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Flight Centre Travel Blog

Where in the world would you rather be? Discover travel ideas and inspiration with stories from our Travel Experts. With new articles every day, you'll never run out of ideas!

Choose the best airfare for you

As the airline industry has grown, we have more choice than ever before when it comes to choosing, a ticket. With so many different airlines and cabin classes at your fingertips, we attempt to untangle the mystery so you know which airfare is best for you.   There are many factors that influence the price of an airfare: the flexibility of making changes, if refundable, seating class, self check-in and inclusions; to name a few. A low-cost carrier or budget airline offers an ... Continue Reading

Silver Lake: The Other Los Angeles

When you’re exhausted from theme parks and dazzled from the stars, devote a day to another side of Los Angeles – the brilliantly blended neighbourhood of Silver Lake. Rebecca Zephyr Thomas, whose work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, recently spent time capturing its unique charms in this photo essay.   As a tourist destination Los Angeles’ main attractions are immovable cultural objects known around the world: Hollywood, Disneyland, Venice Beach and Rodeo ... Continue Reading

Top Tips For Combatting Jet lag

Desynchronosis, flight fatigue or circadian rhythm disorder. However we describe jet lag, it really has the potential to ambush the first few days of a holiday. And with New Zealand travellers having to fly longer and further than all other nationalities to Europe and North America, what are the best strategies to manage the symptoms of jet lag, hit the ground running, and maximise your travels?     Timing is everything On arrival, try and stay awake until it's ... Continue Reading

Best time to fly

Do you know why airfare prices are higher during parts of the year, while at other times, you can score a fare for a lower cost? We outline here the factors, seasons and events that can influence the price of your plane ticket. Different seasons, events and factors in different hemispheres can affect airfare prices, although there are some months where demand is consistently high. In December, April, July and September, all destinations around the world share a similar ticket price ... Continue Reading

What it’s like to fly the world’s longest air route – in business class

If you're going to spend more than 17 hours flying Auckland to Dubai direct, why not do it in style? Sharon Stephenson experiences business class on the world's longest flight.     When you live in New Zealand, you get used to spending hours squashed like a sardine into a flying tin can. It's the price you pay for living at the bottom of the world. But what if travelling to Europe, Africa or the Middle East wasn't something to be rushed through as quickly as possible, ... Continue Reading

Under a Tuscan Sun: A Week in Lucca, Italy

Florence, Venice and Rome are worth seeing, but all over Italy there are smaller cities worth a visit too. Alexia Santamaria visits Lucca, a lovely walled city that does double duty as a base for exploring the gorgeous countryside of Tuscany.     There is a magical time in June in Tuscany when the weather is warm but towns aren’t yet flooded with hordes of tourists. I was lucky enough to visit Lucca, just north of Pisa, in that golden period and it was wonderful. If ... Continue Reading

Flying long-haul with a baby – Part 1: Before you fly

Travelling with a baby is no small feat, it requires a lot of planning, a lot of mental strength and the patience of a saint! Sarah Thompson shares her top tips on surviving a long-haul flight with a baby. I am originally from France and we recently went back with my 9-month old baby girl so she could finally meet her grandparents for the first time. Our first flight was 10 hours long from Auckland to Hong Kong and our second flight was over 12 hours from Hong Kong to Paris. Oh and ... Continue Reading

Costa Rica: where wildlife meets tropical paradise

 On a flying visit to Costa Rica's Pacific coast, Alexia Santamaria discovers exotic wildlife, beautiful beaches and some really good mojitos.     It's hard to define the phrase “pura vida” – which it seems you hear in Costa Rica every 10 minutes or so – but it has the feel of a Kiwi “no worries” or “sweet as”. And indeed nothing seems to be a worry in Costa Rica. The people are friendly and laid back and, while I know looks can be deceiving, it certainly ... Continue Reading

The Plane Facts

Much like cars, aircraft come in all shapes, sizes and models, with a varying degree of mod-cons. Read our blog to get to know your 747s from the 777s, along with some fun plane facts!     Long Haul Aircraft   A340    The A340 is a long-range, wide-body aircraft primarily used by Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, South African Airways and SWISS. The A340 is no longer in production as it has been superseded by the Airbus A350. Dreamliner 787 ... Continue Reading

Bilbao: The Spanish city with the coolest museum in Europe

There's one big reason visitors flock to Bilbao on Spain's sunny northern coast: the spectacular, Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum. But, as Sharon Stephenson discovered, there's a lot more to this charming city than a hunk of polished metal. The woman behind the visitor's desk at Bilbao's Sondica Airport calls it 'Googy'. Actually, almost everyone in Spain's fourth largest city refers to the Guggenheim by this affectionate nickname. But I can hardly blame them because the ... Continue Reading

Top 5 Cook Islands Cultural Experiences

One of the most rewarding parts of a Cook Islands holiday is the opportunity to learn about local beliefs and cultural practices – doubly so if it includes a traditional and delicious umu feast. Visiting a cultural village or joining an educational tour is a great way to experience authentic island life, and these are five of the best.   Te Vara Nui Village, Cook Islands The biggest and most established cultural village experience in the Cook Islands, Te Vara Nui is a hugely ... Continue Reading

Desert Flower: Exploring Tucson, Arizona

The red dirt, prickly cacti and buckled asphalt of Tucson may seem severe but, as Sarah Illingworth finds, there's beauty to this city at the gateway to America's historic southwest.   Once a small cowboy town, Tucson is now Arizona's second-largest city, its residential areas having steadily expanded towards the surrounding mountain ranges. Despite the advancing urban sprawl, the wild places around Tucson remain spectacular. Once you're done exploring the city, drive out to ... Continue Reading

8 Best Travel Tech Tips

Travel increasingly incorporates a whole raft of electronic devices. Professional travel writer Brett Atkinson explains how to maximise the use of your smartphone, tablet and laptop while on the road.   Buy a local SIM card While it is gradually becoming more cost effective to add roaming functionality to your New Zealand mobile phone service while overseas, it's still always cheaper to buy a local SIM card when you arrive at your destination. Competition keeps prices low ... Continue Reading

The Cook Islands’ Best Beaches

Come to the Cook Islands and you'll find breathtaking beaches around every corner. But even in a tropical paradise, there are some places that are extra special. Here are six of the best. Muri Beach, Rarotonga Sitting on the edge of a lagoon on Rarotonga's east coast, Muri is one of the island's most popular destinations for great swimming, snorkelling and water sports. Young ones will love the safe and tranquil shallows, while bigger folk can easily swim across the bay to tiny Koromiri ... Continue Reading

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Austin, Texas

Take advantage of Air New Zealand's direct flights from Auckland to Houston, and continue to the hip and laidback city of Austin. Infused with a liberal attitude informed by a diverse music scene and the University of Texas campus, it's a city which proudly celebrates its “Keep Austin Weird” motto. Everything is bigger in Texas Sprawling Houston and Dallas are the biggest cities in Texas, but Austin (population 912,00) is actually the state's capital city. Crowning the northern end of ... Continue Reading

Greece: Exploring Captain Corelli’s Cephalonia

Cephalonia, or Kefalonia, is the largest of  Greece's Ionian Islands and beautiful at any time. But visit in the spring and you'll find an authentically Greek experience minus the high-season crowds. Voted more than 10 times the best beach in Greece, the gently curving Myrtos Bay became even more famous in 2001, when it played a starring role in the movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. In summer, the Captain’s beach is reputed to be so crowded it’s impossible to lay out a towel, and ... Continue Reading

The 10 Essential Items to Pack for a Trip to the Cook Islands

You don't need much to enjoy a holiday in the Cook Islands, but these 10 items will help you get the most out of your trip. Bug spray As in any tropical destination, mozzies can be a pest in the Cook Islands, especially after wet weather and in the more humid central areas. Mosquito repellants, from sprays and wristbands to coils and plug-ins, are available for sale in Rarotonga and Aitutaki, but you might want to bring your favourite bug buster with you, just in case. New ... Continue Reading

QUIZ: What’s your perfect Cook Islands holiday?

Chase the sun to the Cook Islands, the perfect destination for your next tropical escape. With enticing warm temperatures and a relaxed ambience, there are activities to tick every traveller’s wish list. Enjoy a day poolside or relaxing on picturesque beaches; go off-roading through the jungle on a buggy tour; or eat your way through the various cuisines on offer. At just 32 km in circumference, the size of Rarotonga makes this a unique island getaway. No matter where you are, the ... Continue Reading

The best cheap eats in Rarotonga

For a small island – a leisurely coastal circumnavigation on a scooter or a convertible rental car takes about an hour – Rarotonga packs in plenty of places to eat. While you're deciding between another lazy afternoon of snorkelling or a more energetic mountain bike adventure, these are the dishes you need hunt down and tick off your Rarotonga foodie bucket list. Fish sandwich at Charlie's Cafe & Beach Hire Look for the big blue shipping container near the reef at Titikaveka beach ... Continue Reading

7 must-have travel apps

Before you depart for overseas, load up your smartphone or tablet with these travel-friendly apps. All of the following can be downloaded either from Apple's iTunes App Store or Google Play. Uber The planet's biggest transportation app is not available in some countries – on a recent trip to Turkey yellow taxis still ruled in Istanbul – but in the United States, Australia and Europe it is widely used and very convenient. Log on and the app shows how many available cars are in your ... Continue Reading