What's In My Pack: Australian Working Holiday
I don't know about you guys but one of my favorite travel-related things to do is see what other people pack on their travels. I'm always learning about new or more efficient gear, or tips for storage that I hadn't considered before. For that reason, I thought I would share what's in my pack for my current trip: a Working Holiday in Australia.
Something that's important to note for anyone travelling to Australia - whether it's for a long-term working holiday or a short jaunt - is that all of Australia is not hot all the time. Some of you may be like "duh, I already know that." Or you could be a little bit foolish and ignorant like I was and think "desert and tropical beaches = Australia... so I should pack mostly shorts." Luckily my first trip to Australia was a four day visit to Melbourne last year while we were living in New Zealand. That's when I learned about Melbourne's four-seasons-in-a-day phenomenon and ended up wearing the same pair of pants every day because it was too cold for all three pairs of shorts I'd brought. To sum it up: packing for Australia means having a little something for any type of weather.
I don't have too much variety, clothing-wise. In fact, after earning some money in Hervey Bay, the first thing I did was march down to the local Target - yes, they have Target in Australia - and get some new shirts. The shirts I had up until then were from home and were starting to get very threadbare and torn. Over one year of continuous wear does not make your clothes look better, that's for sure. Anyway, without further ado, here is my semi-new wardrobe with 3 out of 5 shirts courtesy of Target Australia.
Warm Clothes / Layers
- 1 pair of comfy, casual pants in a blue and white print.
- 1 pair of purple Arc'teryx hiking pants, rolled up.
- 1 smart wool base layer shirt in purple, rolled up
- 1 three-quarter length cotton shirt in grey
- 1 flannel shirt (that used to be my Mom's and that I've taken on every trip I've been on since I was 19).
- 1 Uniqlo ultralight down jacket in green, stuffed into it's own compression sack.
- 1 Eddie Bauer rain coat in turquoise. (Shout out to my Dad for finding this for less than 5 bucks at a thrift shop).
Cool Clothes / Socks & Underwear
- 2 short-sleeved v-neck tops in pink and heather
- 1 scoop neck pocket tee in grey
- 1 green & white tank top*
- 1 pair of floral shorts*
- 1 pair black shorts
- 1 pair denim shorts (not pictured)*
- 1 rash guard shirt, pink
- 1 pair of pajama shorts, tie-dyed lime green & white
- 1 floral print dress (not pictured)*
Click either of the pictures above to see more detail.
- 1 one-piece swimsuit
- 1 bikini*
- 3 sports bras
- 1 "nice" bra
- 7 pairs of Ex Officio underwear. (One not pictured).
- 1 pair crew socks
- 2 pair quarter length socks
- 2 pair ankle socks
- 1 trendy top, tie-dye
* got each of these items from a secondhand shop!
So: I know I don't need this much underwear, especially when it's as durable and quick-drying as Ex Officio. (P.s. For real, Ex Officio is worth the investment. Some of this underwear I bought over three years ago before I went to Europe and it's still holding up well). BUT I am living in Australia, not hostel-hopping. So I think it's justified. Also, when I'm backpacking I usually wear sports bras all the time for comfort but about 5 months in to living in New Zealand I had to cave in and buy a nice bra. I wore it more than any of the others and basically destroyed it after about 9 months before I bought a new one.
Toiletries/ First Aid/ Medicine
- 1 toothbrush + paste
- 1 wide-tooth comb
- 1 shampoo bar case, feat. shampoo bar
- 1 soap case, feat. soap bar
- 2 eyeliner pencils, blue & black
- 1 semi-waterproof mascara
- 1 tinted lip balm
- 1 mascara
- 1 tube of concealer
- 1 conditioner case, feat. conditioner bar
- 1 nail kit with clippers, file, and tweezers.
- 1 small bottle of lavender oil.
- 1 tube of coral reef friendly sunscreen
- 1 mini spray bottle of bug spray with DEET
- 1 mini bottle of allergy eye drops
- 1 squeeze bottle full of my favorite moisturizer
- 1 tube of bacitracin ointment
- 1 mini bottle of arnica oil
- 1 razor
- Contact solution
- Contacts, in case
- 1 shaker of dry shampoo
- 1 aluminum-free deodorant
I barely use any of my make-up. Those are definitely some of the most under-used items on this list. But when I do wear makeup, I use most of them. And I only have two mascaras because my Mom sent me the little one in a care package and I'll need to throw the other one out relatively soon.
As for the oils: lavender oil is the best thing to use to bust a stinky hostel dorm room. Arnica oil is for inflamed skin aka really bad bruises.
Also I LOVE Lush shampoo bars. They smell fantastic - as all Lush products do. Plus, it works well and lasts about two months. I recently tried the conditioner bar, too, and I am not loving it as much. :(
First Aid Kit + Medicine & Prescriptions
- Probiotics with cranberry capsules*
- Pink pouch feat. tampons & pantyliners
- Prescription antibiotics in case of traveler's diarrhea
- Allergy relief nasal spray
- Hydrocortisone cream for bug bites
- Spare contacts
- Pill organizers that I keep in my daypack so I can just grab 1 antacid or 1 ibuprofen, etc. on the go
- Blistermedic blister bandage pack
- Antacid tabs
- Daily allergy relief pills
- Anti-Motion Sickness tabs
- Caffeine tabs
- My inhaler
- No jet lag tabs
- Iron Supplements*
Looking over this list, I realize that it says a lot about me... I really love to travel but I am prone to pretty intense allergies, I have iron-poor blood, I have excercise-induced asthma, I constantly get blisters, I have motion sickness any time I'm on a bus for longer than 20 minutes, my skin is really sensitive to bug bites... So, yeah. I've got all of those minor inconveniences to deal with hence all the related medicines and such.
What I use the most? Ibuprofen, allergy stuff, motion sickness tabs, antacid.
What I haven't used? GasX, immodium, antibiotics. (Thank goodness). And the no-jet lag stuff.
That's another Mom-gift I've received since I left and haven't had a need for.
What I've barely used? Caffeine pills (only one time on a 60 hour work week in New Zealand).
- 1 Samsung Series 3 Chromebook w/charger
- A cheap HDMI cable
- Bluetooth Speaker + AUX cord for non-bluetooth situations
- White Nokia 3* & charger
- GoPro Hero4 Silver in waterproof housing
- GoPro Diving Lens Kit w/ five filters for varying depths
- International power adapter plug
* Actually the first smartphone either of us have ever bought. We had my brother's old hand-me-up LG G2 smartphone but the screen stopped working a few months ago then we picked this guy; it's the cheapest model at Australian tech stores right now.
** Not pictured.
The GoPro eats battery power right up, so the spares have actually been really helpful to have. I don't need the spare Nikon batteries as often, but spares were a must when we got off-the-beaten track in electricity-free villages in Vanuatu. Also, I love using the GoPro underwater, that's probably the most appealing feature to me. The floating hand grip helps me feel secure that it won't be easily lost and the color filters for depths are pretty cool. Since we've only been snorkelling, I've only used the 5-10 meter one. The difference it makes is noticeable. We want to get dive certified some time in the near future and the other filters may come in handy for that.
Also, I actually really appreciate our Chromebook. It's just a web browser with cloud-based storage but we've had it for over three years now and it still works pretty dang well, considering. I mean, I stepped on the screen and broke it but was able to replace it with a new one myself for less than 100 USD. Can't beat that.
Lastly, I can't love my Nikon D3300 any more than I already do. Next big expenditure on our list is one really quality lens for it.
Accessories & Miscellaneous
*It's a gun lock. I know, how American. I will say here and now that I am really anti-gun ownership. I hate guns. However, my Dad gave me this and I am very grateful because it is the best lock ever. It fits all of the weird-sized hostel locker lock holes. (Lock holes? Is that a thing?) Sometimes they are an odd size and you have to pay to rent one of their special locks and I'm always like "Haha, nah. Got my gun lock... y'all."
These are some of the most useful items in my pack. Whether it's for daily life or "backpacker" trips, each of these items is super handy to have along. For example, Emmett and I used my mealkit and the solar lantern every day when we lived in our car in New Zealand.
As for the snorkel, I've used it in Fiji and Vanuatu. Hopefully I'll use it again here in Oz before we leave. Also, I think if we end up extensively travelling to another excellent snorkeling location (like Vanuatu), we'll finally buy our own flippers for sure.
Accessories/ More Fave Gear
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- Some souvenir jewelry I've picked up along the way.
- 1 small purse for daily excursions
- 1 Scrubba Bag
- 1 container of laundry detergent
- 1 roll-up re-usable grocery bag
- 1 mesh Parisian-style produce bag
One thing we realized when traveling in Europe was that we ended up getting a lot of plastic grocery bags since we'd cook our own food about half of the time we traveled. We'd use the same ones over and over but they'd start to deteriorate. Back home in the States we use re-usable bags, so I'm not sure why we forgot to pack some. These have been VERY handy to have when we budget shop in our new homes of NZ and Australia.
The Scrubba bag!!! Is!!! Awesome!!! It is basically a washing machine in a bag - or the closest you'll ever get. When backpacking or car-dwelling, this thing is super handy for laundry on the go. Check out their website to see why it's so cool. I love this thing! Big thanks to my Mom for getting this for me. She knows what kind of gifts I want. :)
Comfort Essentials / Journalling Gear
- 1 inflatable pillow (thanks Norwegian rail!)
- 1 eye mask (thanks Aeroflot!)
- Small zip bag that holds a plethora of pens plus my glue stick for journalling.
- Two journals: one for scribbles, to do lists, recommendations & one proper journal
- At least one book, haven't read enough Asimov so I'll be getting into this collection soon.
- Vapur flexible water bottle
- Buff headband
- Keychain featuring a Kea Multi-tool, an Aldi "coin" (Aldi is our primary grocery store here in Australia), and a little LED flashlight.
I cannot live without my ear plugs when it comes to air travel, overnight trains, and hostel dorm rooms. Honestly, I even used earplugs every night that we lived in Hervey Bay because all of the local birds were loud as hell! There was one cuckoo bird (called a "storm bird" locally) that started yelling "hoooodle! hoooooodle!" every morning at 4 AM!
I'm a compulsive holder of every ticket, brochure, map, and piece-of-paper-with-someone's-contact-info-scribbled-on-it. Instead of having the bottom of my backpack littered with those items and then tossing them reluctantly when I get home, I paste them (or crop and paste in the case of brochures) into my journal along with a recap of the day. Bam! Instant scrapbook!
I used to have a real, sturdy water bottle that I used all the time. But I lost it. Luckily, I had this vapur bottle as a backup. I wish I'd just used this all along, it's much more convenient than finding space for a big bottle.
All Together Now
There you have it, friends. Now you probably know way too much about me based off of what I have packed on this trip. But I hope that at least a few of you out there will find this helpful somehow.