Dominican Republic

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

  • One dressy outfit for swearing-in ceremony (nice dress, shirt or pant outfit, slacks and button down shirt and optional tie).
  • Four pairs of pants for working in the schools
  • At least five polo/dress shirts for work (You can buy PC/DR Polo shirts in the DR)
  • Two to three pairs of jeans (you can wear jeans on Friday when working in the school)
  • Three to six t-shirts / short sleeved shirts
  • Three to four pairs of shorts for jogging/sports (not too short) or yoga pants/capris for working out
  • Two-week supply of underwear (cotton is highly recommended)
  • Work-out and dress socks (one-week supply)
  • One or two swimsuits
  • One or two light long sleeved shirts (for over air-conditioned buses, or to cover your arms from the hot sun)
  • Rain jacket and/or umbrella
  • Hat (baseball hats are popular here)
  • One or two belts
  • Several small, sturdy locks for suitcases/bags/backpacks
  • Two to four casual dresses and/or skirts.
  • Two to three pairs of conservative/longer shorts to wear at your site; consider Bermuda shorts or those just above the knee.
  • Pajamas

Shoes

  • One pair athletic shoes
  • At least one pair of sandals such as Chacos/Tevas
  • One to three pairs of nice closed-toed shoes for working in the school and/or other counterpart organizations (clean, dark athletic shoes are ok).
  • One pair of heels or dress shoes for special events.
  • One pair of flip-flops to use around the house

Electronics

Please keep in mind that many Dominicans in the areas where you will be living do not have and cannot afford expensive electronics. If you are considering bringing items on this list, you should purchase personal articles insurance as these high-priced electronics may be at risk of theft and/or loss.

A good surge protector (can be purchased in country) is also recommended since most towns experience frequent power outages and unstable electrical service.

  • Smart phone
  • Portable speakers
  • Camera
  • Electronic reader (Kindle or similar)
  • USB flash drive
  • External hard drive

Personal hygiene and toiletry items

You can buy almost anything that is available in the United States in the Dominican Republic. However, if you have favorite brands of toiletries or cosmetics, you may want to bring a supply, as most imported items are considerably more expensive here.

  • 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. Contact solution is available in Santo Domingo, but is expensive, so if you choose to wear them, bring additional solution.)
  • Start-up supply of shampoo, deodorant, etc.
  • One quick-dry towel for swimming.
  • Menstruating Volunteers: If you use tampons, bring several months’ supply. They are available only in large cities and are very expensive. Or, bring Diva Cups (two).

Miscellaneous

Bring along small, but replaceable, parts of your life you don’t want to live without for the next two years. Make sure they are light enough to carry, sturdy enough to last, and dispensable enough that losing them wouldn’t be a serious problem. Here are some suggestions:

  • For unexpected costs or occasional travel, consider bringing a credit or debit card. There are ATMs in larger cities, therefore, avoid bringing cash.
  • Small gifts for host family and friends (not required); knickknacks for the house; pictures, books, or calendars of US scenes; souvenirs from your area; hard candies that will not melt or spoil; photos to give away
  • Money belt – It is highly recommended that one does not carry a purse. Phones may be a target of theft / robbery. Money belts, in certain circumstances can be very helpful.
  • One good quality water bottle
  • Sturdy backpack or bag for three- or four-day trips
  • Everyday backpack or day pack for work
  • Multiple-utility pocketknife (such as a Leatherman or Swiss Army)
  • Yoga mat (available in-country)
  • USB Rechargeable head lamp is highly recommended
  • Sewing kit
  • Small/interesting games
  • Sunglasses
  • Pictures of family and friends

The following have been recommended for those working with children and youth:

  • Easy puzzles
  • Good markers
  • Assorted craft supplies
  • Coloring books
  • Games and playing cards
  • Pens, pencils, and a sharpener
  • World map
  • Story books in Spanish

Things Not To Bring

  • English-Spanish Dictionary or 501 Spanish Verbs (you will receive these during training)
  • Too many books (PC will provide work manuals. Consider getting access to a digital library so you can check out eBooks during service)
  • Sunscreen and bug spray (will be supplied once you arrive)
  • Mosquito nets (will be provided)
  • Too many clothes (much of what you need can probably be easily purchased in-country)
  • Large supply of over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Ibuprofen; all trainees will receive a Peace Corps Medical Kit.