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

  • Shirts (button-down, polo, and T-shirts) and blouses (no crop tops, spaghetti straps, or skimpy tank tops)
  • Long-sleeved shirt or blouse for higher altitudes (if you burn easily, you may want more lightweight long-sleeved tops)
  • A few pairs of shorts (knee length, no short shorts)
  • One or two nice outfits
  • Sweatshirt or sweater for high altitudes (it can get chilly in the mountains)  Swimsuit (one piece), sun shirt/rash guard (no bikinis for men or women, Timorese women swim in tanks and board shorts)
  • Rain jacket/poncho (or a very lightweight, water resistant windbreaker)
  • Hat or cap (the sun is fierce) 
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Quick-dry fabrics work best as you will hand wash and line dry your clothes

For Men

  • 4–5 pairs of casual pants for work (thin and light materials such as chinos, cotton, or linen)
  • At least one tie (suits or sports coats are almost never worn here)

For Women

  • Skirts, pants, or dresses for work (knee length); in some communities pants are acceptable
  • Longer-length board shorts or capris


  • One pair of dress shoes (dressy sandals are fine for women although Timorese women tend to wear heels to events such as weddings)
  • Flip-flops (readily available locally)
  • Sturdy sandals such as Tevas/Chacos/Birkenstocks
  • Sturdy walking shoes (locals hike in sandals or even flip-flops)
  • Running shoes or sneakers (if you play soccer, you may want to bring cleats)

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 (contact are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections and contact solution is hard to find)
  • Start-up supply of soap, shampoo, deodorant, razors, etc. (also easy to get here)
  • Any specific brands that you feel you cannot live without (selection is limited)
  • Tampons (to cover the first six months if you require a particular kind)
  • Towels (local quality is limited)


  • Flashlight (good quality) or headlamp
  • Small, light travel alarm or wristwatch with alarm
  • Camera
  • IPod/MP3 Player with small speakers
  • Laptop (optional)
  • Kindle or other e-reader (optional)
  • Solar charger (optional)


  • Hearing aid batteries (if you wear one)
  • Sunglasses with UV protection (available here)
  • Sturdy backpack for short trips
  • Pouch and/or belt for your money and passport (to wear under your clothing)
  • Utility knife (e.g., Leatherman or Swiss Army knife)
  • Water bottle (good quality)
  • Money, traveler’s checks, or credit card for vacations
  • Photos, games, maps from home
  • Books
  • Hobby or sports materials: Hacky Sack, Frisbee, soccer ball
  • Small inexpensive presents for your training family and your host family (e.g. picture frame, candy)
  • Travel sleep sack
  • 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. 

What Not To Bring

  • Over-the-counter medications and first-aid items, mosquito repellent, mosquito net, mosquito-proof tent, bicycle and helmet, water filter, and sunscreen are provided by the Peace Corps in your medical kit
  • Black clothing is used only for mourning after a death. White gets dirty easily (you will be hand-washing everything). There are also used clothing markets in every district all over the country where you can get secondhand clothes (lots of American brands) for a few dollars each.