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 almost ready to leave for Australia? Will you be travelling on a Working Holiday Visa? Are you wondering what to take? It’s normal, we all ask ourselves the same question. Here you can find some information on how to prepare yourself and to make sure 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 will always have a perception which will turn out to be false once we arrive! But also because the way one has to travel varies from one person to another and therefore preparing one’s luggage will not be the same from one person to another! Depending on your project, your needs and how you want to live during your WHV, 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 🙂

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 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, 84% brought a backpack, 16% 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. There are backpacks for men and backpacks for women (the straps are placed differently).

For the big backpack: Make sure you balance your bag right. Nothing 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!
For the small backpack: Think about bringing your wallet, photocopies of your license, visa, passports, etc. (In case you lose your luggage/cabin bag)

packing australia

Choosing the right suitcase

Choose a light 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. Remember to check the weight limit of your luggage with the company with which you are flying and also think that you may have to take internal or low-cost flights where the maximum weight will surely 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 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 arrived… clothes, beauty products etc 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 time. 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 refused entry to a club for not wearing a button down shirt.

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, you should have a pair of trainers, long pants and a long sleeve T-shirt. Know that this outfit will get damaged! If you don’t want to bring those in, remember that you can always buy old clothes from Op shops or cheap ones from big brands such as BigW or Kmart.

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
  • a bathing suit

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/the pill
  • 1 tube of sun cream


  • A pair of flip flops (Thongs in Australia)
  • 1 or 2 pairs of used trainers
  • 1 pair of dress shoes


  • Sunglasses
  • 1 belt
  • 1 cap/hat
  • 1 or 2 locks
  • A photo camera with a memory card
  • External hard drive
  • Laptop or tablet
  • Phone (unlocked) + charger
  • Adapter (easy to find over there)
  • Small backpack for hikes and small trips

Things not to put in your luggage

In your hand luggage

Certain products are prohibited in hand luggage. In the cabin, you cannot take a liquid product of more than 100 ml. 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 the check. 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 hold 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 even that it is damaged during loading/unloading. Also take your important papers into your hand luggage: your money, identity card, driving license etc …

Updated on 01/03/2020 – Initially published 04/02/18

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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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