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

  • Lightweight all-weather jacket
  • Baseball cap or straw hat for sun protection
  • Lightweight raincoat
  • For men, 3–5 button-down shirts for teaching and a tie for special occasions
  • For women, 3–5 dresses/skirts (past the knee or longer)
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1–2 pairs of khakis or cargo pants
  • 3–4 T-shirts
  • 2–3 modest tank tops
  • 1-2 pairs of tights for women (to wear under shorter or tighter clothes for modesty)
  • Loose scarf to cover head, shoulders, or hips for modesty
  • Workout/biking-appropriate clothing
  • Leggings or sweatpants
  • Pajamas
  • Plenty of underwear, bras (including a few sports bras), and socks
  • Belt
  • Swimsuit

Note: Both men and women should cover up when swimming outside of the capital; plan to wear tights and t-shirt for women, and shorts and t-shirt for men.


  •  1 pair sturdy sandals (Tevas, Chacos, Birkenstocks, etc.)
  •  1 pair quality sneakers
  •  Professional shoes for teachers (with closed toes and comfortable for standing)
  •  1 pair dress shoes for special occasions
  •  1 pair flip-flops

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 (contact are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections and contact solution is hard to find)
  • Enough deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, etc., to last you through training
  • A few toothbrushes
  • Face wash and moisturizer (recommended with at least SPF 15)
  • Small amount of makeup, nail polish, and perfume, for special occasions
  • Tampons and/or feminine pads (some female Volunteers recommend a Diva Cup)
  • Razor and extra blades
  • Manicure set and tweezers
  • Hair-cutting scissors for do-it-yourself haircuts
  • Hairbrush, comb, hair elastics/clips 
  • Baby powder
  • Hand wipes/hand sanitizer


  •  Laptop (most PCVs recommend a small laptop over a tablet/iPad)
  •  Kindle or other e-reader (optional but very nice to have)
  •  Batteries, sized for your needs (disposable or rechargeable with charger)
  •  IPod or MP3 player, charger, and USB connector cord
  •  3 pairs small headphones
  •  IPod/MP3 player speakers (rechargeable is preferable to battery-powered)
  •  Small portable external hard drive (500GB–1TB) for storing media
  •  3–4 USB thumb drives, for transferring and sharing documents
  •  2–3 plug adapters for Comoros (see Frequently Asked Questions)
  •  Camera with sturdy case, battery charger, connector cord, and extra memory cards
  •  Unlocked smartphone, if you have one


  • Some favorite American snacks to help you get through the first few weeks of local food
  • Powdered drink packets to mix with water
  • Spices (expensive and not a large variety available here)
  • Vegetable peeler, spatula, measuring cups, quality knife, and bottle opener
  • Plastic food-storage containers


  •  Address book (with contact information for friends and family)
  •  Gift for your host family (ideas: photo album, good knives, soccer ball, school supplies)
  •  Swimming or snorkeling gear, if you’d like
  •  1 sturdy liter-sized water bottle
  •  Leatherman, Swiss Army, or other folding utility knife
  •  Compact sleeping bag (nights can be chilly in some seasons)
  •  Quick-dry travel towel
  •  Waterproof digital watch
  •  Headlamp, a few flashlights, and appropriate batteries
  •  Duct tape
  •  Scissors
  •  Ballpoint pens
  •  Set of colored permanent markers
  •  Journal and 1–2 notebooks
  •  U.S. stamps for sending letters with travelers (and for student loan deferments, taxes, etc.)
  •  Your favorite pillow
  •  Sewing kit
  •  2 pairs of sunglasses
  •  Voided check or deposit slip from your U.S. bank account
  •  Hobby materials, such as:
  •  Yoga mat (can be purchased here)
  •  Guitar (can be purchased here) and guitar strings (poor quality strings available)
  •  Other musical instruments o Sporting goods
  •  Art supplies
  •  Gardening gloves
  •  Games (Scrabble, cards, chess, Frisbee, etc.)
  •  Day pack, purse, and/or messenger bag
  •  Good quality, small packable umbrella
  •  Dry bag for electronics
  •  Earplugs
  •  Small photo album with pictures of family and friends (great for showing your host family)
  •  Photos and wall decorations for your house
  •  Sturdy pocket-sized notebook
  •  2–3 high-quality locks (key or combination)
  •  Hammock, perhaps with attached mosquito net
  •  Inexpensive jewelry
  • 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

What Not To Bring

  •  Valuables, such as expensive jewelry or heirloom keepsakes
  •  Extreme technical clothing or safari gear (not necessary!)
  •  Mosquito net or water filter (these will be provided by the Peace Corps)
  •  First aid kit (this will be provided by the Peace Corps)