What's In My Pack: New Zealand Working Holiday

Below you'll find a list of everything I brought with me to New Zealand for our Working Holiday. I may be carrying too much stuff but I was packing for an entire, multi-seasonal yearlong trip. If your trip is different and/or shorter, you could potentially just use this as an outline. 


Clothes, Etc.

  • 3 solid colored v-neck shirts

  • 1 long-sleeved scoop neck shirt

  • 1 pair khaki shorts

  • 1 pair running shorts

  • 1 pair yoga pants

  • 1 pair compression cropped pants

  • 1 pair Arc'teryx all-round trekking pants. I bought an old version of these in a maroon color for 50% off in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2014.

  • 1 long-sleeved thermal shirt

  • 1 pair waterproof snow gloves

  • 1 Buff

  • 1 one-piece swimsuit

  • 1 sunhat

  • 1 rash guard shirt for wearing over swimsuit while snorkeling or (fingers crossed) learning to surf

  • 1 dress with belt

  • Ultralight down jacket (I have a green one of these that's a few years old). The best feature is the compression sack it comes with that makes it pack up super small.

  • Rain jacket and plastic poncho. The rain jacket is for cold, rainy days. The plastic ponch takes up hardly any space in my little pack in case I go somewhere and get caught in a rainstorm.

  • 1 pair tie-dye pajama shorts (v-necks double as pajama tops)

  • 4 bras

  • 5 pairs Ex Officio underwear

  • Socks: 2 pairs long, 2 pairs crew cut, 2 pairs ankle length. I love Point 6 socks.

  • 2 Pairs of footwear: 1 pair of Chaco's and 1 pair of GORETEX Ecco boots (similar). Chaco's are the sturdiest, best walking sandals I've ever owned.

^All of the clothes rolled up and packed in Eagle Creek Compression Cubes.

Clothes... plus towels and snorkel. Note the green compression sack containing my down jacket.

Clothes... plus towels and snorkel. Note the green compression sack containing my down jacket.


  • Liquids

    • Travel-sized Dr. Bronner's liquid soap.

    • Travel-sized contact solution

    • 2 reusable 3 oz. squeeze bottles: one with aloe, one with an everyday moisturizer

    • Small bottle of lavender essential oil for stinky hostel dorm rooms. (Very useful!!)

    • Allergy eye drops

    • Tiger Balm pain relief ointment

    • 1% Hydrocortisone Cream for bug bites

  • Non-liquids

    • Home-made dry shampoo

    • 30 SPF sunscreen stick

    • Solid shampoo bar from Lush so that shampoo didn’t take up room in my liquids bag. Their stuff smells so nice and works well, too. Keep them in a separate pouch or container like one of their tins, though, because they come apart a little with use.

    • IPSAB Tooth Powder. Hard to get used to when you're accustomed to paste. But it lasts forever.

    • Aluminum-free deodorant stick

    • A razor

    • Toothbrush and holder

    • Floss

    • Small hairbrush and a wide-toothed comb

    • Cotton swabs

    • 30 SPF Sunscreen stick

    • Ben's insect repellent wipes. Has worked wonders on the notorious New Zealand sandflies, as well as mosquitoes.

    • A box of tampons

    • A small manicure set (had the complete thing for ages until I went through security in Melbourne, AUS last week and they made me throw the nail scissors out).

First Aid/Medicine

  • Bandages in varying sizes

  • 1 small roll of gauze

  • 1 small roll of tape

  • A few individually packaged alcohol wipes

  • Polysporin

  • A small assortment of over the counter pills for motion sickness, cold & flu, headaches/pain, indigestion, and allergies.

  • Some women's probiotic supplements and iron supplements. The former for general feminine health on the road and the latter for when our vegetarian diet is severely lacking iron.

  • Prescribed traveler's diarrhea antibiotics (I will never not have some just in case after accidentally having a smoothie made with ice in Panama...)

Tech Gear

*carried by Emmett in his pack

GoPro with accessories and the case above.

GoPro with accessories and the case above.

Everything Else

  • Sample-sized eco-nut detergent. I have also just used Dr. Bronner's for sink laundry because it's all-purpose.

  • A Turkish bath towel which folds down pretty small and dries really quickly (like overnight). Also can work as a sarong. I also brought the smallest-sized pack towel.

  • Glasses +case / Old pair of glasses as backup

  • Sunglasses

  • Contacts +case / Six months of spares

  • Mask & snorkel

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Camp mug

  • This mealkit. It's got a bowl, plate, strainer/cutting board, cup, and sporknife all nested up in a tupperware that packs well. Perfect for camping or a poorly-stocked hostel kitchen (of which I have encountered many).

  • Small flashlight

  • Two books, a journal, three pens, a highlighter, two small gluesticks, and a thin notebook.

  • Needles and thread

  • Small lock & key for hostel dorm lockers

  • In-Transit/Dorm Sleeping Essentials: Inflatable pillow, multiple pairs of ear plugs, & a sleep mask.

  • Sleeping bag liner

  • Bra Wallet: A perfect stash for small bills & a few cards if you're worried about pickpockets or don't have pockets on your clothes.

  • Shark Waterproof Digital Retro Watch From 2013-2016 I had the green one. I got this blue one just before New Zealand. These watches are so useful because you can wear them all the time, keep track of two times at once (US time & NZ time for me), have a stopwatch, and two alarms

General Packing Advice:

  • Pro tip: wear the clunkiest shoes (the boots) on your flight to save space.

  • Shout out to male readers: Better than men's Ex Officio, Emmett prefers these ultra lightweight undies for travel.

  • Another Emmett recommendation that I second: liquid bandage. Perfect for small abrasions on the go. You can seal a cut and disinfect it all at once.

  • Some other stuff that we've picked up along the way and used: a lighter, sweaters, a permanent marker for hitching signage, a small jar candle (even more effective than the lavender oil at combating stink hostels), culinary herbs & spices, and a pair of KEDS for me when I don't feel like wearing sandals or boots.

A year after arriving in New Zealand, we went to Australia for another Working Holiday. Find out what I packed for my Aussie Hol here.

New Zealand Working Holiday Packing Guide /// New Zealand Travel // New Zealand WHV