Tag Archives: new zealand

If you’re a tourist – demand a tax refund!

Stop Paying Taxes

Travellers can often claim back local sales tax on high-value goods you’ll be ‘exporting’. Whenever you make a purchase overseas it’s worth asking whether you can seek a refund of sales tax – it is possible throughout most of Europe but not for GST paid in New Zealand, for instance. Local regulations vary but this often involves having the goods and reciept stamped by customs before you depart. You may be paid on the spot, but more frequently you need to mail the stamped form back to the place of purchase for a refund check or electronic credit.

Global Refund - Tax Free ShoppingTwo services Global Tax Refund Tax Free Shopping and Premier Tax Free promise to simplify the process of reimbursement in many (overwealmingly European) countries, although whether you’re interested in the services or not the websites are useful for a guide to European sales tax rates and restrictions (e.g. time limit for export or refund claims).

Both services are designed to simplify and streamline the process and allow you to be reimbursed immediately at their airport kiosk for purchases previously mPremier Tax Freeade at participating merchants who display relevant logo. If you forget or don’t have a chance to claim at the airport you will often be able to access the refund by mailing the documents from home, but check this in advance. Global Tax Free is the larger with some 230,000 participating merchants in 35 countries, Premier claims around of 75,000 ‘retail partners’ across 15 countries. Both websites offer shopping guides containing a list of participating merchants and specific details of the claims process for each country.

Both of these systems charge a percentage commission (around 4%) for the service, which may or may not be a fair price for avoiding dealings with the local beuracracy.

For a good guide to tax refunds for travellers in Europe see Rick Steves’ guide.

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[Image by Jahat]

Free! Travel Information Delivered To Your Door!

The internet is an incredible free source of destination information, but it can’t quite match the thrill of receiving a whole envelope full of free glossy brochures of beautiful people streched out before vistas of azure oceans. Here are two great sources of free travel information delivered to your door; one defintely useful, the perhaps somewhat other less so.

Travel BrochuresLet’s start with the best. Tourism authorities are a fantastic and often-overlooked source of travel information – particularly for decent free maps and basic info with lots of glossy pictures. ANTOR’s* represents 48 official tourism authorities (including the Australian State authorities) and the destination info page provides (along side some basic travel info) the URL, email address and contact details for all of them. If you’re interested in any major destination for Australian travellers it will be listed. Simply email the relevant authority with your address, rough dates of travel and as far as possible the specific regions or cities you’re interested in and wait for the postie everyday for a week or so! No substitute for a good guidebook or your own research but generally there will be at least a couple of genuinely useful items in the material sent.

TravelBrochures.com.au and TravelBrochures.SMH.com.au are another clearing house for free travel information, although arguably of a must less useful nature. These sites allow to order free tour company brochures, some of which are available in digital (tree-saving) format. All the majors are available as well as a few smaller operators – useful if you wish to compare tours from a number of companies or can’t get to a travel agent. Of course some major operators now send out (often unintenionally comical) DVDs as as a bonus! Be warned, however, apart from ending up on a tour (which may or may not be a bad thing in itself…), you are likely to end up on a mailing list of the tour companies from which it may be difficult to extract yourself!

*(Association of National Tourist Office Representatives in Australasia)

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[Image by Classroom III]

Jetstar Sale

Just a heads-up about a new Jetstar ‘sale’, although it’s a bit of damp squib compared to recent deals (perhaps we’ve been a bit spoilt…). I couldn’t see too startling so I didn’t bother copying the whole schebang. Let me know if you think otherwise.

Routes:

  • Melbourne to Bangkok or Singapore (via Darwin),
  • Sydney to Vietnam or Japan, and
  • Queensland to Japan or Christchurch

Sale runs until Wednesday 21 May 2008 for travel 24 May – 24 Jun 08.

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World Listed

Milford SoundIf you have a few moments or are in need of travel inspiration the TripAdvisor Destinations Awards are worth a quick once-over. They were apparently ‘determined by a combination of TripAdvisor’s travelers’ favorite places and overall popularity on TripAdvisor’.

New Zealand takes out a quinella, with Milford Sound and Queenstown the two highest ranked destinations. Sydney, Cairns, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Port Douglas, Noosa, Perth, Cape Tribulation, Fremantle, Alice Springs, the Margaret River, Airlie Beach and Hobart were the Aussie inclusions. With regard to the USA California dominated, with Lake Tahoe the hightest rated, and in Europe it was Rhodes. Thailand managed six mentions. One slightly bizarre inclusion was Nadi, which may be a gateway to heaps of Fijian goodness but which is a pretty ordinary destination in itself.

Can anybody tick all of them off?

[Image of Milford Sound via Anita Gould]

Air New Zealand Sale – One Way $219 From Australian East Coast

Air New Zealand has a 72 hour sale running until Wed 14th of May. Deals to New Zealand (Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch) include

  • Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane & Gold Coast one way from $219
  • Adelaide one way from $339
  • Perth one way from $499

For travel July to September 08. Prices include taxes and surcharges.

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[Hat tip: OzBargains. Image via sea-bass]

$1 New Zealand Nakedness

Nakedbus is a New Zealand coach service that has learnt a thing or two from LCCs and US based Boltbus by selling at least one seat on every bus for $1. Unfortunately, they also appear to have learnt the excess luggage trick. I found a few fares at the advertised buck (Queenstown – Christchurch in July) but (unsurprisingly) never for two passengers travelling together. Travelzoo reckon they had success finding the fares on routes between

  • Napier to Taupo
  • Palmerston North to Wellington
  • Auckland to Rotorua

Regular fares, however, seemed to be in the same ballpark as competitor Intercity.

Unfortunately, Nakedbus might be, well, just a bit of a tease.

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Once, twice, three times the sale(s) – Virgin Blue respond with “Party at Our Place Specials”

Virgin Blue have responded to Jetstar and Tiger. Specials on domestic routes (too many to list) and:

New Zealand

  • Brisbane → Wellington $229^ AUD
  • Sydney → Christchurch $149 AUD
  • Melbourne → Christchurch $149 AUD
  • Brisbane → Christchurch $149 AUD
  • Auckland → Gold Coast $179 NZD
  • Auckland → Brisbane $185 NZD
  • Wellington → Brisbane $185^ NZD
  • Christchurch → Sydney $179^ NZD
  • Christchurch → Melbourne $179^ NZD
  • Christchurch → Brisbane $185^ NZD
  • Auckland → Cairns $339 NZD
  • Auckland → Mackay $279 NZD
  • Auckland → Rockhampton $279 NZD
  • Christchurch → Adelaide $299 NZD
  • Christchurch → Cairns $329 NZD
  • Christchurch → Canberra $259 NZD
  • Wellington → Cairns

Tonga

  • Auckland → Nuku Alofa (Tonga) $149 NZD
  • Auckland → Nuku Alofa (Tonga) $169 NZD
  • Sydney → Nuku Alofa (Tonga) $279 AUD
  • Melbourne → Nuku Alofa (Tonga) $349* AUD
  • Brisbane → Nuku Alofa (Tonga) $349* AUD
  • Adelaide → Nuku Alofa (Tonga) $349* AUD
  • Canberra → Nuku Alofa (Tonga) $349* AUD

Samoa

  • Auckland → Apia (Samoa) $239 NZD
  • Christchurch → Apia (Samoa) $299* NZD
  • Wellington → Apia (Samoa) $299* NZD
  • Auckland → Apia (Samoa) $259 NZD
  • Christchurch → Apia (Samoa) $299* NZD
  • Wellington → Apia (Samoa) $299* NZD
  • Sydney → Apia (Samoa) $349 AUD
  • Melbourne → Apia (Samoa) $399* AUD
  • Brisbane → Apia (Samoa) $399* AUD
  • Adelaide → Apia (Samoa) $399* AUD
  • Canberra → Apia (Samoa) $399* AUD
  • Gold Coast → Apia (Samoa) $399* AUD

Cook Islands

  • Auckland → Rarotonga $249 NZD
  • Christchurch → Rarotonga $299* NZD
  • Wellington → Rarotonga $299* NZD

Travel between dates vary, fares are one-way include most taxes. Seats are limited and may not be available at peak times or on all flights.

Hope it’s of interest.