Azerbaijan

Packing List

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.

General Clothing

You can buy clothing in Azerbaijan, but much of it is made of synthetic materials and may not meet your taste. You can also have clothes made locally, but bring what you will need until you know where the best tailors are. Variety in clothing is not as important as how it looks and how sturdy it is. Following are some suggestions for what to pack.

  • A good supply of underwear
  • Polypropylene, wool, and cotton socks and glove liners
  • Good wool hiking socks (that wick moisture and dry quickly); three to four pairs recommended
  • Long underwear of two or three different weights (e.g., wool and silk)
  • Polyfill outerwear/coat. Some people suggest bringing two—a full-length black wool coat and a down coat. (Informal, sport-type winter coats can be useful and warm, but draw a lot of attention, whereas black dress coats will not. Winters can be quite cold, especially in the north; you may find Yourself wearing a jacket, hat, and gloves in the classroom.)
  • Medium-weight jacket for spring/fall
  • Woolen or ski-type hats, gloves, and scarves
  • Bathing suit (for trips to the beach)

(Please feel free to contact current Volunteers to ask them about packing suggestions and tips. Dress styles and codes do vary from rural to urban areas. In addition, what is acceptable to wear seems to change quite a bit each year) Note: Keep in mind you will likely be washing everything by hand. In general clothes with a bit of spandex (e.g., 5 percent) hold their shape much better than clothes that are 100 percent cotton.

You will still be an American/foreigner when you live here, so if you have a style of dressing, you can plan on keeping it so long as you are prepared to make the necessary cultural modifications. This means shirts should be long enough not to show your midriff when you sit or bend over; any sleeveless tops should be modest, NO short skirts, and clothes should not be too tight (how people dress in the capital of Baku differs from the regions where you will be working).

For Women

  • An assortment of winter and summer clothing: skirts and blouses, dresses, knit tops, dressy and casual slacks, and jeans; skirts and dresses should be full or mid-calf length
  • Two to three sweaters
  • Two to three cardigans (good for layering)
  • One good outfit for formal events
  • Some comfortable ―house‖ clothes; sweatpants, etc.
  • Slips (cotton is recommended)
  • Leggings, tights, and stockings (good-quality ones may be hard to find locally)
  • Shorts (In most regions you will not see people wearing shorts, however over the course of two years you are likely to use them for vacations. Longer – knee length – shorts are better. Some PCVs wear them while jogging but have leggings underneath)

For Men

  • An assortment of winter and summer clothing: khakis, casual dress pants, jeans, and long-sleeved button-down shirts (dark-colored clothing will look clean longer than light-colored clothing)
  • At least one sport coat
  • Two to three dress shirts and ties
  • Shorts (In most regions you will not see people wearing shorts, however over the course of two years you are likely to use them for vacations. Longer – knee length – shorts are better. Some PCVs wear them while jogging but have leggings underneath)

Shoes

  • Professional shoes that are comfortable for walking (flats and dressy sandals are recommended for women); bring good-quality shoes
  • Tennis shoes or running shoes (quality shoes are very difficult to find here)
  • Warm, waterproof boots for winter
  • Hiking shoes (if you like to hike)
  • Well-made fleece/winter slippers (although slippers are sold in every market throughout the country)
  • Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
  • Any favorite over-the-counter medical supplies (those provided by the Peace Corps are generic ones)
  • A three-month supply of any prescription drugs you take (to give the Peace Corps ample time to order for your special needs)
  • At least two pairs of eyeglasses, if you wear them, since replacements can take several months to arrive from the United States (contact lens supplies are not available in Azerbaijan and are not supplied by the Peace Corps)
  • Towels (good-quality; absorbent cotton); Volunteers also recommend ―quick-dry‖ towels
  • Jewelry and makeup, if you like to wear them (Azerbaijani women in towns wear both)
  • Hair-coloring products, if you use them (U.S. brands are not available locally, but many Russian/Turkish ones are available at a good price)

Kitchen

  • Good can opener
  • Favorite spices (they may be difficult to find, especially in winter)
  • Favorite cooking supplies (most pots and pans can be found in Azerbaijan)
  • Basic cookbook (Peace Corps will also provide you with a cookbook)
  • An assortment of plastic storage bags

Miscellaneous

  • Reliable watch (durable, water-resistant, and inexpensive)
  • Travel alarm clock (battery-operated is best)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sturdy work gloves, if you like to garden or work outdoors
  • Poncho and folding umbrella
  • Small day pack without frame (great for shopping or carrying books or work materials)
  • Camera (compact ones are best, since they are inconspicuous and travel well); film and photo processing is available locally
  • 110/220 transformers (if you bring 110-volt appliances)
  • Flashlight and ba MP3, iPod, CD or tape player and recorder and shortwave radio (pre-recorded CDs and tapes are available cheaply in Baku, though they are not always of good quality)
  • One or two sets of sheets (because you do not know the size of your bed, double flats are most useful)
  • Small, inexpensive tool kit
  • Swiss Army knife (very important to many Volunteers)
  • Sewing kit
  • Pictures of home for yourself and to share with friends and students (some Volunteers use these in English class)
  • U.S. postage stamps (people traveling home can sometimes hand-carry your mail)
  • U.S. and world maps, to use as teaching aids or wall hangings
  • Inexpensive gifts (especially something from your homestate or town, or with a U.S. logo)
  • Any equipment for hobbies
  • Games (e.g., Scrabble, chess, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary)
  • Sports equipment (e.g., bat, baseball and glove, football,
  • Frisbee, hacky sack, etc.)
  • Liquid soap for washing clothes by hand (the availability of dry cleaning outside the capital city is unpredictable)
  • You might want to consider bringing a down or synthetic sleeping bag, preferably compactable, rated for -10 to - 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and pad (also consider a fleece liner). However, do know that Peace Corps will issue you a large, warm sleeping bag for winter.
  • Journal, diary, or schedule book
  • Sturdy water bottle (e.g., Nalgene)