What to Bring and Leave Behind
It's best not to bring too much luggage with you. Airlines have strict baggage restrictions for both carry on bags (cabin baggage) and check in luggage. When you check in, the airline staff will weigh your bags. You will usually be allowed about 20 kilograms for the luggage you check, plus 7 kilograms for any bags you carry onto the plane. If your bags weigh more than the weight allowed, you will incur excess baggage charges or you might even have to leave some of your belongings behind. Make sure you learn about your airline's policies concerning luggage size, weight, goods restrictions, and any other matters, before you begin packing.
In addition, if you need to make a domestic flight to your final destination in New Zealand there may be different baggage restrictions. Make sure you check with your travel agent or look at your airlines' (all of them) policies concerning baggage restrictions. Non compliance with weight restrictions (whether domestic travel within New Zealand or international travel) could end up costing you a lot of money! This also applies for your return trip to home. Booking from overseas directly through to Invercargill, will avoid the complications of different baggage restrictions on domestic flights. It generally costs less to book direct to Invercargill, than having to pay for excess baggage.
Items potentially useful to bring
- Language textbooks relevant to what you will be studying in New Zealand
- Electronic dictionary
- Tape recorder (for recording classes/lectures)
- Mobile phone (these can be more expensive in New Zealand.
- Familiar items from home e.g. favourite CDs, photos of your family and friends
- Recipes for your favourite dishes
Put your name, address of where you are to stay and phone number on the inside and outside of each of your bags.
Write down all of your families contact details, names, addresses, phone numbers and keep it somewhere safe. Some students forget little details of the addresses.
If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair and bring your eyeglass or contact lens prescription. Bring them and any medication you need in your carry-on bag. Many medicines are illegal in New Zealand. The Customs staff at the airport may want lots of information about any medicine you have with. Keep medicine in their original, labelled containers. Bring copies of any prescriptions and the generic names for the medicine. Get a letter from your doctor explaining your need to take the medicine. If you have any doubts that the medicine you take may not be legal in New Zealand, you should check your New Zealand Embass.
Other items you should include in your carry-on bag include:
- A change of clothing (at least underwear), a toothbrush, and other personal items you would need if your checked luggage is delayed or lost or your flight is delayed
- Telephone numbers and email addresses of friends and relatives in New Zealand
- Telephone numbers and email addresses of your school or institution (International Student Office), and / or homestay organiser
- Address and telephone number of the accommodation you will be staying at on arrival (including homestay details)
- Passport and airline tickets
- Traveller's cheques, cash, or bank cards
- Important personal documentation
- Medical and dental records
- Extra passport-size photographs
- A pen to fill out documents for arrival
Regardless of what you decide to bring, your luggage will be subject to security clearances during your trip, and on arriving in New Zealand you and your bags may be searched.
Make sure you pack your own bags, that way you will know you have packed all the things you need and want. Label all your luggage inside and outside with your name and address in New Zealand (even if its just a temporary address).
On occasion luggage gets lost during international travel. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Generally, the airline finds the luggage and returns it to the owner within a day or two. If your luggage is lost contact the airline you flew with. You will be asked to fill out a form that includes a description of your bag (size, colour, material, design, brand) and the address to which you are going. Once the bag is found, it will be delivered to that address, usually free of charge.
What to leave behind
New Zealand has very strict laws regarding what you can bring into the country to screen out unwanted pests and diseases. You must not bring in any animals or insects (live or dead), fresh foods, including meat and some packaged goods. There are also limits on goods that you can bring in. If you have any of the above, you must declare them when you arrive. Failure to declare could result in a fine or prosecution. It pays to check with Customs if you have any doubts. Go to: http://www.customs.govt.nz/. To find out more about what you can bring in, go to: http://www.protectnz.org.nz/. Remember to tell friends and family, who may send you things, of New Zealand's strict laws.
Do not import illegal drugs into New Zealand. The importation of drugs could result in your imprisonment. Be wary of carrying packages or baggage for strangers.
Be aware that ephedrine and pseudoephedrine-based products, such as Contac NT tablets, are subject to legal restrictions in New Zealand. These restrictions mean that you may only bring these products to New Zealand for your own reasonable personal use.
This is because these substances are being widely used in the manufacture of the Class A controlled drug methamphetamine. If you become involved in the supply of these substances, knowing that they are to be used for a criminal purpose, you face heavy penalties under New Zealand law and could go to jail for up to seven years.
You do not need to bring food goods (e.g., instant noodles, snacks) because you can buy most items in New Zealand. There are food shops in most towns and cities.
You don't need to bring phone cards from home, as very economical international calling phone cards are widely available in New Zealand.