Do layer

I read a lot of blog posts about packing for abroad, and they all pretty much say the same thing: pack a lot of items that can be layered. This really is an essential tip to living in New Zealand climate. On most days, I go from wearing a jacket to a flannel to just a t-shirt, and then I end up putting the jacket and flannel back on as the day goes on. The weather can change in an instant, so it’s important to be prepared. Plus, bulkier clothing takes up more room, and nobody wants that.

Layers to wear

Don’t bring the wrong luggage for your needs

I really stressed about my carry-on size in the days before I left for New Zealand. I decided to bring a carry-on size suitcase instead of my backpack. But it was the wrong pick for me, I should have just brought my my hiking backpack as my carry-on. It’s an essential item to bring for any avid hikers in my opinion (especially since the backpacks here are way more expensive). I had to shove it into my checked luggage which added weight and took up space. Now I have no choice but to use the suitcase as my carry-on on the way home as well and shove the backpack back into my checked luggage. I have more things now than I had when I came, so I’m going to be forced to send a box home or buy another checked bag. Take home message: if you’re planning on bringing a backpack, consider having it as your checked bag and skip the additional luggage.

Do bring a waterproof jacket

I got a 3-in-1 waterproof jacket that has a detachable fleece, and it has saved my life more times than I can count. Although the temperature doesn’t get as low in New Zealand as it doesn’t at home (in Ohio), it can get a bit chilly – and the jacket is just enough to keep me comfortable in rainy or cooler weather. I don’t often wear the two pieces together, but I’m sure I will as it gets closer to the winter months. This is my go-to piece to bring on mountain hikes because the tops of the mountains are incredibly windy.

Waterproof jacket

Don’t bring anything that you wouldn’t wear on a daily basis At Home

Dressy is personally not my style, but for some reason, I brought two dresses and way too many dressy tank tops. I almost brought a business formal outfit and a skirt, too. Tank top and dress weather didn’t last long enough to merit bringing more than one of each. Bring clothes that you are comfortable in and that you wear all of the time. If there might be a situation where it could be worn, don’t bring it.  I would mention – that at a lot of bars and clubs in New Zealand, they prefer you are more dressed up. I notice that this applies more to guys than girls. For example, they typically require that guys wear pants and dress shoes or Sperry shoes (no sneakers or sandals). This is something to keep in mind when packing as well.

Do bring more pants, and less shorts

The only things I wish I had brought that I didn’t was a few extra pairs of jeans that I left on my bed. I wore shorts the first three weeks of being in Christchurch, but I haven’t touched them since. I only brought two pairs of jeans and a bunch of leggings. Leggings are nice and easy, but they aren’t the warmest option. Not to mention, jeans are relatively expensive to buy in New Zealand. So, if you’re between that extra pair of jeans and a second dress like I was, pick the jeans.

Don’t bring toiletries unless you need specific items

Toiletries, styling tools, towels – all of these items just take up weight, and many of them can be found in the stores here anyway. For example, I bought the same shampoo, conditioner, and body wash at the local Countdown that I use at home in the states; however, I did bring all of my makeup as well as a few hair products and my toothpaste from home because I wanted to be sure that I had these essentials.

New Zealand Shops

The bottom line is, you’re never going to know exactly what you need or could live without until you’re abroad – no matter how much you prepare. There aren’t many things that you can’t get in New Zealand if I needed, so don’t stress.