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NZ Families Have Tough Decision On Travel Times

29 March 2006

NZ Families Have Tough Decision On Travel Times

New Zealand families continue to face the dilemma of what time of the year to travel.

While parents may face criticism from the education system for taking their children out of school for holidays, due to high demand and a lack of availability flights and accommodation are often priced at significantly higher rates during school holidays than at other times of the year.

The Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Fiji and Anaheim are all perennial New Zealand family favourites and for the upcoming Easter school holidays* many of the discounted rates for the more popular flights and properties in these destinations have been booked as early as mid-2005.

Currently New Zealand families don’t just face competition for places from other New Zealand travellers, with some missing out on school holiday accommodation altogether in family friendly resorts in hotspots such as the Gold Coast due to Australian families travelling at the same time.

Flight Centre retail leader Jude Evans said cheap discounted school holiday travel always sells out early, but now the more expensive options are also selling fast.

But there are still ways to avoid taking a child out of school for a holiday for a significant length of time, she said.

“One way to minimise time out of the class but still get a good deal is to leave a day or two before holidays start, and return just before midway through the holidays.

“And while it may be tough with children, it can also be cheaper to fly at odd hours as well as being flexible with dates.”

Also booking a shorter three-day break across the Tasman over a public holiday weekend that New Zealand doesn’t share with Australia, such as Waitangi Day or Queen’s Birthday Weekend, can avoid a lot of the pressure from Australian domestic tourists.

According to Flight Centre Pacific product manager Raumati Wikaire, New Zealand families travelling to the Pacific are more interested in all-inclusive resort style holidays, which have a range of watersports and often a kids club to keep children entertained, and these also sell quickly.

In the US, Anaheim stands out as the most popular family destination, with New Zealand families spending an average of 7-10 days exploring sights such as Disneyland, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, and there is often greater availability as school holiday times in the US are out of sync with New Zealand’s.

At the same time, Asia is still relatively untouched as a family holiday destination, so availability is also high.


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