When you take into account an extended stay in the event of an outbreak, or a stint in MIQ on the way back, you are looking at thousands extra.

Itching to leave the country at any cost when the trans-Tasman bubble inflates on April 19?
Figuratively, perhaps, but unless you are blessed with unlimited funds, I am guessing you dont mean it literally. Particularly when a potential outbreak of Covid-19 in either country could force you to spend thousands extra on a trip you would already have spent thousands on.
Flights to Australia are expected to come down in price if demand remains high and competition intensifies.
Here we break down the costs of a trip to Australia when quarantine-free flights take to the skies, taking into account flights, accommodation, travel insurance and an essential Plan B. Fun and food are extra.
Flights to Australia are on the expensive side but Flight Centre NZ managing director David Coombes said he expected prices to lower as airlines boosted capacity and the market became more competitive.
READ MORE:* Trans-Tasman bubble: Everything travellers need to know* Trans-Tasman bubble: Air New Zealand boosts flights to Australia * Trans-Tasman bubble: Travel insurance won’t cover Kiwis stranded in Australia
House of Travel chief operating officer Brent Thomas said airfares started from about $635 per person return but, like Coombes, he predicted prices would fall if the early demand for flights remained high and competition between airlines intensified.
At the time of writing, Air New Zealand was offering flights from Auckland to Sydney on April 19 from $303, with return flights a week later starting from $356. If you wanted to take more than hand luggage, you would need to pay from $323 for the flight out and from $376 to get back.
Flights from Auckland to Melbourne were marginally cheaper, starting from $254 to get there and from $359 to get back. Fares to Brisbane started at $314, with the return leg starting at $357.
Jetstar was offering return flights from Auckland to Sydney over the same period from $560 but again you would need to pay more if you wanted to check in a bag. Qantas return flights for the same period started from $709, including checked baggage.
Package deals are already available for short stays in popular destinations such as Melbourne, pictured, and more are expected over the coming weeks.
Travel agents have already unleashed trans-Tasman deals on airfares, accommodation and packages. The prices are competitive, particularly considering that, if disaster strikes, you will be able to contact a travel agent for assistance.
Flight Centre is offering return Air New Zealand flights from Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch to Sydney from $659 and to Melbourne from $639. Return flights to Brisbane from these cities start from $669.
The damage: Essentially, whichever New Zealand airport you fly out of, you will need to spend upwards of $550 on return flights.
Many accommodation providers in Australia were eager to entice guests, so pricing was competitive, Coombes said.
The Gold Coast was good value before the pandemic and still is, House of Travel’s Brent Thomas says.
There are some great value hotel deals which are not far off pre-Covid pricing.
Thomas said he had seen some great deals in popular destinations such as the Gold Coast, giving travellers a couple of extra nights free.
We know that accommodation providers are keen to entice customers back and rates are very dynamic at the moment. When looking for deals, customers should also be looking for inclusions like breakfasts or value-add offers, as well as the level of flexibility the hotels are offering in their terms and conditions.
Queensland, particularly the Gold Coast, continued to offer good value for money, Thomas said, but options might be limited at times as it had proved a popular destination with Australians taking advantage of their governments half-price flights initiative.
The Sunshine Coast also offered superb value for Kiwis looking for a beach holiday with great food and wine, he said.
The Sunshine Coast represents superb value for those looking for a beach holiday, Brent Thomas says.
Of the cities, we expect to see some deals coming from Melbourne they have been impacted significantly over the past year and will be focused on recovery. Those who have a bit more time and budget will see that destinations beyond the usual gateways have so much to offer in terms of travel experiences and there are some great value deals for these as well.
A quick search on Booking.com found that a couple could expect to pay at least $518 for a seven-night hotel stay in Sydney, April 19-26. If you are happy to stay at a backpackers lodge, you could keep your accommodation budget under $400, with twin rooms starting from $384 and dorms costing significantly less. If five-star hotels are more your style, expect to pay upwards of $1700 for a weeks stay.
In Melbourne, a seven-night stay at a budget hotel over the same time period costs from $511 on Expedia but again cheaper deals can be found at backpackers. On the Gold Coast, cheaper hotels started from about $650 for seven nights on Expedia.
While there are already some package deals available, Thomas said we could expect more over the coming weeks.
Flight Centres new trans-Tasman accommodation packages include three nights at Ibis Sydney on King Street Wharf and a Hop on Hop off Sydney Harbour Explorer pass from $279 per person, and three nights at Ibis Melbourne Hotel & Apartments and a ticket for the Star Observation Wheel from $195 per person.
In Brisbane, you can spend three nights at the four-star Hotel Brisbane from $225 per person, and it will throw in a brewery tour.
The damage: Allow at least $500 for a seven-night stay in a basic hotel in Sydney or Melbourne, and at least $650 for a week on the Gold Coast. Packages can provide great value for shorter stays and often include extras.
Travel insurance
Pre-pandemic, Kiwis often did not bother with travel insurance on trips to Australia, treating them much as they would domestic trips, Allianz Partners chief sales officer David Wallace said.
This was risky then but it is even more so with Covid-19 presenting a threat.
Despite Australia being very close, Kiwis are travelling across international borders so the standard reasons to take out travel insurance still apply, Wallace said.
Even pre-Covid in 2019, Allianz Partners paid out 1691 claims for Kiwis travelling to Australia, which amounted to over $1.7 million most of which was for medical reasons. The second and third most popular claims were for cancellations and damaged, missing or stolen luggage.
Not all travel insurers in New Zealand offer cover for Covid-related incidents but several do. Importantly, however, none will protect you if you are stranded in Australia as result of a government-enforced lockdown or border closure. For many, that is the biggest deterrent against travel to Australia but you can find coverage for a range of other Covid-related incidents.
Coombes said Flight Centres insurance provider Covermore offered cover for most other Covid-19-related disruptions, including a close contact contracting the virus’.
More specifically, the policy covers travellers if they are diagnosed with Covid-19 before or during their journey, if they need to isolate because they are a close contact of a Covid-19 case, if the person they are set to stay with contracts the virus, or if their paid accommodation closes because of an outbreak.
The Allianz policy, meanwhile, will cover you if you are unable to travel because you have contracted the virus, or if you or your travel companion are denied boarding or ordered to quarantine because you are displaying Covid symptoms. You will also be able to claim medical expenses if you contract the virus while you are away.
As painful as it can be, it is imperative to read through the entire policy document, including the fine print, carefully before agreeing to it and accepting all caveats and exclusions in the process.
Thomas said travel insurance to Australia had historically been very affordable and he expected this to continue to be the case.
Dont mind the thought of being stranded in Bondi? You might if an extended lockdown forces you to fork out thousands extra on accommodation and, potentially, MIQ.
Wallace said Allianz customers would pay a standard fee for a policy with Covid cover, which was added to domestic and international leisure policies in late 2020.
The exact price depends on a range of factors, including the age of the traveller, the length of the trip and the excess chosen. But, as a guide, a 35-year-old adult with no pre-existing medical conditions could expect to pay a premium of $40 to $70 for a comprehensive plan for an eight-day stay.
The damage: Budget around $70 for a comprehensive plan with Covid cover.
Plan B
With an outbreak of Covid-19 possible on either side of the ditch at any time, travelling to Australia is still a risky business.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has stressed that it is a case of flyer beware: Travellers need to be able to fund an extended stay if a lockdown or border closure sees them stranded in Australia.
No-one can say in advance with any certainty just how long a pause in quarantine-free travel arrangements might last for in the event of an outbreak. You could be looking at a day or two extra in a hotel or you could be looking at weeks or, in a real nightmare scenario, months.
Even if you have family or friends in Australia you could stay with, you should also factor in the possibility of having to fork out at least $3100 for managed isolation upon your return to New Zealand if an outbreak prompts an extended lockdown in Australia.
The MIQ charge may be waived on compassionate grounds in some cases but the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment criteria does not appear to capture work-related trips or holidaymakers.
Kiwis who travel to Australia could have to pay for a stay in MIQ upon their return in the event of an extended lockdown.
Under the Governments traffic light risk management system, a stay in managed isolation may be required under the suspend (red) level. This could occur if there are multiple cases from an unknown source requiring a longer lockdown of more than 72 hours, which could see flights suspended for an extended period.
Australias most recent lockdown in Greater Brisbane was for 72 hours but a snap lockdown in Melbourne in February lasted for five days.
A lockdown in Sydneys northern beaches in December also lasted for five days.
Thomas said Kiwis would need to determine their own appetite for risk but even if yours is unusually high, he recommended budgeting for a potential extended stay.
It is difficult to say how much Kiwis should budget for this as it will depend on how long they may have their holiday extended by and what style of accommodation and holiday they have or if they are staying with friends or family.
The damage: An extra week in a budget hotel in Australia would cost you at least $500 but you can expect to pay much more if you are staying somewhere fancier. The prudent should also budget for a potential stay in MIQ, bringing the basic Plan B fund to $3600. Ideally though, you would be able to fund at least a few extra weeks, if not months, in Australia.
The grant total: Flights, accommodation, travel insurance and a basic Plan B are likely to cost you at least $4720. Expect to pay more if you would like to stay in more than basic accommodation and potentially much more if you are stranded in Australia for longer than a week. And dont forget your budget for food and fun.