What to pack for a stay in a Managed Isolation facility in New Zealand

Everyone entering New Zealand is currently legally required to complete 14 days in a managed isolation facility. These can be hotels or motels anywhere in New Zealand and are allocated by New Zealand Immigration. You don’t get to choose where you stay unfortunately and which one you get is somewhat random. Immigration do their best to allocate you a facility close to where your final destination in New Zealand is going to be, but this isn’t guaranteed.

What’s available and provided at each facility varies hugely, and so although you might not need everything on this list, these are all the things which I am SO glad I brought with me!

1 – HDMI Lead

I have used this every day to link my laptop to the TV in my room. It means I can watch Netflix on a much larger screen and work away on my blog whilst watching a film. Just don’t forget to take any adapters to ensure you can use one as I know with some laptops (mine included) they don’t actually have USB or HDMI ports. I would suggest taking a longer HDMI lead than you think just in case the TV is a long way from the bed or sitting area. Mine is 2m long which was great but longer the better!

2 – Multi-Socket Extension Lead (UK)

Every time I go away I take one of these and it’s a lifesaver. It means that not only can you plug in various items at once, you can have multiple sockets for all your electronics and yet only need 1 foreign adapter plug. I brought a UK multi-socket extension lead and it’s been a real asset!

3 – Cutlery

This was something I only thought about once at the airport as I came across an Instagram post talking about the lack of cutlery offered at Managed Isolation facilities. Managed Isolation facilities do not give you your meals on a plate with a knife and fork etc… Instead, they only provide plastic cutlery and take-out boxes to avoid any cross contamination. Emirates gave me proper cutlery with my in-flight meals and so I ‘borrowed’ a knife, fork and spoon from the aircraft to take with me into my Managed Isolation Facility. I am so glad I did this!

4 – Travel Kettle + Tea / Coffee

I was lucky enough to have a kettle provided in my room by the hotel, but I know that some don’t offer them as standard. I brought a small, lightweight travel kettle along with a box of teabags and a tin of Nescafe Azera ground coffee powder along with me so that I could make my own tea/coffee whenever I fancied one. It might seem pretty extra, but when you are away from home and have set meal times, it’s nice to be able to make a mint tea or a coffee whenever you want.

5 – Snacks

I have found that the portion sizes of the meals at my facility are enormous, and I haven’t needed to snack at all. I did bring some caramel rice cakes with me just in case as I wasn’t sure what would be offered by the hotel, but so far I haven’t dipped into them yet. At my hotel, they do offer snacks and soft drinks/alcohol, but it comes at an additional cost. As part of the meals I’m provided I normally get given a piece of fruit, chocolate bar and/or cake, and so I save these for later to have as a snack if needs be. However, if you have a larger appetite, or perhaps are travelling with children and need some bribery materials, I suggest bringing some sweets and snacks with you as these meal time extras are not always provided by some facilities.

6 – Toiletries

Again, I wasn’t sure what would be provided by the hotel, and had been told/read on the immigration website that everyone entering Managed Isolation must bring enough medication and toiletries to last them for 2 weeks. I brought stuff with me just in case, but again, I was lucky and had some toiletries provided by my hotel including: soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and cotton buds. If I was desperate there was the option to buy toiletries that I might have forgotten or need during my stay, however these come at an additional cost and are added to your bill at the end of your stay. FYI girls – tampons were $12 a pack to buy via the hotel, so even if you might not need them, I suggest bringing a few just in case!

7 – Laundry Detergent

Most facilities will offer a complimentary laundry service at least once during your stay. My hotel does offer one, however I was informed that all items are washed at 40-60degrees and this was WAY too hot for most of my clothes. I brought 3 liquid washing pods with me in a small Tupperware box so that I could wash smaller items or delicates in my sink if I needed to.

8 – Books and Puzzles

It’s really nice to get off the screen for a bit during the day and so I would recommend bringing some books and/or puzzles and games to keep you busy. I brought pens, a notepad, two reading books and a sudoku puzzle book with me, all of which I have used daily.

9 – Moisturiser

A long flight and overly aggressive air-conditioning in your hotel room are bound to be super dehydrating. Make sure you take a decent moisturiser with you as I found my skin got very dry during my stay.

10 – Some home comforts

It might seem a faff, but two weeks on your own, in a hotel room will take its toll and might be tougher than you expect! There is nothing wrong with bringing some home comforts and luxuries with you to make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable. Whether it’s your favourite skincare products, a blanket, facemasks, nail varnishes, yoga mat, room diffuser or even a candle – it’s nice to have a few things that make your room a home-away-from-home.

And that’s it, my top 10 items I packed for my stay in Managed Isolation in Auckland. If you have stayed in an isolation facility, comment below or message me – I would love to know what items were a lifesaver for you!


FYI – My 14 day Managed Isolation was at The Pullman in Auckland city centre in November 2020.