You already have your tickets in your pocket, everything is ready and you have a few more weeks before your flight. It is time to start thinking about what to pack in your space limited backpack. It is usually allowed to have around 25 kilos luggage per person. Which can be enough when you are going for a two-week holiday but not that much when you plan a trip for the whole year. That’s why we have written a special article for you to give you some useful tips on how to pack your backpack, what to take with you and what to leave at home.
First step: Make some space in your room (on double bed, floor or sofa) where you can put all the stuff you want to take with you so you can clearly see everything together. Then, start packing everything into your backpack starting from the most important and indispensable things. So you will gradually be left with less needed things that you may not have enough space in your backpack for and you will have to say goodbye to for a while.
If you plan to travel around New Zealand and not just stay at one place or at hotels, your life will be easier with a backpack than with luggage. You can use it not just for bringing all your stuff from your country to New Zealand but also for your multi-day hike trips.
- Visa, passport and money
The most important thing is to have your valid visas (printing them out is a good idea) and passport (check the expiration- it should be valid for at least another half year after you plan on returning). Also, prepare your travel insurance, international driving license and other important documents you might need during your traveling.
- Cell phone and laptop
The smartphone is an indispensable daily helper on the way. Thanks to it, you have navigation, lots of useful travel apps, you can find a job through the internet and then call your employer. Without a phone, you will not be able to get there. Be careful when you buy a local SIM card. Not every phone is compatible with every SIM card, which you will learn on more in our Phone and Internet article. If you plan to write a blog, work online on the go or just want a larger monitor when using the Internet, take your computer with you too. One year is a long time so it might be useful. But it depends on your plans, if you plan to spend a lot of time in nature, it could hamper you.
- High-quality boots
Don’t save money on your equipment especially not on your boots. Comfortable and waterproof boots are the number one for every backpacker. So that when hiking you can focus on the nature around you, and not have to pay attention to wet, sloshy shoes.
- Waterproof clothing
A waterproof upper layer of clothing is also highly recommended. The ideal is a lightweight Goretex jacket that you easily pack into your travel bag. If you do not have the money for such high-quality clothes, then grab what you have but a good jacket is a necessity. If you also have waterproof trousers, do not leave them at home.
- Warm clothing
It doesn’t matter if you travel to New Zealand in the summer or winter. You will appreciate a warm jacket in every season especially if you want to live in a campervan. It can be cold during the afternoon and at night. You will also be happy you have it when you hike in the windy mountains. Yes, it can be very windy so we recommend you pay attention to wind resistance too. Wind direction is changing quickly and it can be quite cold and freezing when it’s coming from the South pole.
- Camera and accessories
If you are not sure what to invest your money in then a good camera is definitely a good choice. You will see an uncountable amount of beauty so it would be sad not to capture it. Keep in mind that you will be taking pictures of the phenomenal landscape and the mobile phone lens makes it very difficult. Remember to also bring any replacement batteries, chargers, and memory cards. Choose reliable brands to not risk losing the data because of weather (hot or cold) conditions.
- Action camera
If you own GoPro or another brand of action camera certainly don’t leave it at home. New Zealand is full of adrenaline-fueled adventures from water sports such as rafting, surfing, sea kayaking or swimming with dolphins to crazy activities like a bungee jumping or skydiving. These moments of your life should be recorded.
- Credit cards
Don’t forget to verify the validity of your credit or debit card and check if it is activated for international and online payments.
- Voltage converter and splitter
New Zealand has a different socket outlet (the same as in the UK), so you can’t use it without an adapter. And because the charge will still be needed, take with you at least a splitter or two. You will have just one basic hub to connect the splitter from your country and you can charge more devices at once. If you have one, take a car charger too. It's small, so it does not take too much space in your baggage and gives you another opportunity to charge. Otherwise, you can also buy it in Zealand for a few dollars.
A multifunctional utility tool that can be used in any situation. For daily food preparation you may use a classic kitchen knife but having one for multi-day hiking track in nature just like a backpack is good for you.
- Medicines and first aid kit
Don’t forget your prescription medications and take enough of them. It is also worthwhile to prepare other basic medicines and ointments if needed. We also recommend that you pack a first aid kit containing bandages, patches, disinfectants, etc. for tracking.
Sun at New Zealand is much stronger than what you know in your country. It is caused by a weakened ozone layer so you will definitely need quality sunglasses with a UV filter as an everyday indispensable accessory. You will appreciate having them during driving as well as for everyday use.
The headlamp is another indispensable tool for your travel, especially if you plan to sleep in a car or campsite or go for excursions in nature. It is a good idea to pack it with you even for a short trip. If you do not want to invest in the headlamp, you can certainly have a classic flashlight. However, the investment is not dizzying and it will be much easier for you to build a tent or cook in the dark or any other action for which you’d better have both hands free. Alternative batteries may also be useful because batteries are usually quite expensive here.
- Power bank
Another indispensable companion on the road for every backpacker. You know best that your phone is low on battery whenever you need it most.
- External data storage
If you're going to shoot a movie in Zealand, it's good to back things up. Damage to equipment, loss, or theft will leave you at only memories. Do not leave your data storage together with your computer or camera, or they may both disappear. If you have internet access during your travels, back your photos up online. You can save space in your backpack.
- Music and book reader
Traveling by plane, waiting at the airport, rainy days or long car rides. That’s why you just cannot leave your favorite music behind. And if you like reading then book reader full of new books can be an ideal companion for long, low-cost, space-saving winter evenings.
- Beanie, gloves, scarf
These pieces of clothing can be useful in every season and do not take up that much space so it’s a good idea to take them with. As mentioned above, pay attention to quality and material, it will make a difference later.
- Functional cloth
Merino T-shirts for sports, hiking socks or underwear, anything that has some quality is worth packing with you.
Buying some cosmetics in NZ can be quite expensive, so consider what you really need and what you can be without.
- Pictures of family and friends
One thing you will really miss is your family and friends. You can always see them online, but it can be nice to see them every day when you wake up. If you leave for a long time you can keep a picture of someone very dear to you in your wallet. It doesn’t take any space and it can give you a lot of energy in the situation you need support.
- Alcohol and tobacco
If you cannot be without smoking or drinking, take with you as much alcohol and tobacco as you can. The reason is the really high price these items have in NZ, so you not only save on money with these goods, but it's also a great gift or exchange present for people you meet. You will find out about the per-person import limits in our Immigration check article.
What to pack in carry-on luggage
The way to New Zealand is long and it can take you a few days to get there so it is quite important what you pack into your hand luggage because they are going to be the only things you have. First of all, think about everything you need to get to your destination.
- Flight tickets
- Travel insurance
- Purse/wallet – credit card, money
Then also think of your comfort and entertainment on the way. We recommended:
- Travel pillow
- Smartphone full of music, movies, and games
- Book or New Zealand guide
- Warm clothes (there is air conditioning on the plane)
- Extra change of clothes
- Small notepad and pen
- Voltage converter
Do not forget about hygiene. But check how much you can get aboard the aircraft. Fluids are usually limited to 100ml per bottle. Prepare everything in plastic closure bag for inspection. Pack also:
- Small towel
There has to be some space to fit your electronic devices which could be damaged in checked baggage (camera, computer etc.)
Now you are ready to go. Just don’t miss the flight ;-).