New Zealand can be pretty expensive 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 an awesome time. We're going to give you the low-down and shift your perceptions of New Zealand as an expensive destination.
plan & research
Plan, plan, plan, research, research, research. This is fundamental to having a healthy wallet and a great trip. If you don't know what you're getting yourself in to, then you're asking for budgeting troubles. A lot of people book flights without factoring in accommodation or activity costs. Research the 'best bang for your buck' deals or book a package and get ahead of the game. Time and money saved!
create a spreadsheet
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. Excel will be your best friend and not only will this will make your budget clear, it'll also help keep you accountable and 'spare' budget will be your backup for any unexpected extra costs or an extra fun activity!
Researching blog sites is a great way to find out where the best places to go are and will also help you figure out what you want to do during your trip! Creating a rough itinerary alongside your budget will help you plan where in New Zealand you want to go and how much it'll cost you. Blogs are awesome as they're often by other like-minded travellers who have visited before and want to pass on their wisdom. We recommend creating a budget spreadsheet as mentioned above, and a separate page for an itinerary, how easy is this saving money business?!
Pak n' Save are the cheapest kids on the block when it comes to your groceries! If you're off on a roadie then make sure you stock up there before you hit your next destination. 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.
Checking out local markets during your travels will also help you save some pennies! Most cities and smaller towns across New Zealand hold local weekend markets, which are a great place to pop in for a fresh loaf of bread, a cheap and delicious breakfast, or some fresh fruit and veges. Your not only getting fresh and tasty food and bang for your buck, you know you're supporting locals too and checking out the community!
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 on offer, that'll save you money and also allow you to discover more of our beautiful country! Mostly outdoorsy, strap on your walking shoes, grab your backpack and pack a picnic! Check out our list of the best beaches in New Zealand if you're water-inclined or after an afternoon relaxing, or head off on an adventure and discover New Zealand's National Parks! If you want to splurge a bit of extra cash, grab some fish and chips or an ice cream during your excursion for the complete kiwi experience.
I think that covers the bare essentials. See folks, travelling 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!