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Exploring New Zealand on a budget: Seven tips and tricks

Taking a trip to one of the most beautiful places on earth doesn’t mean breaking the bank. There are plenty of ways to see and experience what New Zealand has to offer, even if you’re traveling on a shoestring budget.

New Zealand is one of the most exquisite countries in the world. The country offers a lot of activities perfect not just for solo travelers but also for family trips. 

Exploring New Zealand, however, isn’t cheap. Flying in this country is a bit more expensive than other tourist destinations, and going around the country is another matter for your wallet. But don’t fret, as traveling around New Zealand on a budget is possible.   

Here are eight tips you can follow so you don’t break the bank: 

1. Have a budget   
If you want to maximize your Kiwi experience, the best way to do that is to plan well ahead of your trip and make sure you prepare your budget. Make sure your travel budget covers everything––from your accommodations to the activities you want to splurge on. Also, don’t forget to make room for some buffer money, which you might need in times of emergencies. The last thing you want to happen is to go home bankrupt. 

2. Get travel insurance   
Speaking of financial health while traveling, make sure you include travel insurance in your budget. Getting one gives you peace of mind when you get sick, have a change of plans, or if you get stuck somewhere while hiking in the ice glaciers. 

If you plan on roughing it and choose to explore non-touristy spots or opt to camp, travel insurance should be part of your arsenal to make sure your trip goes well regardless of what season you go there.

3. Go during off-peak season  
Once you have your travel insurance, the next best thing to do so you won’t burn a hole in your pocket is to go during off-peak seasons. Tourist season makes prices soar in New Zealand. Hence, if you’re on a tight budget, avoid flying in from December to March.  

However, if you don’t have the luxury of time to travel during the off-peak season, that’s perfectly fine. Bungee jumping, visiting Hobbiton, going on heritage tours, or going on a wine tour are just some of the reasons to visit New Zealand any time of the year.

4. Stay away from hotels  
Staying away from hotels will drastically cut down your travel cost. So, where do you stay? Solo travelers usually couch surf or share hostel rooms. But if you travel in groups or wish to have more flexibility with your accommodations, your best option is to hire a campervan in New Zealand.  

If you want a complete Kiwi experience, you may want to consider roughing it by doing more backpacking or camping. It’s not just a way to travel with a shoestring budget, but it’s also a great way to meet new people and get a total immersion of the culture and land.  

5. Always choose ground travel  
As mentioned, motorhomes are best for group travelers. Solo travelers, on the other hand, will benefit more by carpooling or riding the bus. Staying close to the ground is the most practical way to travel around the country and would benefit people who prefer going to local spots or just like more facetime with nature. 

If you’re the type who likes roughing it and getting close to nature, just make sure you grab a copy of the New Zealand camping guide so you don’t break any laws or, worst, get lost in the wilderness.

6. Bring reusable stuff  
Another way to enjoy your budget trip is to take note of small expenses like buying water or coffee and eating out. By bringing reusable wide mouth water bottles, coffee mugs, and grocery bags, you can keep your costs down. Fortunately, tap water is readily available, and coffee shops give discounts to customers who bring their own coffee mugs.   

7. Cook your food  
Cooking your food isn’t limited to people who are camping or staying in motorhomes. Some hostels or dorms allow you to cook inside their premises. Cooking your food is the best option for people who have special diets and those who are penny-pinching to save up on splurges, like wine and food tours.

Taking a trip to one of the most beautiful places on earth doesn’t mean breaking the bank. There are plenty of ways to see and experience what New Zealand has to offer, even if you’re traveling on a shoestring budget. Free activities, affordable accommodations, and different travel options are readily available and accessible to tourists. So, don’t fret if you don’t have thousands of dollars saved up. Following these tips and tricks can give you the most wonderous time even if you’re on a budget.