Spring is here – time to get travel-ready

As Spring arrives, it continues to be a busy time for the Discover Travel team with demand now similar if not higher for travel than it was before the pandemic. It’s been lovely to hear from so many of our loyal customers keen to make up for lost time but also from new clients keen to engage our services. Our team is growing to meet this high demand, with Janine Hay now having rejoined us and Juliet Davis will return on 7 November.

We have now moved into our new office at 2 Blackheath Mews, 5 Wordsworth St, Sydenham Look for the distinctive red brick ‘Coronation St’ style terrace houses on Durham St South – we’re in the courtyard behind; the entrance is off Wordsworth Street and we have 2 dedicated customer car parks (#38 & #39) right outside. Appointments are essential so we can reserve a car park for you.

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. Unlike some airline call centres and online travel agents we could (but won’t !) name, we pride ourselves on service and efficiency and we promise to respond to your enquiry quickly.

We’ve now finally reaching the end of 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 quite a few countries and a pre-departure test is required, especially if unvaccinated. In addition, an online pre-departure declaration is required to be completed to enter some destinations including the USA 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 after 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 often have sales 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.

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! You will 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.

The French Government has now lifted all its Covid restrictions, and Air Tahiti Nui & Air New Zealand are now flying from Auckland to Papeete, Tahiti and Aircalin and Air NZ are now both flying Auckland to Noumea, New Caledonia.

Air New Zealand is now flying 4 times per week to Samoa. All Covid-19 border restrictions have now been removed. Passengers must just complete an arrival Health declaration form in-flight and provide a valid local phone number and email address/ Facebook details.

Air Vanuatu resumed three times per week non-stop flights to Port Vila from Auckland. All travellers must show a negative PCR test taken at most 72 hours before departure from the first embarkation point or – a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken at most 24 hours before departure from the first embarkation point or a positive COVID-19 rapid antigen or PCR test certificate taken between 2 months and 8 days before departure from the first embarkation point or a COVID-19 recovery certificate issued at most 2 months before departure.

Both Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines have resumed direct services to Honolulu, Hawaii, each flying 3 times per week and Hawaii has been very popular with Kiwi travellers. You 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. https://www.passports.govt.nz/

We look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Travels!

Peter & Ian