This guidance is designed to describe appropriate clothing, the cultural context where you will be living and working, and the professional expectations of your workplace.
As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on checked baggage.
In general, most items you will need are available in country and locally acquired items are often the best at helping you integrate into your community. However, locally available items may not be the brands, quality, prices, or sizes you are used to. Bringing some key items from home might make your transition to service more comfortable.
This guidance has been compiled by Peace Corps staff and Volunteers and is based on their experience. Use this information as an informal guide as you make your own packing list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect packing list!
This packing guidance is designed to help you think through different categories of items and consider what you might want to bring, considering work expectations, cultural considerations, and your own personal preferences.
Indonesia is a tropical country with a hot and humid climate throughout the year. However, there are some regional variations in climate due to the country's vast size and different geographic features.
In general, the climate is divided into two seasons: the wet season (or rainy season) and the dry season. The wet season usually lasts from October to April, while the dry season lasts from May to September.
During the wet season, rainfall is heavy and frequent, particularly in the central and eastern regions of the country. The humidity can also be high, making it feel even hotter. This season is characterized by cloudy skies, occasional thunderstorms, and cooler temperatures.
During the dry season, rainfall is less frequent, and temperatures can be quite hot, particularly in the western regions of the country.
- Medical kit, including anti-malarials, bug repellent and sunscreen
- Funds for female hygiene products, if applicable
- Fire extinguisher and smoke/carbon monoxide detector
- Life jacket
- Mosquito net
- Library of books to borrow
Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take:
- Radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted)
- Automobiles or motorcycles
- Flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers
- Valuables such as precious jewelry or family heirlooms
Do not bring any drug that has not been authorized by the Peace Corps for medical purposes without prior consultation with Office of Health Services Pre-Service. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Illicit drugs, including marijuana and related products such as CBD and herbal substances such as kratom, are prohibited during Peace Corps service, even if they are legal in your home of residence. If you use, possess, or distribute illicit drugs, you will be administratively separated from service.
Most Volunteers do laundry on a weekly basis. Both professional and casual clothing options are available in Indonesia through stores and tailoring. You can find most clothing you need here, although average (or above)-sized Americans may have difficulty and will need to get things made. Tailoring is very cheap here, so don’t be afraid to pack lightly for service and plan on having some things made once you arrive.
Many of you will be given a uniform by your school. Knowing this may reduce the amount of “teaching” clothes you feel you need to bring. Indonesian teachers dress very well; don’t expect to wear T-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops to school.
Higher-quality clothes that can withstand two years of handwashing are preferred. You’ll also appreciate clothes made of lightweight and/or fast-drying cloth. Given Indonesia’s periods of heavy rains and hot sun, rain jackets, brimmed hats, sunglasses and lightweight long-sleeved shirts can be helpful. For undergarments, cotton is encouraged for this reason. A light jacket and/or sweatshirt is also recommend as it can get cold at night or in higher elevations.
Note that leather bags, belts or jackets may mold quickly here.
Indonesian female dress standards
Shirts: Dress shirts with three-fourth to full-length sleeves, which button to the collar; other nice shirts that also cover collar and elbows; loose T-shirts for outside of school. All Volunteers will have amble opportunity to have beautiful batik shirts purchased or tailor made that function in all professional and formal settings.
Pants: Dressy pants for school and events, dark colored and suggested a loose or wide-leg fit; jeans and casual pants for outside of school. Shorts/capris for around-the-house wear or vacation.
Skirts: Skirts that fall below the knee. In particular, long flowy lightweight neutral colors. Black and navy are a safe, conservative color choices. Some Volunteers will be at conservative schools that require long (to the ankle) skirts; if you have them, bring them. If not, and you end up needing them, they can be made here.
Other: Cotton underwear; undershirts (to soak up sweat); long and loose workout clothes, extra bras, bathing suit; tank tops and shorts as pajamas (assume you may not wear these outside your house, or perhaps even your bedroom).
Indonesian male dress standards
Shirts: Long and short-sleeved button-down shirts (but can buy them here, too); T-shirts for outside of school. All Volunteers will have amble opportunity to have beautiful batik shirts purchased or tailor made that function in all professional and formal settings.
Pants: Black pants and other khaki-type pants for school; jeans and casual pants for outside of school.
Shoes: Comfortable, black, closed toe, ideally slip-on dress shoes. Assume you will be on your feet all day and walking in them and taking them off when you enter homes. Athletic shoes, flip-flops, nicer sandals. If you wear a large size, consider bringing extra pairs.
Other: Cotton underwear; undershirts (to soak up sweat); shorts and T-shirts; bathing suit at least knee-length. Tank tops with broad straps are appropriate (spaghetti straps are not), though covered shoulders are recommended.
Comfortable, black, closed toe, ideally slip-on dress shoes. Assume you will be on your feet all day and walking in them and taking them off when you enter homes. Athletic shoes, flip-flops, nicer sandals. If you wear a large size, consider bringing extra pairs.
You should bring a three-month supply of any prescription and/or over the counter medications you use that are authorized/approved by the Peace Corps.
Note: Prior to service, Peace Corps supplies all volunteers with a medical kit containing basic, over-the-counter medications, as well as multivitamins.
The medical unit will replenish prescriptions after the initial three-month training.
If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs (of the current prescription) with you. Contact lens use will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Electricity in Indonesia
The standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. In Indonesia the power plug sockets are of type C and F.
- Type C: also known as the standard "Euro" plug. This socket also works with plug E and plug F.
- Type F: also known as "Schuko". This socket also works with plug C and plug E.
Please consider purchasing the appropriate converters or plug adaptors for your current equipment.
You are encouraged to bring a “GSM unlocked” phone from the U.S. for use here In Indonesia. If you are not able to bring a GSM unlocked phone, PC will either provide you with a very basic phone or provide funds for you to purchase a basic phone. Staff will assist you in obtaining a local SIM card and Trainees will be provided funds to buy data packages. You will also be able to receive and make international calls, and you only pay for outgoing calls (you do not pay for incoming calls).
Volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop which not only increases options for internet access, but also enables Volunteers to complete required assignments off-line and upload them at a later date (especially for TEFL Certificate Volunteers). While Volunteers may also complete the assignments through local internet cafes or other access points, having a laptop will help to facilitate successful participation in training.
The training site offers Wi-Fi for you to access email and learning resources. If you have wireless capacity in your smartphone/personal tablet/laptop, you may be able to access internet in several locations (including cafes and sessions) although such access is not likely in your homestay villages. You will need to use paid data.
- Books/eReader with tried-and-true TEFL resources, and your favorite literature
- Coloring supplies /markers
- Daypack/small backpack for overnight or shorter trips
- Deck of cards/card games
- Gifts for your two host families (during training and at site): e.g., U.S.-themed pens, pencils, stickers, key chains, calendars (no need to go overboard with large quantities)
- Bluetooth speakers
- Laptop (with extra battery, computer misc., external hard drive for media if desired)
- Photos of friends and family
- Pictures and postcards of the U.S.
- Rechargeable batteries (with charger) for any device you bring
- Sheets, flat (one or two)
- Teaching materials: Assume beginner or low-intermediate level learners (magazines, pop music, puzzle books, “Mad Libs,” “Eye-Spy,” stickers)
- Towels, fast drying (one or two)
- Raincoat or small umbrella
- U.S. and world maps (in English)