Q. My husband and I plan to travel to Auckland, New Zealand next April. When is the best time to start looking for good buys on tickets?
A. Let me first congratulate you on being a model travel planner! Not only have you started planning your trip well ahead of time, you have also picked one of the best times to go, at least from a price perspective. April and especially May, along with August and part of November tend to be the cheapest periods by far to travel down under.
Both Qantas and Air New Zealand have fairly predictable and straight-forward sales to Auckland that usually start several months in advance and run through the month of travel. You can start checking their respective web sites for sales late in the fall, but January should be plenty early to catch a good deal and a good seat. In addition to signing up for our e-mail alerts, you may also want to subscribe to those of both airlines.
While Qantas often prices their nonstop service from Los Angeles to Auckland a bit lower, with the "Discover New Zealand" offer Air New Zealand has especially attractive options for adding on domestic New Zealand travel at minimal extra cost to their nonstop flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco. From other major U.S. airports, both airlines offer add-on connecting flights, but you can sometimes do better by arranging your own connection.