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 List

  • Non-leather belts
  • Sturdy sandals
  • Running/Trail shoes
  • Wide brim hat/ baseball cap
  • Bandannas
  • Poncho / light breathable raincoat
  • 2 weeks’ worth of underwear and socks
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Digital camera with extra batteries and memory cards
  • LED headlamps
  • Silica Gel/Otter Boxes/Dry Bags
  • USB Flash Drive
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Earplugs
  • Sunglasses
  • Swiss Army knife/Leatherman tool
  • 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


Volunteers may wear "western"-style clothing (jeans, etc.) more often in Port Vila. Short skirts and shorts are still not recommended for women. Remember, most of your time will be spent at your site, so pack appropriately.

  • (1 each) Sweatshirt, long-sleeved shirt, fleece/light jacket, sweatpants/warm pants. These may seem odd things to pack for the South Pacific; however, most Volunteers are glad they brought them come June/July.


  • Pants (1) Lightweight, casual pants, if necessary for work. Convertible to shorts 
  • Shirts (6-8) T-shirts will be worn most often. For teaching/holding meetings/church, etc. button-down short-sleeved shirts or polos are appropriate. A long-sleeved button-down may be useful
  • Shorts (5-7) Durable, quick-dry, convertible to pants
  • (5-7) pairs of boxers–not available locally


  • Dresses (1-2) Casual, loose, long dresses, sleeveless is a plus. Some teachers and professional women wear island dresses, found locally 
  • Shirts (4-5) T-shirts or sleeveless (no thin-strap or strapless) shirts will be worn most often with skirts. A button-down shirt or polo may be useful, depending on your profession 
  • Shorts (2-3) Below the knee, quick-dry or board shorts. Ni-Vanuatu women only wear shorts around the house, in the capital, when they go swimming in the sea, or under their island dresses. These are good at night 
  • Skirts (5-7) Loose, calf-length or longer, not see-through, durable. Worn most often with T-shirts. In most places (outside urban areas) women must wear skirts 
  • (1) Ni-Vanuatu women wear slips (petticoats) under island dresses; cheap ones can be found locally 
  • (2-3) Bras
  • (5-7) Sport bras or camisole-style bras work well. Bring what is most comfortable in hot weather

Kitchen Supplies

  • You can purchase pots and pans in Vanuatu
  • Most spices are available but expensive. Bring your favorites, but keep them in their original containers or they will be confiscated by customs. 
  • Rubber spatulas, good can openers, and paring knives are recommended, but cheap ones are available. 
  • Nalgene/Sigg/Camelback bottles with measurements on the side work well for measuring cups.
  • French press/garlic press (optional)

Sleeping Gear

  • Plain bed sheets are available in Vanuatu, as well as thick and thin blankets, although fitted sheets are not. The Peace Corps issues a mattress to each Volunteer at the beginning of training. Mattresses in Vanuatu are approximately 2-inch thick foam pads, twin-sized. Trainees are also given plain sheets and a pillow. A silk cocoon or sleeping bag liner is also nice for traveling in-country because it is lightweight and dries quickly
  • Hammocks are expensive and very limited supply here. Many Volunteers like the nylon variety, and bring them from home.
  • A sturdy backpack (with rain cover) or duffel bag for three- to four-day trips and a day pack. Most Volunteers use backpacks whenever they travel

Personal Hygiene and Toiletries 

  • Bringing a startup supply of shower items for 3 months is a good idea. If you need something specific, bring it.
  • Good tweezers, hair-trimming scissors, nail files, and clippers
  • Prescription Medicines Bring a six-month supply of all prescription medicines you require
  • The Peace Corps provides applicator-less tampons and pads during your service. Otherwise, the selection in Vanuatu is limited and expensive. Bring a start-up supply
  • 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)