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:

  • Sweatshirt or fleece
  • Lightweight rain jacket
  • Black clothing (for funerals)
  • Swimsuit (one)
  • Underwear (bring many pairs; they wear out quickly from hand washing)
  • Socks
  • High quality sandals (ex. Teva, Chaco, Reef Walker, Rainbow Flipflops)
  • Water Shoes
  • Workout gear that is not too revealing
  • Running Shoes

For Men:

  • Six to eight light t-shirts
  • Six to eight collared shirts
  • Pants, khaki/jeans for casual days or outdoor work activities (two pairs)
  • One or two-long-sleeve collared shirts with a tie
  • Basketball or long running shorts (three pairs)
  • khaki shorts for casual days

For Women:

  • At least three black outfits: either a dress with sleeves or a skirt and top
  • Casual dresses or mix-and-match skirts and blouses (for work, walking in public, and church)
  • Bras and sports bras
  • Undershirts or camisoles for sheer blouses
  • One or two pairs of capris or lightweight long pants; jeans for colder weather
  • Bike shorts for modesty and comfort under skirts (Tonga is very humid)
  • Board shorts for swimming in public places (Swimsuits can only be worn at resorts in Tonga)

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items: 

  • Medicine and first aid items will be available from the Peace Corps Medical Office once you are sworn in as a Volunteer. Therefore, bring a three-month supply of any medications, to last through pre-service training; If you prefer a specific brand of over-the-counter items such as ibuprofen, vitamins, or dietary supplements, bring your own! 
  • Copy of prescriptions
  • If you wear glasses, bring two pairs (contacts are not recommended due to elevated rates of eye infections and contact solution is hard to find)
  • Razors and shaving cream 
  • Tampons 
  • Personal hygiene and grooming items including deodorant, soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes, floss, lotion, perfume, lipstick, nail polish, and makeup are available in-country. If you prefer a specific brand, however, you should bring it. 
  • Hand sanitizer (Peace Corps will provide, but bring some for the first three months)


  • Rechargeable batteries 
  • Hard drive 
  • Charger/converter for electronics
  • Personal mobile phone; network band: GSM900.
  • Laptop computer (waterproof laptop case)
  • Multi-purpose knife/tool
  • Hammock (you may want one with a mosquito net flap)
  • Tent
  • Headlamp
  • Sunglasses (bring extra pair)
  • Goggles
  • Camelback (but the water-pouch will be extremely difficult to clean in Tonga)
  • Quick-dry towels/bags (highly recommended to bring; it's hard to keep materials dry.) 
  • Super glue
  • Ear Plugs (Roosters crow all morning!)
  • Waterproof zippered plastic bags
  • Insulated water bottle or screw-top/non-leaking water bottle
  • Stickers
  • Your favorite books
  • Calendars, 365-day journals
  • Over the door shoe organizer
  • Thank you letters/arts/crafts
  • Card games, Rubix cube, magic tricks, hand games, etc.
  • Snacks from home
  • 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. 

Things available in-country, but you may consider bringing if you prefer a specific brand or quality: 

  • Snorkeling gear
  • Can opener
  • Knives 
  • Coffee
  • Pan
  • Spices (you can buy them but they are expensive!)
  • Hot sauce
  • Coloring books
  • Office/school supplies (ex. pens, paper, stapler, index cards, highlighters)
  • Bed sheets
  • Vegetable holder (three-basket, hanging)
  • Long bike shorts 
  • Sweatshirt/sweatpants
  • Duct tape 
  • Non-stick frying pan
  • Blanket