So, you’re on a budget, and money is tight. That means you need to give up any hope of traveling or getting out of the house, right? Wrong!
Just because you aren’t swimming in extra funds doesn’t mean you can’t plan a fun weekend trip from Wellington, or a long weekend secluded romantic getaway! You’ll need to be a bit more creative than you usually are with planning, but it’s absolutely possible to have a luxury escape on a budget. We’ll go through how much you can actually get out of your budget for a weekend getaway this year.
First, budget out your funds
We highly recommend being as specific as possible here. For example, if you’re flying to a getaway, make sure to include not only the airport car hire, but the shuttle cost to get there if applicable, the coffee you might have before the flight, and any inflight entertainment costs. The point is, we want to make sure every dollar is accounted for so you can plan accordingly.
We recommend first choosing a location for your weekend getaway so that you’ll have an idea of how far your money can get you. Look for destinations that tend to be cheaper. For example, if you’re living close to Europe, many destinations are extremely affordable if you know where to look. Try one of these budget friendly destinations to start.
Once you’ve got a place in mind, you can look up things like accommodation costs, public transportation, and even travel cards that allow multiple entries to museums and exhibits. Add each of these to your budget for an indication of how much money you’ll need.
Second, prioritise your activities
Yes, we all want to take a helicopter ride over the Twelve Apostles in Australia, or a private scuba dive in Bali. But a weekend getaway on the cheap doesn’t let us live our lives like we’re a millionaire. What you can do, however, is prioritise what you really want to do, and budget out for it. Let’s go through a few tips for choosing activities that will best fit your budget…
- Look for deals: Use sites like Groupon to look for activities on a discount, and to give you some ideas for things to do.
- Consider a bundle: Many cities will offer a travel pack or discount card, which would give you discounts on multiple activities. Check out this site for discounts on trips to Rotorua, for example.
- Ask the locals: As always, one of the best things to do is ask locals for what to do in their city. They’ll help you narrow down what’s worth the money, and what’s more of a gimmick.
Third, book in advance!
We can’t stress this enough – the more planned you are, the more money you’re going to save. If you see a deal for self contained accommodation on the South Island, for example, nab it up for a getaway next summer. You’ll not only get a great deal, but you’ll have something to look forward to in the future. Lots of getaway deals that offer airfare, accommodation and all inclusive meals are cheapest when booked in advance, and will completely take care of any planning for you.
Fourth, find all the free things
- Free museums: There’s always dozens of free museums, or at least free days at museums in almost every city. Take advantage of the free entry and learn something about the city you’re visiting, without hurting your budget!
- Free breakfasts: Continental or otherwise breakfast is an excellent perk, if your hotel or AirBNB offers it. Eat up at breakfast and you’ll need less for the day, perhaps just a snack at lunch and then dinner as usual. You’d be surprised at how much money you can save with one free meal per day.
- Walking tours: Most cities also offer a fantastic walking tour of the city centre and the main sites. Here’s a few across New Zealand you might check out if you’re in a larger city. Remember to always look online for other types of city tours that are often free.
- Live music: What better way to spend your evening than cozying down in a local pub with some live music? Most of the time it will be free, and you can have a few brews at a low cost at the same time. We prefer a local musician if you can find one, and maybe even one who knows some local folk songs if possible!
- Walks around the city: Always free, and always enjoyable, just going for a nice long walk is a fantastic way to enjoy the sites, sounds, smells and culture of a city. If you walk off the beaten path, you’ll get a great feel for the city and its culture, and maybe even find a lovely local pub or cafe to sit down in that won’t be on any top ten or must do lists.
- Google it: When in doubt, always Google it! Simply typing something in like, free things to do in Wanaka, for example, will yield you fun local markets, an outdoor concert, or a guided tour that’s happening on the weekend you’re visiting.
Fifth, be flexible
Some of our best weekend getaways are spontaneous ones! If you see a last minute deal, receive an offer for house sitting, or get invited on a camping trip, take it! Good deals don’t come around often, so be flexible and be willing to change plans if something awesome comes up.
For transportation, be flexible in how you plan on getting to your destination. Look up train tickets, for example, as well as flights. Although a longer journey, a train can be a magical way to get to a destination. Also consider flying out of a different airport, if applicable.
Follow these tips and you’ll be amazed at how much you can get out of a weekend getaway this year!