Flight to New Zealand: Return Vs. Open Return Vs. One Way© NZPocketGuide.com
Flight to New Zealand: Return Vs. Open Return Vs. One Way

Flight to New Zealand: Return Vs. Open Return Vs. One Way

© NZPocketGuide.com

Book Your Flight to New Zealand the Smart Way

This is where it becomes real: booking your flight for a trip to New Zealand. Because New Zealand is far away from, well, everywhere, booking a flight is not going to be cheap. The price alone is enough to know that there is no turning back once the flight is booked.

Before starting to compare flight prices to New Zealand, especially if you’re doing an extended trip to New Zealand like a gap year or a working holiday, you need to know whether you should book a return ticket, an open-return or a one-way flight ticket. Each one has its pros and cons in terms of flexibility and price. What you decide on really depends on how you would prefer to plan your gap year. Because this decision is personal to everyone, we have gone through the pros and cons of each type of flight ticket to help you prepare your trip to New Zealand. Aren’t we helpful?!

What Type of Plane Ticket Should You Get to Fly to New Zealand?

There are three types of plane ticket you can get, which are:

  • Return ticket: this is for the traveller who likes to have their plans “set in stone” so to speak. This ticket option might make more sense if you are only staying for a limited time
  • Open return: a flexible ticket that allows you to fly back whenever you want within 12 months
  • One-way ticket: you have your flight to New Zealand sorted, so you have the time to figure out when you want to book your flight home and include any stopovers you want to take.

Unless you have very limited time in New Zealand (less than three months) then we would recommend the open return ticket or a one-way ticket to anyone doing a gap year, working holiday or backpacking in New Zealand. We will talk more about those options below.

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The Pros and Cons of an Open-return Flight Ticket to New Zealand

An open return or open-ended plane ticket gives you a specific time and date to fly to New Zealand but means you can book your return flight later for any day or time. It is usually within 12 months and via the same route.

The Pros of an Open-return Flight Ticket

  • It makes it easier to prove you have a return travel ticket for when you arrive at Immigration
  • You get more air mile points
  • It reassures your family that you are coming home at some point
  • By taking the same route home, you will be familiar with the airport, making the journey a little less stressful.

The Cons of an Open-flight Ticket

  • It is usually more expensive than booking two one-way tickets so it is even more important to compare your options on meta-search engines
  • There may be extra fees when booking your return flight
  • The fees are particularly expensive if you book your flight home and then want to change the date later
  • You still need to book the return flight in advance (more than a month), especially to avoid extra fees
  • You don’t get the flexibility of booking different stopovers on the way home.
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The Pros and Cons of a One-way Flight Ticket to New Zealand

A one-way ticket is a plane ticket getting you to your destination on a set date and time, but you have no flight back.

The Pros of a One-way Ticket

  • Ultimate flexibility! If you are coming to New Zealand on a gap year, then you never know where you will be in a year’s time, what will have happened, and where you will go next. By having no set plan to come home, you give yourself freedom
  • Choose a different route home with different stopovers on the way home. Many backpackers like to travel the Pacific Islands, Australia or Asia on the way home from New Zealand. There is also the option to do working holidays in other countries
  • It is much cheaper than an open-return plane ticket
  • You have the option to change airlines, if you want to experience a different one, a cheaper one, or if that last airline you took over to New Zealand was utter crap.

The Cons of a One-way Ticket

  • For visa and immigration purposes when you enter the country, you will need to show you have sufficient funds to buy a travel ticket out of New Zealand. About NZ$1,000 will be enough.
  • Plane ticket prices might increase.
  • Your family might not feel reassured that you are coming home.
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The Pros and Cons of a Return Flight Ticket to New Zealand

Why have we shoved this return ticket to the bottom of this article, here? For a gap year in New Zealand, a return flight where you have two set flying dates there and back via the same route isn’t the most ideal compared to the options you have above. Nevertheless, here are the pros and cons.

The Pros of a Return Flight

  • There’s no need to worry about booking a flight home.
  • You have a solid plan for returning home if you have very limited time in New Zealand.
  • Coming home with the same airline and airports means that you are more familiar with the journey and perhaps less stressed.
  • Airlines sometimes do deals on return flights saving you money on airfares.

The Cons of a Return Flight

  • More often than not, the return flight is just as expensive as buying two one-way tickets so compare prices before buying using a flight comparison website
  • There is no flexibility to change your plans without losing a lot of money
  • Spending all that time going home the same route you came with the same airline can be, well, a little boring.

One Last Thing…

Remember, when it comes to organising your gap year abroad, you should book a ticket that suits you the best. There’s nothing more personal than your very own gap year to New Zealand!

So, now that you have decided which plane ticket to New Zealand will suit you the best, follow our tips for booking a cheap flight to New Zealand!


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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