New Zealand

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Piha Beach, Auckland, New Zealand (Photo: Tourism Auckland)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on February 16, 2009. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Anaheim, arts and culture, beach, Cancun, culinary travel, destination, Disneyland, family travel, Jessica Labrencis, Laguna Beach, Lake Tahoe, low-cost airline, low season, Newport Beach, New Zealand, Paris, shoulder season, Southwest, theme park, Virgin America.

In this economy, a trip to New Zealand may seem out of reach. But, if you have some extra money to spend on travel, there are several compelling reasons to consider a trip, particularly for travelers departing from the West Coast.

For one, your budget can stretch further now that the New Zealand dollar is down—the U.S. dollar currently buys about 1.7 New Zealand dollars. You can find specific price comparisons of accommodations and activities in New Zealand and those in several European countries in this article written by The New Zealand Tourism Board.

Plus, the Northern Hemisphere's spring is the off-peak fall and early winter in New Zealand, so you'll find huge savings on airfare. From the West Coast, you can find fares well under $1,000 round-trip. Qantas is currently offering a $798 fare for travel from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Auckland—one of the lowest fares I've ever seen. When comparing off-peak April flights to peak flights in February, I found savings close to $600.

Route Off-Peak Fare Peak Fare
Boston to Christchurch $1,312 $1,704
Dallas to Wellington $1,163 $1,729
Las Vegas to Auckland $950 $1,541
San Francisco to Auckland $849 $1,374

Off-peak fares are based on travel from April 22 through 25, and peak fares are based on travel from February 18 through 25. Prices were found on Travelocity and include taxes and fees.

In addition to airfare-only deals, you can find accommodations-only and vacation package deals at a different price points. NewZealand.com's Hot Deals page has a wide range of options starting at $699.

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Besides the good deals you'll find, autumn in New Zealand is also a beautiful time to visit. Trees turn red and gold, and the vineyards harvest during fall. Temperatures remain mild, allowing for endless outdoor activities in the Adventure Capital in the World.

What's your favorite off-peak destination? Share your ideas with other readers by using the comments fields below.

(Editor's Note: SmarterTravel is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc. Expedia, Inc. also owns Expedia.com.)

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