This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in-country and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything on the list, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in-country.
Baggage & weight limit: The Peace Corps limits the size and weight of baggage and will not pay to transport baggage that exceeds these limits. The allowance is two checked pieces of luggage with combined dimensions of both pieces not to exceed 107 inches (length + width + height) and a carry-on bag with dimensions of no more than 45 inches. Checked baggage should not exceed 100 pounds total with a maximum weight of 50 pounds per bag.
Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take pets, weapons, explosives, radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted), automobiles, or motorcycles to their assignments. Do not pack flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers.
- Professional clothes: Albanians are very well dressed and expect you to look professional in work settings.
- Wicking clothing/towels: Towels are not provided in your homes and are great to have while traveling (all the better if they dry fast).
- Outer clothes: You will be outside a lot and outer clothes are great for layering when it gets colder.
- House clothes: Who doesn't like comfy clothes to relax in? House slippers/sandals are great to have also.
- Warm hats/socks: If you haven't gotten it yet, it's cold here!
- Thermal underwear: unavailable in Albania and great to have for cold winter
- Walking shoes: You will be walking a lot throughout your entire service. Durable and comfortable shoes are of utmost importance.
Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
- Any favorite nonprescription medical supplies (those provided by the Peace Corps may not be your favorite brands, e.g., Nyquil or Zicam)
- Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescription.
- If you wear glasses, bring two pairs (contacts are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections and contact solution is hard to find)
- A supply of feminine hygiene products (or menstrual cup) to last throughout pre-service training (tampons can be purchased in Tirana; o.b. tampons can be found in pharmacies in larger cities.)
- Small supply of cosmetics or creams (the quality in Albania varies); hair-care items of certain brands may be difficult to find; if you are particular about this, pack enough until you can get more shipped
- Quick-drying towel
- Hand sanitizer/wet wipes
- Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
- Sleeping bag: Essential for the winter and also great for traveling to other sites
- Headlamp/flashlights: Power outages are frequent and having these will help you to maintain a routine when this happens.
- Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife
- Sturdy umbrella: You can buy umbrellas locally, but they're not good quality.
- Water bottle (i.e. Nalgene/Camelback/Sigg)
- Hobby things/exercise equipment: Bring what makes you happy: guitars, drawing tools, knitting needles, etc. Exercise bands, jump ropes, and other things to keep you active are great to have. Women typically don’t work out in public here, but if you feel comfortable running in your community that is also an option.
- Notebooks/studying materials: Learning a language is hard enough as is, so make it easier on yourself by bringing materials that help your learning process (notebooks, flash cards, highlighters, etc.).
- Comfort foods: Bring individual servings of comfort foods to get you through long training days. After training, favorite foods that you miss are great ideas for care packages.
- Reusable grocery bags: Volunteers are working hard to eliminate the plastic bag problem here in Albania and this will help you become part of the solution.
- Small gifts for host family and local friends (not required); knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of American scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; photos to give away
- If you plan to travel to other countries for vacation, you may want to bring extra money to suit your travel plans; credit cards or traveler's checks are preferable to cash. There are ATMs in larger cities, and most towns so you may want to bring an ATM card to access a bank account in the U.S.