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Any tips for an American traveling to New Zealand?

Question by Cindy: Any tips for an American traveling to New Zealand?
I’m going to go to New Zealand for three weeks next month with my class. After my pre-departure session at school some tips were like:

-Don’t wear brand new clothing? (Guess no American Eagle for me..)
-Don’t look like an American?
-Don’t be overly patriotic, like shouting “USA! USA!”
-Don’t ask stupid questions like “Do you only eat Kiwis?”

And the most emphasized one was:
-Don’t get belligerent drunk, enjoy the alcohol rather than use it as a tool to get hammered, and not be loud.

Although these tips are pretty obvious, is there anything else an American should know/do while traveling in New Zealand?
Drinking is allowed in my class, but obviously getting ridiculously drunk is forbidden. We are planning to go to pubs while we’re there, to observe the social scene and hopefully talk to some locals. Which brings me to ask, what are some good New Zealand beers?

Oops, I meant brand named clothing not brand new, haha.

Best answer:

Answer by jennifer h
You can wear new clothing and look American if you want. New Zealanders are friendly people and they can take a joke but not rude people
The beer is quite weak compared to some Countries but if you are going with a class I guess you are in school so drinking wouldn’t be allowed.

What do you think? Answer below!


  1. One good tip – If you want to score yourself a boyfriend while you are there – then dress up as a sheep!

  2. Ignore the first two points, that’s silly. (Why not new clothing?)

    I suggest you brush up on your metric system, and you don’t need to tip anyone in NZ. NZ’ers tend to be more quietly spoken than Americans.

  3. Dont be patriotic is a good tip. And you dont need to”SHOUT!”. Americans tend to be loud. No idea why. Dont keep reminding us that you are American, we have televisions so have seen them before. Watch what pubs you go to too. Americans think they can “drink”, until they get on the piss with Kiwis! Enjoy your stay.

  4. New Zealanders are fantastic people.Not loud but extremely friendly.Wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of them though.
    Everything works well there and you will never starve with their great local cafes. Hardly any rubbish on the roads due to the lack of the fast food chains. Nothing to spoil the scenery
    You will feel ok there.
    In my travels most of the americans Iv’e met have been fine and good company so don’t worry.
    In Australia the loud behaviour of some have turned the name English backpacker into a mildly dirty word.

  5. I’m only guessing but the reasons behind “no new clothing” and not “looking like an American” means they just don’t want you to stand out. Besides, I’m not sure what an American “looks like” and I am one! And, really, there aren’t any stupid questions. Most kiwis know you are from another country when you speak to them, and most are empathetic to the idea that you don’t know all about New Zealand. Most New Zealanders I know get a huge laugh out of listening to Americans murder Maori names of towns and cities. Look up some websites that will give you proper pronunciation of Maori words – see if you can find ‘Kia Ora’, a typical greeting. And learn a bit about Maori customs, as some things we do might be considered offensive to some. (Like sitting on tables).

    Here are a few hints as far as understanding kiwis: “pudding” is not just pudding – it’s dessert. “tea” is supper, “supper” is a late evening meal. “jelly” is gelatin, “jam” is jelly, “Biscuits” are cookies. A “ute” is a small truck. “Carpark” is where the car is, and “carpark building” is a parking garage.
    And don’t take a “f@nnypack” with you as a “f@nny” is NOT a bum (or a butt), and that term is considered very naughty and not used in polite company! Someone may tell you they are “stuffed” – it means they are tired, not full! And if you are “crook” you are sick.”On the piss” or “pissed” means you have been drinking beer, and no one is angry. If someone asks you to “shout us a beer” it means they want you to pay for it.

    I’m don’t know where you are going to be – North or South island – but three weeks is hardly enough time to see much of New Zealand! I do hope you are aware that it’s fall here, and it will be a bit breezy and cold at the beach! (And likely it will rain!) The nice thing is you won’t be here with all the tourists so should have more interaction with the locals. I live way up north in the Bay of Islands – it is beautiful up here, but as I said, you might not see much of New Zealand in three weeks, which is really a shame.

    As for beer – ask the Bartender!

  6. As in Australia (but not the USA) New Zealand employers pay their employees a living wage. These wages do not have to be supplemented by donations from customers – so don’t tip people. You can tip for exceptional service if you want to but generally you don’t tip people for doing the job they are paid to do – and that includes bar staff, waiters, delivery people, hairdressers and taxis.