What Should You Bring With You When Moving to NZ?


One of the first issues you have to deal with when moving to a foreign country is the question of what stuff you should bring with you, what stuff you should ship and what stuff you should sell.

You already know what you’re going to pack in your carry-on luggage: clothes, portable electronics and maybe a few knickknacks with sentimental value. What you do with the rest of your stuff depends on one factor: money. Shipping anything to New Zealand is incredibly expensive. Shipping a box of blankets from the U.S.A. to New Zealand could easily run you over $100.

The simplest solution to the moving issue is to sell everything you don’t need and rebuy everything when you get to New Zealand. However, the downside to this strategy is that buying new stuff can be as expensive as shipping it from overseas, and moving to a new country is stressful enough without running all over town stocking your house with all the stuff you take for granted like a college freshman who just left home and realized for the first time that if you don’t go to the store and buy toothpaste you won’t have any.

If you’re rich, I would advise putting all your household goods in a shipping container and have it sent via freighter. It’ll take a few months to get to you, but it’ll take you a few months to get settled in anyway. Oh, and pets cost about $1,000 to ship from the U.S.A. to NZ, and they have to be kept in quarantine for about 6 months (if they’re eligible at all [snakes and spiders are not]).

When you actually fly to New Zealand, don’t bring any toiletries on the plane with you. You can buy all that stuff cheaply at your local Countdown (which will, by the way, deliver your groceries to your house for a very small fee) or Warehouse. Use the extra room in your luggage to pack your lucky hat or sock money beer koozie. And wear your heaviest, bulkiest clothes on the airplane and fill all the pockets with stuff. A bomber jacket or a pair of heavy duty work boots can take up half the space and weight limit on your luggage, but if it’s on your back or your feet you won’t be penalized for it or have to pay to ship it.

You will most likely be able to use your current cell phone in New Zealand. You’ll just need to replace the SIM chip. We use “2 Degrees” because it’s prepay. You can pick up a SIM chip at a Countdown or any cell phone store, which you can find in most town centers or the mall. Be aware that you’ll need to buy a power converter for any 110 volt electronics you have because New Zealand uses 220 volt. Most laptops are dual voltage. So you’ll only need a converter for the shape of the plug. For other electronic devices you’ll need an actual power converter, which is expensive, a pain in the ass and will probably fry your electronic device in the long run anyway. I would not advise bringing stuff like an electric beard trimmer or a fancy alarm clock. Just buy a new one with the right plug and the right voltage when you get to New Zealand.

You’ll also want to buy a street map as soon as arrive in New Zealand. If you can afford it, I would strongly recommend getting a GPS device. In fact, I would insist that you buy a GPS device. It will save you sooooo much heartache in the long run. The roads in most of New Zealand’s major cities aren’t built on a grid system or any other logical, intuitive pattern.

If you’re on a budget then the best place to get household items is TradeMe, which is the New Zealand equivalent of EBay or Craigslist. You can actually find just about anything on TradeMe. In fact, you will use TradeMe eventually. So you may as well go ahead and get acquainted with it.

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2 Responses

  1. I worked out what the airline costs for a few extra luggage were and it worked out to be much much much cheaper than shipping stuff over. In the extra case I put the few books I couldn’t live w/o, linens, and shoes. I did have to buy a lot after moving here but I bought it in stages. Like you said, it takes a few months to get settled and you learn really quickly that you don’t need a majority of the things that you thought you couldn’t live w/o.

  2. Now that you have been living there for awhile, what items do you think are most important to bring from Texas to New Zealand?

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