Heading to Australia? When the excitement wears off, you will start worrying about what to pack! Don’t fear though, as someone who spent a year in Australia, I am here to help!
Backpack v Suitcase
That is the first question! It is all about personal preference, and what you plan to do! If you are going with the intention to mostly work or stay settled in one place, then maybe a suitcase is easier for you. If you plan on backpacking Australia, visiting several places and staying in hostels, I would consider taking a backpack. Still can’t decide? Here’s a list of the best backpacks for women! You also need to know what size of bag you want to take. Before you do anything, check your airline restrictions! There is no point taking a huge suitcase if you have a small weight limit! When it comes to packing, my preference is to go light, and leave yourself room for all the stuff you will no doubt buy when you arrive! I also recommend taking a smaller back pack, and whilst it might be tempting to go for a cute yet flimsy material satchel or similar, a small walking backpack is going to stand the test of time. It also helps to have several compartments, so you can keep things separate and not rummage around in the depths of your bag for your phone etc!
*Top Tip* Tie a bin bag to your backpack so if you get caught in a downpour you can protect your stuff by putting the bin bag around the backpack.
What clothes to bring to Australia?
When you think of Australia, you think sea, sand and sun! But trust me, it can get cold! So by all means, pack a few light t shirts, and maybe some cute strappy tops that can be worn to the beach or to a restaurant. But make sure you bring a hoodie or jumper. One pair of jeans would be a good idea if you will be in the south of the country during winter. I wore leggings a lot, so take a pair. Great even during summer, when the sun goes down and mosquitoes come out, they can offer you a bit of protection. A couple of pairs of shorts, a cute skirt and a nice summer dress are all great for Australia. The key is to find a few select items that will work well in different combinations, that way you have several outfit ideas but not too many actual items to carry! Even though I am a real “girly girl” I found that I didn’t wear much fancy clothing in Australia, and so bring cute but casual outfits, that will look good with flip flops or sandals! It goes without saying you will want to bring swimwear, but just so you know, swimwear is much better quality in Australia and you will probably invest in a bikini or 3 when you get there! It goes without saying, take several pairs of underwear too!
Shoes can be heavy and take up a lot of precious space. My advice is take some trainers / hiking shoes and wear them on your flight over. Then have a pair of really comfy flip flops, and one pair of nicer sandals for more dressy occasions. I never took heels or wore them at all in Australia.
Don’t panic and weigh yourself down with beauty products. Australia is very much a western country and you can find most of the major products you use here. Things may be slightly more expensive than where you are from, so find the nearest Aldi when you arrive! One thing I carried was a shower puff! Kind of random, but it is quick drying and helps get rid of all the sand and mud! I took a wide toothed comb which is great for tangles and some bobby pins and hair ties. Go easy on the make up if you wear it, as chances are you wont wear it as often as you think if the sun is scorching! Perhaps a foundation, bronzer/brush, mascara and lipstick. Pack it in a little wash bag, with your tweezers and nail clippers. Tampons and sanitary pads are readily available in Australia. If you are on any medication, don’t forget to bring it, including birth control. I also always carry a small medical kit with me containing antiseptic, plasters, paracetamol etc. You may want to bring some insect repellent, but if you forget just buy it on arrival!
Number one priority is a plug adapter! Australia uses different plug sockets so make sure you can charge your electricals. Another good investment is an extra long charging cable for your phone. In hostels, sometimes you can’t bag a plug socket right next to your bed so long cables come in handy. Portable chargers are also a good item to have, and you can even get solar powered models. You will be grateful for a decent pair of headphones too. If you plan on taking a camera make sure you bring batteries and memory cards.
*Top Tip* Don’t forget to get your phone unlocked in your home country if you need, as it will be much easier than trying to do it in Australia.
One of my favourite travel items is my cute travel wallet than my Nana bought me a few years ago. So simple, but something I use all the time. It has compartments for all the things you should remember to bring: Passport plus photo copies, Visa Confirmation (even if it is electronic, bring proof just in case), Travel Insurance details, Flight confirmation, Proof of funds if entering on a Working Holiday Visa and any medical notes you think you may require.
*Top Tip* If you have a student card, bring it a long as you may get discounts on attractions and entrance fees!
Extra stuff you may want to consider taking….
Travel guide: Nothing beats Lonely Planet!
Pen and Notepad: You never know when it will come in handy
Needle and Thread: For repairing on the road
Packing cubes: A lifesaver when it comes to saving room and organising items!
Microfiber Towel: Takes up little space, lightweight and dries quickly
Refillable water bottle: Tap water is drinkable in Australia so don’t waste money on bottled water
A padlock: Most hostels have lockers, but many expect you to use your own padlock
Sunglasses: The rays down under are relentless in summer
Playing cards: A winner for bringing people in hostels together
A sink plug! Weird I know, but hostels are on to us backpackers, they charge a fortune for laundry and remove the plugs from the bathrooms so we can’t wash clothes in the sink!
What would you add to this list?!
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