Lot of people have posed this question to me. Everyone knew that the trip to New Zealand is expensive and they were curious to know about the actual cost. But when I told them about the expense, most of them were surprised. I thought it would be a good idea to put some details into the expenses we had during our trip. Rarely I share the details about the cost of a trip. But there are exceptions.
|Edmund Hillary in New Zealand currency|
The conversion rate I considered 1 NZD = 48 INR. Cost shown below is per person.
|Return flight from Bengaluru to Christchurch||74,182|
Gondola, helicopter, boat etc
The expense was lower than my budget (I had estimated 2 lakhs per person). Some reasons were:
- Booking flights early.
- Going with local rental car instead of International companies
- Self cooked food. This was the game changer. A decent food in restaurant easily costs more than 60 NZD and if you multiply it with 15 days, you can imagine the savings.
- Rupee appreciation. Rupee had gained about 10% from the time I planned the trip to the actual travel dates.
- 4 people. Most efficient to distribute costs. Whether it was rental car or stay, the cost was divided.
- April was shoulder (Autumn) season. The crowd in general was less and prices were lower when compared to summer months (November to March).
How could I have reduced it even further with the same plan?
- Do not opt for car insurance. It was quite some money but I decided to be safe.
- Remove GPS from my car. But I felt that in unknown lands, it is better to have offline maps.
- Do not buy SIM card. Though hotels provided free Wi-Fi, it was necessary to have some internet outside.
- Take a camper van and camp. I thought about it but my family would not be comfortable with it. But it is a great option as New Zealand is very camper van friendly and there are many beautiful camping grounds.
- Stay in low end hotels. But I was with family and no compromises were made with respect to quality of stay. New Zealand has wide variety of places to stay – from hostels to motels to high end hotels. The places I stayed were definitely not high end but were decent for family.
- Not go that Mexican restaurant. Ah!! I can’t be so strict!!
- Do not eat ice creams. But I can’t!!!
- Start trip from Auckland. Auckland has better flight connectivity than Christchurch. But my focus was South Island. But if one covers North Island, starting and ending trip at Auckland makes sense.
- Travel via Australia. Australia has few budget flights. And then we would take a flight to New Zealand. But requires Australia Visa (even for transit). Good option if someone has Australian visa and can spare some additional time.
The way I travel is by first deciding on destination and then planning for the same. I try to book early or try to find time when the flight rates are low. Or plan my finances to meet the budget. For New Zealand I did all of them!!