Kiwis are flying! Are you organised yet?

    It continues to be a busy winter for the Discover Travel team with demand now higher than before Covid! It’s been lovely to hear from so many of our loyal customers keen to make up for lost time.

    We’re continuing to work remotely throughout the remainder of the winter, but are expecting to be settled in a lovely new office in the city by early September. Watch this space for more details!

    We’ve heard from many clients keen to escape some of the upcoming winter by seeking some sunshine in the Pacific Islands, Australia, Bali & Europe. Others have travelled further afield for their holidays, including to Africa & South America, and many have redeemed airline and supplier credits in doing so. A reminder that as we’re part of the House of Travel group, we have access to all the same holiday deals they offer. We pride ourselves on service and efficiency and we promise to respond to your enquiry quickly.

    We’ve still busy with the complex task of redeeming travel credits for customers so they can finally enjoy the holiday later this year or in 2023 that they were originally due to enjoy in 2020. A  large number of travel credits have now been successfully redeemed. Availability for 2023 is already getting tight, so we’d strongly recommend getting organized well in advance for travel next year to avoid disappointment, especially if you have a credit that needs to be redeemed before the end of 2023.

    Overseas travel at this time is certainly getting a whole lot easier now as the world continues to open up apace. Travel is still a little more complicated than usual though with proof of vaccination still a requirement for travel to many countries and a pre-departure test required in most cases if unvaccinated. In addition, an online pre-departure declaration is required to be completed to enter some destinations including the US, Canada and NZ. Every country has slightly different rules, so we’re here to guide you through that process. Here’s a good resource to check your destination’s entry requirements.

    Many of our clients have been booking flights to Europe (especially the UK) and Australia to reconnect with family and friends after such a long time. For Europe, and especially London, Singapore Airlines from Christchurch have been extremely popular as they are currently the only long-haul direct flight flying out of Christchurch daily and Singapore has also now opened to fully vaccinated tourists. There are also regular flights to Europe with Emirates (daily via KL to Dubai) and with Qatar Airways (5 per week via Adelaide to Doha) from Auckland. Cathay Pacific have weekly flights to Hong Kong.

    IMPORTANT NOTE Most long-haul flights into and out of NZ are heavily booked until at least September and also around Christmas time so with a very limited supply of seats (and higher prices as a result) compared to pre-Covid times, we’d strongly recommend getting in touch with us asap if you have plans to travel anywhere long-haul this year.

    LATAM are now flying again direct from Auckland to Santiago five times per week, so South America & Antarctica is now very much back on the travel radar for many of our clients.

    Air New Zealand have had a Pacific Islands sale recently, so that’s a good opportunity to redeem credits you might have in place with our national airline. They are already flying direct to Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Vancouver, LA and San Francisco and Houston. Their Chicago service resumes on 30 Sep. Their direct Auckland to New York City service from 17 Sep is attracting special excitement and is heavily booked in the premium cabins already.

    Qantas resumed flights from Christchurch to Sydney and are now flying at 6am every day. Their Melbourne and Brisbane flights have also resumed. Trans-Taman flights are currently heavily booked so fares are higher than usual, this should improve as the frequency of services increases.

    Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and the Cook Islands has been underway since January 2022. Visitors must be fully vaccinated, but no tests are required at either end of the journey. Travellers must just complete the Cook Islands Ministry of Health travel declaration within 96 hours before they depart for Rarotonga. Check out the latest rules here

    Fiji reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international tourists early, so both Air New Zealand and Fiji Airways have already been flying regularly to Nadi. Fiji has been extremely popular this winter! No pre-departure test required, travellers aged 12 and over just need to take a Rapid Antigen Test within 48 to 72 hours of arriving in Fiji booked in advance. You will also need an International Travel Vaccine Certificate to prove your vaccination status. and take out recognised travel insurance with Covid-19 cover. Fiji Airways are also a great option, with direct flights from Christchurch via Fiji to the US and Vancouver.

    Air Tahiti Nui & Air New Zealand are now flying from Auckland for Papeete, Tahiti. Travellers aged 12 and over must prove they are fully vaccinated. All the latest info is here

    Air Vanuatu resumed three times per week non-stop flights to Port Vila from Auckland. All travellers to Vanuatu must be fully vaccinated and show a negative pre-departure test.

    Aircalin and Air NZ are now both flying Auckland to Noumea, New Caledonia in July. Fully vaccinated Kiwis just need to complete a “declaration on honour” to present at boarding, and take a RAT test 48 hours after their arrival.

    Both Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines have resumed direct services to Honolulu, Hawaii, each flying 3 times per week. Travellers must be fully vaccinated and are required to sign a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) attestation regarding proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19.before departure. The form can be found here More details can be found here

    Niue has reopened. You need to provide evidence of full vaccination against Covid-19 (must be in line with vaccines approved my Medsafe in New Zealand or an International Vaccination Certificate), provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result, taken within 48 hours of departure. The test must be completed in New Zealand, provide a Certificate of Recovery if the traveller has had Covid-19 in the last three months prior to travel and provide evidence of travel insurance that includes costs for a medical evacuation (for non-residents of Niue).

    Travel requirements and restrictions can change rapidly without notice, so please check each airline and nation’s website for the most up-to-date traveller information.

    IMPORTANT New Zealand has introduced a mandatory Traveller Declaration for all passengers entering NZ. This requirement is catching out a few travellers. A travel pass is generated which you will need to show at check in for your first international flight home, and also on arrival at Customs in NZ. Ensure that you keep your devices charged during the journey home! The Customs FAQ is here NZTD-fact-sheet.

    Our 2023 Escorted Tours

    Please don’t delay if you’d like to join us on one of our escorted tours next year.

    In Search of the Polar Bear – Summer Solstice will be 12-22 June 2023 ex Oslo. Ian is hosting this extraordinary voyage where we should experience the midnight sun amongst the pack ice.

    Namibia, Botswana and Victoria Falls will be 9 June – 1 July 2023 ex Christchurch. This is a small group (max 12 people) so get in quick if you are keen on what’s a real ‘bucket list’ trip.  SPACE LEFT FOR 2 COUPLES 

    If you would like further information on either, please get in touch!

    And finally, a plea to please check your passport validity. If it has expired, be aware that due to incredibly high demand, the passport office’s approximate timeframe to process a standard passport application is currently a month.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    Happy Travels!

    Peter & Ian