to ask for ideas how to get to New Zealand cheapest and easiest with 4 year old

(32 Posts)
ButterfliesinSpring Tue 19-Apr-16 14:11:15

My DS will turn 4, and we have a family wedding to go to in Aukland mid Feb 2017 where it would make a lot of people happy if we did succeed in getting there.

I'm a single mum (seperated from DH) and money's tight but another family member has offered to cover flights and expenses up to 2k

From searching online this would only cover flight costs, is there a cheaper route - like we could get a flight to somewhere else then an onward flight or several that anybody knows of?

I can't see him managing such a long flight with only one stop-over without it being hell for me and the other passengers as it is...

Crispbutty Tue 19-Apr-16 14:13:15

have you tried the skyscanner website. that is pretty good for looking up alternate routes

MatildaTheCat Tue 19-Apr-16 14:14:00

Call up one of the long haul travel specialists and ask for all the options. There are often cheaper deals available than you can see online. IMO several stopovers is prolonging the agony but you know your child best.

ButterfliesinSpring Tue 19-Apr-16 14:18:08

I will try those thanks

I was thinking it might be cheaper to book flights to Singapore or Oz and then book flights from there onto NZ

Only thing is I don't really know what places I could perhaps travel via - or what's child friendly at that for going via

specialsubject Tue 19-Apr-16 14:21:00

£2k isn't going to cover a long stay there (don't forget your insurance too). With a very long journey AND a complete body clock flip, it isn't worth going for less than two weeks at an absolute minimum if you are to enjoy it. Obviously no non-stop flights.

think very hard about this just to make others happy.

cheapest I can see for Feb 2017 is about £1100 for the two of you, with Air China, including 9 hours waiting in Peking. Total journey time 35 hours. That leaves £900 for insurance, accommodation, food and so on for two weeks.

Crispbutty Tue 19-Apr-16 14:22:55

Skycanner brings up Etihad Airlines for approx £1500 for the trip.

WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant Tue 19-Apr-16 14:24:24

Good luck with your hunt.
I think the earlier you book, the cheaper it will be.
Ds just declared the cheapest way to get there is to swim.
You may slap him if you like...hmm

BarbarianMum Tue 19-Apr-16 14:27:53

Do remember to check the overal length of the trip. The "best" deals can sometimes include lots of stop - overs and hanging around b/w different stages of the flight. Pretty grim to drag your quietly sleeping child off one plane at 2am to hang around in an airport lounge for 4 hours waiting for a connection.

Having said which, poking around for deals can work really well.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 19-Apr-16 14:31:50

where it would make a lot of people happy if we did succeed in getting there

But would it make you happy? Flying for a min of 24 hours is a big deal, and not very nice. Honestly, you really need at least two weeks there to make up for the flight time and cost.

From your OP you don't sound like you want to go, and in your position I wouldn't. It's wouldn't be wrong for you not to go.

Onsera3 Tue 19-Apr-16 14:39:55

The less stopovers the better in my experience. Yes being on the plane for a long time. But waiting to board, waiting for luggage, customs etc is much worse.

Usually, splitting the trip is more exp. But I did once get it cheaper when I wanted to go through Singapore by booking BA London to Singapore return and then Qantas Singapore to Auckland return.

However, I'd only do this if you have a decent stop over booked. If you missed your connection in Asia then you are a bit screwed because of the two separate tickets.

With the new competition on the USA route you may be able to look at getting a London to LA return and getting a return fare to Auckland.

However, if you don't intend to stay the night for a stopover you will have the faff of customs which you could avoid if in transit.

Onsera3 Tue 19-Apr-16 14:45:34

It will be really nice to have a break from winter!

SavoyCabbage Tue 19-Apr-16 14:46:51

You will be able to find flights for £2000. I do t think it's cheaper to fly to Asia and then book another flight. Also if you don't book the flight all together/straight through then if the first flight is delayed and you miss the second flight then the airline have no obligation to help you or put you on another flight.

I wouldn't do a stopover. It's not worth the hassle really. Presumably you will be able to stay with someone when you get there.,

ClubTropicanaDrinks Tue 19-Apr-16 14:49:54

I think Hong Kong and Singapore airports are meant to have good children's play areas so might be good places via which to travel?

Agree with pps that it's the jet lag that's the killer, rather than the travelling itself, so would plan on two weeks there minimum.

Onsera3 Tue 19-Apr-16 14:58:39

HK and Singapore are both nice airports with kids. I've gone through China a couple of times but wouldn't fancy it with kids.

I've done the trip many times with kids and always do the stopover. I often used to fly straight through alone but some children just can't manage it. A nice airport hotel is a must for me. If you can swing it I recommend it.

Are you having to work with Feb half term?

ButterfliesinSpring Tue 19-Apr-16 15:11:39

I can go for any length of time really at the moment so 2-3 weeks is possible and with family putting us up (or it's going to be out of reach altogether) but the family that would be putting us up are the actual couple getting married (everybody else lives in other places over NZ) so obviously I don't want to crash at the wrong time and was debating going 2 weeks prior to the wedding and coming home the day after so we're out of the way of honeymoon and anyone feeling obliged to entertain etc. I don't drive so can't hire a car over there and from what I understand you're somewhat limited without one - nothing like Londons transport network

I want to want to go if that makes sense. Without the journey I would be there in a heartbeat and I have always wanted to see NZ and the family, but my DS hasn't even been on a long coach journey before let alone flown anywhere so a long haul flight shock if he has a tantrum or something I can't just get off and give up... Very daunting

ButterfliesinSpring Tue 19-Apr-16 15:29:16

Hehe WhyCant swimming would be easier probably with my DS to be fair

NynaevesSister Tue 19-Apr-16 15:31:09

You'd be surprised how well he will do. I haven't done the flight non stop though. We usually stop over in Hong Kong as we have relatives there.

I personally wouldn't fly a budget airline like Air China. Do try Skyscanner. We get good flights that way.

How old will your son be when you go? If he is 5 then the most authorised leave you can get is two weeks. You can tie that in with the one week half term. I would suggest you avoid flying during half term as that will bump up the costs.

Talk the dates through with the family you are staying with. They may want you to stay and house sit while they go on their honeymoon.

Just be as clear as you can with them that you can only do this if you don't have to pay for accommodation and you want to make sure that the dates you are there aren't an imposition.

When people know you are visiting on a shoestring they will want to take you out and about. This is really normal for New Zealanders so don't be polite about it. Say yes! They aren't asking you along just out of politeness. Take a bit of food or a bottle of wine as a thank you.

The bus service in Auckland isn't too bad so you aren't going to be isolated.

ButterfliesinSpring Tue 19-Apr-16 15:47:22

The couple recently moved to another location so I don't think they'll want house sitting as we'd be very isolated if so as everyone else will be working/living away from where the wedding will be, and not driving we'd be stuck to then get around and see anyone iyswim

He'll be 4 then - he's 3 now so our last year for doing this before it would have to fit into school holidays

What are the best airlines to go with/ones to avoid? I know nadda and asking them - well they live in a different world to me and can afford to do things very differently (and work incredibly hard for that lifestyle)

Hirosleaftunnel Tue 19-Apr-16 15:48:26

Cheapest is usually Cathay Pacific through HK. Good luck OP.

ButterfliesinSpring Tue 19-Apr-16 15:50:28

That's coming up on skyscanner, I have only flown twice in my life before myself and both with easyjet/Ryanair for a matter of hours not days...

What are Cathay like to fly with?

NynaevesSister Tue 19-Apr-16 15:55:55

Any of the airlines are fine. A friend of mine did it with little ones flying Southern China, again a budget airline. It wasn't comfortable but it was OK.

Even if you can't get out and about that much it will still be a great holiday for you. The weather is lovely in February - it is their equivalent of August. But all the schools are back so things won't be as expensive/crowded.

One thing that many visitors don't realise is that school grounds in NZ are open. Outside of school hours you are welcome to go in and play in the playground. So if there is a school nearby you know you will have a playground smile.

Son was so much easier to take at age 4. The hardest trip was when he was 15 months! That one nearly killed me. At 4 he was excited about going on a plane, still fitted well into the seat for sleeping, and was OK with headphones and could be entertained with movies and TV.

The only real problem was getting his body clock to adjust at the other end. Friends swear by melatonin for long haul. I will definitely give that a try next time.

slug Tue 19-Apr-16 15:56:32

I usually go via Korean or Malaysian for the cheapest flights, though bear in mind February is at the end of the high season. Go later in the month if possible. NZ summer school holidays run throughout January. Primary are back usually the first or second week in Feb and secondary a few weeks later. After that, everything becomes a lot cheaper.

It's do-able with a 4 year old, I've been taking DD there since she was 18 months old. I recommend getting it over and done with as quickly as possible. If you can fly via Singapore, bear in mind Singapore airport has a swimming pool. Pack your swimsuit and use your layover to get as much exercise as possible. Failing that, a layover with a proper sleep in a hotel is totally worth the money. Aim to sleep on the plane in the run through from the layover to NZ as most flights land fairly early in the morning. In my experience, the jet lag really kicks in when you go back to the UK winter. The effects of the NZ summer sunlight tend to mitigate the jet lag somewhat.

Most youth hostels and Backpackers can accommodate children (it's not unusual to see retired people holidaying this way) and they are cheap. There's always a way to get around even if you don't drive.

TattyDevine Tue 19-Apr-16 16:01:40

The more stops you have, the cheaper the flight, but only within reason - and the more stops you have the worse it will be with a 4 year old, unless you get a hotel to break it up, but that will probably cancel out or seriously eat into any savings you have made from having more stops.

Time of year makes a bigger difference, as well as what time the flight goes, though many long hauls will be a night flight.

It won't be cheaper to go to Oz and get flights from Oz in the long run - and it's a pain in the arse, takes most the day to get to NZ even though it's not that far by Oz type standards.

Seasoned traveller to and from the UK to Oz and NZ, and from Oz to NZ here, with kids too. I'd just book Malaysia or Qatar, possibly Cathay Pacific and Singapore airlines are worth looking at too. As of last year the very cheapest flights being offered were by Malaysia (possibly because they lost 2 planes in as many years, not that long ago!)

Good luck.

ItsLikeRainOnYourWeddingDay Tue 19-Apr-16 16:09:06

It's an awful flight. Don't just think about price. You need to factor in how many days you will have in NZ before the actual wedding. Your day-night will be completely switched about and it can take a few days to recover from the jet lag. I would imagine for a 4 year old it will be hell.

The more stops the cheaper it will be but more risk of losing/delayed bags, spending hours in random airports between flights. The sleep deprivation will be horrendous.

Look at flying via the Middle East. Sometimes for no extra cost you can have a night or two in Dubai or Abu Dhabi which will break up the length of flight and the jet lag.

Book your seats carefully. Use seatguru.com to find best seat for you and your child. The economy section will be big and noisy and cramped.

I would really think carefully about doing it.

ButterfliesinSpring Tue 19-Apr-16 16:16:35

That's what I'm worried about, I can only afford economy...

Singapore with a swimming pool sounds an idea

They haven't given a definite date yet - so I'm working with their "mid Feb" plans and thought going in Jan coming back later end of what can be considered mid Feb (19-21st?) might make most sense

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