How to Travel New Zealand in Your 20s© Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures -
How to Travel New Zealand in Your 20s

How to Travel New Zealand in Your 20s

© Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures –
Article Single Pages©
Article Single Pages©
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Travelling New Zealand as a Poor 20-something

You don’t have to wait until you have a proper job and making a million bucks to see the world. To travel New Zealand in your 20s just means staying in hostels instead of luxurious hotels. It means cooking for yourself rather than some chef in a fancy restaurant. It means even finding a job in a foreign country. It also means you’ll really experience the true New Zealand.

The problems we face in our 20s is that we’re too young to have a busting bank account. How can a 20-something really afford to travel? What many people don’t realise is that there’s always money to be made. Why not do it in New Zealand as you’re travelling around? We’ll show you how in this guide on how travel New Zealand in your twenties!

New Zealand is extremely easy to travel for people in their twenties, whether you’re travelling solo, with friends or with a partner. Need more convincing? Then just check out Why New Zealand is the Best Backpacking Country.

5 Reasons to Travel in Your Twenties

Why should you consider travelling New Zealand in your twenties?

  • You’re less likely to have big commitments like a career, house or partner
  • It’s a great way to learn life experiences and boost confidence
  • You’re young and have the energy to do epic things
  • It will help you discover what you want to do in life and what’s important to you
  • Learn how to make friends with anyone!

How to Travel New Zealand in Your 20s© Julian Apse - Tourism New Zealand

See New Zealand as a Working Holidaymaker

Instead of blowing all your money on one short and expensive holiday, getting a working holiday visa for New Zealand allows you to work and travel in the country. Working for a few months means you can sustain your travels in New Zealand, even if you are a poor 20-something. What’s more, most working holiday visas allow you to stay in New Zealand for 12 whole months! That means you will not only travel New Zealand but you’ll gain some super valuable life experiences of learning to live in a foreign country.

Apply for a working holiday visa a few months before you plan to arrive in New Zealand by following New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Application: The Complete Walkthrough.

Pixabay© Pixabay

Save Money Especially Before Your Trip

The months leading up to your travels in New Zealand are going to be tight. Not only should you book your flight to New Zealand in advance to get a cheaper deal, but this will take such a chunk out of your bank account that you’ll probably be scared into saving every coin you have!

We recommend saving about NZ$5,500 for your first three months in New Zealand. That will provide a good safety net and allow you to travel the country a little bit before finding your first job in New Zealand (more on that below). It’s important to understand your budget while you will be in New Zealand, so check up on What is the Cost of a Working Holiday in New Zealand?

To save money before your trip, get a job if you don’t already have one. Start cutting down on unnecessary expenses and maybe even sell a few possessions. Trust us, after travelling on a budget around New Zealand without most of the items in your bedroom, you’ll realise how little you really need to be happy. Follow more of your budgeting tips in How to Save Money for a Gap Year in New Zealand.

Pixabay© Pixabay

Get a Job (or a Few) in New Zealand

A problem most of us 20-somethings face is that we haven’t been on the job market long so how are we going to look employable? Luckily, there are so many entry-level jobs in New Zealand, meaning you don’t have to have experience for them. Just check out a few examples in 10 Working Holiday Visa Jobs in New Zealand. What’s more, many of these entry-level jobs are seasonal and there is a higher turnover of staff in jobs compared to other countries, so only working a job for a few months is common practice in New Zealand. This means you can work for as long as you need to to be able to afford to travel again.

To make yourself more employable for the New Zealand job market, check out:

How to Travel New Zealand in Your 20s©

Travel New Zealand on a Budget

Travelling New Zealand on a budget, i.e. backpacking, is easily done thanks to all the budget accommodation and free activities in New Zealand. Cook for yourself, don’t go crazy on the alcohol and find other ways to minimise your expenses with these tips in 11 Ways to Save Money and Stretch Those Dollars Further.

Stay in Budget Accommodation

Hostels are usually around NZ$22-$32 per bed per night in a dorm and you get access to a communal kitchen, laundry room and living areas. Learn more about hostels in Why Stay in a Hostel? Campsites on the other hand range from being free to around NZ$15 per person, but you will need a tent or a car/campervan. Holiday parks also have tent sites and powered sites for campervans, as well as budget cabins and dorm rooms usually around NZ$15 to $40 per person. Learn more about campsites and holiday parks in What is the Difference Between a Campsite and a Holiday Park?

Use Budget Transport Options

There are a number of ways to keep the costs down when it comes to transport, the cheapest being taking one of the national coaches. New Zealand has a massive coach network which will get you between all the main towns and cities in New Zealand. Alternatively, there are hop-on hop-off buses which are like a flexible bus tour where you can hop-off anywhere along the route to do some independent travelling. Find out more about the buses in Bus Networks in New Zealand.

For ultimate convenience, buying your own car is also a great option for travelling New Zealand and it doesn’t have to be that expensive. There are many suitable and reliable cars in New Zealand for around NZ$1,000 to $3,000. Sell your car at the end of your trip to make most of your money back, then your other costs will include fuel and perhaps the odd WOF (Warrant of Fitness) and registration renewal. Of course, there may be the risk of your car breaking down, however, you can greatly reduce this risk by doing a car inspection and test drive before you buy, plus maintain your car while on the road. Follow our advice in Buying a Car in New Zealand Step by Step and How to Maintain Your Car for Travelling New Zealand.

That’s it for our guide on how to travel New Zealand in your 20s. For more trip-planning tips, check out When is the Best Time to Visit New Zealand?


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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