Media releases 2014

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Parents play hooky with their kids Southern Cross Travel Insurance survey

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 by Aimee Bourke

A large number of New Zealand parents take their children out to holiday overseas, a Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) survey shows.

Results from the survey, which was carried out for SCTI by TNS, show that 45% of parents have taken their child or children on an overseas holiday. And of those parents, 42% chose to do this during term time.

Broken down by region, this practice is most common in Dunedin with the lowest percentage reported by Christchurch parents. Children taking time off from school at some point to go on an overseas holiday:

  • Auckland - 43%
  • Hamilton - 53%
  • Tauranga - 48%
  • Wellington - 40%
  • Christchurch - 39%
  • Dunedin - 58%

In comparison, only 18% had taken time off for a domestic holiday.

Craig Morrison, SCTI CEO, says there are different reasons families choose to holiday during the school term.

“Price is an obvious factor, with some trips up to half the cost if you travel outside of the peak periods. You also need to consider the large number of ex-pats living in New Zealand who want to spend time with family during the warmer months in the Northern Hemisphere. And not all parents can get time off work during the holidays.” he says.

Morrison advises parents of teenagers intending to travel outside school holidays, particularly those in Years 11, 12and 13, to carefully check their children’s schedules before making any payments for flights or accommodation.

“Parents need to contact the school and check their holiday plans don’t conflict with any examinations or assessments. They also need to bear in mind that some secondary schools refuse to grant extended holiday leave outside of the school holidays.”

Travel insurance doesn’t cover cancellations to a journey at the request or requirement of an employer or academic provider.

“Before you go ahead and pay, check with your employer that you can take leave - you’d be surprised at the number of people that don’t!”

Morrison also says that it’s reasonably common for university students to have to cancel a trip because they are required to re-sit a failed exam.

When it comes to taking children on overseas holidays in general, it appears New Zealanders are keen to make up for lost ground. Just 17% of those surveyed over aged 40 said they had travelled overseas for a holiday as children. Subsequently as adults, 82% of that age-group have now travelled off-shore and 67% have taken their children.

Morrison says that in the last 30 years New Zealand has undergone massive changes in the way people take their holidays.

“Bigger and better planes, a greater choice of destinations and a drop in prices have all contributed to the accessibility and affordability of overseas holidays.”

Figures from Statistics NZ show that in 1982 just over 200,000 New Zealanders took an overseas holiday, thirty years later that had jumped 318% to over 860,000 going offshore for a holiday.


Editor note: The research quoted was carried out with 2,000 New Zealanders. It was conducted by TNS on behalf of Southern Cross in September 2013. Responses were weighted to be representative of the New Zealand over 15 population by age, gender and region.