Tips & Tools

Before you depart checklist

Depending on your destination and time away you should look at arranging the following before you depart.

  • Pets—make sure your pets are safe. Hire a sitter, ask a neighbour, or leave them at a boarding facility.
  • Plants—move your plants out of direct sunlight and place them close together to provide shade. If you’re only away for a couple of weeks use a wet newspaper to provide moisture, otherwise, organsise a plant sitter.
  • Make your home appear lived-in while away by putting some lights and a radio on timers.
  • Organise your neighbours to watch the house.
  • Leave your keys and itinerary with a friend.
  • Lock all windows and doors, and don’t forget to lock your garage.
  • Turn off your heater thermostat at home.
  • Redirect mail or arrange for it to be collected. Free newspapers and junk mail will continue to arrive, so make sure someone collects them or it will be clear to burglars that you’re not at home.
  • Cancel newspapers and any other subscriptions or deliveries.
  • Lawns—arrange for someone to mow them.
  • Place Sky TV rental on hold.
  • Eliminate fire hazards—power-off where appropriate. Unplug as many appliances as you can.
  • Empty refrigerator.
  • Regular medication—if you take medication it is recommended that you carry an additional supply in the event your trip is unexpectedly extended. We also urge that you keep a duplicate of any subscriptions you have, as well as your prescription for glasses or contact lenses. It’s also a good idea to divide any medication into two bags in case one gets misplaced. A letter from your doctor detailing what your medication is for may also be useful in the event that customs authorities take an interest.
  • Check if your mobile phone has international roaming. Messaging is a terrific and inexpensive method to stay in touch with friends and family. Take an additional charger in case you forget one someplace. Load all of the numbers you want to message or call while you’re away and save them somewhere else in case you lose your phone.
  • International Drivers License—you may require an International Driving Permit to drive in another country. This is proof that you hold a valid NZ drivers license. On www.aa.co.nz, you can find a list of countries that require an International Drivers License.
  • Registration with Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade. It is advised that you register your itinerary and travel details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade. This is entirely voluntary, and the information submitted will only be used for consular purposes, such as in the event of an emergency or terrorist attack. Check out www.safetravel.govt.nz for further information.
  • Baggage tags—make sure your luggage is labeled with your name, address, and phone number—preferably a mobile phone so you can be reached while abroad. Tie a bright ribbon or adhere distinguishing stickers to your luggage so you can quickly recognise it and other passengers don’t grab it by accident at a busy airport. Arrange access to your email from overseas. Again, email is an excellent way of staying in touch while away. If taking a laptop make sure your travel insurance covers it.
  • Collate a list of valuables and serial numbers for insurance claims in the case of theft.
  • Check to make sure your will is up to date.
  • Organise a Power of Attorney.
  • Visit your doctor and dentist for a check-up before you go.
  • Find out what can’t be brought back to New Zealand. There should be a brochure included with your NZ Travel Brokers documents, or you can view it online at www.biosecurity.govt.nz.
  • Check the weather at your holiday destination and pack appropriately.

What to take checklist

Again, depending on your destination and time away you may consider packing the following.

  • Pack your most important items in your carry-on bag because it is less likely to be lost than checked luggage.
  • Travel light! You won’t regret it.
  • Container size limits—don’t exceed container size limits of carry-on liquids, gels, and aerosols, otherwise, your toiletries will be confiscated. All liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in 100mL or smaller containers in a 1 litre resealable transparent plastic bag (this is a re-sealable sandwich bag like those available at your local supermarket).
  • Guide books and maps.
  • Jewellery—leave it at home (take the genuine imitations!). Pickpockets will be more interested in you if you appear wealthy.
  • Car and house keys—unnecessary keys should be left at home or with friends or neighbours.
  • Passport and visa(s).
  • Foreign currency of your destination country(s) or load up a cash passport with the necessary currencies.
  • Credit cards.
  • ATM cards.
  • Insurance: trip cancellation/medical.
  • Personal identification.
  • Photocopy documentation. Birth Certificate, Marriage License (if necessary)
  • Adapter plugs.
  • Calculator. Handy for converting currency, etc.
  • Appropriate Luggage.
  • Luggage locks and identification tags (lock checked luggage with TSA Approved Locks).
  • Appropriate clothing.
  • Comfortable footwear.
  • Rain protection.
  • Camera—if you’re using a digital camera (or using your phone/tablet)as is most common now, develop a routine of regularly saving photos to a USB drive/SD Card and storing them in a safe place, or regularly backing up your photos to cloud-based storage. The worst thing to lose are photos from your holiday. A charger (with the correct power adaptor) is essential.
  • Small flashlight.
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Pocket knife—travellers often are in need of a can or bottle opener, scissors, tweezers, or corkscrew—remember to pack this in your checked luggage when flying.
  • Small binoculars.
  • Brimmed hat or visor.
  • Sunglasses—protect your eyes from ultraviolet and infrared rays, especially if you’re flying at high altitudes, or heading for a beach holiday.
  • Reading glasses—take spare pair. If you don’t have a backup pair, bring your prescription details with you for replacement, as it will be a rigmarole to replace them overseas.
  • Reading Materials. Good books make those long flights a little more bearable.
  • Playing cards/games.
  • Address Book—nothing is more frustrating than wanting to send postcards but forgetting the addresses.
  • If heading for a beach holiday, bring dry snacks (granola bars, nuts, trail mix, jerky?).

Maintenance Items.

  • Mini Sewing Kit (place in check-in baggage).
  • Travel iron or steamer.
  • Travel clothesline and clothes pegs.
  • Sink stopper.
  • Folding scissors (place in check-in baggage).
  • Laundry bag and soap packets.
  • Zip-lock plastic bags.

First Aid

  • First Aid Kit—a compact travel health kit is a must for every traveller.
  • Aspirin/pain reliever.
  • Cold/sinus medication.
  • Diarrhea medicine.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Contact lens preparations.
  • Antibiotic ointment and alcohol wipes.
  • Sunscreen/sunburn relief.
  • Motion sickness medicine.
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Personal prescriptions.


  • Comb/brush.
  • Toothbrush/paste/dental floss.
  • Blow dryer—make sure you take an adapter.
  • Lotions/creams.
  • Lip balm.
  • Shaving cream.
  • Towel/washcloth