Whatever style of Christmas getaway you have planned, success is in the detail.
You’ve already booked the major things like flights, accommodation, camping spot for your ideal end-of-year wind-down. Now it’s time to make that all-important, idiot-proof list to keeping the chore of packing on track. Forgetting to pack certain items can add unnecessary cost to your holiday and in some cases can spoil it completely.
Forget to pack a valid passport, appropriate visas, driver’s licence if needed, and overseas money requirements will mean you won’t be heading anywhere but home. Check and check again that you have important travel documents at hand for any overseas travel. Also check the government’s SafeTravel website to ensure that there are no warnings in place for your intended destination.
First aid kit
You won’t need to prepare for a full-scale emergency, but you should take a small bag with the most necessary pills, medicine and bandaids you might need. You never know when a headache, fever or stomach upset is going to strike. The same goes for allergy needs and asthma remedies. If you are overseas, these medicines may be limited to prescription only – also ensure you’re up to date with vaccinations for overseas.
Suntan lotion, hats, insect repellent – you’ll need copious quantities of these protective items whether you’re camping with the kids or sunning at a singles resort. If you are taking the family on a camping holiday in particular, don’t forget hand sanitizer (because some toilets at campgrounds may not have hand basins) and baby wipes (useful for cleaning dirt from faces and hands of adults as well as kids).
Adapt or pay
If you are going to need adaptors for destinations outside New Zealand, buy them ahead of your trip instead of being forced to pay those crazy airport prices. Same goes for batteries and earphones.
If you intend using electronic devices, make sure they are fully charged before you leave home. This is particularly important if you’re camping with the kids and the weather deteriorates. You can always use a portable battery as a charger in this instance.
Think you know what sort of clothes to pack for you and the family? Don’t predict the weather – check it. Depending on where you’re going, weather can either be your holiday’s best friend or biggest foe. The last thing you want is to have to buy expensive and bulky wet weather gear at your holiday destination when you thought all you would need were shorts and singlets.
A credit or debit card
Whatever you do, make sure that you take more than one source of cash on your trip. Getting overseas and finding that your debit or credit card won’t work, or that you’ve lost it, could be a serious issue. You can also consider a travel money card if you prefer to lock in your exchange rate before you leave.
Pack light and save
Overstuffing your suitcase is a big no-no if you’re flying out of New Zealand. If your airline says “23kg”, they mean “23kg”. Weigh your bags before you get to the airport and make sure you are within the restrictions, otherwise you’ll be forced to cough up extra cash at the airport, of even worse, have to say goodbye to that lovely hand-knitted cardigan your grandmother spent so long slaving over.
Leave bag space for holiday purchases
While not technically a “must pack”, you will save money on the homeward journey if you devote room in your suitcase to things you will buy on holidays. It’s inevitable you will bring home more duty-free goods or holiday mementos than when you left. Making sure you have room now will save you excess baggage charges on the return trip.
Multi task your gear
Carry your sleeping bags and the few clothes you’re taking – remembering that laundromats are more popular than banks in the country these days – in soft bags. They can then double as pillows and soft packing during the day and be squeezed into awkward spaces in the car or 4WD.
Whether you’re going on a road trip across the North Island or glamming it up in a 5-star resort overseas, travel nsurance is a must. Travel insurance is cheap in the overal scheme of holiday costs, so there’s no excuse for missing out. You can compare travel insurance for overseas trips as well as compare domestic travel insurance for holidaying in New Zealand, right here.
Overall, your holiday style and destination will dictate wildy-varying items you must pack. But whatever sort of holiday you’re taking, it all starts with a comprehensive list made in plenty of time beforehand. Stick to the list and you’re on the way to the most important thing of all – enjoying yourself!