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.


  • Underwear and bras (these wear out quickly, bring more than you think you need)
  • Swimsuit
  • Undershirts, tank tops, and lightweight T-shirts
  • Clothes to lounge around in and/or sleep in (athletic shorts, yoga pants, leggings)
  • T-shirts (can be found everywhere)
  • Jeans (at least 2 pairs)
  • Button-downs, polos, nice shirts
  • 1 legitimate presentable outfit (for high-level meetings)
  • Shorts (for women, should be knee-length or capris)
  • Knee-length skirts (or longer) for teaching (no shorter than an inch above the knee)
  • 2 pairs of nicer pants (for men)
  • 1 sweatshirt, sweater, or jacket (for rainy season, travel, when it’s cold at night)

Travel Essentials

  • Backpacking backpack
  • TSA-approved locks for baggage (at least two which you can use for in-country travel as well)
  • Cable Zip Ties (used to secure backpacks/luggage during in-country travel)
  • Packable sleeping pad (e.g., Therm-a-Rest or Big Agnes)
  • Water bottle (consider one with a small mouth for bush taxi rides)


  • Smartphone (unlocked; it’s the best way to get internet at site)
  • Portable speakers
  • Laptop (an inexpensive one, as it’s hard to get repairs; most PCVs bring one)
  • External hard drive
  • SD cards and USB sticks
  • Camera, quality is your choice, same applies as with laptops
  • Headlamp
  • Solar chargers (fantastic, when they work; read reviews)
  • Extra batteries or battery extenders for all your electronics
  • Battery-powered hair clippers (for DIY haircuts)


  • If you wear glasses, bring 2 pairs, consider prescription sunglasses as well (contacts are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections and contact solution is hard to find)
  • Three-month supply of prescription medications, to last through pre-service training (Peace Corps will order for you during service); copy of prescriptions
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Brush/comb
  • Deodorant (bring a lot)
  • Baby wipes
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, and holder
  • Razors/shaving cream
  • Nail clippers, nail file
  • Liquid hand sanitizer/hand wipes
  • Facial soap
  • Menstrual protection (can be found in Monrovia but not elsewhere; consider bringing a menstrual cup or other reusable option)
  • Hair ties, bobby pins, headbands, etc.
  • Hair-cutting scissors for DIY haircuts 


  • Favorite spices (hard to find here and expensive)
  • Swiss Army knife or Leatherman with can opener and corkscrew
  • Knives (i.e., chef knife, bread knife, paring knife; pack in checked luggage)
  • Non-stick pan
  • Spatula, wooden spoon, tongs
  • 2–7 plastic food containers
  • Zip-top bags (of varying sizes)
  • French press and coffee (if you drink normally)


  • 1 towel (some people use lappa, colorful local fabric, instead of towels)
  • 1 set of sheets (or 2 if you want one while the other is being washed)
  • Reusable shopping bag 
  • If you plan to travel to other countries for vacation, you may want to bring extra money to suit your travel plans; credit cards are preferable to cash. There are ATMs in larger cities, 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

School Supplies (for Education Volunteers)

  • Schools will have very few, if any, resources.
  • Math/science textbooks that you really like
  • World map, map of Africa, subject posters
  • Office supplies: highlighters, markers, ruler, solar calculator, scissors (good ones), stickers
  • Pocket dictionary, consider English as a second language version
  • Crayons
  • Coloring books
  • Children’s books (everyone will read them here, including your students, all other books you can get on an ereader)
  • Flash cards (high-school students will use them): multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, science, sight words (kids will like them), letters (kids will like them)
  • Games 

What NOT to Bring

  • White chalk (if you want colored or sidewalk chalk, bring it)
  • Books (bring a few if you feel so inclined but an e-reader will help save the weight)
  • More than 1 jacket or hoodie