Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-07-22
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Practical tips for a trip to New Zealand
TRAVEL Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jeff Guaracino

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

How far away is New Zealand from Chicago? Far!

Consider this: As I sip a local beer in the cozy S&M bar in the "Coolest Little Capital City" in the world—Wellington, New Zealand—the owners of S&M, Scotty and Mel, welcome me to the closest gay bar to the South Pole, only 3,374 miles to the south!

Together for 20 years as business and life partners, they are among the leaders in New Zealand advocating for full-marriage equality in a campaign called "One Love." Why am I starting a story about traveling to New Zealand with their story? Because the people of New Zealand make a trip here worth every airline mile.

According to New Zealand tourism officials, less than 1 percent of North American travelers who are actively considering a trip to New Zealand—900 miles southeast of Australia—will actually go. Indeed, to make a journey to this part of the world is special and truly a trip of a lifetime.

Here are a few practical tips on making your travel fabulous:

Getting there

This remote island nation is so far that you will cross the International Date Line, which will make you about 18 hours ( one day ) ahead of your friends and family back home. You will lose one calendar day on your trip going to New Zealand but you gain that day back when returning home. ( Your world clock in your phone will come in handy. )

Prepare yourself for the 12-hour overnight flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand. It's a good idea to break the trip up with an overnight stop in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hawaii or another West Coast destination. For intrepid travelers, you could go all the way without stopping. Godspeed!

Reserve your hotel room the night before you actually arrive to guarantee an early check-in at your hotel, as most flights arrive in the morning. Keep all your travel documents handy throughout the trip, especially your return flight information. You will need to show proof of your citizenship and your return travel plans all along the way.


While the U.S. dollar is approximately 20 percent stronger than the New Zealand dollar, prices there include a national tax on most purchases, which reduces your buying power. Hotel rooms, clothing and meals cost about the same while some items cost significantly more as they do back in the United States. Tipping is not necessary, but for exceptional service you can leave 10 pervcent.

You don't need a visa to make a trip to New Zealand but there is a $25 departure fee at the airport. It is sometimes included in your airfare and sometimes not. Ask about the airline representative at check in about this fee. If your airline ticket does not include the departure fee, you will have to get a sticker for your boarding pass at the currency exchange booth to leave New Zealand.

If you are going to the other side of the world, what's another three and half hour flight to Sydney, Australia? For American citizens, you will need to apply for an online visa at .au. The online application is quick and costs $20 ( AUS ) . A tourist visa is good for up to three months but employment is prohibited. You must apply for this visa before you leave the United States.

On a flight this long, it is important to rack up miles on one airline and you should definitely choose your carrier wisely. You will want a newer plane with a great international service. Air New Zealand now flies two new planes between Los Angeles and Auckland. Service is Kiwi-friendly and the food is superior. The airline has a good sense of humor and is very gay-friendly. Fitness celebrity Richard Simmons stars in the onboard safety video "Mile-high madness with Richard Simmons," a hilarious take on safety. Check it out on YouTube.

At last check, roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles on Air New Zealand in November cost $2,000 for economy; slightly more for premium economy; and about $8,000 for business premier. Visit for current prices. A round-trip flight between New Zealand and Australia costs about $500. It is best to search multiple airline websites at .

If you have achieved gold status on any Star Alliance member airline you are entitled to an array of premium services without additional cost including access to the Air New Zealand international lounges regardless of your class of service. Check out the Star Alliance web site for more information ( ) .

What does a gay traveler need to know?

Consider a travel agent or tour operator to book your trip. A trip to these two countries could be complicated and you will want to plan a few organized or group tours. Check out for gay-friendly and LGBT-owned businesses operating in New Zealand and Australia. There are also a number of U.S. and Canadian based tour companies that organize group trips to these destinations. Research destination itineraries and explore New Zealand at

For gay nightlife, spend the weekend in Sydney. You will find a number of gay bars ( also called hotels ) along Oxford Street. New Zealand's LGBT scene is very, very small but you will find bars that cater to mostly men. Search the web for up-to-date information. Grinder is also a terrific travel app where you can ask the locals what is happening while you are there.

Be sure to check out what you can bring back into the country by checking out the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site at . You can't bring back too much wine! Register your trip with the U.S. Department of State, especially since earthquakes can and do happen in New Zealand. Be sure to understand your travel and health insurance policies.

Jeff Guaracino is a vice president for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation ( GPTMC ) and the author of "Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing" and is Vice Chair for the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association ( IGLTA ) . He has learned to how to find the best deals and travel resources out there for our community. Traveling locally, check out and friend us at

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


ACTIVITIES Rollin' on the river, courtesy of the Chicago Electric Boat Company 2020-07-08
TRAVEL San Antonio, a spot that defies and embraces Texas 2020-03-14
WORLD Travel meeting postponed, Hong Kong ruling, African refugees, Grindr sold 2020-03-10
Make a pit stop in Indy for a gay ol' time 2020-02-13
NATIONAL Fatal shooting, LGBTQ political news, Bayard Rustin, travel ban 2020-02-05
TRAVEL Ireland, Northern Ireland: A land of rainbows 2019-12-13
TRAVEL Louisville: Putting a twist on Southern hospitality 2019-11-27
The Camino Project, an experiment in travel 2019-08-20
DINING Travelle dinner, National Bao Day, Winestyr Fest, ladies' night 2019-08-20
Event promotes LGBTQ tourism in Israel 2019-08-16
TRAVEL Driftless and daring: Mineral Point, Wisconsin 2019-08-07
TRAVEL Arizona: Hot and cool 2019-07-15
Gay tourism group cancels Ethopian trip after death threats 2019-06-26
TRAVEL Portland: Something for everyone 2019-05-24
LGBTQ activists travel to Springfield for Advocacy Day 2019-05-19
STAYCATION REVIEW The Langham Chicago 2019-05-08
MUSIC Trans singer-educator talks music, teaching, traveling 2019-04-09
NYC Pride announces World Pride opening ceremony June 26, Whoopi Goldberg to host 2019-04-05
Illinois Office of Tourism Wins Spartacus Traveler Award for #AmazingForAll 2019-03-19
STAYCATION REVIEW Swissotel 2019-03-15
STAYCATION REVIEW Fieldhouse Jones 2019-01-30
TRAVEL Philadelphia, a lot more than the Liberty Bell 2018-12-19
WORLD Marriage news, HIV prosecution, Cuba travel 2018-12-12
DINING Travelle cocktails, new Wow Bao, 'Vanderpump' parties 2018-11-27
A visit to the gay capital of South Florida 2018-11-20
SAVOR Talking with Travelle's chefs; dining news 2018-11-19
Center on Halsted hosts Orlando Traveling Memorial 2018-10-17
Orlando Traveling Memorial to debut at Center on Halsted 2018-10-10
TRAVEL Hello, Columbus, Much more than a college town 2018-09-18
VALUE TRAVEL Downtown LA, The city's walkable gayborhood 2018-09-04
HRC Promotes Workplace Inclusion in Argentina at LGBT Business, Tourism Summit 2018-08-21
Local women arrange Italy LGBTQ adventures 2018-08-08
VALUE TRAVEL Fabulous Philadelphia, Perfect for a long weekend 2018-07-10
TRAVEL Everything comes up roses in Pasadena 2018-07-10
Travel map shows LGBTQI intolerance worldwide 2018-07-08
Chicago women launch LGBTQ travel companies specializing in same-sex weddings in Italy 2018-06-21
MORE ON SULLIVAN Reminiscing about Sullivan's theater 2018-06-20
Activities in Sullivan, Boutiques, antiques, beaches and more 2018-06-20
VALUE TRAVEL Saugatuck summer getaway: Beaches, winery and more 2018-06-05
LGBTQ travel conference looks at sustainability 2018-05-29

Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.