Benin

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 

  • Professional clothing in breathable fabrics (two outfits minimum for TEFL Volunteers) 
  • A few durable cotton T-shirts
  • Pants (of lightweight material) 
  • Blouses/button-down shirts 
  • Linen/cotton clothing (you can find linen and cotton here and get clothing made; dresses/skirts must be at least knee-length) Hats/scarf/bandannas 
  • Good sturdy bras (bring several because hand washing wears them out) 
  • Good underwear (bring a two-year supply because hand washing wears them out) 
  • One bathing suit (conservative for women, preferably a one-piece suit) 
  • Sweatshirt, hoodie, or long-sleeve shirt 
  • Workout clothes 

Shoes

  • Semi-casual shoes
  • Running/Trail shoes

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items 

  • Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescriptions
  • 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)
  • Liquid hand sanitizer/hand wipes 
  • Oil-free sunscreen 
  • One good-quality towel 
  • Aloe-Vera 
  • Tampons (three-month supply) 
  • Hair ties 
  • Nail clippers/nail file 
  • Contact solution 
  • Deodorant/salt crystals
  • Shampoo and conditioner 
  • Basic makeup 
  • Facial soap 

Miscellaneous 

  • Wall calendar 
  • One set of sheets 
  • Audio player
  • Laptop 
  • Yoga mat or Therm-a-Rest
  • Beauty products/relaxation items
  • Your favorite pillow/travel pillow
  • Spices/spice packets 
  • Catalog of clothing (to show to tailor to get copies made) 
  • Good pens (if they are important to you) 
  • Headlamp/Flashlight
  • 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.
  • Small gifts for host family and 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