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Urgent! Accept free airline ticket to Auckland?

Troy, Michigan
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Urgent! Accept free airline ticket to Auckland?

My 20 year old son just won round trip airfare to Auckland, New Zealand. The prize is JUST the airfare and he must depart from Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Vancouver. He asked us if we would cover the fare from Detroit to one of these places as his Christmas present and we agreed. But now I'm wondering if he can afford to accept the prize. I know absolutely nothing about New Zealand so I was hoping someone could help with a cost estimate for lodging, food, transportation from the airport and around the city, and stuff to do. I'm assuming that he'll stay at hostels and eat budget meals and that he'll go for a week or possibly 2.

Also, he can only travel during June, July, or August. What's the weather like then?

Any help is greatly appreciated since he has only 48 hours to decide whether to accept or not. Thanks!

Greymouth, New...
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1. Re: Urgent! Accept free airline ticket to Auckland?

Tough call for a 20 year old with out the resources to fund such an experience.

My suggestion would be for him to arrive Auckland, there is some cheap accomodation in Auckland, check out the city for about two days, then head north to bay of Island. if he can afford it, do the day bus trip to Cape Reinga and also a the hoe in the rock launch cruise.

If he is into water sports such a snorkling or diving, then he can do that there.

Depending on time and finances, see if he can spand similar time in Rotorua .

He will need funds, he is very fortunate to have won a ticket to NZ, can he find a travel partner? Bare minimum he would need on his own would be about NZ$1500 per week, which in a dormitory room at a back packers is about $30.00 per night, travel and trip about $500 and food, he is a boy so he wont want to starve so budget for about $50.00 a day.

Bal aprk figures I know, but if there is anyway he can fund it or see your bank, but it will be a life changing experience for him.

Best of luck

Wellington, New...
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2. Re: Urgent! Accept free airline ticket to Auckland?

Spend some time to go back through earlier pages of the NZ forum. In the various pages you will pick up great tips and helpful advice plus little snippets which will be of use to him. There are backpapckers all over the country especially in major towns and popular holiday spots and these will be the cheapest places to stay. The cost may vary from around $NZ30 to $NZ100 depending on whether he is a a room or shares a dormitory. He is going to arrive in NZ at the onset of winter so he should bring with him a quality pair of boots / shoes that are waterproof and are also smart enough that can be worn as casual. If the footwear is quality they should get him through. He will also need a quality jacket that is waterproof/windproof. A typical ski jacket should be ideal. A good sweater, shirts and a couple of pair jeans should get him through.

Is he intending to spend all his time in Auckland or would he like to get out see a bit of the country. Buses and trains are not that expensive.

Day train from Auckland to Wellington is $NZ49. A single bustrip from Auckland to the Bay of Islands is $NZ53. I would allow $NZ50 min per day for food and probably anothe $NZ50 for incidentals, tours, etc.

This is too good a trip for a youngster to turn down and he may never get an opportunity like this again. If you can help him out be a great Mum and Dad and give him next years birthday present in advance as well . He will really appreciate it

Wanaka, New Zealand
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3. Re: Urgent! Accept free airline ticket to Auckland?

I think if he can save enough to have NZ$200 per day he will be able to have a really enjoyable trip. This is allowing roughly $50 p/n of accommodation, $50 p/n for food and $100 p/n for all transport, entrance fees, tours and a few beers at the pub.

He could probably get around for as little as $150 p/n but would have to be much more careful and watch his $.

Any less than this and I wouldn't recommend he come. Unfortunately because it's winter, he may be less inclined to do the free/cheaper activities such as water sports, tramps etc .

Also. it may be helpful to know that the first 2 weeks of July next year are school holidays. Probably the nicest of those months is June, but all three will be cold.

New Zealand
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4. Re: Urgent! Accept free airline ticket to Auckland?

It will be winter, though nothing as cold as a Michigan winter. A warm jacket and thermals under his jeans and he will stay cosy.

It's a great opportunity. I hope he finds a way to come :)

New Zealand
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5. Re: Urgent! Accept free airline ticket to Auckland?

I think people here have so far severely overestimated the money required. If he joins BBH when he first arrives, he can stay at most hostels around the country for $25 p/n (shared dormitory). $50 per day for food is also pretty high. If he buys his food in the supermarket rather than restaurants, he can eat well for much less than that. I spend roughly $100 per WEEK on food, and I eat a lot.

That said, I can't imagine coming to NZ and staying in/around Auckland the whole time. To be honest, I would tell him to start saving up now and then figure out a way to get from Auckland to Queenstown. Bus/train/planes. Whatever, just get there. And stay in Queestown and Wanaka for as long as he can. There will be a million other people his age, the scenery will be spectacular, and he will have an experience he'll never forget.

With budget being a major concern, I wouldn't even plan any of the normal touristy things (skip tours to Cape Reinga, Bay of Islands, etc). Hook up with some other backpackers and just go with the flow. This is all assuming that your son is adventurous. If he's not, disregard all of this.

Wanaka, New Zealand
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6. Re: Urgent! Accept free airline ticket to Auckland?

Yes, BUT, there is nothing worse than making a whole heap of new friends in a backpackers and not being able to afford to do anything with them, including going out for a pub meal and a few drinks. Yes, you could definitely afford to eat for less than $50 a day, but you need to also have the money to splash out occassionally. Otherwise you are limited to sandwiches for tea and walks around the lake.

Queenstown is a great place for young people to holiday but there is not a lot for a young adventurous person to do there on a budget. I remember when I was a student in Otago (not actually that long ago) and a bunch of friends and I saved up what we thought was enough money to go do some fun things in Queenstown. We stayed in a cheap backpackers, we bought a lot of food with us and we went home disheartened after one night. Why? Because the bars were expensive and the only adventure activity our budget would allow was a gondola and luge.

The Shotover jet (now over $100) was above our budget, Bungy Jumping (now over $200) was over our budget, as was skiing, 4-wheel driving and a whole lot of the other things we looked into. Even a guided walk was beyond our budget/

That's not to say that your son shouldn't go to Queenstown if he can afford it, I just didn't want him being misled into thinking you can do lot's of things there for cheap.

If he did spend some time in Auckland there are quite a few fun things he could do within the free to $50 mark such as the museum, art gallery, zoo, a trip up the Sky Tower, a harbour cruise, ferry to Waiheke or possibly even a sailing trip, Kelly Tarltons, surfing out at a West Coast beach or walking in the bush, Go-Karting, Stardome Observatory and heaps more. The same could be said for many of NZ's other big cities. Te Papa museum in Wellington for example is fantastic and free.

Perhaps if you told us your son's interests we could give you some places/areas he could visit and roughly what they'd cost. His interests will to quite a large extent determine his expenses.

Canada
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7. Re: Urgent! Accept free airline ticket to Auckland?

I echo everyone else and say that your son should definitely say YES to the free flight to NZ. Who knows whether he'll have such an opportunity again? Sounds like a unique and fortuitous opportunity. Even if all he'll do is sit around in Auckland, it'll still an awesome enough experience for a young man that he'll get something out of it: getting exposed to Maori culture, for example, or visiting the nearby islands and volcanos, hearing everyone speak English with another accent, or even just walking down foreign streets on the other side of the world (where the cars drive on the opposite side of the road, no less) will make a big impression on him. One of the most common regrets in life is not having the opportunity to travel more.

Ideally, if he's flying all the way down to NZ, he should see more of the country than just Auckland and surroundings. But why not just accept the offer now and then spend the next six months planning and budgeting for the trip?

8. Re: Urgent! Accept free airline ticket to Auckland?

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