Travel in Australia and New Zealand
Going to Australia is an exciting adventure, and often, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. One thing that can become bothersome and in hindsight, a mistake, is taking too many belongings with you. Lugging around a huge suitcase or duffel bag may suit you just fine at the airport, but tugging it around place to place in Australia, between accommodations, will become tiresome after a day or two, especially in the hot Australian sun. The trick is to travel light to Australia while still having everything you need.
Pack your passport and/or visa, driver's license (if you plan on driving), medical cards, emergency contact information, credit cards and money in a waterproof fanny pack or small pouch that will go under your shirt.
Choose your luggage. This will determine how much you can bring. Backpacks like the type hikers use, are best because your back usually can handle the weight and you can easily maneuver around unfamiliar locations. Your hands are also free for pictures and to look at maps. If you do decide to bring a suitcase, make it small enough to fit onto the plane as a carry-on luggage and has wheels and a retractable handle.
Pack a small school-size backpack. Unless you plan on carrying your large backpack with you everywhere, having a smaller backpack will allow you to pack for day trips. Also, as you pick up souvenirs, you can use it as an extra bag to carry your belongs home on the plane. Travelers usually leave with more stuff than they came with.
Pack your main clothes. Australia is in the southern hemisphere so its seasons may be opposite from your own. It is fairly hot in the summer and usually has mild winters. Check the weather before you go. Pack only one pair of light cotton shorts or pants and three shirts. With the clothes that you have on when traveling, you will wear the bottoms twice without washing and switch out the tops. Make sure they all coordinate with each other. Take four pairs of underwear, bras and socks. Wear your day clothes as pajamas. Wash your clothes in the hotel sink and hang to dry every third to fourth day as needed.
Pack extra garments. Take a compact rain poncho, a sun hat and, in fall and spring, pack a lightweight sweater, sweatshirt or jacket. If it is winter, wear a comfortable, non-bulky, winter jacket on the plane. Be sure it will fit in your bag if the weather warms up while you are there. If you plan on going to places that require more formal attire, for women, bring a light cotton dress and wear your flip flops with them. For men, take a pair of light khaki pants (if you haven't already) and one wrinkle-free button-down shirt and wrinkle-free tie.
Pack toiletries. Take the least that you will need. Prepare to leave soaps and shampoos behind on your last day to make more room for your souvenirs when you return home. Use small travel containers (available at drugstores). Take a bar of soap that can double as laundry detergent. Only take the makeup you will need. Don't forget the suntan lotion with at least 30 SPF. The Australian sun is strong.
Pack your medicines. Keep them in your carry-on luggage. Put two days worth of pills in a sandwich bag for your fanny pack or neck pouch, just in case.
Make copies of your passport and/or visa and put them in every piece of luggage, just in case your original documents are lost.
Take a small digital camera that will fit into your fanny pack or in a pocket of your day backpack. Leave larger cameras and lenses at home, unless you are a professional photographer or serious hobbyist.
Bring your cell phone, charger and electric adapters. Program addresses for postcards and numbers for emergencies into your phone before you leave.
Take miscellaneous items. Pack a small first aid kit, your favorite Australian guidebook, sunglasses, a pack of cards, two disposable razors, a padlock (for hostels), flip flops the communal showers and nicer outfits, safety pins, extra camera batteries, a small notebook and two pens. Also, pack a thin towel if you are not staying somewhere that will provide one. It will not only take less room, it will dry faster.