Enjoy your Holidays without Breaking the Bank
Saturday, December 13th, 2014
With the start of the festive season, many people's thoughts turn to summer and the promise of the annual holiday. Whether you stay in town or opt to holiday away from home, it’s easy to throw caution to the wind and end up blowing your budget. Our guide covers everything from accommodation to free entertainment, picnics to road trips. Whatever your budget, we’ve got something for everyone.
If you're one of the many Kiwis who enjoy holidaying, you'll understand the frustration that comes with the cost of accommodation. Thankfully there are a number of options that enable you to save without compromising on quality or foregoing the basic necessities.
The Holiday Houses website offers a choice of over 10,000 baches and homes based through out New Zealand. With low-cost options starting from around $40 per night, it pays to book months in advance to secure a good deal.
Kiwi House Swap enables you to connect with other New Zealanders and enjoy great holidays for free. Through their website, members can assess other houses, message each other and arrange swap dates all for an annual fee of only $49.
Searching the classified section of your local newspaper in the lead up to Christmas, can be a good way of securing budget accommodation. Many home owners are willing to rent out their homes- some for around $50 per night-which is more reasonable than the cost of a motel unit.
If you are keen to do things on the cheap and are not averse to shared facilities, holiday parks may be the answer. Located throughout New Zealand, the parks offer a range of options from camping sites to self-contained units. They are also open all year round - which can be great for those who want to avoid the crowds.
For those remaining at home over the summer break, the question of how to occupy yourself can seem daunting. Here are the best ways to ease the boredom.
Picnics are a great way of socialising with family and friends, whilst keeping spending to a minimum. Pick a location by visiting the Jason’s website. This lists picnic locations all over the country that are within easy driving distance. The AA website is also helpful.
If you'd prefer something closer to home, why not take advantage of free public events that are organised over the summer. These are usually organised by local councils and often cater for the whole family. Summer time events for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are available online.
The easiest way of seeing New Zealand, is of course, by car. The great summer road trip has long been a Kiwi staple and for some, a rite of passage. But being cooped up for hours on end can be enough to test the patience of the most seasoned traveller. Here are some pointers to make the trip cheaper and more enjoyable.
It’s a good idea to make up lunches and snacks for the whole family the night before your trip. Sandwiches, rolls, pita pockets are cheap and healthy choices. Protein foods are important to curb the inevitable carb cravings, so include cheese, boiled eggs, sausages etc. Instead of chips why not try rice crackers, popcorn or pretzels. Making your own drinks will hopefully stop the demand for fizzies at the petrol station.
About a month before the trip, check the pressure in your car tyres. The correct pressure for your vehicle can be found on a plate located on the driver's door or inside the fuel filler flap. If unsure, check with your local garage. This is important as under inflated tyres can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 4%. If you can afford it, an independent maintenance check up available at vtnz can be worthwhile. The experts check 15 maintenance items that aren’t covered by your wof or safety inspection and costs around $35.
Although it seems like stating the obvious, keeping to the speed limit is the best thing you can do to save money. Studies have shown that slowing speed from 110 kmh to 100 kmh reduces fuel consumption by 12-15 per cent and slowing to 90kmh saves another 10 per cent. Accelerating in a smooth and even manner is another tip which will knock $$$ off your fuel bill. For long stretches of driving, using cruise control can save fuel by helping your car maintain a steady speed. This efficiency is lost on steep hills where the cruise control tries to maintain even speeds. On hilly terrain, it is best to turn off this feature.