Jamaica

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

If you are invited to serve in Jamaica, you will receive a more detailed packing list prior to departure. Great importance is attached to neatness and proper dress in Jamaica. The agencies with whom we work will regard Volunteers as professionals -- people who will contribute their expertise to the development of the country -- provided that Volunteers present a neat and clean, professional personal appearance. The dress code for the Ministry of Education (Education Volunteers) is strict and you will be expected to adhere to it to the letter. In Jamaica, more so than in the U.S., you are judged by your looks. Both men and women dress more formally than Americans do. This is true even in rural areas, but especially in the cities. Sloppy dress or dirty clothes can be obstacles in gaining acceptance and respect in your community and could negatively impact your work.

General Clothing

  • Durable standard belt – simple belts recommended for professional/school setting
  • Wide-brim hat or baseball cap
  • 4–5 good quality bandanas/handkerchiefs
  • 1–2 weeks’ worth of underwear
  • 3-4 pair of socks – include dress and quick-dry socks
  • At least 3 pairs of jeans – no holes or tears
  • Sweatshirt or fleece/light jacket, sweatpants/warm pants,
  • Conservative exercise clothing/gym wear - no short-shorts or plunging necklines
  • 4–5 T-shirts and tank tops to wear at home or on weekends
  • 4–5 polo shirts - polos are not allowed in schools
  • 3-4 shorts to include quick-dry, board shorts and to wear at home
  • 4–5 undershirts
  • Swim wear

Men’s Clothing

  • 4 pairs lightweight pants - Khakis, blacks, and greys are most common
  • 4 short-sleeved buttoned shirts
  • Dress shirt, tie and dress pants for formal occasions

Women’s Clothing

  • 4–5 cap/short sleeved and/or buttoned tops
  • 2–3 pairs of shorts - around or below the knee
  • 3–5 lightweight pants and/or capris - loose, knee or calf-length, leggings are not acceptable as pants and capris are not suitable for schools
  • 2-3 skirts – around knee length (if you wear these)
  • 1–2 casual, loose-fitting, knee-length dresses (if you wear these)
  • 3 summer dresses - spaghetti straps or halter/tube tops are not appropriate for professional/school settings (if you wear them)
  • 3–5 sport or camisole-style bras
  • 2–3 bras
  • 1 conservative dressy outfit for formal occasions

Shoes

  • Dress shoes for work and formal occasions (closed-toe required for schools)
  • Flip-flops – for home and casual settings
  • Running or trail shoes
  • Hiking boots (if you plan on hiking)
  • Rain/water boots

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • Start-up supply of soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrushes, face lotions, sunscreens, razors/blade cartridges etc. Economy-sized bottles will last through training and into your first months at site.
  • 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)
  • Three-months supply of feminine products
  • Grooming kit –tweezers, hair-trimming scissors/clippers, nail clippers, nail file
  • 1–2 lightweight, quick-dry towels
  • 6 wash cloths

Electronics

  • Laptop
  • E-reader
  • Small digital camera - optional
  • LED headlamp/flashlight
  • CD or MP3 player (a spare is handy in case your first one breaks, or to sell to another PCV if you don’t need it) Small external amplified speakers
  • Plug adaptors for Caribbean and European country outlets. Sometimes wall sockets will fit U.S. or European plugs.
  • Silica gel, otter boxes, and dry bags to protect electronics
  • Flash/external drives
  • Waterproof/resistant watch

Kitchen

  • Uncommon spices that you will use
  • Consider a french press or camping percolator and coffee; grinder if bringing beans
  • Good can opener
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Chef and/or paring knife
  • Variety of zip-close bags

Miscellaneous

  • Sheets – queen size
  • Sunglasses
  • Poncho or raincoat
  • Good quality umbrella
  • Multi-tool pocketknife (Leatherman or Swiss Army knife)
  • Sturdy backpack or duffel bag for three- to four-day trips
  • Re-usable tote bags for shopping/groceries
  • Quality bound journals, notepads, and art supplies
  • Crafts
  • Durable water bottle
  • DampRid or other moisture absorber