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.
Choose items that can be interchangeable (casual, sleep, semi-professional, can go with skirts or pants).
clothing of good-quality, conservative, and can be
interchangeable with a casual outfit
- T-shirts/casual shirts: No crop tops, spaghetti
straps or skimpy tank tops
tops: Can be spaghetti strap or thicker strap for “tuur halimar”/ hanging
around the house. This goes for men too.
- Sweaters/jackets: This is dependent on where your site will be. If you are at the beach you will
likely never wear a sweater, but if you are in the mountains you will likely
wear one every day.
- Rain jacket/poncho or a very lightweight, water resistant windbreaker
- Hat or cap
- Socks: Ankle length and long socks for hiking -- bring more if you are
prone to mosquito bites
- Shoes: Flip flops (readily available locally), sturdy sandals (Chacos, Tevas, hiking sandals), running or sports shoes (if you play soccer you may want to bring cleats), nice shoes for weddings or special events, sturdy walking shoes
- Swimsuit: One-piece, or rash guard and board shorts; think conservative; if you want to
bring a bikini for travel outside of the country then do it
- Buffs/scarves/bandanas: To cover your mouth when walking on the road, or use as
- Casual shorts: Longer board shorts or basketball knee-length shorts
to hang around in/sleep in
- 1-2 pairs long semi-professional pants (think
- 2-3 pairs of shorts (cargo, khakis, etc.)
- 2-3 pairs lightweight board shorts (for casual
days and walking around; it rains a lot during the rainy season)
Durable Underwear: 10-20 pairs to last you the two years; Duluth Trading Company; moisture wicking
2 lightweight dresses (women wear dresses to church and parties/weddings; avoid long-sleeved anything, and just bring a sweater to cover up with)
- 1 pair of
- Yoga pants/leggings
(not cotton; bring a ton!)
- 1-2 pairs long lightweight and hopefully quick-dry
pants (hiking pants)
- 2-3 pairs of gauchos/capris
- 1-2 skirts (lightweight; flowy; not too long so you don’t drag it in the mud/dirt)
- Only bring the basics or items that remind you of home or have a
personal meaning. These are the ones that will mean the most.
- Avoid anything
flashy like big gold hoops, big diamonds, etc.
- Women almost always wear dangly
or small hoop earrings to mass/church on Sundays.
- Wristwatches come in handy.
- The modern jewelry is expensive in Timor, but there are women’s groups
throughout Timor-Leste that make beautiful natural jewelry for purchase if you
Bras: 5-6 lightweight sports bras; most women also bring 2-3 durable t-shirt/nicer bras
Durable underwear: 10-20 pairs to last you the two years; moisture wicking; Fruit of the loom or basic Aerie underwear are the most durable.
Personal Hygiene and Toiletry items
- Quick-dry towel (1-2) and washcloths are handy
- Compact mirror is helpful
- Any special hair creams/oils that you just have to have (coconut oil and
various other hair care products are available in-country)
- Start up supply of soap, shampoo, razors, etc (also can get them here)
- Cheap travel soap dish/box
- Dramamine (for motion sickness)
- Supply of tampons
- Computer: Optional but Volunteers really appreciate having one
- Computer charger
- Headphones (2 pairs)
- USB sticks: Multiple with some small storage capacity 8GB, and the
largest storage capacity possible (128GB, 64GB, etc.); SD cards
- External hard drive (for sharing movies and TV shows)
- Smartphone: Only if you desire to use your own. Peace Corps provides a phone but many
Volunteer enjoy having their personal phone.
- Smartphone charger
- Kindle or other e-reader and charger: Several
hard copy books are also available in the lounge. Make sure to and
download a bunch of books ahead of time.
- Headlamp and replacement batteries
- Small good quality flashlight
- Bluetooth speaker for music
- Two pair of glasses
- Hearing aid batteries (if you wear one)
- Sturdy backpack
- Multi-purpose tool
- Good water bottle
- Photos from home
- Hobby or sports materials: hacky sack, frisbee, soccer ball, yoga mat
- Sleep sack or lightweight sleeping bag; sleep
- Pocket knife
- Glasses repair kit
- Sewing kit
- 1 pair work gloves
- 3-5 carabiners
- Super glue
- Craft materials: Sewing kit, cross-stitch materials,
knitting needles and yarn, embroidery materials, adult coloring books, etc.
- Games such as Uno and cards
Suggested Host Family Ideas
- Rosary blessed by the Pope
- Special tea bags or tea spice mixtures
- Wall calendar: lightweight, have pictures of America, and its helpful for
explaining plans to your host-family
- Nice-smelling candles (that you think won’t melt in travel)
- Coloring books
- Jump ropes
- Glow sticks
- Chewing gum
- Photos of you
- Candy from America
- Kids toys from the dollar store
- Musical instruments for kids to play
- Hair clips
- Nail polish
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.