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So your flight is booked! It’s really happening. Time is ticking and there’s a million things running through your mind. So much to do, so little time!
In the previous post in this series, we discovered how to make the dream into a plan. One with a target date. You’ll have other things to tie up but as you get down to the wire, it’s less about what you’re leaving behind and more about what you’re bringing with you. Packing for the move to Australia is a mission that can’t be half-arsed. Well, that’s a lie actually, you could half-arse it easily enough but you may live to regret it when you your toes begin to freeze off because you only brought shorts and flip-flops. That’s right, Australia gets cold!
Soooo, what do you bring exactly?
For many, Australia is not only the beginning of a new life, but also the end of a backpacking trip through Asia. If you’re going to journey to the bottom of the planet, you may as well see a few things along the way, right? A bit of museum hopping in Vietnam perhaps or a beach party in Thailand – sure, why not?
When you’re struggling through chaotic streets in Bangkok or dusty trails in Cambodia, with your depleting energy and patience fighting against the hawkers and humidity, the last thing you want is to be lugging the weight of the family refrigerator around on your back.
And yet, you need so much. Hello?! You’re moving your entire life to Australia, you’re going to need a fridge there too!
Before you leave your parents scratching their head at the huge gap in their kitchen furniture, take a breath, a seat and a generous glass of your poison of choice. If that happens to be whiskey, you might want to pace yourself or else your family really will be chasing the fallen scraps of bacon and butter to the airport.
Organizing the chaos is the first step to being prepared for your journey. In order to this, I am going to impart an innovative, ground-breaking strategy that will make the mission so much easier for you.
With nothing more than a pen and paper, you will be able to systemically account for each and every essential item you need for your journey.
I call this system a ‘Lineal Incorporation of Significant Things’….or ‘list’ for short.
Flying in the face of all things sane, I have decided against turning this idea into an eBook and will be waiving the proposed $299 fee. I know, I know, crazy.
So, out of the generosity of my heart, here is the list. This will make packing for the move to Australia a breeze. Probably the last breeze you’ll feel before landing in the fiery pits of that sun-scorched desert. Just joking, Oz is great!
A wise man once said, “The two worst things about travelling, are all the packing…and all the travelling.”
As ridonkulous as this statement may seem, the frequent movement of your life in a bag from A to B is an inescapable aspect of travelling. It doesn’t take long for that neatly assembled suitcase or backpack to morph into a vortex of dirty laundry and electronic cables, fantastically assembled in the perfect configuration to drive you to the brink of insanity on every encounter.
And so, this brings us to the first item on the list.
Packing organizers are a kinda’ magic. Do you want to spend more time enjoying life and less time battling through the labyrinth that your bag has transformed into? (‘Yes!”, you yell in a loud voice)
Well, then find a few bucks for some packing organizers and worry no more. Unlike the nefarious packing cube, who is quite often a cuboid masquerading as a cube, packing organizers come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, sacks and folders, kits and sets, all of which will blow your mind but not your budget. They are a worthy investment that will save much time and many a headache.
Once armed, you can have separate compartments for electronics, underwear and clothes. Never again shall you tear through your bag like the Tasmanian Devil trying to find the passport that is currently in your back pocket. If your OCD takes over, perhaps you’ll take it further and organize your clothes by occasion (‘work’ and ‘casual’), by season (‘shorts’ and ‘scarfs’) or even by current smell rating (‘one more day’ and ‘kill it with fire’).
Clothing will be the bulk of your bag. There are plenty of shops down under so there’s no need to go overboard. It’s always better to pack light. Scientists have discovered that the average person only wears one pair of jeans per year (Source: Unknown).
Seriously though, there is no need to stuff 12 pairs of jeans, pants and shorts in. Be selective with your threads. Bring only the best. Aim for a week’s worth of clothes so you’re not taking up residence in the launderette.
- Waterproof jacket x 1
- Lightweight fleece, sweater or hoody x 1 (I threw my fleece in the bin in a hostel in Perth…three days later I was shivering in the outback evenings cursing my shortsightedness. Be prepared for all seasons when you move to Australia)
- Good shirt x 2 (for job interviews and hot dates)
- Casual shirts/t-shirts x 5
- Jeans x 1
- Shorts x 1-2
- Hiking pants/Lightweight sweatpants x 1
- Gym shorts/yoga pants x 1
- Swimwear x 1
- Underwear x 7 days worth (And no, the inside-out trick does not count as two days worth…)
Footwear is my favorite thing to shop for and yet I hate it when packing time rolls around.
The game of Tetris is often dictated by the size and quantity of footwear in your bag. If you are set for a job in construction, you probably need work boots. Hikers need hiking boots and runners need runners.
Sandals, flip-flops and good shoes for that hot date are all essential no doubt. And that’s just the guy’s list…
Again, be picky. Sacrifices may have to be made. If you have the pricey boots at home, then try to find room, if not then you can get them on the other side. For now, the bare essentials are:
- Good shoes x 1
- Comfortable flip-flops or sandals x 1
- Comfortable everyday gutties x 1 (‘Gutties’ is Irish slang for trainers, runners or athletic shoes. I will never call them sneakers. Sorry, not sorry!)
Accessories should not account for much at all. Depending on the weather when you arrive, you may be able to save bag space and just wear these things on your face. Don’t forget:
- Sexy sunglasses x 1
- hat x 1 (If it’s your style, then rock that baseball cap or fedora. If you just care not to get frazzled by the sun, look for a hat with a wide-brim)
Toiletries should have their own compartment anyway. You own a toiletry bag, right? Always handy for a weekend away, this time it can house all the bare essentials:
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Deodorant and/or antiperspirant
- Sun protection
Do yourself a big favor and get all the above items in small bottles under 100 ml. This will enable you to take your toiletry bag in your carry-on, thus making the long-haul flight less painful.
Also, in the nightmare scenario of your checked-baggage vanishing into the Bermuda Triangle, at least you will be able to get freshened up before screaming imprecations at the airport help desk.
Electronics are optional. Really, they are. However, as much as some people like to party like it’s 1999, there are very few walking, talking sapiens alive now that don’t enjoy prolonged daily bouts of staring into a screen. You may need a rather large packing cuboid for this category depending on your nerd-o-meter or location-independent working needs. For the average Joe or Jill, the following should do the trick:
- Lightweight laptop
- Travel Adapters
If needs must and space and money permit, then a camera or e-reader may find their way in too.
Once again, the wise move would be to bring electronics in your carry-on. Losing your clothes is annoying. Losing your laptop or expensive camera is grounds for murder by angry finger-pointing.
Extra Gear covers the type of stuff that you’ll need when you’re making the move to Australia. It will come in handy again when you’re on the move around the country or heading off on a weekend adventure. A lot of this is optional and for peace of mind or general convenience but if you have it or can spare the coin to get it, then your trip may be a lot easier knowing it is there when you need it. In the end, it’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and be moaning to someone else about it.
This section could be endless but among the best are these:
- Small day-pack – it’s great when you can get a backpack with a detachable day-pack. Perfect for exploring cities or going on hiking trips or beach jaunts.
- Water bottle – because plastic kills dolphins and you care. Plus water is free so why waste your money on it when you can get refills?
- Bug protection – Australia has lots of bugs. Some of them aren’t friendly. Having a lightweight net and a little canister of deet spray may be the difference between a blissful nights slumber and a furious attempted genocide of the mosquito population.
- Sleep comforters – Fluffy slippers, eye-masks, ear-plugs or travel pillows. Take your pick or take them all. It’s a long flight so get cosy!
Paperwork is last on the list, but most definitely not the least important aspect. A travel pillow is convenient to have but it will be of little comfort if you forget any of these:
- Valid driver’s license
- Bank cards – Credit, debit, online code cards…bring ’em all!
- Recent printed statement proving you have the required funds to enter Australia.
While not as essential, it’s useful to have:
- 4-8 passport photographs. These are always useful for job applications and various government dealings that you will encounter.
- Scanned copies of all important cards, licences and passports, both in paperwork and online in a separate folder of your email account.
- A curated list of useful contact numbers and addresses such as the airline, embassies, contact people in your destination city and any reserved accommodation.
And so that’s that then! Packing doesn’t have to be a mission when you give yourself the time to prepare and have a list like the one above. Remember to pack light. Whatever doesn’t fit, you can buy in Oz. Most importantly, don’t skimp on the packing organizers. You’ll thank me for it later….I accept checks.