Along with providing information about buying a car in New Zealand, the team here at Travel Cars NZ wants you to have the best possible experience in New Zealand. Check out our handy packing list:

1. Plane Tickets

In today’s age, it is rare to have printed tickets as opposed to e-tickets. We recommend printing out your e-tickets to present at the counter when you travel, and also for peace of mind to triple check those departure and arrival times in those moments of panic about the departure time the day you are due to fly out.

plane tickets


2. Insurance

Take a copy of your travel insurance policy with you and leave a copy with someone at home. It is also handy to have this on your email, to easily access from anywhere.

Print out a copy of your car insurance policy and pop it in your glove box, and also keep it in your email inbox. It is also handy to have the number of the claims department in your mobile phone contacts along with your policy number.

If you are planning to buy a car in New Zealand we have created a post with more information about this type of insurance, you can check it here: Car Insurance in New Zealand

new zealand travel insurance

3. Driver License and International Driving Permit

When driving in New Zealand you will need a current driver’s license and if your license is not in English we recommend getting an International Driving Permit organized before you arrive here. This should provide a translation into English, so check this before you arrange one.

4. Cameras

With smartphones having amazing quality cameras built into them these days, many travelers are investing in a phone that will act as a device for photos, videos, maps for directions, email, and Skype. As well as the ability to download apps and search for local information about the town, cities or general areas that are being traveled.

A good digital camera will take photos and videos and could also offer the ability to take photos underwater for those of you who plan to enjoy the beach, lake, and river swimming opportunities around the country.

camera for traveling

5. Laptops & Tablets

Unless you plan to be typing a lot, many travelers these days find a small notebook or tablet excellent for their light weight and compactness. It is the kind of item that can easily be carried in a handbag or day pack and for many, it will double as a device to take photos or videos.

travel gadgets

6. Adaptors & Power Cords

If you are traveling beyond New Zealand to other countries, it could be useful to invest in an adaptor that you can use in multiple countries.

7. Passport & Money

Keep your passport safe by always carrying it with you (we do not recommend ever leaving it in your car when you are not there). A money belt can be very handy for keeping it securely close to you.

Most travelers will carry a credit card and cash. Keep in mind if you are on a working holiday here you will need to open a bank account, and with that, you will be issued a cashflow or EFTPOS card that allows you to quickly and easily make payments.

In case your credit card should get lost, stolen, or swallowed up by an ATM, keep the phone number of your bank in a handy place. (maybe email it to yourself and save it in your phone contacts) So that you can quickly cancel it and order a new one if necessary.

For transferring money in a fast and cheap way we recommend Transferwise, you can open an account and make your first transfer for free by registering through our referral link: Open a Transferwise Account 

international transfers

8. Music

Most travelers these days would not be without their iPod or MP3 player, which can be enjoyed while driving in New Zealand, sitting on a bus, or walking the streets of a new town or city you are exploring. Think of investing in a portable speaker to enjoy your music with better quality sound.

9. Alarm clock

Every phone these days will have an inbuilt alarm, but if you are a traveler who will have regular ‘deadlines’ to get out of bed, then for your peace of mind you may want to invest in another alarm, so you can double up on them.

10. Torch

You will regularly use a torch if you are camping, sharing a dorm room in a backpacker, looking for something in your car at 10 pm, or walking to the long drop toilet if you are staying in a hut on a hiking adventure in New Zealand.

travel torch


11. First Aid Kit

This is great to prepare before you arrive in New Zealand when you are familiar with the creams, lotions, and potions offered in your home country. We recommend that your first aid kit include: any prescription medicine you take, tweezers, scissors, insect repellent, cream for mosquito and other bug bites, painkillers such as paracetamol or aspirin, car or motion sickness pills, sunburn cream, and an array of plasters and bandages.

12. Sunglasses & Prescription Glasses

In the bright sunshine of a New Zealand summer, sunglasses are an essential item. If you are investing in prescription sunglasses for your trip, we recommend paying extra money for polarized lenses, which provide excellent clarity when driving and also when looking at the water.

It is well worthwhile carrying a prescription for your glasses so that you can quickly and easily arrange any replacement glasses that you might need if you break or lose your glasses. It is also worth having this prescription scanned and emailed to you so that you can easily access it or email it to an optometrist.

13. Toiletries

Toothbrush and toothpaste: If you are particularly in love with your brand of toothbrush and toothpaste, then bring enough for the length of your stay here.

Cosmetics: Remember if you are driving around New Zealand by car and hot car temperatures can lead to melted lipstick! We recommend investing in a cosmetics bag that will keep your products cool and protected over bumps, as well as transporting them from plane to backpackers to car and back again.

Sunscreen: You may have read about the harsh sun experienced in New Zealand. New Zealand has some of the highest levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the world. Make sure your sunscreen has not expired and know your SPF and what that means in terms of reapplication.

Razor/Shaving Cream: This might be something you REALLY do not want to have in your bag if you are on a holiday. But if you are on a working holiday and expect to be attending a job interview or two, this could be a handy item to have in one hand.

Keeping clean: Have you ever come across a smelly backpacker? Avoid being one by investing in soap, and deodorant and regularly washing your clothes (carry detergent) and even your backpack, hats or caps, and even your shoes. Use good old google or YouTube for instructions about washing some of those items (like backpacks) that you might be avoiding doing because you are concerned about damaging them.



14. Clothing

Swimwear: Many of our swimming pools and hot thermal pools will be harsh on swimwear fabric, so keep that in mind when packing any expensive swimwear. You might like to invest in a couple of pairs (we call them togs here).

Sunhat: A must to protect you from the strong sun in New Zealand.

Ski or Snowboard Gear: Many travelers are horrified at the cost of our ‘gear for the snow’. If you plan to be hitting the slopes regularly over the winter months, we recommend packing your ski jacket, goggles, and pants and even bringing your boots and board.

Footwear: Bring along your hiking boots if you are planning on hitting the tracks. Bring sneakers or walking shoes for less intense hikes. Sandals, thongs, sandals, or flip-flops can be handy to have when using communal showers in backpackers and campgrounds. Also put a smart pair of shoes in for a night out on the town, job interviews, or just to dress up to not feel like a backpacker for a while.

Nightwear: If you think you will be in dorm-style accommodation, consider what would be comfortable to sleep in, while being in a shared accommodation environment.

Work clothes: If you are coming to New Zealand on a working holiday visa, then consider the type of work you are planning on doing and pack clothes accordingly. Hospitality workers are usually required to wear black skirts or pants and a white shirt. Office work will require smart formal clothes. If you are planning on doing some fruit picking or laboring work then shorts, t-shirts, and sunhats will be used along with work boots that will sometimes need to have a steel cap. If you own these already, it could be worth bringing them over.

clothing to travel

15. Recipe Book

A way of curbing homesickness could be to make your favorite meals from home. Ask your mum to write out a few favorite recipes and carry them with you on hard copy or on email for easy access. There might be a favorite recipe book from home you could carry, which could also come in handy if you meet some New Zealanders and want to provide them with a taste of your favorite dishes from home.

16. Day Pack & Waterproof Bags

A good day pack should be big enough to carry a jacket, camera, documents, a small medical kit, snacks, and a water bottle. When choosing one to bring, consider how comfortable it will be to wear on a three-hour walk, how easy it will be to wash, and you might like multiple pockets to keep items separate from each other.

Waterproof bags are also likely to be put to use after a swim, for clothes that need cleaning, or for those grubby shoes or boots.

Day Pack & Waterproof Bags

17. Suitcase or Backpacks

A large backpack will be especially useful for travel that will involve walking up and down steps in a backpacker or hostel. If you are planning on multi-day hikes they will also be put to use.

A suitcase could be useful for anyone planning on being in one place for longer lengths of time. Or for those of you who like to know where everything is, a suitcase could be more organized than a backpack.