whether to risk the motorways or go the back routes.

Auckland Traffic Cameras
This site also offers
congestion advice on the motorways.
Current highway advice in Auckland re roadworks etc can be found here.


Christchurch Traffic Cameras

Wellington Traffic Cameras

Tauranga Live Traffic Cameras


How to Call Home Cheap or Free in NZ
Mobile phones in New Zealand

If you have an unlocked mobile phone from your home county you should be able to just buy a SIM card in New Zealand from Vodafone NZ. This is usually cheaper than usuing yuor home mobile SIM in New Zealand

Pick up a cheap SIM card from most electrical stores (for approx $35 for Vodafone & Telecom, $5 for 2 Degrees) but can use to call most 0800 numbers free of charge, check with phonecards that you get though as some surcharge you.
Always check in store your phone will be compatible before buying the SIM though in case you are from the few countries that can't access this (eg Japan etc)

Note:

2 Degrees mobile is the cheapest of all the mobile networks in New Zealand

Vodafone NZ, 2 Degrees & Telecom NZ XT network should all work on your UNLOCKED GSM mobile phone.


Text Messaging in NZ

Another cheap way to keep in touch is with Text messaging with your mobile.
It usually doesn't cost anything to receive a text abroad but can be quite expensive to send texts from New Zealand.
Check with your local mobile company at home if you can roam in New Zealand and how much its likely to cost to call or text.
If you're going to be here for some time it is often better to buy a local mobile sim card.



INTERNATIONAL CALLING SPECIALS from your mobile!

Vodafone Mobile
are offering cheap calls to 15 countries, any time of the day or night for just $2 for 60 minutes from your mobile. Note they can amend this offer at any time so always check the website!

Australia, UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, India, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Check out full terms & conditions
here


Cheap International Phone Cards from New Zealand

The easiest & one of the cheapest way to call abroad from New Zealand is often to buy a local phone card from a newspaper shop. You need to call a local number (this is free from a standard NZ landline) but check with your hotel or hostel whether they offer free local calls otherwise this can add up!
Some hostels provide free local calls, great for phoning home cheap.

You can often call UK, Europe or US from 0.05 NZ cents/min

There are 2 big companies fighting it out for cheapest phone card
Another good site for looking at prices is at
We're not sure what they are like to buy from but they're useful in listing the prices for different destinations. Note they don't list all the phone cards!
For phoning the UK the following is currently the cheapest Note prices can change for check when you purchase the card. (rates in NZ cents/min +GST) :

Meihua Card
Tends to be the cheapest phone card for a number of destinations Currently 1.5c -China & UK. 2.5c - OZ, NZ landline (check for mobile rates)


Do not use hotel phones as these often work out extremely expensive.
International calls from your NZ mobile
This phone card seems to be the best on offer if you're using the phone whilst travelling.
Calls start from 5 NZ cents/min (UK, OZ etc) + 19c connection fee (per call)
Skype

You can talk to other Skype users for free anywhere in the world as long as you both have Skype on.

You can now get Skype on iPod touch & iPhone.


Hitchhiking

You could always hitch hike in the summer months not so easy in some of quieter routes such as Mount Cook area or West Coast. Can vary how long takes to get picked up. Often more likely to get lift in quieter areas as I guess people may feel sorry for you, easpecially if it rains!


Carpool King is supposedly the No1 Carpool site in NZ!

Jayride is a site that offers services to help hook you up with other people looking to share a ride.


Best Airline to fly to & from New Zealand?

From the many European flights to and from New Zealand I would rate Emirates, Singapore Airlines & the new service from Air New Zealand from London to Auckland via Hong Kong or LA as the best way to fly to New Zealand.

Each of these companies flights are the best for in flight service and comfort. Air New Zealand frequently has the best leg room on any flight to New Zealand but only flight select routes to Auckland.

All have in flight entertainment second to none with over 400 hours of video entertainment available & stop start when you want on seat back TVs!

If you are flying from provincial city in UK, then Emirates can be good as they fly direct from Scotland or Manchester to Auckland via Dubai. Singapore Airlines flies direct from Manchester to Auckland via Singapore. Each time this means you miss the busy London Heathrow route of Air New Zealand which you may want if you live in the South of England.

Obviously these may not be the cheapest airlines to travel with but I consider them to offer some of the best inflight experiences of any airline in the world. Many of the cheaper airlines offer some perfectly good flights but I am only rating what I consider the best from numerous flights I have made.
Frequent Flyer Programmes

When flying to New Zealand you gain alot of frequent flyer miles. In some countries this isn't well known about. I have spoken to many passengers on flights who didn't know about this only to be missing out on free flights.

What Frequent flyer membership entitles you to is free flights, hotel stays, car rentals & more for each mile you fly with an airline. As you can imagine as New Zealand is one of the longest flights, these miles can build up.

For example a return trip from London to Auckland can accrue enough miles on may schemes to get you a free flight within Europe from London or you can save up the miles for a trip to USA, if you plan on doing more flying.

Once you have frequent flyer membership, it is worth trying to fly with that airline or the same airline alliance.

There are 3 main Airline Alliances:

If you're flying try to fly with airlines within the same alliance as you should get frequent flyer miles no matter which airline in that alliance you fly with. Check out the above links to read more about this.

You can ask to join on-board your flight or information is frequently in your in flight magazine.

Always keep your boarding passes to claim back unclaimed miles in case they don't add them from your trip.

Stopover or not?
Always consider when flying to New Zealand having a stopover for a few days as I can tell you from personal experience you don't really want to consider flying direct unless you are really limited on time as you feel rotten after 24-27 hours flying (and that is if you have short connection times in your stopover airport)
SIngapore Airport has to be one of the best airports in the world. It has frequently been voted the best in the world by a number of travel journalists (it has a cinema in the airport and you can even pay to go for a swim in the pool at a gym).
Dubai airport is ultra modern with a fantastic shopping experience and very pleasant experience for a stopover. There are no problems in regards to it being a muslim country, so don't worry if there are any concerns re this.

Airport Hotel
Always remember it may be worth booking yourself into a airport hotel if you're there for a few hours as I know how difficult it is to get a good sleep on the plane's and you need it if you flight is 24 hours! Sometimes you can just book in for 4-6 hours if you are only on a short stopover. So google your airport and check to see what hotel facilities they offer at the airport.

Free Internet & WiFi

Most of the libraries in New Zealand now offer free internet.

Auckland and Nelson/Marlborough libraries offer free internet at the library and the later also offers free wifi!

Some hostels offer free wifi:

Some I've stayed at include the excellent Bug Hostel in Nelson

Most internet cafe's have skype to call home and even have webcam including Nelson/Marlborough Region libraries which is an excellent free service.

Otherwise there are some nationwide internet service such as
Internet Access Company NZ
Here you can buy internet access for your own computer as you travel around but if so many libraries offer free internet then it may not be worth it!