It’s about this time of year when us Kiwis & Aussies really start itching for a winter break. The days are short, the nights are long and we’ve all got colds. A break from your routine and the cold weather can be just what you need to get through what remains of winter and recharge your batteries. I’ve teamed up with Cheapflights to give you my best tips on finding ways to travel this winter without breaking the bank.
9 Tips to Help Kiwis & Aussies Save on Their Winter Travel
Don’t fly on a Friday.
Cheapflights data suggests that Friday is consistently the most expensive day to fly. Making your booking on a Tuesday will also help get you the best fare. Research suggests Thursday is the best day to depart for cheap airfares.
Avoid the school holidays… if you can!
It’s not easy to squeeze all your travel into school holiday times. We are definitely trying to make that adjustment now that we’re living back in New Zealand after travelling long-term with our kids. If you don’t have children to work around, definitely avoid the school holiday dates for both New Zealand and Australia. If you have school-aged children, consider jetting off a few days before the school holidays begin. On our recent trip to Hong Kong & the Philippines, we left on the Wednesday before school broke up and came back midway through the second week of the school holidays. This allowed us to nab cheap flights to Hong Kong and also give the kids an opportunity for some down time before school went back.
If you’re flying Trans Tasman, choose a cheaper airport.
In my experience, it can be cheaper to fly into a major city and take a domestic connection from there. Flights into New Zealand are cheapest via Auckland in my experience. Travelling from New Zealand to Australia, Melbourne often appears to be the cheapest hub.
Take a city break instead of a beach holiday.
A city break can be much better value in the winter! I know everyone dreams of a winter vacation somewhere warm & sunny but, the fact of the matter is, these destination are dramatically more expensive when the weather sucks at home. Sydney can be beautiful & sunny in the winter. Pop over to Melbourne for some delicious food, shopping or a show. Or head to Auckland and take a day trip over to Waiheke Island.
If you really need that beach time…
Book your trip towards the end of winter if you want a tropical break. Travelling in the shoulder season is a great way to save money on both flights and accommodation. Malaysia and Tonga are the best value beach destinations when it comes to finding cheap flights from New Zealand or Australia.
Weigh up the costs
While an airfare to the Pacific Islands might be cheaper than a flight to Asia, you have to factor in the cost of hotels, food and activities once you’re on the ground. Destinations in Asia like Thailand or Bali might be more expensive to reach but will be more affordable once you get there. A good way to judge how much you’ll spend in a destination is to look at the cost of a hotel per night and triple it to reach a per day cost. If a hotel in Fiji is $200/night then figure on spending about $600/day for your trip. If a hotel in Thailand is $75/night then figure on spending about $225/ day on your trip. Make sense?
Opt for a “staycation”.
You don’t need to go away to have a great winter break. If a flight overseas is not in your budget this year, a couple of nights at a hotel in or near your hometown could be! If you live in the suburbs, head into the city for a night in a hotel, great meals and maybe watch a show. Or pick a destination within driving distance and spend a night at a winery or hot pools.
Cut your accommodation costs by using Airbnb.
Booking a package holiday in an apartment on the Gold Cost or Sunshine Coast might sound like a good idea but in many cases you can find a cheaper apartment rental via Airbnb than a hotel booking site or through a travel agent. Sometimes you’ll even be the same apartment. If you don’t already know about Airbnb, get yourself a $40 NZD coupon by signing up here. Conversely, Airbnb can work out cheaper… but not always. It definitely pays to cross check the prices against hotels & apartments by doing a Cheapflights hotel search too.
Relocate a campervan.
This is our plan for an affordable winter break these school holidays so stay tuned for more details. You can relocate campers for as little as $1/day. You’ll need a flight back at the other end (unless you want to do two back to back relocations) but campervan trips are an affordable way for families or groups of friends to travel. Popular routes include Cairns to Brisbane, Auckland to Christchurch and Alice Springs to Melbourne (you can read through this Facebook discussion about that route!).
What are your tips for an affordable winter break?
Let me know what tips you have for planning an affordable winter break this year! Check out the infographic below from Cheapflights for more tips and tricks on finding great flight deals.
Where do you go to escape the cold weather and get some sun? I’d love to know what your winter holiday plans are. Leave me a comment below.