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.
Don’t pack a lot of clothes! Buying cloth and having clothes made here is easy. Just bear in mind that most cloth will have lots of designs and colors, so bringing solid-colored shirts or pants may be advantageous. Avoid white or light-colored garments that stain easily. You can also buy jeans and solid colored shirts here, but these may be hand-me-down shirts donated from America. Since it’s cheap (relatively speaking) to have clothes made here, bringing clothing catalogues from home can be helpful to show tailors what you would like done or what you are searching for.
Do not bring anything you are not willing to lose. Any clothes here will have to sustain two years of bucket washing, sweat stains, and molding. Stretchy clothes tend to survive bucket bathes better. Keep in mind that you likely won’t have access to an iron.
- Consider bringing a
light, long-sleeve shirt so you don’t get sunburned during long bike rides.
- Some warm clothing,
maybe one warm hoodie or jacket, for chilly nights.
- Definitely bring a
bathing suit! Bathing suits are difficult to come by.
- A few pairs of socks
(Volunteers typically wear open-toed shoes with no socks; runners should bring
a week’s worth of good socks). Bringing a few pairs of athletic socks with
synthetic “smart” fabrics is a good idea.
- Hat or cap for sun
- An unlined waterproof
jacket (rainy season is no joke)
If items start getting expensive, stick to the essentials. Once you’re here you can call home to friends and family and ask them to send care packages.
- Clothing that covers
more of the body is recommended.
- Moisture wicking
- One nice outfit (business casual—trousers and a button down
shirt, tie optional—for conferences and meetings)
- A few pairs of
trousers. Jeans are optional.
- Two to three T-shirts
(easy to buy locally if you need more during your service)
- Two or three short-sleeved,
button-down or polo-type collared shirts (especially important for teachers)
- One to two pairs of
- Sleeved shirts (no
spaghetti straps) and shorts/skirts that go below the knees (for cultural
- Basic jewelry (if you
normally wear it; nothing expensive). Women get dressed up, so this is
- One to two week
supply of underwear
- Three to five bras,
including a few sports bras
- Two or three casual
dresses or skirts that cover your knees, even when sitting (cotton is best;
sleeveless is OK, but spaghetti straps are not acceptable)
- Two or more pairs of
jeans or pants
- Two to three cotton T-shirts (can be bought in Guinea)
- Two or three
short-sleeved, button-down or polo-type collared shirts (especially important
for teachers) long enough to cover your backside
- A pair of shorts that
cover your knees if you plan to participate in sports
- Scarf to cover your
head during religious ceremonies
ShoesAmong Volunteers, opinions vary in regards to the best footwear to bring. Here is the most basic selection you’ll want to pack:
- A quality pair of flip-flops from the States (i.e.,
Havaianas or Rainbows) will outlast 10 pairs of the ones found in Guinea.
- A pair of all-purpose athletic shoes
- Durable sandals
- Dress shoes (optional)
Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
Bring enough to get you through the first three months of
training. All basic toiletries are available in country, but if you are partial
to a certain brand/type, bring plenty of it.
- 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)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Mouthwash with fluoride
- Moisturizers, lotion
- Shampoo, conditioner, and soap
- Comb or brush
- Razor blades
- Travel toothbrush
- Nail clippers
- Pumice stone
- Microfiber, quick-dry
- Feminine hygiene products
- Small bottles of gel
- Baby wipes
- Audio player
- Alarm clock
- Camera with additional memory and batteries
- Good-quality headlamp with extra batteries
- Rechargeable AAA batteries
- USB flash drives
- Watch (waterproof)
- Good-quality can
opener (local ones can be frustrating)
- One or two
good-quality kitchen knives (paring knife, chef knife, serrated knife)
- Swiss Army-type knife
or Leatherman-type tool (remember to pack in checked luggage)
- Garlic press
- Small cutting board
- Two sturdy water
bottles (e.g., Nalgene, Sigg)
- Vegetable peeler
- Plastic food-storage
- Zip-top plastic bags
(some large, some small)
- Available in regional capitals.
You will be issued a mountain bike, and for most Volunteers it is their primary source of transportation, so bring any bike gear you use and love, Peace Corps/Guinea will provide a basic multi-tool and lock.
MiscellaneousIf 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.
- Peel-and-seal letters, small padded package envelopes, and
U.S. stamps (travelers to the U.S. are frequently willing to hand-carry small
- Frisbee, volleyball,
- Playing cards
- Art supplies
- A good book or two, or a Kindle/Nook
- Musical instrument (if you play one)
- Duct Tape
- Sleeping bag, hammock, or travel mosquito net
- Good-quality sunglasses
- Sewing kit and scissors
- French grammar books and 501 French Verbs
- Large duffel bag (with wheels if possible)
- Camping backpack: Backpacks are best for traveling. Find one
that can fit enough stuff for trips lasting longer than 4-5 day.
- Schoolbag/day pack or good-size purse
- Luggage locks/combination locks