Malawi

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 many essentials 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

  • Dark-colored or quick dry clothing, both professional and casual
  • Bandana
  • Raincoat and/or Fleece jacket
  • Basic T-shirts and tank tops
  • Leggings for women
  • Casual trousers for travel and time in the city
  • Skirts & dresses that reach mid-calf
  • Collared shirts
  • Lounging clothes (pajamas pants, sweatshirt, etc.)
  • Hoodie, sweater, warm shirts
  • Lightweight shorts/trousers for hiking 
  • Swimsuit (two piece bathing suits are okay)
  • Many pairs of underwear, bras, sport bras, socks
  • Hat 
  • Non-formfitting cardio pants (for running, playing sports, etc.)

Shoes

  • Favorite closed-toe, comfortable shoes 
  • Durable sandals
  • Hiking boots 
  • Running shoes / trainers
  • Durable flip flops
  • Dress shoes or flats

Personal Hygiene / Toiletry Items

  • Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescriptions
  • If you wear glasses, bring two pairs (contacts are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections and contact solution is hard to find)
  • Quality sunscreen
  • Hair clips/pins/rubber bands/headbands
  • Body lotion
  • Shaving cream
  • Travel sized conditioner and shampoo
  • Toiletries and travel-sized bottles
  • Talcum powder
  • Razors
    Deodorant
  • Make-up (if you wear it)

Electronics

  • Smart phone (with extra cords/chargers)
  • Small solar panel to charge phone/electronics
  • Laptop, case, and charger
  • Converter/adapter (British)
  • Camera and charger/batteries
  • E-reader
  • Portable speaker
  • Headphones

Miscellaneous

If you plan to travel to other countries for vacation, you may want to bring extra USD/cash to suit travel plans. There are ATMs in larger cities, and most towns, so you may want to bring your personal ATM card to access your U.S. bank account. Be sure to check with your bank before using your card in country, you may need to set a travel alert. Also, look into international fees associated with ATM withdrawals and purchases.
  • Journal 
  • Nice pens
  • Quick-dry towel 
  • Tent
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Menstrual cup
  • Durable water bottle
  • Yoga mat
  • Solar shower
  • Non-stick frying pan
  • Fitted sheets
  • World map
  • Calendar/organizer
  • Musical instrument (if you play) 
  • Spices like taco seasoning, red pepper flakes
  • Comfort foods that won’t go bad (cheese powder, beef jerky, drink powder, candy, ect)
  • Small gifts for your homestay family (little toys, postcards, trinkets, handmade crafts from the U.S.)

What You Do NOT Need to Bring

  • Dishes
  • White clothing 
  • Popcorn, salt, peanut butter
  • Umbrella 
  • Matches
  • Too many medical items (you will be getting a medical kit on the first day)