How to Get a Discount or a Good Deal on Your New Zealand Bus Tour
So you have done your research, read all our bus-related articles, and have chosen to travel New Zealand using one of the bus tours or hop-on hop-off bus networks? Good on you! You will have a blast!
Now it’s a matter of finding you a good deal so you have more money to spend on jumping from a plane, bungy jumping from a bridge, or whatever crazy things you intend to do in New Zealand. Bus passes, from the hop-on hop-off bus companies like Kiwi Experience and Stray to bus tours with Haka Tours, Flying Kiwi and Contiki, are very frequently on discount. But here, we have a few tips to guarantee a better deal and save money on a bus pass or bus tour in New Zealand.
Once you find the perfect deal on a bus pass or tour, take a look at How to Budget for a Hop-on Hop-off Bus Trip Around New Zealand so you can keep those costs down and make your dollars stretch further! Plus, don’t forget to bookmark Travel by Bus in New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide for even more tips.
1. Book a “Bus Pass” Once You’ve Arrived in New Zealand; Book Your “Bus Tour” Before
Generally, you will get a much better deal when booking your Kiwi Experience and Stray bus pass in New Zealand as opposed to booking prior to your arrival. Most overseas resellers get different prices than New Zealand-based ones. What’s more, the exchange rate that they’re charged is not ideal and is bumping the price up too. You are better off waiting to land in New Zealand and booking your pass then. (Do not fear, there will still be a spot for you on the bus).
Due to bus tours like Haka Tours, Wild Kiwi and other small-group tours booking up quickly and are directed at travellers with limited time in New Zealand, we recommend booking your bus tour before arriving in New Zealand so that you reserve your seat on the bus.
2. Book in the Low Seasons
Bus passes and tours are always on discount. When a promotion ends, it is replaced by another! However, prices tend to follow the same pattern every year: from September to March prices are at their highest, and from April to August prices are much lower with the lowest point usually being in July. Obviously, this is not an exact science, but bus tours and passes are usually either at their cheapest price during the low season or when booking a trip for the low season. And by the way, here are 11 Reasons to Travel in the Shoulder and Off-Season in New Zealand.
3. Choose a National Pass or Tour
When comparing the different bus passes offered by the bus companies in New Zealand, it is easy to get lost. Let us help. If you have the time to travel both the North Island and South Island (about 15 to 20+ days), start by eliminating every “non-national” tour; that’s all the tours that only cover a small section of the country. These shorter tours tend to be a much lower value for money than the national tours or bus passes. Compare national bus tours and passes in The Best 20+ Days (3-4 Weeks) Tours of New Zealand and The 15 Best Bus Tours in New Zealand.
4. Look into Combining Passes
While it is Ok to choose a slightly shorter bus tour if it is much cheaper than another, you may want to take a minute and look at those shorter passes to add them to your existing one. For instance, if you chose a tour that does not include a trip to Milford Sound (you fool!) you may want to look at the bus company’s options to get there. Combining the “Milford Sound Day Tour” and the “Ultimate New Zealand National Pass” on discount may be much cheaper than jumping up to a bigger pass at a regular price for the exact same trip.
5. The Best Way to Compare the Price of Different Bus Tours
To choose your bus tour and the deal that you want to go with, you will need to find a common denominator to compare prices, so grab your calculator and read on! There are two main ways to fairly compare the prices of multiple bus tours or passes:
A) Work out the price per day of travel. To do that, find out the “minimum days of travel” of a bus tour that is stated on the brochure or website. Then divide the price of a pass by its minimum days of travel. You will get a price per day of travel.
For that price, remember that on the hop-on hop-off tours like Kiwi Experience and Stray, you are getting these things included: transportation + many stops along the way + some kind of free activities + commentary + fun times with like-minded people + the guarantee of one night’s of accommodation when you arrive at each destination.
For more inclusive bus tours, like Haka Tours, G Adventures and Topdeck, you’re are getting these things included: transportation + many stops along the way + some kind of free and paid activities + commentary + fun times with like-minded people + all accommodations + at least breakfast every day and some other meals.
B) Get a price per month. For those that are always thinking in terms of “monthly plans”, just divide the price of your bus pass by the number of months that you will be staying in New Zealand so you know if that price fits your monthly transportation budget.
We prefer using Method A, as it can often unveil surprises in what is actually cheap and what is not.
More About Saving Money on Bus Tours in New Zealand
That’s it for our guide on how to save money on your bus tour in New Zealand. Check these out to help you plan an epic bus trip and budget for New Zealand.
- The Cheapest Ways to Travel Around New Zealand
- How to Travel by Bus in New Zealand
- 15 Tips to Make the Most of Your Bus Trip
- 5 Different Bus Networks in New Zealand (Inc. Bus Companies)
For more advice on planning a cheap trip to New Zealand, head to The Travel Guide to New Zealand on a Budget.