A Few Ways To Save Money Traveling In New Zealand

Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Business Strategist

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New Zealand is one of the most expensive places you can travel. If you’re traveling full time, this is definitely a country in which you’ll need to learn ways to cut down costs, or you’ll go over budget very fast. So, here are a few tips to do it!

A view of Auckland CBD.

Copyright, 2021. Heather Markel.

1. How To Save On Accommodation

Out of all my travels in the past four years, New Zealand is the most expensive. As an example, I stayed a night in a youth hostel in Paihia. I booked a shared room for 4 people. I paid $30 USD/night. I’m used to spending $5 – $15 for a similar setup in other countries.

Pet sitting. The number one way to save, if you want to have a place to yourself, and cut out accommodation costs, is to do pet sitting. It can be a little competitive, but it’s well worth signing up with Kiwi Housesitters, and possibly Trusted HouseSitters as well. With Kiwi Housesitters, I’ve actually received messages from people asking me to sit for them! Every one of my experiences with them, so far, has been wonderful.

Work exchange. If you don’t mind sharing a space, and you’re up for some labor, you could apply to be a WWOFer, or to Workaway and get free room and board in exchange for your labor. You do have to pay an annual membership fee, just like with the pet sitting services, but you could also try finding them on Facebook. At least in New Zealand, this is a great group to join to submit work exchange requests free of charge.

Compare costs. Youth hostels, especially if you want your own room, are often NOT the cheapest option. Make sure to compare rates on booking sites (booking.com, tripadvisor, etc.), contact the establishment directly, and look at AirBnB. Staying in the suburbs or lesser known cities will also allow you to find cheaper rates.

2. How To Save On Excursions

From skiing to whale watching, to bungee jumping to helicopter rides, New Zealand is full of some amazing things to do. And, the cost of a day trip will knock your socks off!

The best way to save money is using an app called Bookme which offers discounts throughout the year. Once tourism comes back, youth hostels may be back to offering discounts on trips booked through them as well.

3. How To Save On Food

Food in New Zealand is bloody expensive! This is no doubt one of the reasons that  most people grow their own vegetables and herbs if they have garden space. A standard meal will cost over $25 NZD and often much higher. So, what do you do?

Grocery shop the right way. There are 3 main supermarket chains in New Zealand; Pak ‘n Save, New World, and Countdown. Pak ‘n Save is the least expensive. Unfortunately, it’s also in fewer locations than the other two. If you have a car, and you have the choice, do your food shopping at Pak ‘n Save. Get a loyalty card at New World and Countdown so you can save money on weekly specially priced items. New World often has promos where you can get free shopping bags and other goodies when you shop with your loyalty card.

Eat out for less. As most places in the world, if you’re willing to eat slightly less healthy food, you can save money. Cafes have sausage rolls and sandwiches for anywhere from $4 – $12 NZD, on average. National chains like Pita Pit offer less expensive food. My favorite option though, to both save money, and eat a little healthier, is to eat sushi. It’s not quite the same as in Japan or the US, but you grab a plate, and grab the rolls you want, and are charged per roll. If you carefully watch the prices, and can feel moderately full on 5 – 6 rolls, you can eat for around $10 NZD.

4. A Few General Savings Tips

There are plenty of free and inexpensive activities and museums. Make sure to always Google those in whatever town you find yourself. Tramping (hiking) is always free, and everyone does it year-round. 

The Inspired Nomads podcast

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Most of what’s keeping you from what you want – full-time travel, a new business idea, a radical career shift – are your excuses. After one session with Heather, you’ll understand which excuses are holding you back the most, how to get them out of the way, and you’ll leave with an action plan that helps you set the foundation to pivot into the life you want.

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You’ve dreamed about traveling full time for as long as you can remember, and now you’ve learned that it’s a little more challenging than you thought. Get help getting through the initial shock and changes when you realize you’re not on vacation. Learn how to manage those experiences where you meet parts of yourself long forgotten, and create a plan to help you have the best experience with your journey.

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