1. Book when in New Zealand
Generally, you will get a much better deal when booking your 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 uptoo. 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 in the bus).
2. Book in low seasons
Bus passes are always on discount. When a promotion ends, it isreplaced by another straightafter! 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 this is what we have witnessed in the last few years. And by the way, here are 11 Reasons to Travel in the Shoulder and Off-Season in New Zealand.
3. Choose a National Pass
When comparing the different bus passes offered by Kiwi Experience and Stray buscompanies, it is easy to get lost. Believe it or not, that’s over 60 passes to compare! Let us help. Start by eliminating every “non-national” pass. That’s all the passes that only cover a small section of the country. Those tend to be a much lower value for money than the national passes. We’ve found that the sevenbiggest passes from both companies offer the best value for money, so compare those with your bucket list to see which one fits.
4. Look into combining passes
While it is Ok to leave a section of the bus route off because a pass is much cheaper than another, you may want to take a minute and look at those shorter passes to add them to it. For instance, if you chose a pass that does not include a trip to Milford Sound (you fool!) you may want to look at their options to get there. Combining the Milford Sound pass and the National Pass on discount may be much cheaper than jumping up to a bigger pass at regular price for the exact same trip.
5. The best way to compare prices of different passes
To choose your bus pass 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 passes:A) Get a price per day of travel (bus trip). To do that, find out the “minimum days of travel” of a pass that is stated on the brochure or on the website. Then divide the price of a pass by its minimum day of travel. You will get a price per day of travel.For that price, remember 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 onenight’s of accommodation when you arrive at each destination.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 articles you might just want to read
Check these out to help you plan an epic backpacker bus trip and budget for New Zealand.