Now that we knew where we were going and when, it was time to start looking into the flights. We discovered these were much cheaper than flying to Fiji. There were various prices and departure times available. We began by looking into Jetstar – the cheapest airline, and discovered the fine print. Lucky we looked as this is where they become a lot dearer. This fine print information explained that Jetstar have a carry-on luggage size of 5kg which is included in the price. To be honest, there is no way 5kg of luggage will suffice for either of us for a week in New Zealand. For a larger suitcase size the price increases to $160.00 per additional ‘normal’ size bag. What? This meant that in addition to the flight price, we would be charged $320.00 for two extra normal size suitcases ($160 each). Oh my god. After working this out it was clear that Jetstar were no longer the cheapest airline to go with, in fact they became one of the dearest. After flying with Jetstar recently (day trip to Tasmania) I would not pay all that money to wait 2 hours for a flight and to have a basic flight experience. So we moved on to another airline of course.
Prices of flights varied, from $250 to $450 one way. Return flights were slightly cheaper. When we were ready to book, we would need to coincide the flight times with the van hire pick-up times. At least we were hiring the van from the airport and therefore we could go straight there once we land.
We decided to move on to booking the van and return to the booking the flights once everything was confirmed.
All I knew about hiring motorhomes in New Zealand was the name Maui. I had no idea how much they would cost, what they included or how any of the process works. It’s fair to say I learnt very quickly. I had a look at the various sites online including RACV whom we are both members with. I typed in the relevant details such as travel dates and the ages and number of people going. I narrowed it down to Britz and after researching a little bit more, decided to give them a call.
The number I rang was based in New Zealand. Unfortunately the lady on the other end, although extremely helpful and informative, was not a Kiwi – bugga. Any who, she was incredibly helpful and educated me on everything I needed to know. She gave me a figure and then my mother reminded me to check if this was in New Zealand dollars (NZD) or Australian dollars (AUS). I asked and it was in NZD, therefore the Australian price was even cheaper – woohoo.
As mentioned our budget was $3000.00 which was to include flights, van hire and fuel. By the end she had quoted me $2,275.00 NZD ($2030.00 AUS). This was a little higher than what we were hoping, but still not too bad. It was certainly cheaper than if we had booked accommodation and hired a car. In addition with a van we were not limited to a certain location.
The lovely and helpful non-kiwi lady then explained how the holiday could be cheaper if we had an Entertainment Book. I had no idea what this was but felt excited about it, as it would save us an additional %15 off the price. Ok so now I was really interested. She gave me the number for a local contact and said she would hold our quote for seven days. The Entertainment Book comes with a gold card. This card is what you need to show for proof when you pick up the van. I thanked the lady and ended the call.
The Entertainment Book people were closed for the day. This would be a job for tomorrow.
It is fair to say that by now my enthusiasm and excitement for the holiday had tripled. It is now affordable and possible.