Traveling in New Zealand is definitely not cheap. As Nomadic Matt states in his book How To Travel the World On $50 A Day: “Day-to-day life here isn’t expensive – the problem is that New Zealand has so many outstanding outdoor activities that it just sucks money out of your wallet.” Totally true.
Here are some ways (in no particular order) I’m saving my hard-earned dollars so that I can afford to do these outstanding outdoor activities while traveling throughout New Zealand:
- Buy lunch from a local bakery – bakeries are everywhere in New Zealand and sell everything from pastries to the infamous kiwi meat pie (not kiwi meat, meat from other beasts, but you know what I mean…). If you want a cheap feed or have no access to a kitchen to cook your own meal, grab a pie or a nice homemade sandwich from the bakery (also can be called a “lunch bar”) and it’ll only set you back $3.50.
- Supermarkets – there are a bunch of different supermarkets in New Zealand, but I’ve found that Pak-n-Save is the cheapest of the bunch. The stores are pretty “no frills” but honestly you’re just shopping for groceries, not looking for a show. Bring your own bags to pack groceries in as they cost money here. They also offer a fuel discount on your receipt for the store’s petrol station.
- Relocate Campervans – this throws a bit of adventure into your itinerary and lets you relocate beautiful campervans for free (or a small fee that’s nowhere near the regular price). Check out my blog post on relocating campervans to find out more.
- Camping – kiwis love to go camping. Campgrounds are guaranteed to be busy during school holidays/over Christmas and New Years and they also bump up the prices per night during this time. Kiwi summers are beautiful, but prepare to book your campsites ahead of time to avoid disappointment. To avoid this, try camping during their shoulder seasons. We went during the New Zealand autumn and we were blessed with amazing weather, almost all the campsites we went to were nearly empty and we received off-season rates. The cheapest campsites we came across were DOC campgrounds ($10/person) and the most expensive was a Top 10 Campground at Hot Water Beach ($20/person).
- Daily Deal Websites – check out dealshrimp.co.nz. It combines all of the daily deal sites (Such as Groupon & GrabOne) onto one page for easy reading. I’ve bought several deals off here such as a voucher for dinner in town, accommodation and an amazing tour in the Bay of Islands.
- BookMe– this site is also awesome for finding deals on tours and activities around the country. Go to bookme.co.nz, find an activity or tour you would like to do, pick a date and time and see if it’s on sale. Good for travellers with flexible schedules. We have bought many tours from here, and managed to get a tour of Milford Sound for only $30!
- Second-Hand Shops – great for finding camping gear, clothes you forgot and books for super cheap. They call them “op shops” in New Zealand, and they’re all over.
- Takeaways – you’ll see these everywhere in New Zealand, probably next door to a bakery and a “dairy” (convenience store). For a super cheap dinner, grab some fish and chips from here and it will cost you less than $5. They also serve up burgers and have Chinese food smorgasbords (super random, but delicious!).
- Housesitting – if you have the luxury of time while traveling or if you’re looking to live like a local for a while, housesitting might be for you! In exchange for looking after someones homes and sometimes pets, you get to live in their house for free while they’re away. Websites such as trustedhousesitters.com and housecarers.com have a yearly fee but really it’s worth it when you think about how much money you’ll save in accommodation costs!
- Air New Zealand Airpoints Card – it costs $50 to sign up, but if you’re flying around the country on Air New Zealand (or any Star Alliance Airline) you accumulate airpoints which then can be used towards future flights. I just used my airpoints to fly from Queenstown to Auckland and I still have enough points for another flight within New Zealand!