How To Budget For Backpacking New Zealand

 In Backpacking, Budget Travel, New Zealand, North Island, South Island

When it comes to planning a backpacking trip, it is a common wish for one to know exactly how much to budget per day. That’s probably the reason you’re here, right?

That way you can know exactly how much to save for your trip and then it reduces the anxiety about ‘running out of money’. Totally understandable.

A Guide To Budgeting When Backpacking New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

The truth is though, it’s very hard to tell you exactly how much you’ll spend a day.

It depends on SO many things.

For example…

  • your eating habits
  • how much you like to go out drinking
  • whether you smoke
  • whether you’re a souvenir buyer
  • what kind of activities you’re interested in doing
  • whether you consider WIFI a necessity
  • whether you’re generous with your money (i.e. buying rounds at the bar)

All of the above will vary your spending quite significantly if you let it.

 

For example… When i embarked on my first backpacking trip my travel partner (who i spent every day with) spent nearly £1000 more than me in 9 weeks. She smoked, she drunk a bit more, lost a couple of phones and… i don’t actually know where the rest went. But the point is… every little can really can start to add up.

Whilst I can’t be exact on what money you’ll spend, i can give you a guide and an indication as to how much you may spend on different things and whats on offer. This way you can calculate an estimate for yourself.

TO PAY OUT BEFORE YOU FLY…

Visa

Free for UK residents but fees for other nationalities may apply.

Jabs

You don’t need anything particular in NZ, but if NZ is part of a bigger trip that includes the likes of SE Asia {common} then you may need to see the nurse before you depart to get necessary jabs.

Flights

You gotta get there hey. Walking just isn’t an option for this one.

Travel Insurance

Never travel without it!

TO PAY OUT WHEN YOU GET TO NZ…

Transport…

A Guide To Budgeting When Backpacking New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

Hop on Hop Off Bus

The most popular way to get around New Zealand for backpackers is one of the hop on hop off bus companies. I recommend taking a look at Kiwi Experience and another becoming increasingly popular – Stray. Both offer routes around the whole of New Zealand with a fully trained bus driver / tour guide to add to the experience.

These tours are perfect for solo travellers as you are guaranteed people to travel with, they cover all the main spots and you can just sit back and relax in the knowledge that all the hard work has been done for you.

You’ll need to add the pass cost to your budget.

Money Saving Advantage with Hop On Hop Off Bus Companies: If you book onto a bus tour as opposed to using public transport / car hire, you will save (via group bookings the bus does with the passengers on board) on pretty much all hostels and activities. This can be anything from $2 – $15 dollars a pop.

SELF DRIVE

  • Cars

Prices range from season to season and start {in low season} at $45 a day inc. insurance up to $65 a day inc. insurance{based on a day in peak time now – Dec 20th}.

  • Campervans

Prices range from season to season {quite dramatically} and lie between $90 – $190 per day.

Money Saving Tip for Self Drive options: Book as soon as you know your dates to get the best price. Last minute bookings, particularly in peak season {Nov-March} can be very costly and eat into your budget.

WANT 10% DISCOUNT ON NZ CARS / CAMPERVANS / BUS PASSES?

Drop Sam an email on info@ratpacktravel.com quoting ‘MOLLIE10’ to receive the discount and begin your personalised travel service in New Zealand. View more details on the tours available on ratpacktravel.com.

Daily Basics…

A Guide To Budgeting When Backpacking New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

  • Accommodation

Hostel bed in a dorm for 1 night – $27-35

1 Day Wifi Pass {at the hostel} – $5

1 Week WIFI pass at a hostel – $10-12

Tip: Book ahead whenever you can, particularly for travel during peak times {Nov-March}. Prices can rise within this period and availability can be low / non-existent if you leave it til last minute.

Money Saving Tip:  Find a Starbucks or Woolworths Supermarket to log onto FREE WIFI

  • Food

Whilst food isn’t New Zealand’s most iconic tourist pull, there are still an abundance of amazing restaurants and pop ups to try as you make your way around the land of the long white cloud.

Your cheapest option, as a backpacker, is to do a big supermarket shop and cook your own food up. But saying that, there are definitely some deals to be found eating out on the town and i’m sure at some point you’ll be treating yourself.

Here’s an idea of what you’ll spend eating out and on your weekly shop in New Zealand:

  • A meal out in a restaurant / chain – $8-14

Pita Pit Wrap $11, Ferg Burger in QT $11-15, Dominoes deal $6-10

A Guide To Budgeting When Backpacking New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

  • Lunch time meal deals on the town – $6-9
  • Weekly food shop $70 ish basics

Money Saving Tips: Some hostels provide free breakfasts which are usually toast with jams and pb or basic cereals with coffee / tea. Some hostels provide dinner free (only came across a few), others will have a dinner menu designed for backpackers (cheap at like $5-6) and some will simply offer coupons for discounts at local restaurants.

Supermarket Price Guide

  • Bread Loaf – $3.50
  • Box of Cereal – $3.50- $7
  • Brand own Baked Beans – $1.00
  • Block of Cheese – $7
  • Big Bag of Crisps – $2/3
  • 12 eggs – $3.99
  • Soup Bag – $3.99
  • Orange Juice 1L – $3.50
  • 2X Carrots – $1.42
  • 100% peanuts PB jar – $5.50
  • 100g Chorizo – $2.99
  • 2X tomatoes – $0.99
  • 150g Cranberries – $1.79

A Guide To Budgeting When Backpacking New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

Drinks

BAR PRICES

  • Spirit and mixer – 7-10$
  • Beer \ Wine – $6-8
  • Happy hour / Backpacker Bars usually do $5 deals for a house beer / glass of wine / house spirit + mixer

Money Saving Tip: Tap water in New Zealand is perfectly okay to drink so take a waterbottle and refill it on your travels to save buying bottles of water everywhere!

A Guide To Budgeting When Backpacking New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

Activities

THIS is where to place your budget. Eat and sleep cheap and save for the adventure.

New Zealand has enough adventure to entertain you until the cows come home. Infact Queenstown {South Island} is the adrenalin capital of the world. From bungy jumps, black water rafting and glacier adventures to zorbing, Lord Of The Rings Tours and SkyDives – NZ has it all.

The activities do come with a price tag, some of which will set you back a fair amount. But saying that, if you’ve made the effort and spent the money venturing to this side of the world, YOU’VE GOT TO DO THEM.

Make sure you don’t look back and think – dammit i should have just done it.

For most people, trips to NZ don’t come around often and your adventure will be a once in a lifetime kinda thing, so make the most of it!

A Guide To Budgeting When Backpacking New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

Examples of prices for some popular activities:

$299 Skydive over Lake Taupo 12,000ft

$275 Nevis Bungy {get it for $265 when you travel with Kiwi Experience}

$65 Tongariro Crossing {transfer}

$33 Te Puia Springs Roturua

$379 Franz Joseph Glacier Ice Explorer

$120 Tamaki Maori Village Concert and Dinner

$55 Skyline Gondola and 4 Luge Rides

$105 Paihia Hole in The Rock Dolphin Cruise

$150 Kaikoura Whale Watch

Money Saving Tip: There are loads of free walks and hikes ALL OVER New Zealand. If you can only afford a couple of trips, you will still have beauty in abundance at your fingertips.

ROUND UP…

Base budget per day in NZ = $70

$30 av. hostel night

$3-4 dollar egg based breakfast

Lunch $4-6 {Av. between eating at hostel and meal deal out}

Dinner $8 {Av. between eating in and eating out}

$20 flexibility for either a few drinks bar or an ice cream, bottle of pop, smoothies and a meal out

+ ACTIVITIES, TRANSPORT, FLIGHTS, INSURANCE ETC…

A Guide To Budgeting When Backpacking New Zealand | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

Hopefully this has helped you begin to figure out what money you will need to save to travel New Zealand. Remember it’s always better to slightly over budget and have spare money (extra jager bombs for you!) than to under budget and get frustrated on missing out.

Work the extra hours back home, save as much as you can and prepare yourself for the time of your life.

New Zealand is one of the most stunningly landscaped countries ive ever set my camera lens upon and it is worth every penny you spend there.

WANDERING WHAT TO PACK?

SEE MY BACKPACKING ESSENTIALS HERE

Other posts you may like that will help you plan your trip to NZ:

MY NEW ZEALAND VIDEOS

BOOM!

Have you travelled through New Zealand? Have you got any budgeting tips?

I’d love to know!

Thank YOU guys for reading <3

Love as always + happy adventuring,

Mollie x

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