Indonesia

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.

When you are packing for Indonesia keep in mind:

  • Indonesia is a tropical country with a wet, hot, humid climate the entire year, with high temperatures often in the 90s F during the day and the steamy 70s F at night. Cooler temperatures prevail in the highlands. The humidity is usually between 70 and 90 percent.
  • In most regions, the dry season spans from May to September and wet season is between October and April, with rainfall occurring in short and heavy bursts.
  • You will be biking and/or walking a lot.
  • Dressing professionally at your work place is very important to your host community and Peace Corps.
  • A separate pre-service training dress code will be sent to you once you are formally invited to join Peace Corps. It will be very important that you pay close attention to this additional list, as the dress code for pre-service training is very strict and is not fully reflected in the list below.

General

Clothing

  • Many of you, male and female, will be given a uniform by your school. Knowing this may reduce the amount of “teaching” clothes you feel you need to bring.
  • 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. If you go shopping for clothes prior to departure, keep this in mind and think about saving some of that money to have clothes made in Indonesia.
  • In Indonesia, you will be exposed to one of the country's most highly developed art forms, batik. Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth. Volunteers often wear batik to teach in the classroom and attend Peace Corps trainings. Many tailors can make it for you cheaply. Since batik is often reasonably priced, you may choose to bring some money to purchase premade batik or have some made once in country.
  • Your appearance and how you dress indicates not just who you are but also how much respect you have for the place and people you are with. Indonesian teachers dress very formally; please do not wear T-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops at 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.
  • You can find most clothing you need here, although average or above-average-sized Americans may have difficulty and will need to get things tailor-made.
  • Tank tops are not recommended, as they reveal too much skin. When you are at home you can wear whatever is most comfortable to you.
  • Please note that dress code during pre-service training will be stricter than the one for your permanent site.

Personal hygiene and toiletry items

  • Just about anything you need can be purchased here. However, imported items often cost roughly the same as they would in the U.S. If you have favorite brands or products, you might consider bringing extra supplies with you.
  • Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; also a copy of prescriptions
  • If you wear glasses, bring two pairs (contacts are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections)
  • Deodorant

Miscellaneous

  • A GSM unlocked cell phone to be used throughout service (highly encouraged). If you do not bring a cell phone, Peace Corps will provide a basic phone for your use throughout service.
  • 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.
  • Camera, Headphones, iPod/MP3 player, speakers, tablet/laptop/netbook (external hard drive for media if desired)
  • Computer.
  • English – Indonesian Dictionary. A limited number of dictionaries are available in Peace Corps’ small library. It would be helpful to bring a paper/electronic dictionary or plan to purchase one in country.
  • Daypack/small backpack for overnight or shorter trips
  • Small gifts for host family and local 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 of your friends and family to share with your host family
  • Towels, fast-drying (one or two)
  • Wristwatch
  • Zip-close bags in assorted sizes
  • Supplies/materials for favorite hobbies (e.g. crochet hooks). Volunteers appreciate having these things on days when they may be feeling stressed, etc.

Teaching materials

  • Assume beginner or low-intermediate level learners (magazines, pop music, puzzle books, “Mad Libs,” “Eye-Spy,” stickers, games).
  • Books (tried-and-true TEFL resources, and your favorite literature), but we will provide resources during training events. Peace Corps office also has small library that has resources.
  • Coloring supplies /markers
  • Deck of cards/card games
  • U.S. and world maps (in English)

Recommended items for women

For teaching and attending training

  • Seven to ten blouses covering your collar bones, shoulders and elbows. The blouses cannot be tight fitting or see-through. Finding clothing that fully covers a women’s collar bones can be difficult. Please pay extra close attention to this aspect of the clothing when deciding which blouses and shirts to pack.
  • Four to six button-down dress shirts with three-quarter to full-length sleeves buttoned up to the collar. Again, pay close attention that the shirt will cover the collar bones.
  • Three to five pairs of dress pants (black, grey, or khaki). The pants cannot be slim fitting or see-through.
  • Two to three skirts that fall below the knee. Black is a safe, conservative color choice. 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/bought here.
  • Shoes: Comfortable, dark colored, 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 houses or other places. Note that all formal dress shoes should have a back, so mules are not appropriate for teaching and formal settings.
  • Again, please note that dress code during pre-service training will be stricter than the one for your permanent site.

Casual/outside of school

  • Two to three jeans and casual pants for outside of school
  • Three to four long loose-fitting capris for around-the-house wear or vacation
  • Five to seven casual T-shirts
  • Athletic shoes/sneakers, flip-flops, nicer sandals. If you wear a large size, consider bringing extra pairs
  • Workout shirts with sleeves

Other things you will want to bring

  • One to three casual dresses (with sleeves, knee-length or longer, and no low-cut neckline)
  • Bathing suit (one piece is best)
  • Baggy shorts
  • Lots of underwear in breathable fabrics (cotton is preferable)
  • Lots of sports bras and regular bras
  • Lightweight scarfs
  • Undershirts (to soak up sweat)
  • Tank tops and shorts as pajamas (assume you may not wear these outside your house)
  • Diva Cup or tampons (tampons are rare in Indonesia but you can find pads in most stores)
  • Your favorite menstruation-related pain reliever
  • Rain jacket, a light jacket and/or sweatshirt (it can get cold at night or in higher elevations)
  • Sunglasses

Recommended items for men

For teaching and attending training

  • Three to five pairs of dress pants (black pants and other khaki-type pants for 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 houses or other places.
  • Seven to ten button-down dress shirts with elbow length to full-length sleeves.
  • Again, please note that dress code during pre-service training will be stricter than the one for your permanent site.

Casual/outside of school

  • Three to five pairs of jeans and casual pants/cargo pants for outside of school
  • Three to five pairs of knee-length shorts to wear when you work out (Indonesians do not generally wear shorts in public, except in very relaxed situations)
  • Five to seven T-shirts or workout shirts
  • Athletic shoes/sneakers, flip-flops, nicer sandals. If you wear a large size, consider bringing extra pairs.

Other things you will want to bring

  • Undershirts (to soak up sweat)
  • Bathing suit
  • Baggy shorts
  • Lots of underwear in breathable fabrics (cotton is preferable)
  • A quality razor or a supply of disposable razors (available in many stores)
  • Rain jacket, a light jacket and/or sweatshirt (it can get cold at night or in higher elevations)
  • Sunglasses
  • One neck tie