Visiting New Zealand Without Travel Agency.
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- 1Visiting New Zealand at a Reasonable Price.
- 2How to Be Your Own Travel Agent?
- 3How to Book Step by Step?
- 4How to Choose a Good Itinerary?
- 5How to Book Plane Tickets?
- 6How to Book a Car or a Camper Van?
- 7How to Book Ferry and Domestic Flights?
- 8How to Book Accommodations?
- 9How to Book Unforgettable Activities?
- 10How to Subscribe a Travel Insurance?
- 11How to Book Without a Travel Agency?
1Visiting New Zealand at a Reasonable Price.
For a decade, most travelers are more likely to organize themselves their stay to save money. Having multiplied their destinations to attract customers, the travel agencies sold their souls to the devil and lost a great part of their credibility.
How is it possible to claim to be an expert of New Zealand without having set a foot in the country for years, or never? Which customer is going to choose a stay in a paper catalog in the era of the Internet?
With travel agencies, travelers seem condemned to reproduce itineraries that thousands of people have followed before them.
Today, the work of a travel agent is often limited to bookings of hotel rooms. A task that every traveler can do cheaply and all alone, by booking directly online!
This is probably why so many travel agents are shutting down their agency, one after another.
Advantages of Booking Without Travel Agency.
The decision to organize your trip to New Zealand by yourself brings many benefits. The savings are considerable, with a budget lowered from 15 to 30% if not more.
The money saved can stay on your bank account or be used wisely to add original activities to your itinerary, travel in first class or even extend the duration of your stay in New Zealand.
Organizing a trip to New Zealand without intermediate allows to save a great deal of money.
But the main benefit is not financial, and concerns the very essence of travel. If you plan your itinerary by following the advice of Kiwipal, you will realize a tailor-made trip, a truly off-track experience, far superior to any travel agency's deal.
Kiwipal is a Team of New Zealand Experts.
Kiwipal is a group of experts passionate about New Zealand. We are not here to sell you anything or to promote destinations that we do not know. We are New Zealand First!
We have conceived a hundred guides exclusively dedicated to New Zealand that focus on all the practical aspects of a stay, while presenting the absolute must-do of the country.
Kiwipal is recognized “100% Pure New Zealand Specialist” by the Office of Tourism of New Zealand.
Our mission is to help you to book your trip without intermediary, to spare yourself the travel agency fees and allow you to discover the country we love the most in the world.
And because Kiwipal is not a travel agency, we only provide free services and we are fully independent. Our advices are not meant to please everyone, we can say what we truly think of any kind of activity in New Zealand.
The present guide explains how to organize your stay, but each precise aspect, like the purchase of plane tickets or the car rental is also covered separately with more details in dedicated guides on Kiwipal.
2How to Be Your Own Travel Agent?
If one believes the usual travel agency’s speech, it is allegedly difficult to arrange a stay in New Zealand, under the pretext that one needs to book plane tickets and a vehicle... But is it so difficult in reality?
If you become your own travel agent, you can save a great deal of money, but you can also adjust your route to the last minute if you change your mind. This last argument all alone should be enough to motivate you.
Booking a stay in New Zealand is similar to the booking of any ordinary weekend abroad, even if you must book more hotel rooms or a motorhome. But in the Internet era, it no longer presents any difficulties.
To begin, you must first consider our itineraries and read our practical guidesto define what you want to visit. Kiwipal presents all the essential steps of a stay in New Zealand, but you are not obliged to follow our suggestions to the letter.
One weekend is enough to book your entire stay in New Zealand.
Feel free to add or remove the itinerary steps according to your desires, and ask us questions if you need help. Take your time and your trip will be far superior to the old-school ones' from the travel agencies.
Booking a stay of several weeks is the matter of a few evenings or a good weekend. But this is neither a sprint or a chore, and you can take your time if you don't wait until the last minute to organize yourself.
3How to Book Step by Step?
You can book your stay as you wish, but it is recommended buying plane tickets without delay to get the best price possible. To simplify your life, you should book your stay in a precise order.
Here are the steps to organize a stay in New Zealand:
- Choose an itinerary on Kiwipal and customize it
- Choose your travel dates
- Request your holidays to your employer
- Buy airline tickets
- Rent a vehicle
- Book a ferry if you visit both islands
- Book accommodation or campsites
- Book the important activities
- Subscribe a travel insurance
Seems like a long to-do list at first sight, but everything can be done very fast because you can book the entire stay by the Internet without passing a single phone-call.
Read this guide and our advice, and you'll be ready to organize your stay without a travel agency and you'll save money. You do not even need to buy a paper guide as formerly because Kiwipal covers any topics for free.
If you have questions about the procedure, please contact Kiwipal. Because even if we are not here to book the trip at your place, we can give you useful suggestions.
4How to Choose a Good Itinerary?
Before you can even consider your future itinerary comes the question of the best period to visit New Zealand. On the other side of the globe, the seasons are reversed and Christmas falls in summer, which can be tricky when you ask your holidays to your employer.
The latitude of New Zealand might let you fear a glacial climate, but this is actually a temperate and even subtropical climate that awaits you in the country. Winters are mild and summers are pleasant without heat waves.
To help you choose your dates of stay, here is a correspondence table of the seasons in Europe and New Zealand.
|Spring||Autumn||March, April, May|
|Summer||Winter||June, July, August|
|Autumn||Spring||September, October, November|
|Winter||Summer||December, January, February|
Kiwipal provides two complete guides devoted to the seasons and the very special climate of New Zealand. Considering that the choice of activities is strongly tied to the weather, I also suggest you read our article about the activities in New Zealand.
How many time to Visit New Zealand?
Then comes the question of the length of stay! We do not all have the means to visit New Zealand as long as we would like.
This is a question you should discuss with your family and with your potential employer, because it is not always easy to take several weeks of vacation without interruption.
If you live in New Caledonia, you might consider a short stay of a single week, dedicated to exploring one island of New Zealand.
But if you live in Europe or elsewhere in the world, we recommend at least two weeks to discover the country, even if three or four weeks would be preferable.
Nevertheless, whatever the length of stay, you will be enchanted by the beautiful scenery. You must accept the idea that it is impossible to see everything in only one visit, and if you fall in love with the country, a second trip is possible.
How to Create a Good Itinerary?
New Zealand has an excellent road network, but the relief carved by volcanoes and mountains do not facilitate the conception of itineraries. This why Kiwipal provides great itinerary that you can easily customize.
Our itineraries by car or motorhome are calibrated to an average of 200 km of driving per day. They allow to visit the country at a reasonable pace, but nothing prevents you to extend or reduce a particular step.
You can change your itinerary when you book your journey all alone.
The itinerary is not carved in stone (especially if you travel with a camper van), and you can change your mind later, and even on location in certain extent. Once travel dates set, you can immediately start to book the different services. Far from being tedious, this part of the organization of the stay is quite fun.
5How to Book Plane Tickets?
Plane tickets must be booked without delay as soon as you know your vacation dates. If most travel agencies don't offer this service anymore, this is essentially because the airlines stopped giving them commissions for many years ... Fortunately, you don't need a travel agent to purchase your plane tickets.
Kiwipal places at your disposal a comparator for plane tickets without any advertising which and based on Google Flight. You will easily find the cheapest price without having to search for dozens of air companies' websites.
If you book several months in advance, a round-trip flight to New Zealand costs between $1850 and $2300 per passenger, with a reduction of $150 on average per child.
Buying your plane tickets at the last minute would expose you to pay more, but especially not to find seats for the best flights like those from Singapore Airlines.
The booking in itself takes only a few minutes, but you will probably spend more time comparing the schedules and the possible stopovers before making your final choice.
There are many airlines offering flights to New Zealand with different quality of services, but we have compared all of them in a dedicated airlines guide on Kiwipal.
The payment limits of your credit card must allow the purchase of the airline tickets.
Before starting the transaction on the website of the airline of your choice, make sure that the payment limit of your credit card is high enough!
If it is not the case, just make a phone call to your bank (the counselors are generally available in the evening) to temporarily raise the ceiling of your credit card.
Once your plane tickets booked, you can pass to the next step and rent a vehicle for your trip in New Zealand.
6How to Book a Car or a Camper Van?
The major rental companies like Europcar, Avis or Hertz monopolize the top positions in Google search results. However, one must be aware that there are many local companies in New Zealand which are excellent and even cheaper!
How to Book a Vehicle Online?
To allow you to more easily find an affordable deal without sacrificing comfort and safety, Kiwipal gives you access to a free comparator which lists almost every quality vehicle that you can rent in New Zealand.
You don't need a travel agency anymore to book a car or a motorhome!
This search engine offered in partnership with Online Republic is usually used by companies (including Air New Zealand), but we made it accessible to individuals like you. You can book a vehicle with the guarantee of the lowest market price. You retain the ability to cancel without charge most bookings and you can join a hotline service by email or phone.
Booking a Car or a Camper Van?
Your trip will be radically different depending on whether you opt for a self-drive tour by car with hotel nights or a stay in a camper van with stops in campsites of national parks. Once you have found the vehicle model appropriate, it takes a few minutes to complete the reservation by the internet.
With Kiwipal you book directly with a New Zealander company that will take care of the rental from the beginning to the end.
Kiwipal does not intervene during the booking process and our team is not aware of your bank information (we will never know your credit card number for example), which ensures a maximum safety. Even if you have never rented a vehicle in your life, you realize real savings because you book directly with a rental company in New Zealand!
Please note that Kiwipal has other guides to help you choose between the car and camper van while learning how to drive on the left side:
7How to Book Ferry and Domestic Flights?
New Zealand consists of several large islands and you have to cross the Cook Strait on a ferry if you plan to visit the two main islands. Certainly, there are domestic flights between north and south, but it would be regrettable to miss the crossing by ferry which is beautiful, and anyway, you cannot abandon your vehicle without returning itto a rental station.
If traveling by car, you have the ability to change rental from one island to another, but I advise you to embark your vehicle on the ferry to save time and simplify the organization of your trip. And if you are traveling by camping car, the question does not need to be asked, and your vehicle will cross the Cook Strait with you.
Booking the Interislander ferry on the Internet is as easy as a train booking.
For your convenience, our rental comparator gives you the opportunity to book the ferry while booking the vehicle, but you are free to book separately if you find a promotion on the Internet.
Whatever the means of transport you choose, it is recommended not to delay the booking of a ferry crossing which can be full in high season.
Domestic Flights in New Zealand
To go from one island to another, save time or just go back to your starting point before returning to your country, you can take a domestic flight. Air New Zealand, the national airline provides an excellent service, but the “low cost” company Jetstar will do just fine for half the price! anyway, the trips are too short for you to suffer from a potential lack of comfort.
Domestic flights allow to save time or to return to your departure point.
Booking a domestic flight is similar to the booking you made to come to New Zealand. You just need to visit the airline site of your choice to fill in dates and select the flight you want to book. You can find an estimate of prices, and more information about domestic flights in our airlines guide on Kiwipal.
8How to Book Accommodations?
You won't spend your nights in New Zealand at the same location according if you travel by car or by camper van.
A self-drive tour by car is usually associated with the booking of hotels, motels and beds and breakfasts, while the campervan is to be parked on free or paid campgrounds to plug the vehicle to a power supply or to use a dump station.
Booking Hotel Rooms
If there is one domain where you should book without a travel agency, this is the hotel booking for sure. It is better to rely on the rating given by a reservation website like booking.com which lists the verified opinions of thousands of travelers!
The hotel bookings are very easy to do thanks to the booking.com service.
The number of bookings may seem important at first sight, but you will often stay two consecutive nights at the same place. The whole booking process can be done in few evenings when you give yourselves the time to compare the hotel rooms. When you book an hotel by yourself, the result is, of course, far better than when a complete stranger does it for you.
If you-have already booked a hotel room on the Internet, you already know the procedure is strictly qui identiques for New Zealand.
Kiwipal recommends booking with his partner booking.com to gain advantages that most travel agencies cannot offer.
In fact, booking.com offers free cancellation for most bookings up to 24 hours in advance. This allows you to change your route without charge in New Zealand if the weather turns bad. You just have to book another room before cancelling the previous booking and you will escape the rain.
It takes only few minutes to book without advancing any money because you will pay only at the hotel. No need to wait for a refund if you cancel because your account was not debited in the vast majority of cases! For more informations, I recommend reading our practical guide about hotel booking which details the process on booking.com and gives some tips to pay even less.
How to Book Campings to Park Your Vehicle?
Those who have never rented a motorhome often believe that they can park the vehicle wherever they want in the country. Unfortunately, parking is regulated in New Zealand and you must only use authorized camp grounds under penalty of fine.
Fortunately, all campsites in New Zealand are not charged, and you can park in the free campsites of Department of Conservation (DOC) which manages the National parks. However, the paying campsites which are essential to recharge your vehicle batteries (and enjoy hot showers) should be booked in advance if you plan to travel during the high season.
Kiwipal offers a service that facilitates the booking of camp grounds or Holiday parks.
Our camping search engine allows you to book specific locations or to purchase coupons valid in a vast network of campsites scattered throughout the country.
You should also be aware that other original solutions exist. It is possible for example to park your camper van in farms or vineyards. You will spend the night in a relaxing environment while tasting regional products.
9How to Book Unforgettable Activities?
Activities can be booked on the Internet or on site in New Zealand. All organizers now have a website to record bookings, and you no longer need an intermediary who raise the prices.
If you don't ask for help to a travel agent to book museum tickets, why should you pay someone to book your Sky Tower's visit in Auckland? It only takes two minutes to book online, why should anyone pay more for something so easy to do all alone?
There also are many free activities in the country, like thegreat hikes. Travel agents tend to only recommend paying activities to earn money in commission. If you don't book by yourself, you may miss the promotions and you will lose money.
Because there are websites like the famous bookme.co.nz that list the rebates and special offers! Sometimes it is even better not to book early to be able to get the last-minute discounts.
I will not dwell on the subject, but be aware that Kiwipal offers a comprehensive guide full of advice to get promotions on many activities in New Zealand. And to get more information, we also offer twenty guides dedicated to any kind of activity.
Hiking, biking, diving, paragliding, bungee jumping ... everything is possible in New Zealand as long as you have a good travel insurance to cover yourself in case of accident.
10How to Subscribe a Travel Insurance?
A travel insurance should never be considered optional, regardless of the length of your stay in New Zealand. If the country itself does not require any vaccine and presents no health risk, you are not immune to a banal accident and you should always be covered.
You can purchase travel insurance until the day before your departure to New Zealand. However, the cancellation options must always be subscribed within 48 hours after the purchase of your stay. That's why I recommended purchasing the insurance immediately after finalizing the booking of the trip.
Travel insurance is essential, regardless of the length of stay.
To help you choose, Kiwipal offers a full guide about travel insurances.
Presented without jargon, it clearly explains the risks and tells you why your credit card's insurance is unfortunately insufficient for a stay in New Zealand.
In practice, the purchase of an online insurance like Chapka is the matter of a few minutes. However, I advise you to pay attention to the conditions of sales to ensure they fit your needs and your profile.
11How to Book Without a Travel Agency?
New Zealand is one of the last paradise on earth, but the journey to the other side of the globe is not cheap! You can use a travel agency to plan everything, or do it by yourself and you will end up with a custom itinerary that is often much cheaper!!
Travel agents often charge the time they spent to organize a trip for you. However, you have everything to gain by no longer using their services, especially if you want to make a tailor-made trip to New Zealand.
The reservation steps are not complicated, and by sharing tasks between your spouse or your friends, you can book an entire trip in a week-end. In reality, the more you get involved in your trip, the more it will be successful.
Because if you want to save money, extend your stay in New Zealand, or make it simply possible, there is no secret! You must remove an intermediary who weighs too much in the balance, and book directly with cheaper local companies.
Kiwipal helps thousands of travelers each year. If you need help, you can contact our friend Ben the Kiwi whose section below is very useful. If you still want to use the service of an agency after reading this article, I suggest you contact us to talk about your trip, and we will help you to find the most appropriate help. Good trip in New Zealand!
Questions & Answers.
What can I do for you? If you have any questions about how to book your stay without paying for the services of a travel agency, do not hesitate to contact me!
- All topics ... 25 answers in total
- Booking a Vehicle 5 answers
- Buying Plane Tickets 5 answers
- Travel Insurance 4 answers
- Ferry Booking 3 answers
- Booking Accommodation 2 answers
- Booking Activities 2 answers
- Select an Itinerary 2 answers
- Seasons and Weather 2 answers
Booking a Vehicle
- Should we consider an insurance for the vehicle?
Basic insurance is generally included with the rental of the vehicle. It is possible to extend it by adding an additional insurance that covers the windshield or the tires.
- Car or motorhome for a first stay?
It all depends on the type of trip you want to make. Either way, driving a motorhome is not difficult, especially with the latest models. It is above all a matter of personality of the driver.
- What type of car can be rented?
You can rent new models or antiques of about fifteen years old. Asian cars are very popular in New Zealand, and you can also rent 4x4s.
- Should I rent recent car models?
You do not have to rent a model of the year, but I recommend choosing a vehicle whose seniority does not exceed 10 years. A 5-year-old car usually offers good value for money.
- Is a motorhome difficult to drive?
One must be careful to park or drive outside the towns. Traffic is low in New Zealand, and driving a motorhome is not a challenge for most drivers.
Buying Plane Tickets
- What are the best airline companies?
The best airlines to fly to New Zealand are in order: Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Cathay Pacific and Koran Air.
- What is the time limit for purchasing airline tickets?
You should book your seats at least three months in advance, because you will often find tickets at the last minute, but at an exorbitant price.
- Can I cancel a flight?
Yes, if the airline provides it in the contract of sale and if it is not too late to do so. More or less severe penalties may apply depending on the proximity with the departure date.
- Can we save money with more stopovers?
You will save at best $300 by adding stopovers, but you will lose time on your holiday and will arrive exhausted in New Zealand. What's more, the multiplication of stopovers forces you to spend money to restore yourself, and you might not save a great deal of money on arrival.
- Which airline companies are the cheapest?
Asian airlines such as China Southern, China Eastern and Malaysia Airlines are cheaper but have a bad reputation because of their repeated delays and poor quality service.
- Do I need a real travel insurance?
You should always take out travel insurance to visit New Zealand. No matter how long you stay, you cannot afford not to be covered by a good travel insurance in case of accident.
- Is credit card insurance sufficient for New Zealand?
No, because the reimbursement ceilings are too low, and you will have to pay the fees on the spot, which can put you in the embarrassment.
- What insurance do you recommend?
I recommend Chapka, if possible with their cancellation option that will cover you well for legitimate reasons.
- Is my complementary insurance valid in New Zealand?
No, and you must take out specific insurance for the trip, for example at Chapka Insurance.
- Can we book the ferry at the last minute?
During low season you can usually book at the last minute. On the other hand, you may not be able to find camping during the high season.
- What are the ferry companies?
There are only two ferry companies operating between Wellington and Picton. Interislander is the fastest and most comfortable company. Bluebridge is a rival company a little cheaper, but more spartan.
- Can we board the ferry with a vehicle?
Yes, this will avoid you from changing vehicles from one island to another. The procedure is simple and it is enough to park on board following the instructions of the staff. Embarking the vehicle costs an extra, but saves time.
- Can I cancel a reservation?
Yes, if you request it within the time limit set by the hotel. If you book with booking.com, the cancellation is usually free up to 24 hours in advance.
- How much does a hotel night cost?
You will have difficulty finding quality hotels where a room for two adults costs less than $75. You can expect an average costs of $120.
- Can we book the activities on site?
Yes, but I advise you to book through the internet where rates are cheaper most of the time.
- Which activities should be reserved far in advance?
You should prioritize activities that have limited capacity. For example, Milford Sound cruises or kayak tours are very popular and can therefore be fully booked.
Select an Itinerary
- Can you book for me?
Kiwipal is not a travel agency, and our mission is to help you book your stay without any intermediary. We do not book travel on behalf of travelers.
- What is the best route to follow?
This is a question too vast to provide a precise answer. New Zealand occupies an area equivalent to that of the United Kingdom, which implies an infinite number of possible combinations to visit the country. I suggest you consult the itineraries created by Kiwipal to seek inspiration.
Seasons and Weather
- What is the cheapest season to visit the country?
The New Zealand winter is the cheapest season, with a budget revised down by about 20%. This is the low season, with fewer people on the roads, but also fewer activities offered and cooler temperatures.
- What is the most expensive season to visit the country?
The New Zealand summer corresponds to the winter months in France and coincides as a bonus with the school holidays of the Kiwis. This is not the most expensive season of the year.
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