I got a new Peru 55l backpack for this adventure and always aimed to pack light. I had started a first draft of my packing list months before I departed the UK as I saw suggestions for useful items and also began to get an idea of the important documents I would need. 

When it came down to actually packing I found it relatively easy and I even had spare space in there so I could pick up more stuff whilst travelling.

My mum was slightly concerned and asked me to put in a few more clothes “just in case” -I didn’t. I knew I had everything I wanted. At the airport the BUNAC staff admired my light packing and others were impressed I had a mere 9kg in there. So how did I do it? And what is in the 9kg I have brought.

-Please note I also had the weight of my carry on which had all my important documents, gadgets and bits and bobs, it weighed approximately 5kg.-

I had time to constantly review my packing list over months and I must have read hundreds of packing list posts on other blogs in the lead up to my trip. It also meant that when my birthday rolled around in August I was able to ask people for presents I needed and could take with me.

I’ve only been gone a few days and yet there’s some items I’m already really glad I brought. 


This is the main component of anyone’s packing when going away so you want to get it right. My research had indicated layers was key in New Zealand after all the country is often referred to having “4 seasons in one day”. Also because I’m going for a year it makes it rather varied in climate but my priority was spring and summer as that was when I was arriving.


Regular shoes

Flip flops 

>> I left off my steelies which I wear for tech work as I didn’t have any confirmed work and they are big and heavy and anyway some theatres are cool with just sturdy trainers.

1x jeans 

>> Whilst almost tempted to bring another pair of shorts or jeans I resisted. Even if I have a second pair of jeans I will most likely wear just the one pair 80% of the time and besides no one really noticed if you’re wearing different jeans or not.

2xshorts (new longer denim ones, patterned fabric ones)

1x leggings

1x lightweight waterproof 

1x hoody

1x jumper (dark grey)

1x black cardigan

>> Fairly straight forward here. I live in my hoody back home and jumpers are big so I didn’t want to go crazy here. 

2x dresses 

>> This is possibly a bit of an overpack for me as I don’t wear dresses that often so they may not be used much but they’re both very light and small and will be perfect when I just need to chuck something on.

5x tops 
>> I also got a free BUNAC T-Shirt at the airport so it’s already bumped that number up.

3x vests

White blouse/layer 

1x pyjamas 

>> I could have brought a couple of sets of PJ’s but my fabric shorts or leggings and any T-shirt will work just as well multitasking.

2x bikinis/swimsuits

>> One of each, variety and allows drying time of necessary.

12x socks

14x underwear

2x bra 

>> You want to make sure you have enough underwear as you will need to do a wash when you run out however remember that you can do underwear in sinks pretty easily so don’t go too crazy.

1x sunglasses

1x Buff

>> Sunglasses duh. The buff was from my dad and I’m really excited to use it as it is multifunctional as bandana, headband and scarf. In fact It’s tied to the outside of my carry on at the moment as an easy marker and it makes it accessible if I suddenly want to use it.

These can be weighty stuff so pick and choose. You can’t take your entire beauty regime. I don’t use much beauty products as it is so found it a little easier.

Travel towel

Laundry bag

Various size ziploc bags

>> I love my travel towel. My brother got it for me and it’s amazing, it’s so soft and drys me with ease yet is so small! The ziploc bags are for anything and everything. I have used them to store underwear and socks to carry on toiletries and food so far. 

Hair brush 

Lots of hairbands 

Make up (foundation, eyebrow, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, tweezers)

Make up wipes 




Bug repellant

Sun cream



>>It’s easier to get sunburnt in NZ and there’s sandflies, I was advised to come prepared. Plasters came in useful on the first day when I got a blister.






Razor and spare head

>> I splashed out and decide to try the shampoo and conditioner bars from LUSH as well as a nice soap. So far they are so worth the money. They Work well, smell amazing and are so much lighter and take up a fraction of the space in my bag.

Small pack of washing powder

Travel size





-Eye revitaliser 

Sleeping set (eye mask, earplugs and neck pillow)

>> just some bits and bobs to help me stay fresh on the 11hour flights. The revitaliser was a recommendation from a friend, still not sure what it does but it felt nice and soothing.
Gadgets and doodads.

Electronics are very useful for staying connected to home and documenting your trip and a huge help when researching and booking parts of your trip too.


>> I couldn’t bring laptop as I have a very chunky one and I didn’t want all the extra weight. I flip-flopped on the kindle as I don’t use it much back home anymore but I’m glad I did bring it as have already read 3/4 the first Harry Potter again.



>>Gopro and iPhone are my cameras as didn’t want a third as these two gadgets take good pictures as is. 

External charger

 >>I’ve yet to use the external charger much but it will be very useful and a huge safety net on power.


>> Lost these already. Luckily have apple earphones too and if I really want I can buy some more.

TSA padlock 

>> Padlocks for lockers if not your bag too. Adapter. Duh.



>> I was really worried I would have my Letherman taken away but it made it through. This is alway useful, scissors, knife and bottle opener among other tools. 
Documents, Books and Stationary.

You need to be organised here. You want to make sure you have the right paperwork for getting in the country. Books are heavy though so be frugal.



Insurance confirmation

Bank statements

Spare passport photos

USB w/ CV etc on

Printed CV

Printed references 

Driving license

Debit card 

Notebook with important details

>> All necessary documents that may be required for immigration or job applications and a notebook for me to document everything from booking references to family and friends contact details so that it’s all in one convenient place.

Lonely planet guide book 

Extra NZ travel guide book

>> The lonely planet one was free with BUNAC and the other was a present. Im sure they will help me find some great places and activities along my trip. 

There are a few other bits and bobs I have probably left off but this is the majority of what I have brought and I am quite happy with the state of it all.

Light packing is easy. You just need to research and plan!