While I like to think organization and efficiency are strong suits of mine, it is never evident in my packing. On trips, I always end up with 5 pairs of jeans and 1 top or maybe 4 different sets of pajamas but only 1 actual outfit I can wear out. My suitcase can sometimes be 40 lbs. even when I am gone for literally 3 days. I consistently forget the important things but bring stuff I was too worried that I “might eventually” need, though I never end up using it. Now, I have been given the task by PC to fit all the things I would like to have in Tanzania (where I will be for TWO years) in 2 suitcases both under 50 lbs. Oh dear.

You are allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item such as a purse or briefcase and two checked bags. The checked bags cannot exceed 50 pounds for any one bag. The combined linear dimensions (length + width + height ) of all your checked baggage may not exceed 107”. The larger piece of checked baggage may not exceed 60”. As far on the carry on, it cannot exceed 45 inches. You have to check your airline to see if a weight limit is enforced. I will be flying with South African Airways. According to that my carry-on must be 18 lb. or under.

Link to Official Peace Corps Packing Suggestions for Tanzania:

-(2) Rolling duffels by Olympia (measures approx. 52 inches each H x L x W)
-North Face Borealis backpack as a Carry-On
-Small Vera Bradley tote bag WITH CUTE ZEBRAS ON IT as personal item

-(5) Maxi or Midi skirts in various patterns + slip
-(1) Maxi dress
-(7) Solid colored V-necks to match the skirts and act as sleep shirts
-(1) Blouse
-(3) Tank tops to go under clothes
-(2) Pajama bottoms
-(2) Leggings
-(1) Pair of running shorts
-(1) Light jacket (will wear at the airport to staging)
-(1) Light cardigan
-(2) Strappy Comfy Slipper Things (one is Tevas and one is Sketchers)
-(1) Closed-toed flats for Business Casual events (yes, they’re crocs)
-(2) Nike Running Shoes
-(5) Bras (3 sport and 2 regular)
-(14) Undies (some have been packed separately for year 2 service)
-(10) Low ankle socks (some have been packed separately for year 2 service)
-A few pairs of earrings

*Getting insurance is highly recommended on your expensive items!*
-Kindle with lots of books!!!
-Laptop with protective case and sleeve + chargers (2)
-Unlocked IPhone that can use a Tanzanian sim
-Camera (Canon XS730 HS) + charger and case
-(2) Head lamps with a red light that doesn’t damage your eyes!!
-Mini flashlight
-Spare Batteries in AA and AAA
-(4) Pairs of ear phones since I am notorious for breaking them, losing them, or both
-(4) Lightning cables for IPhone and microUSB cable for Kindle
-External slim power bank for charging phone on the go
-Solar powered external battery charger
-Universal Travel adapter/convertor
-(2) USB Thumb drives

-Passport + extra pictures for Visas
-Immunization records/Yellow Fever card
-Itinerary for flight to staging
-Pictures of my friends and family ❤
-(2) Money travel belts for safe-keeping
-Post cards of Florida to give to neighbors
-All the documents PC has ever given me in an accordion folder
-Journal (One Line a Day and a regular lined notebook)
-Swahili Quick Phrase book
-Notebook + Folder
-Some pens & pencils

-Quick Dry Microfiber towels for face and body
-(2) Light weight towels (this works as a protective layer in my luggage as well)
-Solar Shower (from Amazon)
-(4) Deodorant sticks (short supply in TZ)
-(3) Small fragrance mists
-(2) Loofahs
-(4) Tooth brushes
-Nail clippers & (3) nail polishes
-Basic makeup items
-Face moisturizer
-Small bottle of shampoo/conditioner
-(2) Bottles of body wash
-(2) Bottles of face wash
-Hair ties + bobby pins
-My favorite lotion (Vanilla Bean Noel from B&BW)
-Travel-sized SPF 50 sunscreen to hold me over until PC provides some
-Diva cup and tampons since I am too scared to use the diva cup
-(2) Gillette razors with 6 refills which will hopefully last
-Medicine (small supply of ibuprofen, anti-diarrheal pills, anti-nausea pills because flights suck)

-High Sierra Pack and Go duffel/backpack that is compact to use on smaller trips
-Jan Sport backpack for training materials
-Waterproof backpack cover
-Eye mask
-Ear plugs
-Travel neck pillow
-Packing cubes that are a blessing
-Compact Tote Bags
-LSAT Logic Games and LSAT Logical Reasoning Study Books (gotta study during PC)
-Combination lock
-Pencil box full of supplies (rubber bands, scissors, tape)
-Gifts for my host family and future counterpart
(spices from Florida, vegetable peelers, small decorative items, coloring books)
-Inflatable globe
-Twister board game (translated in Swahili)
-Cards Against Humanity (company sent it free!)
-Go Fish and a yo-yo (did you know Filipinos invented the yoyo?)
-Coloring books/Crayons
-Queen-sized set of sheets (flat and fitted)
-Light tapestry for decoration purposes
-Compact hammock
-Yoga mat with mesh carrying case
-Life Straw Water Filter
-Vegetable peeler
-(2) Kitchen knives
-Variety of Ziploc bags
-(2) Tupperware containers
-(2) Camelbak water bottles
-Tea Infuser bottle with a few packets of loose tea
-Candy (to give out) and various snacks for when I am homesick
-Seeds for various herbs (not sure if I am allowed to bring these yet)

UPDATE: I seem to have fit everything in both suitcases AND I am under the weight limit. Is this real life?

I am also trying to work on a YouTube channel to keep everyone updated on my time in Peace Corps. Feel free to watch my packing video here:

Contents of my carry on (North Face Borealis): bag full of chargers, headphones, and small solar charger, toiletry bag for Staging in Philadelphia, Kindle, spare batteries, travel documents, planner, folder with immunization records and school loan info, One Line A Day journal, Swahili dictionary, MacBook Air, Camelbak, universal travel adapter, compact tote bags, medicine bag with essentials,  camera (Canon 730 HS)
Final product! There is also a small Vera Bradley tote bag that I will use as my personal item after staging. It currently fits in one of the suitcases right now but in it will be the clothes and shoes that I will be wearing for the first day in Tanzania.

One thought on “

  1. Hi, I’m leaving for Peace Corps South Africa in a month, and this list and video have been super helpful! As a follow-up on your items, I wanted to check if these bags held up for you well moving there and between sites, and if there’s anything else you would have brought or packed differently. Thank you! 🙂


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