Are you on a budget, but still want to enjoy your summer break? Here are some inexpensive ways to enjoy your days without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re a traveller with a thousand to spend, an intrepid adventurer with $100, have a family focus and $500, or just love to chill out for free, we have ideas for you.

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The Traveller

  • Last-minute deals are your friend. Christmas and New Year flight dates are booked out well in advance, but there can be some specials soon after Christmas. Destinations that are usually thousands of dollars could drop into your price range.
  • Relax on a cruise ship. Try Googling ‘Last-minute cruises NZ’ and take your pick. You could take a seven-night cruise around Australia and Oceania from as little as NZ$787.
  • Or try Googling last-minute holiday packages, and you could get to LA for a week, flights and accommodation, for NZ$1,500.
  • Check Air New Zealand’s Grabaseat site and pick a place to fly to. Try couchsurfing when you get there, to save on accommodation costs.

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The Adventurer

  • Head to the great outdoors and do a hike in our national parks. Organised walks along the great hikes may be booked out, but there’s no cost in walking in some of the lesser-known regional parks or rail trails around the country.
  • Take a road trip. Head to places you’ve never seen, with no itinerary, and just drive. Half of the fun of a road trip is eating at remote hamburger joints and staying in country pubs.
  • Hire a kayak and find some rapids in a river near you. Make sure you get the gear you need and wear your safety equipment and a helmet.
  • Get a cheap online day pass to an activity that’s out of season – try an ice rink, Auckland’s Snow Park, or a climbing wall near you.
  • Take a cycle tour. Pack light and pre-book cheap cabins. Just make sure you have hot water showers to freshen up at the end of the day.

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The Family Focus

  • Camping is the ultimate cheap accommodation option. Tents are coming down in price, so think about one for Christmas. For total luxury, an inflatable three-room tent costs as little at NZ$600 at Torpedo 7, then a site, like a powered site at a Top 10 Holiday Park in Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel is around $22 a night.
  • House-sit for a friend who’s heading out of town. You can cook there, to save on food costs, and if they have kids similar ages as yours, their house will be like a playground for your littlies.
  • Use Airbnb’s search function to book a cheap bach or a yurt in an out-of-the-way place. A farming community with dirt bikes and animals around is a great experience for kids from the city.
  • Find an island. Islands have a special magic – they mean a boat trip, exploring, and a sense of isolation few of us experience every day.
  • Book a houseboat on Airbnb for an on-the-water stay, for families with teenagers. Marinas are often handy to towns and beaches, and you can cook, eat and sleep in a fun new environment. Everything’s better by the water.

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The Chill Out Crew

  • Become a tourist in your own town. When the hordes of holidaymakers have left the city, you can explore galleries, tourist attractions, markets, and cafes without the queues.
  • Camp or book a motel in your city or elsewhere in your province. You’ll see a whole new aspect of your region when you’re staying in a different suburb.
  • Cheap movie night is a cinch for a relaxing night out. Is there something you’ve been meaning to see but haven’t got around to it?
  • Take a boat trip on a nearby waterway. Even a cheap return ferry trip makes a cool day out.
  • Have you own spa experience at home. Buy exfoliating products, bubble bath, masks and moisturiser and spend the day pampering yourself, or a friend. Finish with a glass of bubbly.
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Published December 2018

Story by Brenda Ward, JUNO

All content is correct at time of publication date. This article is general in nature only and has not taken into account any particular person’s objectives or circumstances. Before relying on it, we recommend you speak with a financial adviser.