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.
- 7-10 hot weather appropriate business-casual shirts (polos, cotton shirts, button-downs, non-revealing tank-tops)
- Two to three weeks’ worth of cotton underwear
- Five to 10 pairs of cotton socks, mainly for exercise
- One to two pairs of running or exercise shorts for playing sports
- Light breathable rain jacket or poncho
- Bathing suit(s)
- One nice/dressy light sweater or jacket
- One semiformal dress and shoes
- One or two pairs of capris/casual skirt/appropriate-length shorts
- Three to four comfortable bras and one or two sports bras
- One collared long-sleeved dress shirt
- One tie
- One or two pairs of casual or business casual shorts for non-work occasions
- Sandals: A good, comfy pair of sturdy, waterproof sandals for everyday wear
- Sneakers/running shoes
- Comfortable dress shoes
- Heels (optional)
Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
- Anti-bacterial hand gel in travel sizes
- Stain-removing wipes or a stain-removing fabric pen
- Nail clippers and tweezers
- Toothbrush and travel toothbrush case
- Hair clippers (men)
- An ample supply of your favorite brand of tampons. Female Volunteers have found it useful to bring a few months’ supply or more of these feminine products; some female Volunteers recommend a reusable menstrual cup.
- Deodorant. Though not hard to find, can be extra-expensive. It is worth bringing extra.
- Perfume or cologne
- Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescriptions
- If you wear glasses, bring two pairs (contact are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections and contact solution is hard to find)
Also, if there are any specific, nice-quality hygiene items that you use regularly (e.g., body lotions, hair products, oil-free sunscreen), you may want to bring these to make your life here more comfortable. However, most people find that the local products are just fine, and that they can live without a lot of “essentials” after a few weeks.
- Battery re-charger (AA)
- Durable AA flashlight or headlamp (LED).
- Digital camera
- Small speakers
- Portable USB memory drive or external hard drive.
- Bath towel
- Medium-sized backpack
- One or two durable water bottles
- Travel sewing kit
- A money belt or small purse
- Optional: one set of sheets and pillow
- Sleep sack or light sleeping bag
- Personal and family photos
- Exercise mat
- School supplies for English teaching (optional)
- 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.