Kyrgyz Republic

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.

All Volunteers will need an assortment of clothing for work, play, and socializing. Suitable attire for male teachers includes slacks with a nice shirt and an optional tie. For female Volunteers, suits, dresses, and skirts that are not too short, or nice slacks with blouses are all suitable. For both men and women, nice jeans (but not ripped or torn), dressed up with a nice shirt and jacket, are also acceptable in many situations, especially social ones. For most places outside of Bishkek, a more conservative approach to dressing is appropriate for women. Clothing is expensive because most of it is imported, so it is best to bring most of what you will need. Shipping clothes from the States is also possible but expensive.

Luggage should be lightweight, durable, lockable, and easy to carry. Duffel bags and backpacks without frames are best because you will be hauling your luggage around on foot.

General Clothing

  • Warm winter jacket (with down or a synthetic)
  • Lightweight jacket
  • Mix-and-match clothes for layering, such as solid-color turtlenecks
  • Cold weather gloves and hat
  • Long underwear—silk is lightweight, easy to clean, and warm
  • T-shirts (without wording or pictures about controversial issues such as politics, drugs, or sex)
  • One or two pairs of jeans
  • Sports and fitness clothing, such as jogging pants
  • Hat or baseball cap for protection from the sun
  • Underwear and socks for two years
  • Bandanas or handkerchiefs
  • Stocking cap/ski cap
  • Wool socks (at least six pairs)
During packing please consider that some parts of the Pre-Service Training that will take place during your first 3 months in the country will require business casual clothing.

For Men

  • Sport jacket or suit
  • Several pairs of nice slacks
  • Several buttoned shirts
  • A few nice sweaters
  • Ties

For Women

  • Several skirts or dresses with hems below the knee, for summer and winter
  • Several nice blouses and shirts (short-sleeved tops are fine if modest)
  • A couple of pairs of nice slacks (which can be worn as professional clothing in some places)
  • A shorter skirt or dress for evenings out in Bishkek
  • Nylons or tights

Shoes

  • Dress shoes—for men, loafers are practical because they can be slipped off easily when entering a home; for women, comfortable, low-heeled pumps or flats are recommended. Volunteers who will be on their feet a lot might consider black sneakers that look like dress shoes.
  • Sneakers
  • Sandals/flip-flops
  • Hiking or warm waterproof winter boots (either or both: men and women often wear boots to work in the winter; great boots in smaller sizes are available locally for around $20)
  • Extra shoelaces

Note: Shoes larger than size 10 (men) or size 9 (women) have limited availability locally

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescriptions
  • Two pairs of eyeglasses, if you wear them (replacements can take a long time to arrive from the United States); consider bringing a repair kit
  • Enough deodorant, soap, and other toiletries to last you through pre-service training (many of the brands available in Bishkek will be familiar to you, but if you require specific brands, you may want to bring more); feminine hygiene supplies are available in local markets but may be expensive or of poor quality
  • Soap carrier
  • Makeup
  • Lotion or other moisturizers (Kyrgyz Republic has a semi-arid climate)
  • Lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Spot remover
  • Tweezers, items for nail care, pumice stone, callus removers, etc.

Electronics

  • Laptop/tablet
  • E-reader
  • Flash drives
  • Portable music player
  • Digital Camera
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Solar charger

Kitchen

  • Zip-close bags
  • French coffee press
  • Packaged mixes for sauces, salad dressings, and soft drinks
  • Your favorite spices

Miscellaneous

  • 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
  • Four passport-size photographs
  • Sturdy water bottle (e.g., Nalgene or Camelbak)
  • Small tool kit (wire strippers and phone repair tools are also useful)
  • Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool
  • Water resistant watch
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Sewing kit
  • Sleeping bag with stuff sack
  • Fleece throw/lap blanket
  • One bath towel and two washcloths
  • Pillowcase
  • Laundry bag
  • Duct tape
  • Games such as playing cards, Uno, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, chess, and/or Frisbee
  • Envelopes of various sizes, including padded ones (American-style envelopes are not available)
  • Stationary and pens
  • U.S. postage stamps for mail carried by people traveling back home
  • A two-year planner
  • Musical instruments (if you play)
  • Subscriptions to your favorite magazines
  • Teaching materials (for education Volunteers), such as markers, chalk, erasers, magazines, simple children’s books and American music; you can also pack items for someone to ship to you later
  • Interesting wall decorations (maps, posters, etc.)
  • Copies of all financial and personal documents such as power of attorney, birth certificates, and passport
  • Graduate study materials (e.g., GRE, LSAT)

What Not to Bring

  • Appliances—buying them locally may eliminate the need to bring a voltage converter; items such as irons, blow dryers, and boom boxes are available at reasonable prices