How to Explore New Zealand on a Budget

New Zealand is a beautiful country and lots of fun to travel to, but can also be relatively expensive. The key is to manage your finances well so you can take international trips without straining your budget. At the same time, there are plenty of ways to have a great holiday without clearing your bank account. Here are a few travelling tips so you can keep costs down.

Visit Offseason

Since New Zealand is likely to be quite far away from home, a huge portion of your travel expense goes towards flights. No matter where in the world you’re travelling, it always pays to be flexible with your plans. Being ready for a spontaneous holiday will make it easier for you to save on flights since you can snag those last-minute deals.

If you can only travel during certain periods, make sure you plan in advance and get your tickets early. The closer you leave it, the more expensive tickets will be. Lastly, try to avoid travelling during school holidays, Christmas and Easter periods.

Food Deals

The best way to save on food when travelling in New Zealand is by cooking your own if you’re lucky enough to have access to a kitchen. Hit up your local supermarkets such as Pak n Save or Countdown and look for Kiwi classics like Marmite and L&P.

If you’re a fanatic for food, there are some incredible eateries in Auckland and Wellington. Dine along the waterfront, where you’ll find plenty of happy hour specials. Subscribe early to acclaimed restaurants and be notified of offers during your travel period. There are also plenty of cafes where you can enjoy a nice weekend brunch and some of the best coffee in the world!

Free Activities

New Zealand is a great place to travel to if you love adventure and wilderness. You can experience the best the country has to offer for no or very little cost. There are plenty of free things to do in New Zealand, so choose your experiences wisely. One of the most popular activities is to keep active and go on a hike. The Tongariro Crossing is a well-loved trail for avid hikers – not the easiest, but the view is worth it. If you’re fortunate enough to be travelling over summer, New Zealand’s beaches are extraordinary!


The amount of money that goes towards accommodation cannot be overlooked. Although it would be nice to stay at a five-star hotel or a luxury lakeside cabin, there are many affordable options that won’t break the bank. If you’re looking to make a few friends while travelling, backpacker hostels are a cheap and comfortable option. If you’re travelling with a few others, split the cost of an Airbnb. Your host may even be happy to give you free travel advice!

Learn more: Airbnb vs VRBO 

Getting around

Public transport is always the cheapest travel option. If you’re planning to utilise buses and trains often, an electronic fare payment card will save you some money on each trip. Keep in mind that each city accepts a different card and research to see which one you need.

If you’re travelling with others, sometimes it’s cheaper to rent a car and split the cost. In these cases, why not rent out a campervan and kill two birds with one stone? You’ll be surprised how much money you save when you cover both transport and accommodation in one go.

Experiencing New Zealand and its beauty on a budget doesn’t mean compromising anything. All it calls for is some careful planning and willingness to try new things. Follow these tips, and you can still make the most out of your travels while saving some money.

Author Bio

Maia Fletcher resides in the quiet, sunny city of Gisborne, New Zealand. When she isn’t working on her blog, she also contributes articles for various blogs and local home design sites. You can find out more about Maia and her written work on her blog.

New Zealand on a Vudget

Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.