Australia Work and Holiday Visa (WHV): My Packing List

Australia Work and Holiday Visa (WHV): My Packing List

Written by Heather

Topics: Planning & Reflection

When you’re going to be gone for a year, what do you pack?

Most people probably think of a proper backpack when “long-term travel” comes to mind.


creative commons

However, with an assortment of back problems, I know I can’t carry something like that around, no matter how strong and supportive it might be. And you know what, I don’t have to! With being in one country and not changing locations every few days, it’s best for me to carry a wheeled piece of luggage. Four years of travel have taught me to pack (relatively) light, and I’m pleased to say that all of my belongings fit into one of these three items:

Bags I'm traveling with

1) Camera bag (which doubles as my purse)

I wanted a camera bag that didn’t necessarily look like one, and I found it on Etsy! I’m obviously taking this photo so I can’t show you what it looks like with the camera actually in the bag, but it fits in the open front space. Then there are two pockets for lenses — one of which I use for my telephoto lens and the other I use to store my phone, cards, and cash.

Camera bag (doubles as purse)

2) Electronics bag and carry-on item

This used to be my daypack, but it’s too much of a bother to carry around at the moment. It’s an essential piece as it’s my carry-on item and stores my netbook, travel papers/tickets/reservations, Emergen-C vitamin packets, a few pieces of jewelry, all of my chargers and power cords (phone camera, netbook, electric toothbrush, a dual-voltage adapter), and a few other odds and ends.

Carries electronics and odd bits

3) Wheeled suitcase

It may not look like it, but this suitcase is just an inch bigger than maximum carry-on size permits, and it’s currently stuffed with ~14-15 kilos so about 30 pounds or slightly more. I wish it was lighter, but I’ve packed a small bag *very* full.

Just an inch bigger than carry-on size

What’s in my suitcase?!

— 2 of 3 pairs of pants (khaki water repellent and 50 SPF pants from Eddie Bauer, a black soft pair, and dark jeans) — I’m always wearing the 3rd :-)
— 8 shirts at the time I left home (6 short sleeved, 1 3/4 and 1 long-sleeved) — I’ve since ditched one of the short sleeved, received one for free at State of Origin, and purchased 2 long sleeved shirts because it’s SO cold in Melbourne
— 1 pair of PJ pants and 2 PJ shirts
— 1 pair of workout capris and 2 workout shirts — I may ditch one soon as I picked up a quick-wick, anti-stink (yes, that’s what it says!) shirt at Lululemon in week 1
— 2 sports bras — I bought a better one at Lululemon but am holding on to the old one for the time being
— 6 or 7 pairs of socks (though I inherited a new set from a roomie who left them behind)
— 8 or 9 pair of underwear (as you can see with the socks and underwear, I only wash once a week and don’t feel like handwashing all the time)
— 1 bathing suit (I’ll use it eventually — didn’t feel like having to buy a new one when the time came)
— 1 Rick Steves travel towel
— 3 sets of shoes (always wearing my sneakers, a set of flip flops to use as shower shoes, and black shoes in case I need something nicer than sneakers, but I’ve only worn them once)
— 1 travel size hair dryer (have never brought one on a trip before but I’m so thankful to have it)
— 1 mini umbrella

I also have 1 North Face rain jacket (the outer layer of the TriClimate 3-in-1 coat) — I always wear it so it’s never packed!

I’m sure I’m missing a few things in there O:-)

I also manage to fit in these two items, which actually take up a fair bit of room:

Tempur-Pedic travel pillow, necessary with my neck and back problems
Tempur-Pedic travel pillow

Toiletry bag carrying the usual toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving cream, razors, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion, etc.

L.L. Bean toiletry bag

Now that I’ve added 2 new shirts in the last week, 5 Lindt chocolate bars, and a couple of reusable shopping bags, repacking 3 bags that were filled to the brim should be an interesting challenge to conquer on Friday night (woohoo, fun Friday!).

Once I’ve based myself somewhere for work, I’ll no doubt buy more clothes and have some shipped to me from home as well — including my suit to interview for jobs!

Eventually I’ll take the typical travel photo of everything laid out to see at once…but for now, you have an idea of what I’m toting around :-)

Featured image at top from Noelzialee on Flickr via Creative Commons.

13 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Dad says:

    You are one efficient traveler Heather Renee. Whomever you travelled with initially internationally must have left you with a good experience because you’ve certainly grown in your abilities to plan. Oh yeah, it was me! :o)

    Seriously, I would take some of this information for granted and not think the process through as well as you. Thanks for sharing this post. I love you!

  2. Evan says:

    You travel suitcase is a TARDIS :) (Doctor Who reference). It’s bigger on the inside heh.

  3. Mom says:

    Uh hum…Who helped you pack so brilliantly? Mom has the art of rolling clothing so you can pack a lot in a little space. <3

  4. Laura Neidert says:

    Heather,
    This is most impressive! I don’t have nearly the same kind of travel experience you do, but this is certainly inspiring me to pack more efficiently for my upcoming domestic trips!

  5. Cypress says:

    Amazed by your ability to compact your life so cleverly! It’s very Buddhist of you, to lighten your earthly burdens so you can follow your bliss. I’ll join you down under in my daydreams; hope you’re having an incredible time!

  6. Karen says:

    Hi, Heather! Enjoyed reading your posts! Hope you are doing well and having so much fun! Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you!
    Take Care!

  7. D. Colton Mawyer says:

    Well, well. Doing slightly better than me on the packing I suppose. I have two bags, six pairs of shoes, all of my hang-up clothes, my tool box, my shower bag, and my car detailing kit. But I also have one giant piece of luggage with wheels and an engine: a 2001 Mustang Bullitt. Anyway, I’m missing you buddy. Las Vegas is good, but your trip looks like more fun. Please be careful and have fun. Oh, and I sent you an email message. One last thing, eat one of those chocolate bars in my honor. Any with bacon in the middle? Jaz is still in Hungary. She’ll be there til the 23rd, so I’m really missing her too. Hope your well.

  8. Colton says:

    Watch out for Ozzy cowboys, white horses, and the rest of that story. They don’t fit in your pack so easily.

  9. Melissa says:

    Excellent packing tips Heather! I’ve been considering taking wheeled luggage because I have no desire to lug around a 50 pound backpack. I’m glad I’m not alone with this thought. Awesome post. :-)

    • Heather says:

      Thanks! I definitely debated this one and even tried the convertible wheeled backpacks just days before the trip. In the end I went with what would work for me :-) And I just met 2 girls downstairs who traveled throughout Asia for 3 months before coming here, and they said they wish they had wheeled luggage instead of their backpacks, which was surprising!

13 Comments Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Australia Work and Holiday Visa: Before-you-go research | There's No Place Like Oz
  2. Australia Work and Holiday Visa: Before-you-go research | There's No Place Like Oz
  3. Work and travel in Australia on the Work and Holiday Visa: Applying for the WHV online | There's No Place Like Oz

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