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

Keep in mind: Clothing stores are accessible in Nicaragua and many Volunteers buy used U.S. clothing in thrift shops. High-quality personal items, such as underwear and socks, tend to be more difficult to find. Clothes are generally washed with cold water on a concrete washboard and are hung to dry. Cottons and linens are breathable, which is good for the hot weather, but stretch and wear out quickly; also consider bringing some clothes made of fabrics that tend to hold their shape better and last longer (i.e., nylon, spandex, and polyester blends). Some Volunteers found that purchasing a lot of outdoor camping clothing was unnecessary and made them stand out because the local people do not wear similar attire, but that buying a good pair of shoes was well worth the investment.

  • Two pairs of dress pants
  • Two to four pairs of casual pants
  • Two to three dresses and/or skirts for women
  • Two or three long-sleeved shirts or blouses
  • Several short-sleeved shirts or blouses (polos are recommended by male Volunteers)
  • Several T-shirts and tank tops for casual wear
  • Lightweight jacket or cotton sweater for breezy days
  • Fleece sweatshirt or insulated jacket (for mountainous, cooler areas)
  • One nice outfit for special occasions, especially the swearing-in ceremony (sport coat or dress shirt and tie for men; nice dress or skirt for women)
  • Casual evening clothes
  • Rain gear: lightweight raincoat (with hood), poncho, and/or durable umbrella
  • Swimsuit
  • Three to four pairs of shorts/capris
  • Exercise wear
  • Good supply of socks A three- to four-week supply of cotton underwear
  • Three to four good bras for female Volunteers
  • Sleepwear
  • Lightweight robe
  • Belt
  • Hat or cap for sun protection
  • Shoes
  • One or two pairs of shoes for professional wear
  • One or two pairs of trail or running shoes
  • One pair of sport sandals for casual wear
  • Flip-flops 

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
  • Small (travel size) supply of toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and soap
  • Any makeup that you might want to use
  • Contact solution
  • A three- to six-month supply of tampons or reusable menstrual cup
  • Any special products that you use

The Peace Corps/Nicaragua medical office provides your medication, as well as sunscreen, insect repellent, vitamins, Band-Aids, condoms, and you can replace most of what is provided for you in the medical kit you will receive once in-country. Do not over pack on these items.


  • Special spices/seasoning that you enjoy using at home
  • Recipes
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Garlic press
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • One good kitchen knife 


  • Laptop or netbook
  • Digital camera
  • USB, thumb/flash drive
  • Audio player
  • Speakers


  • Watch
  • A set of sheets (double-sized)
  • Quick-dry bath towels and washcloths
  • Camping knife and/or utility tool
  • Sewing kit
  • Plastic bags
  • Bandanas or handkerchiefs
  • Earplugs
  • Posters for decorating your home
  • One or two pairs of sunglasses
  • Large duffel bag or hiking backpack for traveling
  • Tote bag or daypack for traveling to school or around town
  • Gardening gloves and tools
  • Sturdy water bottle
  • Workout materials (such as a jump rope or resistance bands)
  • Headlamp and/or good flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Pictures of family and friends to share with members of your community
  • Small amount of school supplies (markers, glue, scissors, stickers, etc.) to use in schools and with youth and community groups
  • Games (cards, travel board games, etc.)
  • Sports equipment (an American football, Frisbee, baseball glove, cleats, basketball shoes, etc.)
  • Yoga mat
  • French press
  • Plug converter (two prongs to three)
  • Extension cord 
  • 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

The Peace Corps Office has a fully stocked library full of many resource books, as well as novels and other reading material. Instead of packing a lot books initially (which can be heavy and bulky), consider bringing one or two and then having more sent to you or using/trading those in the Peace Corps office. The Peace Corps will also give you a lot of Spanish language resources—dictionaries, grammar books, etc.—as well as technical resource manuals for your specific project.