Step 7: Pack your bag(s)
Finally, it’s about time to leave! Last thing to do beside stuffing yourself of your favourite home made food or local specialty, packing your bag. Many people consider this a chore but I thoroughly enjoy it! I am not an over packer, I am a picky packer, choosing carefully each item for its versatility and overall use.
But first thing first, let’s settle the long going debate: Backpack VS Suitcase.
Backpack vs Suitcase
To be honest, I have heard good arguments for both, and I do not think that there is a clear winner for everybody, some will like one, some the other. For me it is a no brainer, backpacks are much better than a suitcase. I like the ease of transportation, the versatility and had a nice little system of plastic bags inside that made it incredibly easy to use. I mean, I was planning and was on the road for a good part of my trip so dragging a suitcase behind me would have been stupid, I strapped on my backpacked and moved it easily from one point to the other. Not that I had to carry it for long, because let’s face it, the idea that you will be carrying your bag for kilometers is a myth, if you have to carry it a few hundred meters a day it would be a max. Usually form a bus to a hostel and the next day from your hostel to a ferry or a shuttle or another bus.
Whatever you choose, make sure to have at least one small backpack for all your day trips needs.
If you agree with me, you’ll get yourself a sturdy backpack. I was about to make a whole guide on what you should be looking for when buying a backpack, what backpack size to pick and how much to spend on it but one of my favourite website in New Zealand already done that for me so here you are: Choose a good backpack (by BackpackerGuide.NZ)
The only tip that I would add is: Try the backpack that you are planning to buy long enough to see if it is comfortable on the long run!
Now packing time!
I have divided this list into different section just to make it easier for you to organize yourself when packing. Make sure to stick to your airline’s weight requirements. There is absolutely no need to try to reach the limit, I saw countless traveler over packing and regretting it afterwards. If anything, you should under pack and if necessary buy a few cheap things on the way. For example, I decided not to pack a winter knit and a winter jacket and bought some in Christchurch for $60. It was worth it instead of carrying it all summer!
Anyway, keep this in mind: Think versatile when packing, you are done going for a fashion show!
- 1 big backpack
- 1 reusable shopping bag (good for laundry and shopping)
- 1 smaller backpack (as a carry on and great for day trips)
- 8 under wares sets
- 8 pairs of socks
- 1 pair of jandals (flip flops)
- 8 tops (Make your 7th top an “interview top” and your 8th top a nice one to go out with to match with your “dressed” jeans)
- 2 jumpers
- 4 bottoms (2 pants + 2 shorts)
- 1 sun hat
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 waterproof jacket
- 1 lightweight jacket
- 1 pair of black small sneakers (Good for going out and interviews)
- 1 pair of good hiking shoes
Note: I have heard many times that rolling clothes was better than folding them in a backpack, however as I packed light I had no space problem so did not need to go through crazy packing techniques to make it all fit.
- 1 tooth brush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 soap bar + Soap box (I find that much better than liquid shower gels)
- 1 towel (Some travel towel dry in minutes, they are expensive but worth considering)
- 1 mini first aid kit (add a few common tablets to it)
- Contact lenses (pack 3 months supplies)
- 1 box of tampons (Let’s face it, New Zealand is civilized, there is no need to pack more than a couple of wee supplies)
- 1 razor + blades
- 1 shaving cream tube
Note: New Zealand has all the same items that you are used to at home, maybe under an other brand but that’s it, so no need to pack up 12 months worth of product, keep it light!
- 1 laptop (don’t forget your charger)
- 1 camera (don’t forget your charger either)
- 1 mp3 player (I took a USB charger for it so I could charge it anywhere)
- 1 cellphone (don’t forget your charger)
Note: I did not get a travel adaptor as it was included in my Starter Pack see Step 4 - Get a Starter Pack
Paperwork and other essentials
- $200 cash (I did not need more as I already transferred some money onto the account open with Working Holiday Starter)
- 1 copy of my Working Holiday Visa
- 1 passport (Duh!)
- 1 insurance certificate
- 1 international driver's license
- 1 international credit card
- 1 medical prescription
- 1 contact booklet
- 1 padlock (don't forget the key!)
- 1 pen and notepad
That’s pretty much it, I truly think that with those essentials your can’t go wrong. Remember, you will have to carry what you pack for 12 months! Plus what you will accumulate on the way, from souvenirs to impulse buys.
For more info about packing, here are a few links worth checking out:
- What clothes to pack to travel to New Zealand (by BackpackerGuide.NZ)
- Packing Guide for a Working Holiday Visa (by Working Holiday Starter)
By now you should be ready for the trip of your life! I genially wish you to have the trip of your life, it was such a mind blowing experience to me that changed me in so many ways and I hope that you will get what you are looking for out of this trip and much more!
Remember: “Not all those who wanders are lost” J.R.R. Tolkien.
Now check out the list of travel resources that I used during my trip, from website to books to every days items to shops, you may find some info useful, who knows ;)
You can also check out my location guide where I give my quick take on each location that I spent time in. This is not a fully extended guide but a great way to check which places pick your interest and add them to your bucket list.