This guidance is designed to describe appropriate clothing, the cultural context where you will be living and working, and the professional expectations of your workplace.
As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on checked baggage.
In general, most items you will need are available in country and locally acquired items are often the best at helping you integrate into your community. However, locally available items may not be the brands, quality, prices, or sizes you are used to. Bringing some key items from home might make your transition to service more comfortable.
This guidance has been compiled by Peace Corps staff and Volunteers and is based on their experience. Use this information as an informal guide as you make your own packing list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect packing list!
This packing guidance is designed to help you think through different categories of items and consider what you might want to bring, considering work expectations, cultural considerations, and your own personal preferences.
Tanzania has a tropical climate, but it has large regional climatic variations influenced by several factors such as latitude. The hottest and most humid part of the country is the coast and western regions. Other low-lying areas, such as the western and southern parks, are also hot but less humid. The rest of the interior is much milder and cools down significantly at night.
The average temperature ranges between 27°C and 29°C (80.6°F and 84.2°F) along the coast and in the offshore islands of Tanzania, while in the central, northern and western parts temperature ranges between 20°C and 30°C (68°F and 86°F). Temperatures are higher between December and March, and coolest between June and July. (Source)
Tanzania has a dry season from June to October, and a wet season from November to April. Raincoats and umbrellas are available in Tanzania, but they may not be the quality desired. We recommend bringing a lightweight but breathable rain jacket and/or umbrella.
Peace Corps Tanzania provides the following items:
- Mountain bike: Peace Corps Tanzania has about 20 mountain bikes available to Trainees for use during pre-service training (PST). Priority will be given to the Trainees whose homestay families are far from the community-based language classroom. At the end of the training period, a Trainee who borrows a bike will be required to return it to Peace Corps in good condition. Peace Corps requires Trainees to wear a bike helmet when riding a bike. However, from our experience, it might be challenging to get bike helmets of good quality in Tanzania. Therefore, we would like to ask you to purchase a good quality, certified helmet for yourself before arriving in Tanzania—make sure you get fitted for it. Peace Corps will reimburse, up to $30 upon presentation of a receipt after completing your PST in Tanzania.
- Mosquito nets: Tanzania is a malaria endemic country. In addition to taking malaria prophylaxis, Peace Corps Volunteers are required to sleep under a mosquito net. Peace Corps Tanzania provides Trainees with mosquito nets.
- Medical kit: Peace Corps Tanzania provides all Volunteers with a med kit. See the full list of items.
- Water filter: The tap and/or well water in Tanzania is not filtered. All Volunteers receive a high quality activated charcoal water filter for water purification at site.
- Hand washing bucket: Each Volunteer receives a bucket with a tap for handwashing.
- Walk-around allowance: All Peace Corps trainees will receive a daily ‘walk-around allowance’ to cater for incidentals during PST.
- Settling-in allowance: All Peace Corps Volunteers will receive a settling-in allowance to support them in getting settled in their homes in the community after PST.
- Tablet: Peace Corps will provide tablets to trainees to help access online learning courses and training materials as well as to produce quarterly reports. Volunteers are welcome to bring their own preferred device. For any device, Peace Corps cannot provide technical support and will not reimburse Volunteers for any needed repairs.
- Phone: After arrival and upon request, Peace Corps provides a simple loaner phone for trainees who want to use them for communication in the first couple days. Funds will be provided for trainees to purchase basic personal phones with a monthly amount of phone credit. Also, Trainees are allowed to use phones brought from home.
Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take:
- Radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted)
- Automobiles or motorcycles
- Flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers
- Valuables such as precious jewelry or family heirlooms
Do not bring any drug that has not been authorized by the Peace Corps for medical purposes without prior consultation with Office of Health Services Pre-Service. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Illicit drugs, including marijuana and related products such as CBD and herbal substances such as kratom, are prohibited during Peace Corps service, even if they are legal in your home of residence. If you use, possess, or distribute illicit drugs, you will be administratively separated from service.
Packing for your two-year assignment is a highly personalized process and no list will be able to answer every packing question or ease every anxiety. This list is meant to help guide you and offers suggestions while you decide what to bring with you.
Main advice: Don’t pack a lot of clothes. Buying fabric and having clothes made in Tanzania is easy. It is advisable to pack minimal and versatile items, and then supplement your wardrobe in-country after receiving your site assignment. Since it’s (relatively) cheap to have clothes made locally, you can ask tailors to copy an existing piece of clothing or copy a design in a magazine or online.
Bear in mind that most local fabric will have lots of designs and colors, so bringing solid-colored shirts or pants may be advantageous. You can also buy jeans and solid-colored shirts in second-hand markets.
In some parts of Tanzania where communities are more conservative, there may be specific expectations about the way women should dress. Once you are living at your permanent site, you will be able to decide how conservatively you need to dress. However, the basic rule is to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees (no spaghetti straps or tank tops). Wearing traditional clothing specific to your site or region is usually well-regarded.
- Sturdy cotton shirts in dark colors; avoid white or light-colored garments that stain or discolor easily.
- Pants with elastic waists, wrap tops or skirts, or anything with forgiving styles to accommodate possible fluctuations in weight; some Volunteers lose and/or gain weight.
- Comfortable, breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen are more comfortable than synthetic fabrics like polyester. Loose-fitting pants are generally cooler than jeans.
- Lightweight long-sleeved shirts and long pants will help protect against mosquitoes in the evening.
- Underwear, socks and bras: consider bringing enough to last the two years of service because you may not be able to get your preferred style, size, or quality in country.
- Hoodie, sweater, or fleece for chilly nights.
- Lightweight rain jacket (for the rainy season, especially for agriculture Volunteers).
- Hats or baseball caps (for sun protection).
- Business casual clothes, including slacks, khaki pants, dresses, skirts, button-up shirts and blouses
- One pair of comfortable dress shoes for special events (swearing in, government meetings, etc.)
- Education Volunteers: One pair of professional shoes (sandals or close-toed shoes) for daily teaching
- Agriculture Volunteers should bring clothing appropriate to being outdoors in rain/mud, sun, etc.
- Health Volunteers should look professional, but their context is less formal than the classroom.
Leisure and recreational clothing
- Casual (but presentable) clothes for informal and after-work occasions and sports. Note that shorts and skirts worn outside the house should be knee length.
- Lightweight, quick-drying ankle/yoga-type pants for travel, bike riding, lounging, exercise and T-shirts for exercise, lounging, etc.
- Bathing suit or swimming trunks.
- One pair of comfortable dress shoes
- One pair of durable, comfortable walking shoes, for instance a pair of sturdy sandals
- One pair of sturdy work boots or hiking boots, especially for agriculture Volunteers
- One pair of running/athletic shoes, for wellness activities
You should bring a three-month supply of any prescription and/or over the counter medications you use that are authorized/approved by the Peace Corps.
Note: Prior to service, Peace Corps supplies all volunteers with a medical kit containing basic, over-the-counter medications, as well as multivitamins.
The medical unit will replenish prescriptions after the initial three-month training.
If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs (of the current prescription) with you. Contact lens use will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Most toiletries are readily available in Tanzania, though you may not find your favorite brand. Hairbrushes, toothbrushes, and the like are available at shops, though quality varies. Certain specialty or brand name items will be comparatively expensive. It is advisable to bring some tampons, sanitary pads, or a diva cup. Tampons and sanitary pads are available in-country, although diva cups are not. Deodorant is available in the country, but preferred brands may not be available.
- Plug adapters to adapt US two flat prong to British (Type G) three square pegs.
- Reliable watch (durable, water-resistant, inexpensive).
- Unlocked smart phone that can have a local Sim card installed. Smart phones are available here but typically cost much more than in the U.S.
- Extra good-quality charging cables for your electronic devices.
- Camera and accessories, such as SD cards or film.
- USB flash memory key (one or more); if you have an iPad, bring a convertible flash drive for sharing documents.
- Rechargeable batteries and battery charger.
- Headlamp or flashlight (could be solar powered).
- Protective cases for everything, as the dust and heat may damage your electronics.
- Small solar charger for electronic devices.
- Insurance for valuable electronics, as determined necessary
Based on your interests and personal preferences there may be additional items you will want to consider bringing with you. Below is a description of the common activities Volunteers engage in and what different Volunteers have said they enjoy having that might be more difficult to find in-country. Note: These items are not required or even recommended, but they might be nice to have.
- Measuring cups and spoons.
- Plastic storage containers and zip-top-style bags of assorted sizes (also good for organizing items such as medicine and clothing accessories).
- Good kitchen knife and knife sharpener (if that’s important to you).
- Favorite recipes (you will be provided with a PCV cookbook).
- Packaged mixes (sauces, salad dressings, soups, and drink mixes).
- Favorite spices (although many are available in-country).
- French press/drip filter for coffee
- Can opener (available but perhaps of lower quality).
- Variety of open-pollinated vegetable seeds, if you like to garden.
- Hair-cutting scissors, nail clippers, tweezers, razors, and emery boards.
- Planner or calendar: Volunteers are required to submit reports to their program manager twice a year, so it's important to record all your work activities.
- Folders with pockets: large folders with zippers are a great place to keep important papers clean and organized.
- 3 x 5 note cards and sticky note pads.
- Teacher kit: rubber bands, stapler, markers, Sharpies, push pins, paper clips, pens, pencils, glue, single hole punch, and folders. Inflatable globes, maps, educational resources on a flash drive, favorite teaching books, calculator, stickers, children's books.
- Passport photos (2).
- Antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer (small supply for your initial travel).
- Any vitamin supplements or herbal remedies that you prefer (other than multivitamins, which are provided).
- Initial supply of toiletries such as antiperspirant, shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, etc. If you have favorite brands, consider bringing a larger supply.
- Hairbrush, comb, hair clips and ties.
- Stationary and envelopes if you are a letter writer, and addresses of people you may want to write.
- US forever stamps: The most reliable way to mail letters is to give them to someone going back to the US.
- Extra absorbent micro-fiber towel (small and great for traveling).
- Comfortable pillow(s) and lightweight fleece blanket for winter nights.
- One set of sheets in dark colors or prints made of 100 percent cotton will be the coolest; many Volunteers get double size beds.
- Heavy-duty duct tape (good for everything).
- Concealable money pouch or belt.
- ATM card if you expect to need extra money for travelling.
- Durable water bottle.
- Pocket knife or multi-purpose tool.
- Combination padlock.
- Pictures of your family and friends.
- Books for pleasure reading.
- Map of the U.S. to show your friends and co-workers where you are from.
- Anything that will make you happy and feel at home (personal touches).
- Depending on your interests, items to pass the time (alone or with others): small games, craft or art supplies, musical instrument (if you play one and can tolerate possible damage to it from the climate), sports or yoga equipment, etc.
- Music: consider downloading a preferred app to your device while in the States.
- Binoculars if bird watching is of interest to you.
- Medium-size day packs (without frame) for shopping or traveling. Drawstring bags or book bags in various sizes, also great for storing things in to keep out the dust.
- Lightweight sleeping bag (good for overnight stays at other Volunteers’ homes).
- Bungee cords and/or zip ties in various sizes.
- Anything peculiar to the U.S. or specific to where you are from to share with friends and family during training and at your site: knickknacks, calendar with photos of US, small plastic toys, playing cards, stickers, postcards, coloring books, etc.