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New Zealand Drops Vaccine Requirement For Travelers, Ditches Mask Mandates

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New Zealand has officially decided to drop the vaccine requirement for international visitors, marking its end to some of the most stringent Covid rules in the world. Along with dropping the vaccine requirement, masks will no longer be mandatory in public. The official end to the vaccine requirement went into effect on September 13th.

As of today, all incoming travelers are welcome, whether vaccinated or not. Mask wearing has also been eliminated, except for in healthcare facilities. The only requirement that will remain in place is a 7-day isolation period for Covid-positive individuals.

Wellington Cable Car in New Zealand

“Finally, rather than feeling that COVID dictates what happens to us, our lives, and our future, we take control back as we continue to drive economic activity and our recovery,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a Covid-19 media conference.

Ardern went on to say that this will be the first summer since the pandemic began “where our borders are fully reopened, and there isn't the fear of being separated or stranded—the first summer where we have our certainty.”

Woman traveling taking a photo of Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand is currently entering its spring season, which lasts from September to November. Summer in New Zealand lasts from December to February and is the peak season for tourism in the country. As the country joins the ever-growing list of restriction-free countries, it will undoubtedly benefit from an influx of visitors. Many travelers have been itching to travel there for over two years.

Tourist with a backpack and mountain panorama in New Zealand

What Does This Mean For Travelers?

Get ready to buy a ticket! Travelers who have been holding off on visiting New Zealand due to travel restrictions can now freely travel to the country starting on September 13th. Visitors will no longer need to take a test before or after arrival, show proof of vaccination, or quarantine upon arrival. New Zealand has endless amounts of captivating scenery, the people are friendly, and their summer is a great time to visit one of the country's many beaches or lakes.

Abel Tasman National Park beach tourists hikers tramping on coast track trail in new zealand

Getting To New Zealand

Getting to New Zealand is no small task. Flights are long, and it can be challenging to find round-trip tickets for under $1,000. For travelers interested in visiting during New Zealand's summer (America's winter), there are currently 7 U.S. cities that fly non-stop to Auckland, New Zealand. In order to aid travelers planning to visit, Travel Off Path has listed each of these cities below, with flight times and ticket costs for a 2-week trip from January 17th to January 31st, 2023. Only non-stop flights were considered for the prices shown.

Travelers should also keep in mind that these fares were found using Google Flights on 9/12/2022. With the recent announcement of travel restrictions being scrapped, prices could be higher than typical.

New Zealand Flight Connections
Image Courtesy Of: Flight Connections

U.S. Cities That Fly Direct To Auckland (AKL)

  • Chicago (ORD)
    • Flight Time: 16h 30
    • Carrier: Air New Zealand
    • Cost: $2,081 round-trip, carry-on and checked bag included
  • Dallas Fort Worth (DFW)
    • Flight Time: 15h 01
    • Carrier: American
    • Cost: $1,995 round-trip, carry-on and checked bag included
  • Honolulu (HNL)
    • Flight Time: 9h 10
    • Carrier: Air New Zealand
    • Cost: $1,201 round-trip, carry-on and checked bag included
  • Houston (IAH)
    • Flight Time: 14h 55
    • Carrier: Air New Zealand
    • Cost: $1,923 round-trip, carry-on and checked bag included
Air new Zealand flight
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
    • Flight Time: 13h 05
    • Carrier: Air New Zealand
    • Cost: $1,788 round-trip, carry-on and checked bag included
  • New York City (JFK)
    • Flight Time: 17h 50
    • (1-16 to 1-30, no flights on 1-17)
    • Carrier: Air New Zealand
    • Cost: $2,458 round-trip, carry-on and checked bag included
  • San Francisco (SFO)
    • Flight Time: 13h 05
    • Carrier: Air New Zealand
    • Cost: $2,173 round-trip, carry-on and checked bag included

Bonus Fare: Vancouver, Canada to Auckland, New Zealand (YVR – AKL)

  • Flight Time: 14h 15
    • Carrier: Air New Zealand
    • Cost: $1,684 round-trip, carry-on and checked bag included
Female Solo Traveler Standing Over Footpath Leading To Snow Capped Mountains In New Zealand

What To Know When Traveling To New Zealand

New Zealand is a beautiful country and is well worth the effort it takes to get there. Now that the country is reopening completely to tourists, travelers will likely be booking their trips for the upcoming summer (New Zealand's summer, that is).

As a result, flight prices may be elevated at the moment, but using Google's Price Insights will help show whether or not you are getting a reasonable rate. With that in mind, below are a few more tips that will be helpful to the first-time New Zealand traveler:

Travelers using a camper van in new zealand
  • Summer is from December to February and is the busiest time for tourists.
  • Renting a car? Be prepared to drive on the left!
  • One of the most exciting ways to see the country is to travel in a camper van. There are many parks you can camp in that have all sorts of amenities. (For a list of parks, check out the New Zealand Department of Conservation site)
  • Have an emergency? Dial 111 rather than 911
  • Pack sunscreen! The UV index in New Zealand is quite high, and it is easy to burn, even when the sun is behind the clouds.
  • When eating at a restaurant, it's customary to walk to the counter to pay your bill when finished. Also, tipping is not expected in New Zealand.
new zealand travelers beach

Most importantly, have fun! Travel is becoming easy and enjoyable again after years of restrictions. Although travel this summer has been chaotic due to delays and lost luggage, demand isn't slowing. People are happy to take on the risk of travel disruption this year to get back out there and enjoy themselves. To help make sure you make it through to your destination without disruption, lessen your chances of a lost bag, know your passenger rights, and check out these 8 tips for navigating travel chaos.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Thursday 9th of March 2023

The reason that Jacinda the horse resigned was for better job opportunities in a WEF friendly NGO. Plenty of Mrs Ed types still in these shaky isles though. Beautiful country and for aforementioned reason, no need to break out the penicillin...


Saturday 19th of November 2022

the decided to drop communism for now...


Wednesday 14th of September 2022

wait and see. flights to get there is too expensive. Sailing sounds to go to the Pacific a bit nicer?!!


Tuesday 13th of September 2022

Too little too late


Tuesday 13th of September 2022

Your dates are incorrect. The travel restrictions were removed two days ago! The vaccine mandates that are being lifted on September 26th refer only to the govt mandated requirements mainly for govt employees in the health and education sectors. September 26th is the legislated date by which these mandates were going to expire. Let me reiterate. The travel restrictions have already been removed and have nothing to do with the September 26th vaccine mandate removals. Two totally different things.