Ready to move to Australia? Here is what you should and shouldn’t pack

Trying to pack for an extended trip, or even an indefinite trip overseas, can be an incredibly stressful routine. Whether you have one or two suitcases that the airline allows you to bring, trying to pack your life into these single bags can seem impossible, leading to continuous unpacking and re-packing until your find the perfect balance and everything fits.

Of course, everything needs to fit comfortably, be under the airline’s weight allowance, and leave enough extra space for those extra purchases you make while you are away. Some things you must bring, some things you should, and of course there are the many things that can be left at home and purchased when you arrive. I hope this guide shines some light on the art of packing your life into a suitcase.


What to bring:

Immigration Essentials (the most important of all)

  • Passport and visa documentsmake sure all your immigration documents are with you in your hand luggage, ready to present to security

  • Photocopies of documents – just in case you lose any important documents, having photocopies will make the security process much easier. Be sure to keep them separate from the originals

  • Enrolment documents/COEimmigration officers will need to see proof of your eligibility for a student visa

  • Health insurance documents be sure to have your certificate of OSHC, both a hard copy and a digital copy saved


Travel Essentials

  • Enough cash, both currencies – even if you have transferred money to your new bank account, bring plenty of emergency cash in case you are unable to access your account

  • Credit cards, travel money cards, and duplicates – in case you do find yourself stuck without money, be sure to bring a credit or money card from your home back, that you are able to access from Australia. And have duplicates kept separate

  • Large carry-on luggage – many airlines now allow you to bring on board a mid-sized carry-on bag, as well as your small personal item (backpack). This is worth having so that you can pack more, and is perfect for when you travel around Australia (I once lived out of a carry-on bag from 15 days!).

  • Accommodation address – write down the address of your first organised accommodations, so that if needed, you can give it straight to the taxi driver


Living Essentials

  • Power plug converter – when you first arrive, it is likely that you will need to charge your phone or computer before you have a chance to go out looking for a power converter. So have it ready!

  • Medication – it is a good idea to bring a sufficient amount of prescription medication, if necessary, as it might be hard to be approved for an appropriate equivalent. However, be sure that the medication is legal in Australia (ask the embassy). You must bring the legal prescription, and it must be declared to Customs upon arrival

  • Weather-appropriate clothes – pack at least a couple of pieces of clothing suitable for each season, ready for any unexpected changes of weather

  • Comfortable shoes – this one is important. Even if you don’t bring too many shoes, bring a good comfortable walking pair, for the days you spend exploring all day

  • A momento from back home – some photos, a small memory from back home for you to carry with you (but not something irreplaceable!)


What you shouldn’t bring

  • Don’t over pack on clothes – If you don’t wear it at home, you probably won’t wear it here. Remember you can buy anything you need here, and you want to leave room for your extra special purchases.

  • Irreplaceable sentiments – When packing, keep in mind that things can be lost in transit. When you are constantly moving from hostel to housing to apartment, it is easy to accidentally leave something behind. Don’t bring things you can’t replace and want to keep forever

  • Toiletries – When travelling, toiletries are often the thing that takes up the most weight in your luggage. Toiletries can be purchased at any supermarket or even convenience store. Of course, bring enough for the first few days, but by then you can purchase your own. Travel bottles are fine!

  • Food – the Australian Customs and Border Protection requires all food, plants and animal products to be declared upon you arrival in Australia. This means they will need to carefully examine them before you leave the airport. It is a good idea to only bring commercially packaged food, as if they are not 100% sure of the package’s contents, they will confiscate it. Therefore, it is best to not pack food, to save you any trouble at the airport. For more information, check out the Australian Customs website.


If you have any questions about this, or about any aspect of studying in Australia, please don’t hesitate to ask! Feel free to ask questions below in the comment section, or email us directly at We are here to help!

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