Winter's arrived and many people are dreaming of a warm escape.

And thanks to the ultra-competitive airline wars, Kiwis are travelling more often and further afield.

As well as the usual "flop and drop" winter break destinations popular in the Pacific and Australia, more Kiwis are heading to places like Hawaii, Vietnam and Los Angeles.

As prices dropped, many holidaymakers were heading overseas twice in a year rather than once and those who previously couldn't afford international travel were now making overseas trips, managers for two of New Zealand's leading travel agencies said.


Earlier this year return flights to Europe fell below $1000 and others were on sale to London for a previously unheard of $1099.

Flights to Hawaii and Los Angeles also dropped, in part thanks to new airlines flying here.

Eleven new airlines had entered the New Zealand market in the last year which increased supply considerably thereby driving down prices, said Flight Centre's general manager Sean Berenson.

"What we believed we were going to see was a subtraction of people going to closer to home destinations and start to explore further.

"What we've actually seen is that people are choosing to travel more often."

He said the company's double-digit percentage growth in the past year had been "extraordinary", thanks in large part to the increasing popularity of Vietnam and Hawaii as holiday destinations.

"What we're seeing is Kiwis taking advantage of these incredibly low prices and they're doing their close to home holiday and then they're hopping on a flight and heading off to Asia or Europe or America," he said.

Brent Thomas, general manager at House of Travel, said point to point travel was still preferred for a "drop and recharge" holiday, and long haul flights hadn't replaced the desire for easy midwinter breaks, especially for families.


"It's not that we're seeing people saying, 'I'm going to Europe so therefore I'm not going to the Islands', we're definitely seeing more people who are taking more than one holiday a year."

Thomas also cited massive company growth, saying House of Travel had seen a sales increase of about 6 to 8 per cent in the past year.

Both airlines had seen increases in all major demographics when it came to who was travelling.

Vietnam, long a top destination for young backpackers on a shoestring, was beginning to attract a higher number of families as it became a more mainstream destination.

Berenson and Thomas recommended booking holidays early to secure good deals, and said despite the ease of booking online, travel agents were often worth talking to because they knew the ins and outs of how to save money on flights and accommodation.

Deals to keep an eye out for:

House of Travel is offering flights to:


Los Angeles fly one way from $549 per person from your local NZ domestic airport flying Air New Zealand. Add on a California Coast Highlights self-drive four nights from $795pp share twin, includes accommodation and car hire. Sale ends June 6.

Waikiki flights and four nights from $1349 per person share double from Auckland flying Hawaiian Airlines. Add on Hawaii Island flights and two nights from $399pp share twin from Honolulu. Sales end 6 June, hospitality fee applies.

Gold Coast flights and seven nights from $699 per person share twin from Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch flying Air New Zealand. Add four nights from $199 per person share twin. Sale ends today.

Flight Centre is offering flights to:

Honolulu return from $849 from Auckland, per person flying Hawaiian Airlines. Valid for sales until June 6.

Tokyo return from $1049 leaving Auckland, per person flying Qantas. Valid for sales until June 30.


Gold Coast holidays from $875 from Christchurch, $885 from Auckland, or $965 from Wellington, per person, twin share. Includes return airfares to Brisbane and seven nights. Valid for sales until June 10.