What to Pack
Packing for a big holiday can be stressful. I know I get paranoid about forgetting things. If you’re about to embark upon a motorhome holiday in New Zealand, you might find the following list quite useful. Most motorhomes available for hire in New Zealand come with a range of equipment such as bedding, towels, cooking implements and crockery – for a comprehensive list check out this example of a motorhome rental, but you will need to supplement this with your own gear and a trip to the supermarket. Here’s a list of thirty things you should take on a motorhome holiday in New Zealand:
1. Beach Towels
There’s nothing worse than having to use a wet towel! Although most motorhome rentals come with towels, there will probably not be enough for spares. It’s nice to have a separate towel for going to the beach, leaving your showering towel behind to dry.
2. Torches (and Spare Batteries for Them)
These are essential. Not only are they useful if one member of the party needs something in the middle night and doesn’t want to disturb the others sleeping in the motorhome by turning on the light, they are needed for finding your way to toilet blocks in the darkness. Not all the toilets you encounter on your motorhome trip will have electric lights, either. (Head torches are great in this situation.) Torches are also good if the battery of your motorhome is running low and you want to conserve it by not using the lights.
3. Insect Repellent
Unless you are one of those rare people whom bugs never seem to bite, you will probably want to sleep with insect repellent on. Most motorhome rentals do come with fly screens, but the determined sandfly, for example, can get through them and, especially in summer, you will not want to have the windows closed at night.
4. Sunscreen, Hats and Sunglasses
Relative to population, New Zealand has the highest skin cancer rate in the world. Trust me, you’ll need these.
The very nature of a motorhome holiday means driving long distances, an experience always improved by accompanying music. Most motorhome rentals come with stereos.
Reading a book is a great compliment to a motorhome holiday, either reading it by torchlight at night, or while sitting in the passenger seat on a long drive. There may come a time, when it is raining too heavily to leave the motorhome; when you need to conserve the power supply and are therefore unable to charge your electronic devices, when you will be grateful for a good book.
This one seems obvious. Make sure you have enough memory space for all the photos and don’t forget the charger.
I’m not saying you can’t survive without the Internet, but it is good for uploading your photos as you go, keeping a blog of your adventures, researching where you are and places to go, booking campgrounds, and finding motorhome dump stations and places where you can freedom camp. The best online map for motorhomers in New Zealand, which has on it the location of every campground and dump station in the country, is wendekreisen.rankers.co.nz. The Rankers map is also available as an app.
9. Mobile Phone
Now a mobile phone is essential for safety reasons, but is also useful if you need to call the motorhome company’s breakdown line or book a campsite. Remember to bring its charger and to keep it topped up.
10. Method of Travel Sickness Prevention
If you or someone in your family gets terribly carsick, then a motorhome holiday probably isn’t the best option for you. However, even people who do not usually suffer from travel sickness can occasionally feel ill over long distances, or on particularly windy roads. Ask your pharmacist for some travel sickness tablets or acupressure bands and keep a packet of ginger nuts in the cabin.
11. Alarm Clock
If you don’t have a mobile phone…
I don’t know about you, but it’s something I always seem to forget to pack.
There were times on my last motorhome holiday when I wished we’d brought a ball with us, to use at the beach or at a campground.
14. Picnic Blanket
I also wished we’d brought a picnic blanket.
You will need to have your credit card with you, as most motorhome rental companies require your credit card details, and it would be prudent to have some emergency money handy. Keep it somewhere very safe, i.e. on your person at all times. Don’t leave it in the motorhome when you’re out for the day.
16. Driver’s licence and insurance information
Keep this with your credit card and emergency money. You should be able to use your normal driver’s licence when driving a motorhome, as long as the motorhome isn’t especially heavy and, if you are in a foreign country, your licence complies with that country’s standards.
You’ll always need them and they’re good for cleaning up spills within the motorhome.
18. Packs of Cards/Travel Board Games
Family fun for those rainy days and long evenings – and they don’t require any electrical power.
Most motorhome rentals come with televisions and, if not DVD players, you may be able hire or buy a portable player from the company.
20. First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is always good to have in the back of your motorhome to deal with any minor injuries that might occur. Most motorhome rentals should come with one, but just in case…
21. Notebook and Pens
There may come a time when you need to write something down, such as licence plate numbers if you get in an accident.
22. Maps and Guide Books
These will probably be provided by the motorhome rental company, but it doesn’t do any harm to bring your own, even if you have a smart phone or tablet – what if it runs out of battery or you can’t get a signal?
Unlike hotels, most motorhome rental companies will not provide complimentary shampoo and soap. You need to bring your own, along with any other toiletries you need, including your toothbrush and toothpaste.
24. Washing-Up Liquid, Dishcloth and Cleaning Fluids
Your motorhome rental company may or may not provide these. Just wait until you’ve got the motorhome and pop to the supermarket if they haven’t. You will need to go to the supermarket anyway for…
You will want to buy the basic foods for making no-fuss, one-pot meals. Packet pastas and pot noodles are the easiest, if not the most healthy. Milk and teabags are a given, as are muesli bars, for taking with you on long walks. Many campsites you stay at will have barbecues you can use, so you could even buy some steak, but keep in mind that storage and fridge space are very limited.
26. Plenty of Clothes
You will want to make sure you pack plenty of clothes, as not every campground has laundry facilities. Also make sure you have some warm clothes and thick socks to put on at night, if the weather happens to turn, and some good, sturdy walking shoes. One of the points of motorhoming is enjoying the great outdoors.
27. Plastic Bags
It is a good idea to take a lot of spare plastic bags with you. They can be used for a variety of purposes, including as a laundry bag for keeping your dirty clothes separate from your clean clothes while on the move, for putting any wet clothes in and for lining the motorhome bin with.
28. Laundry Powder and Coins
When you do reach a campground with laundry facilities, make sure you have your own laundry powder and coins with which to operate the machines.
29. Soft Bags
When packing your holiday gear, it is best not to use a hard-cased suitcase, as your bags will have to be squeezed into the motorhome’s limited storage space. Nothing can be left loose while the motorhome is on the move. The best thing is to use a large rucksack for your clothes.
30. Day Pack and Water Bottle
You will also need a smaller rucksack for taking with you on day trips. It’s best to put your valuables in this and don’t forget your water bottle.
Article by Abigail Simpson, author of Poms Away: A British Immigrant’s View of New Zealand