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

For men:

  • 2 pairs of slacks
  • 3–4 collared shirts
  • Belt
  • Tie

 For women:

  • 2–3 skirts below the knee, not see through/with a slip
  • 4–8 shirts (dressy/business casual, no spaghetti straps)
  • 2 casual T-shirts for hanging out
  • Good bras/sports bras (good support is not available here!); remember, you will have to cover up too
  • Culottes. Shorts/leggings to go under skirt for bike riding
  • Nice clothes you would wear out with your friends in the U.S.

 For all:

  • Something casual you enjoy wearing; jeans, gauchos, etc.
  • 1 sweater, light jacket, fleece, sweatshirt, or long sleeve shirt
  • Nice clothes you would wear out with your friends in the U.S.
  • Exercise clothes
  • Good underwear (local selection is not of good quality)
  • Raincoat/poncho
  • 1 dressy outfit for official functions (tie for men sports jacket optional; dress for women)
  • PJs
  • Bathing suit


  • Nice comfortable shoes (think nice sandals, Tevas and Chacos give a discount to PCVs)
  • Comfortable flat dress shoes for work and official events; dressy sandals are acceptable and a lot more comfortable
  • Running shoes ( if you run)

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • Toiletries to last a month
  • Tampons/Diva Cup (pads and OB are widely available)
  • Music in whatever form you enjoy (iPod, other MP3, CD player and CDs, tapes)
  • Laptop computer (preferably a netbook)
  • Solar charger for batteries/electronics (available)
  • Portable alarm clock
  • Watch
  • 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)
  • Sunglasses
  • 1-month supply of sunscreen and insect repellent


  • Towel (quick-dry); you can buy regular towels in-country
  • 2 flat bed sheets for homestay (you don’t know what size bed you’ll have)
  • Medium book/messenger bag (for 3–4 day trips)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • 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

 What Not To Bring

  • Too many books (Volunteers are good at sharing)
  • Too many pairs of shorts (not common for adults to wear)
  • Too many white clothes (they turn brown quickly)
  • Tight clothes (culturally inappropriate)
  • Too many socks (available here)
  • Pillows and blankets (Peace Corps provides these at training)

Not Necessary But Useful

  • Camera (advise not to bring large camera bags)
  • Shortwave/FM radio (available here)
  • Favorite recipes
  • Duct tape
  • Good quality rope
  • Games/cards
  • Bandana/hat
  • Plastic mattress cover
  • Tennis shoes/hiking boots
  • Leatherman/Swiss Army knife
  • Good pens (if it’s important to you, BIC pens are available)
  • Seeds (spices, veggies, etc.—can be purchased here or mailed later)
  • Beauty products/pampering items (nail polish, eyeliner; if you use them)
  • Nice kitchen knife
  • Can opener (if you cook or have interest) a decent chef or Santoku is a great item to have
  • Vegetable peeler

Even Less Essential But Nice

  • Regional spice blend (Lawry’s, Old Bay, Cavender’s, Mrs. Dash, Asian spices, seaweed, etc.); taco seasoning
  • Tea tree oil (great antiseptic for skin infections and mosquito bites)
  • Razors (available but very expensive)
  • Small ball
  • Bike pump
  • Good compact umbrella (available)
  • Zip-top plastic bags/plastic food-storage containers
  • English dictionary (available)
  • Money belt
  • Smartphone for Internet (Nokia E71/E72 recommended)
  • Light sleeping bag and ground pad
  • Light tent
  • Small toolkit or bicycle repair kit

Other Notes

Lock your luggage, preferably using TSA-approved locks. This is useful in transit, at homestay, and while traveling during your service. Volunteers are encouraged to purchase personal property insurance to cover the maintenance and replacement of computer equipment, electronics, and other valuables that they may bring overseas or purchase in-country. At your departure airport in the U.S., security will often screen your luggage upon entering the terminal. It is advisable to pack all sharp objects near the top of one of your bags. In the event that they do search your bag, they will hold onto these items until you check your bags at the ticket counter.