New Zealand can be pretty expenny for a trip overseas, but with a little effort and penny pinching tactics, you can sniff out the bargain activities and keep your wallet in-tact. Just because you want to spend less, it doesn't mean you can't have a greater time than those who wipe their bum with $100 notes. We're going to give you the low-down and shift your perceptions of New Zealand as an expensive destination.
First and foremost
Plan, plan, plan, research, research, research. This is fundamental to having a great time and having a healthy wallet. If you don't know what you're getting yourself in for, then you're asking for budgeting troubles. A lot of people book the tickets and try to go for the cheapest options upon arrival. However, what if your cheapest option isn't available? Research the 'best bang for your buck' deals and get ahead of the game. Time and money saved!
Divvy the money by days and by the essentials. Set yourself a budget for each day of your trip, across set expenses such as food, accommodation costs, and activities, with a small 'fun spending' budget on the side. This will make your budget clear, will make you stick to it, and the 'others' budget will be your backup for any unexpected extra costs or an extra fun activity! Does this make sense? So when you've done your research, divvy as so... or am I just being nerdy?
Yes, I do have suggestions and no, I'm not some boring accountant writing a blog for the first time. You can cover the three essentials (food, accommodation and activities) quite easily in this land of milk and honey. Just stay clear of milk and honey as they're quite expensive here, weird huh? Seeing as how many cows and bees roam around the place. I'm going to leave accommodation out of this one, for obvious reasons, because quite frankly, our place is simply the best place to stay for those seeking bang for buck. JUCY Snooze is clean, comfy, friendly and we provide the essential amenities in Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown!
Pak n' Save are the cheapest kids on the block when it comes to your groceries! They don't have as many locations as their rival supermarket Countdown, however if you're on a roadie then make sure you stock up there before you hit your next destination. They have some real steals and you'll feel like you just robbed them. Want some inspiration on cheap hostel meals? Check out our 5 Easy Meals To Cook In A Hostel Kitchen blog, or head over to our Cooking in Campers series for easy meals on the road.
There's nothing like a good old weekend market on a Saturday! Most cities and many smaller towns across New Zealand hold local markets, which are a great place to pop into for a loaf of fresh bread (that's cheap too), fresh fruit and veggies, locally caught seafood and preserves. You're not only getting fresh and tasty ingredients and bang for your buck, but you know you're supporting locals too!.
For a greasy meal or a drive-thru stop, sometimes you can't beat the affordable classics of Macca's, Burger King, KFC, Carl's Junior and Subway! With numerous locations throughout the country, sometimes, you just need it and at times, there's just no other options past 10pm. Kinda pointing out the obvious here.
There are many free activities you can do for NZD $0 and 0 cents . How much is it? Free. What does it cost? Uhhm, it's free? Where can I find these activities you ask? Well, they're mostly walking and beaching ones and if you're not a complete cheapo, then splash some money on fish n' chips, or shall I say, fush n' chups, for all you Aussies who think we have funny accents. Piha, Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach, Mt Eden, Auckland Art Gallery, Huka Falls, Te Papa (New Zealand's national museum found in Wellington) and hiking Mt Aspiring or Roy's Peak, are just a few budget-friendly places to see and things to do!
I think that covers the bare essentials. See folks, NZ doesn't have to be expensive, if you don't want it to be. Be smart with your money and maybe then you can stretch it further with a longer stay or treating yourself to something more luxurious. Happy spending/saving!