We often get asked this question: What should I bring? While there’s no specific list, the following are some observations we’ve managed to write down during times of frustration or ‘why didn’t I buy that at home?!’
Note: This list is constantly changing over time. Latest update is October 2009.
* Think warm and waterproof. We suggest bringing at least one waterproof item from home with some warm layers to put underneath it. The weather changes so rapidly here, you’ll want to be ready for anything. (This, based on living in the South Island)
* Buying at home will save you money in the long run. Everything–and we mean everything–is a lot more expensive over here, even with the exchange rate. Furthermore, once you get off your country’s currency, you’ll see more of an impact on your wallet.
* Bring a copy of your car insurance history to take advantage of the great rates over here.
* Shoes, sneakers, and sandals are expensive. Buy at home first.
* Don’t worry if you don’t have camping gear to bring over. Prices are comparable here with the exchange rate. (Of course, not without.)
* If you like hot sauce, bring it. Especially Frank’s Red Hot.
* If you’re bringing over electrical appliances, don’t forget to get some converters and adapters as well.
* If you have a cell phone, bring it with you. You can easily get a plan transferred over to your existing hardware. Otherwise, expect to pay $$ for another phone.
* A digital camera. Film, if you still use it, is rather expensive.
* Do bring shorts and T-shirts as well. NZ is quite casual in terms of dress code. Shoes are not mandatory! (You may often see people barefoot in the movie theater, office, etc.)
* Bring the phone numbers and contact information for every company, and contact that you had back home. You never know who and what you will need.
* The best way to manage bills you leave behind is to sign up for online banking with your local bank (if they offer it, all the major ones do now.). You can then manage and pay for your overseas bills online.
* Furnished apartments are available with everything you need. However, if you are planning on staying on a more permanent basis-bringing your things from home is probably more cost efficient in the end once you have converted all your original currency.
* In terms of how much money to bring. We did quite well with bringing 600 dollars New Zealand and using our debit card to get out more NZ dollars as needed. We got the best exchange rate as well.
* Shell out for a decent laptop computer. They are much more expensive in New Zealand. Also, pick up a cheap video-conference camera for your computer so you can get that extra emotional connection with people back home.
* Leave all DVDs at home. Generally, they will not work on New Zealand players because of region lock-out. Of course, you can always just watch them through your laptop.
* Broadband Internet is prevalent throughout the islands. Sign up as soon as you find a residence to communicate with home