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

Dress is more conservative and formal than you might think and suggestions from recently arrived Volunteers are listed below. Your appearance is very important as a sign of respect and your effectiveness can be influenced by how you present yourself. Both men and women are expected to look “sharp” with clean and unwrinkled clothes. It gets quite cold in the winter and there is no central heating in the centers or schools. Dressing in layers is key! Any additional clothing you may need is readily available in-country at retail and secondhand shops. However, good quality cotton underwear is generally expensive and hard to find. Laundry facilities are limited, so clothing that can be easily washed by hand and air dried is a good choice. You can wear the same things repeatedly, so pack lightly!

Both Men and Women

  • A warm coat
  • A lightweight, waterproof jacket
  • At least two heavy wool sweaters (you can wear one while the other is in the wash or drying)
  • Silk or cotton thermal underwear (they pack tightly, are quick drying, and can double as sleeping outfits during the winter)
  • Scarves for warmth
  • Turtlenecks
  • Jeans, a pair or two
  • Wool socks
  • A bathing suit (women should bring shorts and a T-shirt to wear over their suits; men’s bathing suits should be baggy, knee-length)
  • Summer hats
  • Knitted hat and gloves or mittens
  • Loosely tailored pants or khakis and lined pants for winter
  • One dressier outfit (for women, either pants or long skirt; for men, a sports jacket/blazer and dress slacks plus a tie). These will be worn for the occasional official reception, swearing-in ceremony, and other important functions


  • Covering up is important and may feel strange at first, but neatness and appropriate dress will enhance your credibility and smooth your integration. All clothing must be loose-fitting for comfort and modesty.
  • Shirts/blouses: any top worn on the outside needs to be thigh-length (in other words, covering your behind), loose (masking your shape), and long-sleeved. Collars or high necklines are imperative; do not bring anything sheer or opaque.
  • Dresses/skirts: must be long enough to cover the ankle
  • Pants: loose and long enough to cover the ankle
  • Short-sleeved or tank tops only to wear under long-sleeved tops
  • Lightweight, long-sleeved jackets to wear over short-sleeved shirts
  • A few pairs of black slacks
  • A long cotton slip
  • Tights, dress socks, and knee-high stockings


  • Tie, belt, dress socks
  • Nice short-sleeved dress shirts for summer months
  • Professional-looking jacket for warmth and also for the workplace


  • Comfortable, nice dress shoes for work (closed-toe; black is best; avoid suede due to dust and scuffing)
  • Sturdy sandals
  • Hiking boots
  • Running/Trail shoes 

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • 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)
  • Tampons
  • Makeup
  • Hair-cutting scissors


  • Voltage converter
  • Rechargeable batteries and recharger
  • Wristwatch
  • E-reader loaded with books
  • Audio player
  • Small Speakers
  • Laptop computer and a good surge protector (power surges are common).
  • Digital Camera


  • Favorite stove-top recipes and cookbook
  • Measuring cups, spoons, etc.


  • Quickdry and washcloth
  • One or two sets of double-sized bed sheets and pillow cases
  • Decorations for your house (pictures, maps, etc.)
  • Compact sleeping bag
  • Quality backpack/daypack
  • Baseball, football, Frisbee, hacky sack, or Uno
  • Jump rope, yoga mat, round ball, or any small and light exercise equipment
  • Sewing items (iron-on mending tape, straight and safety pins, etc.)
  • Stationery
  • 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
  • A few good books (can be traded or donated to the Volunteer book exchange)
  • Journal, diary, or schedule book
  • Pocket-size dictionary and thesaurus
  • Travel guides
  • Multipurpose knife (Swiss Army, Leatherman)
  • Small, retractable tape measure
  • Tape, scissors, crayons, and markers for teachers
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Money belt