Home Travel Tips Packing for Australia – The Ultimate Backpacking Checklist

Packing for Australia – The Ultimate Backpacking Checklist

Packing for Australia – The Ultimate Backpacking Checklist

Are you getting ready to leave for Australia and wondering what to pack in your suitcases/bags? Don’t panic! Everyone asks the same question. Depending on the length of your trip, what you plan to do there and the time of year you travel, your luggage will be a little different. Here’s some advice on how to pack for your trip to the other side of the world so you don’t forget anything.

Prepare your bag for a long trip

It is not always easy to prepare your bag or suitcase for a long stay abroad. Firstly, because we don’t know the country and we often have a perception which may turn out to be false once we arrive! But also because the way one likes to travel varies from one person to another, preparing one’s luggage will not be the same for everyone! Depending on your plans, your needs and how you want to live during your trip, your bag will be filled differently.

Some will leave with a backpack with holiday clothes, others who want to settle in town will leave with more dressed, business clothing… So by determining your trip, you will know more or less what you will need for this trip to the end of the world 🙂 all this while knowing that your plans may change once there…

Backpack or suitcase?

When you are travelling you always wonder what type of luggage to take? Should I go for a big backpack or a suitcase? What size etc?

Choose your luggage according to your mode of travel

If you decide to do a road trip in Australia, either by van, 4WD or car, it’s strongly recommended to take a backpack. It will be much less annoying in the vehicle. You can find all sizes and brands on sportsdirect.com (online or in shops). It is better to visit a shop than buying online. Make sure you try on the bag and feel confortable before buying it.

If you’re leaving to be an au pair, to do an internship or to study, or if you intend to work in cities for a while, you would definitely be more sedentary, living in an apartment, in a big city. If that’s the case and you prefer a suitcase over a backpack for when you are moving around, that would be up to you. But if you are renting a room in an apartment, once again your backpack would probably be easier to store than your suitcase.

We have asked backpackers on our Facebook page to cast their vote and on 106 participants, 67% brought a backpack, 32% brought a suitcase. Again, it really depends on how you are going to travel…

Advantages and disadvantages


  • More freedom if you move around a lot

  • More all-terrain

  • Easy to store if you are travelling in a vehicle

  • lighter

  • Sometimes difficult to access your things

  • You will look like a traveller

  • Easy access to your things

  • Can be rolled so no need to wear it

  • Can be used for storage once installed

  • Brings back fragile memories of your trip

  • Bulky

  • Not suitable for a trip with several modes of transport

What kind of backpack or suitcase?

Choosing the right Backpack

We recommend taking a big backpack, 50 to 70 L, depending on what you need and a smaller bag for your personnel affairs as well.

A big backpack: Make sure you balance your bag right. Nothing is more annoying than a bag that is heavier on one side. And make sure you have easy access to the stuff that you use the most! Put your sleeping bag and rain jacket at the bottom of the bag, then your heaviest items along the back, and your lightest items you’ll need for everyday use at the top of the bag.

NB: There are backpacks for men and women. The straps are positioned differently for men and women. So be sure to check this when you buy. Choose well-padded, wide shoulder straps, which are more comfortable, and an adjustable carrying belt.

A small backpack: This is ideal for carrying personal or important items outside of your main/larger bag. Think about bringing your wallet, photocopies of your license, visa, passports, etc. in case you lose your luggage/cabin bag.

Big or small, always secure your bags with padlocks. Especially when you leave them at hostel receptions, in plane or in bus compartment.

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Steps for travelling to Australia on a WHV

Wanting to go to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa but unsure where to start? We will take you through it all in this article.

Choosing the right suitcase

Choose a lightweight model. So that you can store lots of clothes/accessories while respecting the weight limit authorised by the airlines. Above all, check the solidity of the rollers. It is always better to have 4 wheels rather than 2, the suitcase will be much more malleable. Opt for a suitcase that offers 2 storage compartments, much easier for organizing your belongings. Remember to check the weight limit of your luggage with the company with which you are flying.

If you opt for a carry-on suitcase too, remember to check its size! Indeed, companies impose maximum sizes for cabin suitcases. In general, your cabin baggage must measure 55 x 35 x 25 cm maximum (wheels and handles included).

NB: Remember to check the weight limit for your baggage with the airline you are flying with, and also bear in mind that you may have to take domestic or low-cost flights where the maximum weight will certainly be lower.

suitcase travel australia

Packing your bag

Tip #1 – Travel light

Once we land, we all say the same thing: I’ve brought too much! Especially when you set off on a road trip, you change clothes less often than in the city.

Make three categories:

1) Things you need – 2) Things you don’t need – 3) Maybe’s…
Try and take all the things from the first category and then see what room you have left.

Don’t forget that airline companies only give you a limited weight allowance. Generally you get 20 kg for bags registered as cabin luggage (max. 2 per person). Some companies allow you up to 30 kg or else you can pay a supplement to get 10 kg extra. Your hand luggage can generally be up to 7 kg.

Remember you can always buy what you need once you have arrived… clothes, beauty products etc…

Tip #2 – Bring a bit of everything

Sure the weather is nicer than in Europe, but beware, in the South of Australia it can get pretty cold during winter. Sometimes below 0 degrees Celsius. So take 2 or 3 jumpers, a jacket and some trousers.. You’re not going to Hawaii!!

For those that want to stay in the city, clothing standards are quite similar to ours. Australians dress up when they go out but it’s less common to be denied entry to a club for not wearing a shirt (with some exceptions).

Tip #3 – Don’t bring fancy stuff

Of course you can bring some nice things for your nights out. But again, it all depends on the trip you are planning.

It’s important to bring at least one sports/outdoor outfit. Especially if you’re planning to do Fruit picking or work on a farm. You should have a pair of trainers, long pants and a long sleeve T-shirt. Keep in mind that this outfit will get damaged! If you don’t want to bring those in, remember that you can always buy second hand clothes from Op shops or cheap ones from big brands such as BigW or Kmart or Target.

Australia backpacking list

Here a list to give you an idea of what you will need to back before landing Down Under!


  • 5 short sleeve shirts/vests
  • + 1 or 2 long sleeve shirts
  • A raincoat or jacket
  • 2 warm tops like a sweater or hoodie
  • A pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of used slacks
  • 2 or 3 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of trousers/dress skirt
  • 1 pair of pyjamas
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 6 pairs of underpants
  • 2 bathing suits

Toilet and Pharmacy kit

  • Tooth brush and tooth paste
  • Small mirror
  • A nail clipper + tweezers
  • Deodorant/Perfume
  • Shower gel/shampoo you can buy after arriving
  • Disinfectant
  • Aspirin
  • Anti diarrhoea medication
  • Any prescription medication (with the prescription)
  • Condoms/your pill
  • Sun cream


  • A pair of flip flops (“thongs” in Australia)
  • 1-2 pairs of sneakers/comfy shoes
  • 1 pair of dress shoes (optional depending on your plans)


  • Sunglasses
  • 1 belt
  • 1 cap/hat
  • 1 or 2 locks
  • A camera with a memory card (if you are not using your phone’s camera)
  • External hard drive
  • Laptop or tablet
  • Phone (unlocked) + charger
  • Adapter (easy to find over there)
  • Small backpack for hikes and small trips

Travel Documents

  • Passport
  • Driver license (+international license if your license is not in English)
  • Proof of travel insurance and your international vaccination record
  • Proof of your covid vaccination
  • International student card (it can allow you to benefit from discounts)

Things not to put in your luggage

In your hand luggage

Certain products are prohibited in hand luggage. You cannot take a liquid product of more than 100ml in cabin luggage. These must be in a transparent plastic bag. Thus, perfume, gel, moisturizer etc. should not exceed 100ml, otherwise, they will be thrown away when you pass security. There are exceptions for medications, but you will need a prescription.

Knives, scissors, sometimes lighters or any other weapon are also not allowed in the cabin.

In your checked-in luggage

Do not pack your valuables in your checked-in luggage. Take your laptop, camera, etc. with you in the cabin. You are never safe from theft, loss of your luggage or the possibility that it could be damaged during loading/unloading. Also take your important papers into your hand luggage: passport(s), any money, identity card, driving license etc.

FAQ – Packing for Australia

How much luggage can I take with me to Australia?
Luggage restrictions depend on your airline and your plane ticket. Check with your airline for weight and size restrictions on checked and hand baggage. In general, you will be allowed one hold bag and one hand bag. Some airlines give you a weight allowance but you can spread this across several suitcases, so you can check this on their website.

How can I protect my belongings during my trip to Australia?
We would always recommend carrying any valuables in a secure backpack or travel bag and keep them with you at all times instead of checking these in. Make sure you lock your bags and hotel rooms when you are away and use the in-room safe if possible. To protect your bag or suitcase during transport, you can have it packed at the airport, costing around which can cost around £20. It is also advisable to take out travel insurance to cover any loss or damage to your belongings.

What do I need to travel in Australia?
As well as clothes, you may want to pack a first-aid kit, toiletries, an adaptor for the plugs abroad, an unlocked mobile phone so you can buy a local SIM card later, a camera, a credit or debit card, your passport and your visa.

When is the best time to travel to Australia?
Australia is a huge country, so the climate will vary from region to region. In general, the best time to travel depends on the activities you want to do and the places you want to visit. For example, the best time to visit Australia’s tropical north is between May and October, while the best time to visit Tasmania is between December and February (the Australian summer).

Do I need an adaptor to travel in Australia?
Yes, Australia uses a three-pin plug that is different from those used in most other countries. It is therefore important to bring a plug adaptor to use your electronic devices. You can buy these at the airport either on your departure or arrival as well.

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The ultimate guide to work and travel around Australia with a Working Holiday Visa! Get all the tips and advice from other backpackers. The first travel guide written by Backpackers for Backpackers in Australia!!!


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