I must say that New Zealand was not a good place for my budget as, due to the sheer quantity of visitors to the islands, accommodations charged high rates and I had little with Couchsurfing on the South Island. Saving money pretty much went out the window! However, thanks to staying in hostels, I found ways to save on travel and tours from other backpackers. So, for those of you planning to go to New Zealand on a budget one day, here are the best money saving tools to use while on either island:
Cheapest Bus Tickets: The bus line is NakedBus but if you go to their website, you won’t find their best deals. You must go to WhyNotWander, it’s a word of mouth site only. If you can’t find the place you want to go (very rare), use Intercity.
FREE Rental Cars and Campervans: That’s right…FREE! New Zealand and Australian car rental locations have found it cheaper to allow drivers to relocate their returned vehicles rather than pay to ship them. Go to TransferCar! The rental companies all have their own rules and options, such as the number of days you can have the vehicle, whether they include insurance, fuel, etc, if you have to pay a small fee (typically this is on campervans and is only around $5 NZD), or if they allow extra paid days (if you want the car longer, you pay a higher daily rate but, overall, the rental is still much cheaper).
Deals: I found that I could get cheaper bus tickets to remote areas, such as Akaroa, by going through the premiere New Zealand deal company, BookMe. It offers deals on much more than that too! It’s the Groupon of New Zealand so find the deal you need there!
Accommodation: NakedBus has an accommodations option called NakedSleep that allows you to book a hostel at 40% off! I used this in Queenstown and ended up in the same hostel that I’d previously stayed in but at a much lower rate!
Of course, there is also always hitchhiking to get around which is very common and very safe. I hitchhiked twice and it was thrilling but I am not very likely to do it in any other country. If you have a car or are hitchhiking, you can always freedom camp. Please be sure to clean up after yourself when you freedom camp or it will no longer be available for the rest of us! I camped a few times but always had to pay as I primarily traveled by bus.
I hope that this is a help to any travelers visiting New Zealand now or in the near future! We all want to get there but we also need ways of saving money in order to reach our next destination!