A long haul flight to NZ doesn’t need to be painful
So you’ve decided to take a trip to the land of hobbits, rugby players and kiwis (we call the birds ‘kiwis’ and the fruit ‘kiwifruit’ to avoid confusion and a potential criminal record for eating an endangered species). But depending on where in the world you’re coming from, the flight could take a very long time. Here’s how to enjoy your flight to New Zealand so you arrive bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to discover the best bits of Downunder for yourself.
Research cheap flights
New Zealand is just about as far away from anywhere as you can possibly get, so it’s often hard to find cheap flights. Before you book, spend time looking at all your options. A number of airlines fly direct to Auckland Airport, including Qantas, Singapore Airlines and of course Air New Zealand, and most carriers offer great discounts throughout the year. Do a bit of research about the best time of year to visit New Zealand too; we recommend you don’t come during school holidays. The average price of flights to New Zealand from LAX is roughly US$1200 return.
Don’t dress for a fashion show
First things first, you’re going to be on the plane to New Zealand for a very long time. The average time it takes to fly there from LAX (Los Angeles) is 12 hours, New York 19.5 hours, and London 23.5 hours. Therefore, you want to be comfortable. Our best advice for flying long-haul is to dress in loose-fitting clothing like trackpants and a sweatshirt, not jeans. If you intend on arriving looking smart and refreshed, pack nicer clothes in your hand luggage then change into them an hour out from Auckland Airport.
Remember your feet
The first thing you should do when boarding a long-haul flight to New Zealand is to take off your shoes – and this isn’t just for comfort either. Because you’re going to be in the air for a long time, your feet will probably swell. Don’t worry, it’s totally normal. Your airline might give you tube socks to wear, but bring an extra pair of socks to stay warm, just in case. Wear slip-on shoes so it’s easy to get up and go to the toilet mid-flight; you won’t have to worry about tying laces or accidentally stepping in someone’s wee.
Break up your journey
One of our favourite travel tips is to book a stopover on your way to New Zealand. We know it’s a long way to come (it takes us ages to get anywhere too), so stopovers are perfect to break up a long flight, especially if you’ve got kids. Our favourite suggested stopovers include Singapore and Hong Kong. Singapore Changi Airport is particularly good because there are hotels inside the airport complete with showers and horizontal sleeping, plus if you’ve got heaps of time between flights, book a free Singapore city tour or visit the butterfly garden.
Book a special meal if you have to
If you’re gluten-free, dairy-free, allergic to nuts or have any other special eating requirements, make sure you tell your carrier when you book your flight. The last thing you want to do while making a 24-hour flight is making a 24-hour flight on an empty stomach.
Say no to alcohol
Even if your inflight package includes alcohol, resist the urge and stick to water. Time zone crossing, alcohol and jet lag are not a good mix.
Drown out the noise
Unfortunately you can’t predict if you’ll be seated next to a snoring machine, but a pair of noise-cancelling headphones is perfect just in case you are. Of course they’re also useful for one of the best bits about flying long-haul: the inflight entertainment. Movies, TV programmes, music, games … It’s a gadget-lover’s paradise. Then when you’re done watching a lifetime’s worth of movies, your noise-cancelling headphones double as ear plugs when it’s time for a nap.
Helpful health products
When you’re flying long-haul it’s important to stay as comfortable, refreshed and clean as possible, so when you arrive in New Zealand you feel 110% (and so you don’t unintentionally offend your neighbours with an unwashed scent). Save your eyes from the horror of plane air-conditioning and pack eye drops, and if you wear contact lenses remember to pack spares or solution. Face wash, moisturiser, toothbrush and paste, and deodorant will help you feel refreshed after (hopefully) a solid nine hours’ sleep. And a clean pair of socks and underpants will just make you feel cleaner, especially if you’re not stopping over on the way here.
Bonus – Our top 3 stop over airports coming to NZ
- Changi International Airport (Singapore) – This airport caters for every travelers need and is one of the cleanest airports in the world.
- Hong Kong International Airport – A great airport if you are looking for quality lounges and good food (as much as Airport food can be).
- Dubai International Airport – A slick and well run airport with all the creature comforts.
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