Alex asks if you can fund international travel by moving goods to places where they cost a lot.
Here's how you get to New Zealand.
Buy a Dell M6800 Workstation in the US for $2000 US. That's $2400 NZD.
That same computer sells for $5000 NZD in New Zealand, including GST. So $4350 without GST.
There aren't any of these up on TradeMe (our version of EBay). And I have no clue what discount "hard to warranty but otherwise brand new" computers sell at here. So there's some risk involved. But a $2000 NZD price difference on a single computer would cover an airfare from LAX to AKL. Bring a couple just to be safe. If customs thinks you're going to sell them here, they might stick you with 15% GST on the US price. Parallel importation is fully legal here though - whatever exclusive dealing arrangements Dell has with its NZ branch, the NZ government doesn't care about. If Dell NZ wants to punish Dell US for selling to somebody planning on on-shipping to NZ, that's up to Dell NZ and Dell US to sort out.
I need to replace my aging work Dell Latitude E6500. I drool over the M6800. It would be in-budget at US prices, but no way on NZ pricing. Instead I'm looking at the E6530. It also costs about twice as much as it would in the States.
I don't know why Dell charges double for a laptop in New Zealand. But they do. If I were buying one for personal use, I'd just buy the American one and get it here via YouShop; I'd be very happy to pay Customs the 15% at the border. If the University were doing it, it wouldn't even attract GST at the border as it's for business purposes and then is a non-taxed input. 20:1 that trying that for work would break at least 3 University rules, even if it did save a lot of money.
Apple usually takes a lot of stick for international pricing shenanigans, but their base model MacBook Pro has only a USD$100 markup in NZ (8%); the highest-end one has a $300 markup (11%).
If you're planning on financing your trip by bringing computer kit to New Zealand, compare prices at PriceSpy with prices at NewEgg. I should probably try it next time we head Stateside, just to see whether the arbitrage works. At worst I'm stuck with a new computer at home. I expect that much of the potential gains would be eaten up figuring out NZ/US model equivalencies.