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.

For Women

  • Three to five cotton or polyester dresses or skirts (below the knee or longer)
  • Two or three blouses or dressy shirts (no bare shoulders)
  • One extra-nice dress for official functions (no bare shoulders, below the knees)
  • Socks
  • Two-year supply of underwear, bras, and slips
  • One pair of lightweight, quick-drying ankle pants for travel, bike riding, and exercising
  • Five or six short-sleeved T-shirts

For Men

  • Three to five cotton or synthetic, dark-colored dress or casual pants
  • Six or seven button-down shirts (mix of short and long sleeved)
  • Two-year supply of underwear and socks
  • Three short-sleeved T-shirts
  • Two pairs of lightweight, quick-drying pants for travel, bike riding, and exercising
  • One jacket and tie for official functions (you will use these)
  • One or two pairs of shorts
Note: Many common clothes items can be bought cheaply in-country. Pants, T-shirts, and some shoes can be found in all large banking towns. You will need a few articles of clothing for the first few months of training before you go to your banking town.


  • One pair of nice but comfortable shoes (to wear with professional clothes)
  • Durable walking shoes or hiking boots
  • Sandals
  • One pair of sneakers or running shoes
  • Closed-toe shoes or dressy sandals

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • Most toiletries are readily available in Tanzania, but you may not find your favorite brand. Deodorant is in limited supply in Tanzania
  • Hairbrushes or toothbrushes are available in shops at different quality and certain items will be comparatively expensive. 
  • Women should bring tampons or a Diva Cup
  • Three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; copy of prescriptions
  • If you wear glasses, bring two pairs (contact are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections and contact solution is hard to find)


Volunteers often have downtime, so bringing some of the items suggested below can make a difference. But remember that most rural areas do not have electricity. Consider bringing a good supply of batteries, especially solar-powered batteries or rechargeable batteries and a charger.

  • iPod/MP3 player
  • Kindle or e-reader
  • Digital camera
  • Binoculars
  • Musical instruments (plus extra strings, reeds, etc.)
  • Sport, hobby, and art equipment and supplies
  • Games (e.g., cards, dice, Hacky Sack, yo-yos, Frisbee, juggling balls, dominoes)
  • Camping gear (tent, backpack, sleeping pad, etc.), if you are interested in camping
  • Books
  • How-to books (for working with kids)


Most household items are readily available. If you like to cook, consider bringing some of the following items, or mail them to yourself:

  • Plastic zip-top storage bags of various sizes (a must to keep out unwanted crawling critters)
  • Good kitchen knife
  • Mexican or your favorite, unique spices (most other spices are available, especially Italian and Indian spices) Various powdered mixes (e.g., soft-drink mixes, salad dressings, soups, and sauce packets)
  • Vegetable peeler


  • 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
  • A small current converter (if you bring small appliances such as a shaver, etc.)
  • English dictionary and/or thesaurus
  • Multi-purpose knife (e.g., Swiss Army, Leatherman, or Gerber; a must for Agriculture Volunteers) Flashlight/headlamp and batteries (AAA batteries are hard to come by)
  • Solar battery charger and rechargeable batteries
  • Small amount of seeds to plant, especially herbs for the garden
  • Combination padlocks of various sizes (good key locks can be found in-country)
  • Sewing kit
  • Sturdy water bottle (e.g., Nalgene)
  • Money belt (critical for traveling on public transport)
  • Duct or packing tape
  • Day pack
  • Journal or diary
  • Portable hard drive (USB stick or larger)