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

  • Durable belt
  • Wide-brim hat or baseball cap
  • 4–5 good quality bandanas
  • Poncho or raincoat
  • Good quality umbrella
  • 1–2 weeks’ worth of underwear
  • 3-4 pair of quick-dry socks
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • Sweatshirt or fleece/light jacket, sweatpants/warm pants

Men’s Clothing

  • 4 pairs lightweight, casual pants for work
  • 4 short-sleeved buttoned shirts or polos
  • 4–5 T-shirts
  • 4–5 undershirts
  • 2 pairs of quick-dry, board shorts
  • 2 pairs of gym shorts
  •  Shirt/tie and nice pants for semi-formal occasions

Women’s Clothing

  •  4–5 cap-sleeved, polo, or buttoned shirts
  •  4–5 T-shirts and tank tops, to wear at home or on weekends
  •  2–3 pairs of shorts (around or below the knee)
  •  2–3 gym shorts
  •  3–5 lightweight pants, capris, or skirts (loose, knee or calf-length, leggings are not acceptable as pants
  •  1–2 casual, loose-fitting, knee-length dresses (if you wear them);
  •  3 summer dresses ( dresses with spaghetti straps or halter/tube tops are not appropriate for work settings)
  •  1 swimsuit
  •   3–5 sport or camisole-style bras
  •  2–3 bras
  •  1 dressy outfit for semi-formal occasions


  •  Dress shoes for work (closed-toe required for schools, health centers, and hospitals)
  •  Flip-flops
  •  Running or trail shoes
  •  Rain 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-month supply feminine protection
  • Tweezers
  • Hair-trimming scissors
  • Nail clippers/nail file 
  • 1–2 lightweight, quick-dry towels


  • Laptop
  • E-reader
  • Small digital camera
  • 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


  • Uncommon spices
  • Water bottles with measurements on the side work well for measuring cups
  • Consider a travel French press or camping percolator
  • Good can opener
  • Peeler and paring knife
  • Variety of zip-close bags


  • 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.
  • 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
  • Sunglasses
  • Multi-tool pocketknife (Leatherman or Swiss Army knife)
  • 1 comfortable pillow
  • Sturdy backpack or duffel bag for three- to four-day trips
  • Day pack
  • Quality bound journals, notepads, and art supplies.
  • Strong glue and/or duct tape
  • Crafts
  • Hard plastic water bottle (Nalgene or Camelbak)
  • 1–2 carabiner clips

What Not To Bring

  • Batteries
  • Pots or pans, dishes, or silverware