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Simon Calder

Simon Calder's Helpdesk: Should I buy a separate ticket for a side trip from Australia to New Zealand?


Q I am attending a conference in Melbourne in September, and have been able to secure an extra five days off at the end of it. I want to take a side trip to New Zealand. Should I book a separate ticket or get the flights to and from as part of my main ticket?

John Slater, Stafford

A. Book everything together. First, it will save you money. Booking the Trans-Tasman flights a modest add-on to a trip starting in London or Manchester is almost certainly going to prove a better deal with than a stand-alone booking from Australia to New Zealand.

Next, with careful planning you will be able to make NZ your last location before the long flight home. That means you will avoid a double dip of the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) levied on flights departing Australia: it adds A$55 (£36) to all fares - including trans-Tasman tickets no further than New Zealand.

Booking UK-Australia-NZ-UK means you will pay PMC only once. Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Singapore Airlines are all worth considering - and your final choice may depend on where you decide to stop off (at no extra charge) en route: Hong Kong, Dubai or Singapore.

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