My New Zealand packing list had a little bit of everything on it. I would be in New Zealand for about 19 days, and I would spend around 3 full days traveling to get there and get back home. So this packing list is for a three-week trip to New Zealand during the month of July (wintertime). (I also visited San Diego before this trip for about four days-the only thing I brought to San Diego in addition to the packing list below, was one pair of jean shorts).
Packing for a trip can be especially challenging if you have never visited the country before, and don’t know what to expect. My first two trips to Europe were disasters because I did everything wrong. I didn’t do enough prep work and research, and I didn’t spend enough money on quality travel supplies. Rookie mistake. My best bit of advice is to research as much as possible months before you leave, and spend some time shopping for great gear.
The first thing I do when packing for a trip is to research what the weather will be like. I was visiting New Zealand during my summer break in the beginning of July, so it would be winter there. Most websites I visited said to prepare for any weather during a New Zealand winter, and to bring layers. That was great advice. There was snow and rain, sunny days and cloudy days, wind and frost, and everything in between. I never wore anything less than a long sleeved shirt and jeans. And quite frequently, I wore more.
After researching weather, I consider the kind of activities that I will be doing on a trip. New Zealand had a few doozies. I would be walking a lot, over a lot of uneven terrain, I would be hiking a glacier in sub-0 (for all my fahrenheit folks) weather, I would be bungee jumping, and doing a few water activities, as well as spending a decent amount of time on a bus. I wanted to be prepared for anything and make sure I was comfortable.
In addition, I make sure I know how often I will have access to a washer and dryer. If you’re only packing for a short trip, this isn’t a big concern, but if you’re going on a multiple week trip and preparing for different kinds of weather (or colder weather because warm clothes are bulky) it is very important to know if you can take fewer clothes and just do more washing abroad.
Lastly, I always consider technology I absolutely need, toiletries, and a few miscellaneous things that I bring along on any trip in case of emergency, or just for entertainment.
Lists are your friends. Make lots of lists and include things that you already have, and things that you need to buy. Give yourself enough time to shop at a variety of stores, and look around for your key items. If you order off websites, make sure you go to a site that offers free returns for clothing items.
I was very happy with my packing list for New Zealand. It served me extremely well. I included links to some of my favorite gear that I brought with me to New Zealand. Each product gets my stamp of approval!
New Zealand Packing List
- 7 Pairs of underwear (2 pairs of multiple-day, easy wash underwear)
- 5 bras (mix of sport and normal bras depending on the activity/day. I could usually wear a bra for a couple days if we weren’t sweating or hiking)
- 2 pairs Smartwool socks (I should have brought 1-2 more with me)
- 4 pairs regular socks
- 1 pair pajama shorts (for sleeping only)
- 1 pair sweatpants (to walk around the hotel and lounge around, also to throw on after you’ve hopped in a hot water spring)
- 1 pair yoga pants (for nicer days/athletic activities)
- 1 pair Smartwool base layer pants (This was for hiking the glacier-you need a layer like wool closest to your skin so you won’t freeze when you start to sweat! I never went on the glacier hike, but I’m pretty sure these babies would have done the trick.)
- 1 pair waterproof outer pants (To go on top of the base layer-or as an outer layer to protect from snow/rain)
- 2 tank tops to sleep in and for layering purposes.
- 4 long-sleeved shirts (I brought my favorite, warmest, most comfortable shirts on the trip. I wore the same thing a few time son the tour but that didn’t bother me)
- 2 sweatshirts/jackets (I would have opted for nicer fleeces if I could go back again, instead of the old sweatshirts I brought-but it still worked)
- 1 two piece swim suit
- 1 waterproof rain jacket This jacket was absolutely amazing-I took it everywhere in New Zealand and even used it as a base layer when it got really cold in the south island.
- 1 large waterproof and insulated winter coat (that I wore every day in the south island)
- 1 hat
- 1 pair gloves
- 1 scarf
- 1 dress
- 1 belt
- 1 pair Merrell hiking boots (I absolutely adore Merrell. I wore these bad boys all day long over every kind of terrain and they never hurt my feet. I always felt safe and secure in them)
- 1 pair sneakers
- 1 pair flip-flops for showering
Overall I was really happy with my New Zealand packing list clothing selections. I probably would have brought a mid-layer jacket or nice fleece instead of my sweatshirts. And you can never go wrong with more smart wool socks. I ended up not wearing the dress at all, it was too cold, and I never wore the sneakers-instead choosing to wear the Merrell hiking boots every single day.
To make packing easier, I recommend getting space saver bags, or packing cubes. I typically use packing cubes-one for undergarments, one for shirts, one for pants, and maybe a small one for pajamas. It makes finding stuff in your suitcase super simple.
- 1 toothbrush with traveling case
- 1 toothpaste
- 1 box floss
- My retainer (because I’m dorky like that)
- 1 hairbrush
- 1 travel size hairspray
- 1 travel size shampoo
- 1 travel size conditioner
- 1 razor blade
- 1 waterproof shower bag (sometimes I just use a big ziplock bag-put I bought a cheap travel set at Marshalls that included a small plastic case that I used-something like this)
- My glasses
- 2 travel size contact solution
- 2 extra pairs of contacts
- 1 stick deodorant
- A portioned out selection of vitamins
- desitan (for chaffing)
- a handful of q-tips
- 1 nail-clipper
- 1 tweezer
- Several extra hair ties (they can double as rubber bands in a pinch)
- Handful of pads, and small box of tampons
- 1 carrying case For me, a toiletries bag is essential. It is really easy to grab the bag in the morning or at night and do what you need to do. I like this one because it has a lot of pockets and can hang up on a hook.
As you can see I am by no means a girlie girl. And I don’t wear make-up, so I didn’t have to worry about any of that, and I don’t do crazy things to my hair, so that was another plus for me. Along with toiletries, I also bring along a variety of things that help make traveling a little easier.
- 1 pair ear buds for hostel dorms/airplanes
- 1 quick dry towel for hot springs
- 1 normal towel for showers
- Dryer sheets and washing pods for laundry
- Duck tape (in case something breaks, or to wrap up blistered toes)
- safety pins (you never know)
- Swiss Army Knife
- Safety whistle
- A couple of locks (for lockers, ect)
Some stuff you use, some you don’t. It’s nice to have some of these things just in case the situation arises. But I always say to myself, and other people, don’t stress out. Most everything you can buy in any given country for a relatively reasonable price. Except for the items in the next category.
My New Zealand technology packing list included…
- Iphone 6/iphone charger
- iPod (yes, I need my music)
- Kindle fire (for books, games, and movies)/charger
- Canon camera with memory card
- Waterproof/shockproof camera with additional memory card
- Power adaptor, one with multiple sockets
- Selfie-stick (guys, you have no idea how hard it is to take pictures of yourself without one)
My technology must-haves are listed here. I didn’t bring a DSLR camera to New Zealand-because I hadn’t bought one yet. All photos were taken with my little canon camera or my iPhone 6. Of course, if I had a DSLR camera I definitely would have taken it along for the ride. And, I would have taken my tripod as well. Since I am not yet a professional travel blogger, I don’t bring my laptop on trips. It is too stressful, too heavy, and takes up too much room. The work I do need to do can get done on a phone or on the kindle fire.
- My travel journal/assortment of pens and pencils
- My Pacsafe backpack (that is also my daypack)
- 1 water bottle
- 1 umbrella (it broke and I had to buy a new one in New Zealand)
- So many snacks, all the time. I never allow myself to run low.
And that’s it! I have a standard suitcase that I use. I used to travel with a backpack, but since I wasn’t going to be walking around too much with the bag, I opted for a standard suitcase and it worked out really well.
If you have questions about anything on this list, don’t hesitate to contact me! What did you bring on your winter tip to New Zealand?