New Zealanders are making up for a disappointing summer and the approach of winter by rushing to holiday overseas, a retail travel chain says.

Flight Centre has reported a surge in foreign bookings, especially for sunny destinations.

Flight Centre advertising manager Karen Munro said the level of interest in the Pacific Islands and Australia was significantly higher in March and last month than for the same period last year.

She attributed the increase to a combination of poor weather and cheaper holiday packages.

"This March was one of our busiest months in a long time, with our level of inquiry to the islands up more than 40 per cent on the same time last year," she said.

"The feedback we've been getting is that many people felt they were shortchanged on summer."

Ms Munro said interest in sunny winter destinations had begun much earlier than the traditional start of late autumn.