I should begin this post by quite simply stating: COVID-19 is a bitch. I realize that for many of you, traveling the way we once did is no longer an option. Before we entered this strange form of The End Times (sarcastic dramatics there, but also, kind of accurate). All of this is a faint concern when lives are at stake and people are dying, of course. I worked on this post for weeks leading up to our trip, only to find out we (like many) cannot travel on our honeymoon. Normally, I would just delete this post, move on from the work I put in.
But — but. Right now, more than ever, I feel like a little light-hearted, visual content is the break we all so desperately need. I write this from my home, in the middle of a ‘Shelter-in-Place’ ordinance in San Francisco — meaning, I really am not traveling. In fact, today was the day I was meant to have left for my honeymoon.
But oh, my friends, do I want to plan, and dream, and imagine. Of future trips; of our future honeymoon; and of places I’ve never been before, but hope to some day see, soon.
So, if you’re anything like me and excited to dream of destinations vicarious, see this Packing Guide post as evergreen. See it as a post to help anyone doing three weeks in Australia in New Zealand, in the potential (and hopefully near) distant future. For those of you, like me, who look forward to that day soon where we can travel with ease, our eyes — and hearts — open.
Before we begin, some notes about this packing list to kind in mind:
- WEATHER // Because we were planning on visiting so many different places across 2 countries, the weather was anticipated to vary wildly. Rain, wind, cold, hot, dry, warm, warm-rain, cloud. You name it; we had it. The packing list attempts to cover that, but in 1 suitcase, with as many multi-purpose clothing items as possible.
- SEASON // We were meant to be there early Autumn (for the Southern Hemisphere). Which, because of the varied weather we anticipated, makes this packing list seasonless. If you’re going in the dead of winter, pack more sweaters; in the height of summer, more shorts/skirts. Otherwise, this is your list.
- ITINERARY // Like the weather, our itinerary was, in a word, varied. Day-long hikes, beach vacation, city breaks, road-trips, all made its way to our plan. Again, this means packing for every activity under the sun.
- PLANE RIDE // I haven’t actually included my items for the flights from the US to Australia here. Namely because I will probably reserve those just for the flights. Also, because I was hoping to do a special blog post about what to wear on a long-haul flight (to come at another time!)
JEANS: AGOLDE TONI SKINNY IN OBSCURE* & MADEWELL SKINNY IN LARKSPUR WASH*
While I’m attempting to make the full-fledge switch to straight-leg style denim, there is something utterly comforting (quite literally) about skinny jeans. As a lot of our trip will be me sitting in the car, I want to be able to have some stretch around my middle for fear of suffocating to death. Skinny jeans also much more easily tuck into hiking boots, making them ideal over straight. AGOLDE and Madewell make my favorite jeans hands down. However, I may switch out the AGOLDE ones for my newly purchased Madewell Cali Demi-Boots. (All jeans fit TTS)
COMFY PANTS: LULULEMON ON THE FLY PANT*
You may have seen me mentioned these pants* on my favorite buys post a while ago. And I have to say: they are still one of my favorite buys. I’ve been trying to find something else to match them, with no luck thus far. My plan is to use these for car rides, walks, and plane rides (we have many to do). (These pants fit TTS/big — mine are Size 6).
DRESSY SHORTS: WHIMSY & ROW BLACK LINEN SHORTS (SOLD OUT — SIMILAR*)
I realize this may get confusing as they’re in the bottom row, but they do count as a bottom. Mine are sold out, but if I could buy a pair again, I’d pick these from Solid & Striped.*
I plan on mostly wearing these as a bathing suit cover-up (see beach section below), but these beautiful, perfectly fitting black linen shorts will do me well for city walks and dinners, too. As a side note: if sustainable, affordable brand Whimsy & Row is not on your shopping radar, it needs to be immediately.
DRESSES & JUMPSUITS
STRAPPY DRESS: REFORMATION CRIMINI FLORAL-PRINT CREPE MIDI DRESS*
The perfect slip-style dress to take you from beach (with Birks & a straw hat), bar (with a sweater thrown on top), or fancy dinner out (with strappy heeled sandals and a clutch). I always pack something similar when I don’t have much room in my suitcase. I’m obsessed with the print on this one from Reformation.
JUMPSUIT: MADEWELL TIE-BACK COVER UP JUMPSUIT*
I have this jumpsuit in black from two years ago (last seen here), and I’m thrilled they have it out again in a deep gold color. I wear mine like a normal jumpsuit, although of course, it’s designed to be a beach coverup (and will look great with the Matteau one mentioned below).
CASUAL DRESS: DL1961 FIRE ISLAND UTILITY DRESS*
A black shirtdress may be the most versatile thing you pack. Simultaneously dressy, casual, and practical, it will take you from day-to-night in a flash (ugh, thanks Cosmo mag circa 1993). If you’re looking for the most sustainable option, this version from DL1961 is your bet. However, if you’re looking for something very affordable, H&M have a 100% cotton version* that looks much more expensive than it is (pictured). I plan on wearing this in Sydney and Byron Bay, with the Birkenstocks or sneakers.
JACKETS & SCARVES
LEATHER JACKET: MASSIMO DUTTI NAPA LEATHER JACKET (SIMILAR)
This is the jacket that comes with me on every summer vacation, city vacation, and “I-need-something-casual-and-dressy” vacation. Nick bought this for me Christmas of 2015, and it’s been my constant companion ever since. I mostly wear this over summer dresses in cooler evenings. However, a black leather would work just as good. As would a more lightweight, linen one*.
RAIN-READY JACKET: BARBOUR BEDALE JACKET WITH HOOD*
I’m a little worried about how much rain we’re going to get, as this Barbour jacket is only water-resistant. However, with the hood (and a packable umbrella), this should keep me covered for all weather. This will be my go-to New Zealand jacket as we jump in and out of the car, while still looking polished and cool.
SCARF: & OTHER STORIES WOOL FRINGED BLANKET SCARF*
Having tried the White & Warren cashmere travel wrap — only to have it cover all of my black clothing with fuzz — I’ve become a little reluctant to stash anything cashmere in my travel tote. However, this one from & Other stories*, in a soft wool, is definitely the best I’ve come across for shedding. It goes without saying that a scarf, conveniently a blanket/scarf/wrap/throw all in one, is the best versatile accessory
SWEATERS & TOPS
SWEATERS: EVERLANE COTTON LINEN CREW* & I LOVE MR MITTENS BALLOON SLEEVE SWEATER*
New Zealand is meant to be pretty chilly while we’re there, and so for this always-cold gal, easy layering sweaters will be my best friends. These Everlane cotton-linen sweaters* are the best — namely because they are the only sweaters I have found to layer on top of dresses perfectly. I actually have this sweater in both black* and sand*, and I may just bring these two as my only sweaters. They’re lightweight but still warm (not the warmest, bear in mind). However, this I Love Mr Mittens sweater* is my absolute favorite and the one I get the most compliments on. I am hoping 2 sweaters will be enough, but we’ll see.
WHITE TEE: EVERLANE RECOTTON TEE*
Wherever I go, I bring a white tee. It’s the perfect layer under a sweater, on its own, paired with leggings for a hike, tucked into a skirt, thrown under a strappy dress — you name it. I may even bring two, just to have as a backup. My favorite ones are from Everlane*, and bonus that they are made with 60% recycled cotton. My other favorite tees are Reformation’s Perfect Vintage tee* and Mott & Bow’s Boxy Semi-Crop*.
LONG SLEEVED STRIPE TEE BY AUGUSTE THE LABEL*
Oversized long-sleeve tees are my new wardrobe genius item. Tucked into anything high-waisted, they look cool and oversized, while the long-sleeve (cotton, ideally) keeps you both warm and not-too-warm. I’ve raved about this stripe tee from Auguste the Label on my instagram stories, because it is that good — sustainable, affordable, well-made. I’ll be pairing this with jeans and either sneakers or sandals, depending on the weather.
BLOUSES: MADEWELL SILK BLOUSE* & MADEWELL X CHRISTY DAWN JOSEPHINE PEASANT TOP*
For this trip, I’m bringing (at least one — they pack up small) one silk short-sleeved blouse and one cotton/linen long-sleeved blouse. Tucked into jeans (you see a theme here) and with sandals for day, and with the strappy heels for night. Black-and-white polka dots* help to bring pattern but not clash with anything else that’s busy (i.e. leopard sneakers). And is there anything better than a white, textured, boho blouse*? I may instead bring my version from Doen, one of my favorite summer purchases last year.
HIKING & TRAVEL
PACKABLE LAYER: UNIQLO ULTA LIGHT DOWN JACKET*
I guess technically this fits under the ‘jacket’ category, but I see it more as a base layer for all the hiking, walks, and travel we plan to do in New Zealand. Uniqlo makes the best affordable, lightweight travel layers — in addition to the one above, I have the hooded down parka* (in black) and the pocketable light parka* (in grey, although I wish I had the yellow). I have yet to find anything better on the market. This in itself, is a test of sustainability, if you can keep something for years and years.
SWEATSHIRT: ADAY LIKE A BOSS SWEATSHIRT IN MOSS*
This sweatshirt is part dressy top, part hiking shirt, part perfect-for-plane travel top. Which, when you’re trying to pack light, is the Holy Grail of clothing items. ADAY make some seriously stylish garments for travelers, comprised of recycled materials that wrinkle less easily. I tried this I plan on mostly wearing this while we fly, but also as a warm layer to throw on-and-off during hikes, car rides, and star-gazing.
A word of warning: I originally tried this top in the white, and it looked a little… well, space-agey. The funnel neck, combined with neoprene, just didn’t work for me. However, in the Moss (i.e. darker) colorway, it looks more elegant and polished.
BAGGU FANNY PACK* // This sustainably-made fanny bag is light enough for hiking, small enough to pack easily, and large enough to wear as a fitted cross-body.
DANNER HIKING BOOTS // I bought the Danner Stumptown boots* last year for a Yosemite hike, and they did me very well. Although a little on the heavy side, they’re the only hiking boots I found that were durable and nice enough to wear out to dinner.
SUNSKI SPORT SUNGLASSES* // I am very lucky to have a Sunski on my street, so I was able to pop in and try these on. The unisex Topekas are the first ‘sporty’ sunglasses that just look damn good on me, polished enough for daily wear, too. They remind me a bit of the Ray-Ban Wayfarers, but they look infinitely better on me. Made with recycled plastic and at a really affordable price, these are hands down the only sport sunglasses I’d recommend.
NOMADIX TRAVEL TOWEL // Made with recycled water bottles, this versatile travel towel is designed to pack down light and can be used for exercise or the beach. Nick and I both fell in love with the colors of the Grand Canyon version and snapped it up immediately.
BUFF // A buff is, essentially, just a large headband. But, the size and shape makes it the perfect hiking essential. It keeps the sun off your neck, hair off your face, ears warm, ears not burnt, head warm; whatever you need, it does. Nick and I each have one for our hiking trips.
YOSEMITE GRAPHIC TEE* // While not the best for longer, sweatier hikes, I love a good graphic tee for both light hiking, lounge, and casual wear. As I’m not young and fresh anymore, I can’t stomach buying new fake-vintage band tees. Instead, I buy mine based off of locations I’ve been and designs I love. My favorites are from The Parks Project, The Landmark Project (the amount I want a Smokey the Bear shirt is high), Wondery, and of course, Etsy*.
PATAGONIA CAPILENE SHORT-SLEEVE SHIRT* (NOT PICTURED) // I’m bringing this bad boy purely do to the Tongariro Crossing, an epic 8 hour day hike that will probably test all my fortitude. The sweat-wicking, fast-drying sustainable material will be better than anything cotton.
PRANA ELECTA LEGGINGS* // Many hiking enthusiasts would dread me wearing normal work-out leggings for a hike, but I find them the most comfortable. Plus, I need to pack light. These ones from Prana are not only sustainable, but THEY HAVE POCKETS, thank goodness.
FOR THE BEACH
BATHING SUIT: MATTEAU HIGH WAIST FLORAL BIKINI*
You know when you see a piece and immediately think, “I have to have that”? That was me with this Matteau high-waist two piece*. The cut; the colour; the pattern; everything about it grabbed me. While our ‘beach time’ consists of 3 days in Byron Bay, we’ll also be going to a spa in New Zealand. So I may also bring a one-piece, just in case — my new one (and only) is by Hunza G*.
PACKABLE HAT: CUYANA FOLDING PANAMA HAT*
Hats were always one of those luxury-additional items that I never understood how people brought with them on vacations. “But where do you pack your actual stuff?” That is until discovering the magical world of packable hats.
SUNGLASSES: RAY-BAN ROUND METAL SUNGLASSES*
These appear on virtually every one of my packing guides, for good reason: I pack them everywhere. They’re the perfect minimal-meets-stylish accessory, and the gold makes them just a little more elevated than other options.
SHOES & HANDBAGS
TOTE BAG: MILANER ELENA WOVEN HANDBAG
I ummed and ahhed about this bag for so long. But, as a little honeymoon present, I finally took the plunge and ordered it. Usually, I take my Cuyana structured tote with me on every plane ride. However, as I really want to pack light here, I wanted something a little lighter that would also double as a cute beach bag. The quality of this is impeccable, and I know it’s a bag I’ll keep for years and years.
CROSS-BODY BAG: CUYANA HALF-MOON SHOULDER BAG*
I originally wanted to bring a cross-body bag on this 3 week Australia and New Zealand trip that was also a convertible clutch — a.k.a small, and good for dinners. However, when I really thought about what I need in a day — water, phone, wallet, HAND SANITIZER, kindle, camera — I realized that was highly optimistic. So, a larger, cross-body-turned-shoulder-bag was a much better choice. Cuyana’s version, simple and classic, is elevated by the little gold touches adorned throughout. The perfect bag.
STRAW CLUTCH: CATARINA BERTINI WOVEN BAG*
Small, versatile, easily packable: what I needed for this totally unnecessary additional bag. But, the thought of going to a beachy destination without any straw or raffia accessory fills me with an existential dread. The fact that it’s both a clutch and cross-body is what sold me.
CASUAL SANDALS: BIRKENSTOCK ARIZONAS IN BLACK*
Fun fact: my mother owns something like 150 pairs of Birkenstocks. Needless to say, I revolted against the Birkenstock revival trend for years. But, oh man, they are so beautiful and comfy. I love how the Arizona style manages to make any dressy ensemble instantly look street-style cool. I’ll be pairing these with jeans and dresses at all of warm destinations on this trip.
COMFY HEELS/SANDALS: EVERLANE DOUBLE-STRAP BLOCK-HEEL SANDAL*
The perfect shoe that’s comfortable enough to walk around cities in but nice enough to wear with a strappy dress and look fancy. If they were ever in stock, I would probably swap these out with the Marais USA Jardin Heel. But Everlane’s offering — simpler, and thinner straps — are actually eons more elegant for when pairing with dresses.
*Links indicate affiliate links. This means, if you choose to purchase the product linked here, at no additional cost to you I will make a small commission. Considering this post took me close to 20 hours to put together, it is very, very appreciated. Thank you for supporting sustainable brands, and thank you for supporting this blog!
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