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New Zealand Travel Guide

Southern California
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New Zealand Travel Guide

Has anyone here used Ron Laughlin from New Zealand Travel Guide for trip planning? Evidently he helps plan your itineraries/book things for you free of charge, and I just wanted to know if anyone had opinions, comments, warnings. One of those "too good to be true" things?

Thanks!

Wellington, New...
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for Wellington, Bay of Islands
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1. Re: New Zealand Travel Guide

He is member of this forum, have a look at some of his posts.

New Zealand
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2. Re: New Zealand Travel Guide

He a fellow American who has made his home in NZ, travelling by "house bus" where and when he likes. He definitely knows the country like the back of his hand and I've always enjoyed his contributions on TA. It will be his "off the beaten track" gems that will give you an extra special view of NZ.

Englewood, Ohio
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3. Re: New Zealand Travel Guide

Hi funinnz,

I have benefited greatly from Ron Laughlin's help. Originally, I posted an inquiry here a while back on tripadvisor and Ron replied with some helpful information. To my surprise, Ron is originally from a town just a few miles from where I am from in Ohio. Now, Ron is indeed very fortunate to be able to live and travel extensively throughout New Zealand, which he affectionately refers to as Paradise. When researching for an upcoming holiday, there’s nothing better than having an “inside” person to help with planning, and needed information. Fortunate for us, Ron is willing to share his personal experience and knowledge with travelers to New Zealand. I can assure you, Ron can be trusted to provide helpful information, insight, and tips on what to see and do based upon your interest. Ron offers recommendations and suggestions that you don’t find in the tourist books. I know I have appreciated and valued his advice, and benefited from his experience. Since my original inquiry, Ron has provided me with a lot of insight into the opportunities available within New Zealand, and how to fit my interest into a schedule. Ron was kind enough to come up with a suggested itinerary based upon my interest and duration of my stay. This itinerary gave me a good foundation to look at what I might achieve for my upcoming trip to New Zealand. I’ve tweaked the itinerary, but my schedule has its roots with Ron’s original thoughts, which helped me to finalize and map my agenda. For myself, planning an 18-day to New Zealand was a bit overwhelming, but once Ron showed what was possible based upon my iterest, my planning became a lot easier to understand and create.

Additionally, Ron offers a “New Zealand Travel Guide” on a CD that contains a wealth of information on New Zealand. Ron shares information that can be shared only from first hand personal experience. I am amazed with the amount of time he must have put in to making this comprehensive CD. His “New Zealand Travel Guide” is a collective wealth of his knowledge of New Zealand and serves as a great source of priceless information, essential with the planning of my upcoming trip to New Zealand. If you’ve not already discovered his website, you can go to www.ronlaughlin.net for further information about Ron and his information for travelers to New Zealand.

As with many of the of the wonderful and helpful people who reply to postings on this tripadvisor forum, Ron is an additional essential asset to the planning of your holiday vacation to New Zealand. You can be sure to benefit from his experience and willingness to share his wealth of knowledge of New Zealand. Ron’s enthusiasm for New Zealand is enchanting, and I can’t wait to begin and implement my upcoming journey to explore the paradise of New Zealand this November. I expect it will be an adventure of a lifetime, and from my reply to your inquiry, I can’t say enough about the help I’ve received from Ron Laughlin. Good luck with your planning, and my thanks and sincere appreciation goes to all who have helped me on this tripadvisor forum.

Have fun,

Steve

Wisconsin
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169 posts
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4. Re: New Zealand Travel Guide

I've been communicating with Ron for the last 6 weeks regarding a trip I'm planning to the South Island next March. Our correspondence started by my responding to one of his postings on Trip Advisor. I have nothing but positive comments regarding my experiences with him thus far.

When Ron offered to help me design my itinerary at no cost, I too responded with "this is too good to be true" and wrote that to Ron. His explanation (see below) seemed quite reasonable to me.

Ron's response:

Over the years traveling I have visited and written about the accommodations, holiday parks, car and camper van rentals and just about everything to do with visiting New Zealand.

As a result I am in the position to do reciprocal deals with just about everyone I have worked with and know about. Thus I receive returns both financial and exchanges from them

thus allowing me to create holiday itineraries for visitors free. It doesn't provide much but what I am building up to is a program that will show the businesses I work with I am able to

actually provide customers and thus will be asking them to advertise on my website. Thus everyone wins. You get the expertise of my knowledge, they receive actual customers

and exposure and I will receive their advertising dollar. I am very particular about who I allow to be a part of this program since the most valued part is that the visitor receives

only the best in what they are looking for. If you leave happy and satisfied you will tell others and be a part of the network of people who I can rely on to provide positive feedback.

I have taken all these years on the road to make sure I know what is happening and can provide what is asked for from my own personal experience. I don't sit behind a desk somewhere

and dole out stuff I find in a pamphlet. I know the areas I talk about.

I decided to work with Ron and have found his services to be first rate. He revised my draft itinerary to my unique specifications and has suggested accommodations, restaurants, walks, sights etc. I did separate research on his recommended accommodations and then with Ron's guidance I settled on our choices. Ron made my reservations for me without a hitch.

Ron also recommended a car rental agency and was able to get me an additional 5% discount on the cost (Jucy).

I've found Ron's email correspondence to be thorough, detailed and very timely. He always responds within 24 hours and I really have appreciated the speed of his responses.

Of course the true quality of Ron's recommendations will be tested when I actually take my trip, but I'm absolutely confident that his recommendations will result in a great trip.

You might also want to ask Ron for references. I checked them out and they were glowing.

I recommend Ron without any reservations.

Victoria, Texas
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429 posts
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5. Re: New Zealand Travel Guide

I have been working with Ron on my upcoming 2008 trip to New Zealand and he has proven to be a wealth of knowledge. After first, I too was a little leery of his offer to help me, but I have found him to be a trustworthy gem. I feel very lucky to have found him.

We hope to be able to meet Ron and Paula while we are vacationing in New Zealand. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him.

Cornwall UK
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74 posts
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6. Re: New Zealand Travel Guide

I would like to add that Ron has been assisting me in designing a trip of a lifetime itinerary. I have only been corresponding with him for a few weeks and I must admit that I also did wonder whether it was a 'too good to be true offer'. I have worked with many different people over the past 25 years and have always felt that I am a good judge of character - I have no doubts in my dealings with Ron.

Having started our planning with full enthusiasm we were faced with the possibility of my husband losing his job. We then back pedalled and almost decided not to go. We changed our plans from touring in February to touring in November/December. Changed from car to camper. Left it too late to book the recommended camper and had to start looking all over again, all of which Ron has taken in his stride and with good manners and great humour. Ron also negotiated a better rental deal than I could obtain on line. As a previous post has stated he always replies within 12/24 hours - we are working with a 12 hour time difference which makes things interesting. Unfortunately he is up and writing when I am desperate to go to bed and sleep.

The 21 day Itinerary he has designed for us is incredible. During our emails he has assessed what we like to do and see and planned accordingly. The detail is fantastic even down to where to stock up on good food and wine and get the best deals. We are currently planning to follow his advice to the letter. However, we may be tempted to deviate once we are on the road.

Ron has always been upfront about any remuneration he receives and when booking camp grounds etc only asks that you tell the owners that you have been recommended to them by him so that he and Paula may benefit from the odd night free stay themselves.

It's not often these days that you meet someone so generous in time and spirit.

My advice is take his advice! I am sure that you will make the most of your time in NZ and see many things you would otherwise have missed.

We too are hoping to meet up with Ron and Paula when on our travels - if they're not too busy meeting up with everyone else!

Southern California
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7. Re: New Zealand Travel Guide

Thank you all so much! Your comments have been warm, wonderful, and incredibly helpful. I kind of felt bad posting this on the forum, as I know you're on here, Ron. But I just didn't want to take any risks having my wonderful vacation at risk by anyone who doesn't have such great motives. Thanks again friends!

New Zealand
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398 posts
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8. Re: New Zealand Travel Guide

First thank you Zappers for your comments and extreme thanks to those for whom I have created itineraries for and their comments. In fact I am very humbled and somewhat embarrassed. I truly do it from the heart but no more so than Zappers and all the others.

While writing the TripAdvisor Inside New Zealand articles and visiting the New Zealand forum I have enjoyed being able to help where I can and hopefully provide a quality holiday experience for visitors to this fabulous country.

I believe the New Zealand forum has some of the finest people providing help to visitors. I note some very astute answers. I feel quite privileged to be a part of the process. Sometimes I feel certain people require a more in-depth answer and help than I can put

directly on the forum and as such have contacted them to offer my assistance in providing a more complete answer.

It never occurred to me that it would be questioned since I made a firm declaration to the fact I wasn’t trying to solicit any money. Even my website has been built just to provide information. I guess in today’s world getting something of value free isn’t always true. It

seems I have won every world-wide lotto there is if the emails I receive are right.

I have traveled New Zealand 24/7-365 day a year photographing and writing magazine articles for over four years now actually beginning when I came here first time in 1989 and decided to make it my home. I doubt very much if anyone else has spent the time I

have searching out the country of New Zealand to the tune of around 30,000 kms a year.

When I see someone on the forum who I can help I feel duty bound to share my knowledge.

I hope this may clarify any mis-judgement of my offering help to travelers to New Zealand. I am but one of many on this forum who try to help our visitors have the best holiday they ever had in the best country in the world to travel.

Thank you funinnz for asking the question.

Ramsgate
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9. Re: New Zealand Travel Guide

Hi there,

I have just come across this post and note that quite substantial responses have already been provided by others.

I'm sure I would be going over similar ground, but feel I want to show this solidarity in saying that in my experience, Ron is one of the 'genuine' people it seems are few and far between these days.

Like others, Ron's assistance to us has been fantastic. My wife and I are in fact planning to emmigrate to NZ and are going for under 3 weeks to 'look around'! It is with that in mind we wanted an itinerary that would give us an insight to local life, with our interests at heart.

Aditionnally, Ron has provided us with a competitive rental price for a motor home. I would certainly urge you that you can do no better than Ron & Paula.

Good luck with your adventures.

Sam N.

Kuala Lumpur...
11 posts
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10. Re: New Zealand Travel Guide

I also recently contacted Ron for help with my trip to NZ (July 2007) and was very happy with his guidance! My only regret is that I did not contact him sooner.