One of the world’s most beautiful countries doesn’t come cheap! But fortunately there are ways to keep the budget down. Here are 9 useful tips.
1 – EARN WHILE YOU TRAVEL
New Zealand is in need of working people. if you are from a selection of countries in the world (and the right age), you may be able to get a working holiday visa which means you can explore this insanely wondrful country AND make some decent money while you are at it. While I was once in New Zealand on a tourist visa I was even emailed by the government asking me if I wanted to do some paid work on a farm as they were so desperate! For more information, check out the government page on working holiday visas.
2 – HITCHHIKE
New Zealand is a developed country and nothing comes cheap. Least of all transport! At peak times, a bus between cities could cost several hundred dollars. No kidding. Fortunately, hitch-hiking is legal and New Zealanders are some of the kindest people in the world. You’re biggest challenge may be staking out a spot to hitch from as at peak times of the year, there can be a lot of people hitching. Needless to say, be smart and be safe – crime does exist in New Zealand so always travel with someone, and if you get the slightest whiff of anything untoward, don’t get in. The hitchwiki page on Hitchhiking in New Zealand is a great resource if you are thinking about hitching your way around this wonderful country.
3 – CAMP FOR FREE
New Zealand is a nature-lovers paradise. And what’s more, it’s one that is easy to explore, with campsites galore. In much of the country, you can’t just hitch a tent on the side of the road without potentially getting a fine – free camping is illegal in many areas. But there are many free campsites that do allow camping in tents, and in many areas you can even camp anywhere as long as you abide by the rules. We recommend the Campermate app which will help you find free sites. It’s the best way to see the countryside and save money while you travel in New Zealand.
4 – COUCH SURF
Couch surfing is nothing new and anyone looking to save money on accommodation will have undoubtedly either experienced couch surfing first-hand or will be considering it. New Zealanders on the whole are kind, warm and trusting people- very often I have turned up at an Airbnb or Couch surfing place to find the house unlocked! Always be smart and safe though – don’t take anything for granted.
5 – HIKING COSTS NOTHING
New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most beautiful but also accessible AND safe hikes in the world. Without a doubt, this country has it all: Snow capped mountains. Emerald blue lakes. Beaches that go on forever. Hiking in this stunningly beautiful country is a treat, and it costs nothing.
6 – DON’T JUST SHOP IN FOUR SQUARE
Four square is the down-town convenience store version of a supermarket and in my experience the prices tend to be higher than the out-of-town grocery stores. Sometimes they do have great discounted products (especially at the end of the day!) but generally, I’d say stick to Pak n Save!
7 – GET GROCERIES AT THE END OF THE DAY
… and find the guy/lady with the magic “discounted” sticker gun. Once you have tracked them down, stick with them – even make friends – they might just let you know where to find the very best deals.
AND IF YOU ARE DRIVING…
8 – GET A SWEET HIRE CAR DEAL
I’ve written a separate article on this, but general rule is shop around – rentalcars.com IS a handy aggregator but a) it only covers the main rental companies (which are often more expensive than the smaller local ones) and b) it won’t take into account special promotional offers that you can only access by booking on the local provider’s website. For example – Ace rental cars (Australia and NZ) is included in the Rentalcars.com search engine but there is an almost constant special offer on their website. Yes – rental cars.com or another aggregator is a good place to start, but always check local companies too! Here are a handy list of hire companies that I will continue to update that you may not have access to through aggregators.
9 – GET CHEAPER GAS
Gas prices in New Zealand vary a lot. From one town to the next you can see a variation of up to 20%. First off, always get the loyalty card, as this will often give you an immediate discount. Secondly, check the back of your grocery receipts as they will often include discount vouchers. Finally, download the Gaspy app – it’s a great database on up-to-date prices on gas stations throughout NZ (and beyond).
I’m sure there are many other ways to save money when you travel in New Zealand – please comment below if you have any ideas to offer to other travelers!