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How to pack like a pro

In case nobody’s mentioned it yet, you’ll get here by plane, but your stuff comes by boat. That takes about 8 weeks, maybe more. So you’ll be glamping for a while until your kitchen whizz clears customs.

Here are some ideas to transform the act of packing from pain to pleasure:

  • Don’t do it. You can get your moving company (or anyone else, for that matter) to do it for you. Yes, it’ll cost you more. But many people consider it money well spent.
  • Whatever you’re going to need, it’s almost certainly cheaper and easier to take it with you than to replace it once you’re here. Also, you’ll appreciate those things which remind you of home.
  • Plugs! Electric sockets are different in New Zealand. The best approach is to get New Zealand plugs put on all your appliances. You can keep using them with travel adaptors, which you can give away to friends as you pack your appliances away, as a subtle hint to come and visit you once you’re here.
  • Brace yourself for a few days of emptiness: it’s not uncommon for people to find themselves alone in an empty house with nothing but pizza and wifi for company. If that doesn’t appeal, it might be a good time to invite yourself round to friends and rellies for a “farewell stay”.

Otherwise, it’s mainly just about timing. So here are some key packing tasks and the best time to do them. See The World Famous Working In New Zealand Timeline & Checklist for the full range of other things to consider (like immigration, banking and finance, employment, etc.).

  • 8 months to go:  Start with getting rid of your house: put it on the market. You might want to think carefully about a final settlement date!
  • 6 months to go: Book your flights! This moment may be accompanied by alternate bouts of hysteria and celebration. Then get quotes from 3 moving companies. It’s best to get quotes for as much packing as possible. You can always scale it down later.
  • 3 months to go: Get rid of anything you know you’re not taking with you. This can take longer than you’d think.
    Watch out for ambush reactions of “you can’t sell that!” from sentimental family members. If you know what house you’re going to be moving into, plan where everything’s going. Start swapping your appliances’ socket plugs over to New Zealand ones. You can get a bunch of travel adaptors to see you through till departure, if necessary.
  • 1 month to go: Start packing non-essential items. Confirm your travel bookings and your removalists (who probably need at least a month’s notice).
  • 2 weeks to go: Get rid of your car, and everything else you’re not taking with you.
  • 1 week to go: Organise your transport to the airport. Weigh your luggage, and check it against the surplus luggage threshold on your flight. Double check the flight’s surplus luggage rate to avoid surprises. Finalise your packing. If removalists are packing for you, try and be there to supervise. Even if it’s just to say goodbye to your stuff before it arrives in its new home.
  • 1 day to go: Change some cash into New Zealand dollars. Day zero Double check your hand luggage, kiss goodbye to the place you call home, turn out the lights and enjoy the ride!

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