I love holidays and have more than my share of weekend breaks and weeks away.
One reason we take off so often as a family is that I'm a whizz at holidays on the cheap. Whether it's a bargain room booked through Wotif.com or an activity bought on GrabOne.co.nz, I always find a way to do it for less.
A recent cheap break was at The Farm in Whangaruru. Five days of camping, horse trekking, motorbike riding and kayaking cost us just $500.
Camping is an obvious way to save. I have friends who rough camp free. I've camped at friends' houses and chipped in with wine and food.
The council charges $31 an adult and $12 a child a year, no matter how often you camp at its 37 campsites, stretching from Rodney to Franklin.
Another cheap option is to rent a cabin or caravan at a campsite or a bach through Bookabach.co.nz or from a friend.
I love plush hotels but my first port of call for booking is always Wotif.com, which offers discount off-the-rack rates at thousands of hotels. I love Wot Hotel mystery deals; you don't find out the hotel's name until you've paid.
Timeshares are a budget option, although beware of overpriced new ones.
Timeshare weeks can be bought cheaply on Trade Me and sites such as Timeshare.co.nz and Redseason.com.au. You pay a purchase price, such as $1000 for a Club Paihia week or $3500 for Sun Pacific Villas in Mt Maunganui, then an annual charge. You get a week or more at the property each year.
An obscure holiday is wwoofing - working on organic farms for your keep. You do about four hours a day on the farm.
One-day-sale type websites offer cheap nights in hotels and cut-price activities.