Saturday, August 22, 2009

Packing List for Tonga Group 75 volunteers

It's getting closer to the time the new group of volunteers will arrive here Oct. 8th, so they should all be getting their invites within the next week or so. So we thought we'd post our recommended packing list we put together:

- Bring one backpack for everyday use, or for girls a shoulder bag
- Consider bringing a good travel backpack, something you would use it backpack across Europe in, it makes travel a lot easier.
- For secondary bags we suggest rolling duffel bags, they tend to hold up well
- Use up to the allocated weight for plane travel if possible, don’t try to pack too light

- mix of t-shirts and button down short-sleeved shirts (around 7 - 10). Make sure they all have sleeves that cover your armpits, and lightweight material. Have at least one black shirt.
- Tank tops - some white basic tanks, and some thicker strapped tanks for wearing at home, or tourist areas
- 5 - 6 Skirts that are below the knees, you’ll be able to buy the wrap-around skirts here
- Capris and pants - 1-2 capris that are below the knees. And one or two pairs of jeans or khakis for winter.
- Swimsuit - 2, you can wear them in tourist areas, or when swimming in local areas underneath shorts and shirt.
- Swimming - bring 1 shirt to swim in, and board shorts at or below the knees
- 1 rain jacket
- Sweater/sweatshirt, bring two for winter, and one or two long-sleeved shirts
- Underwear - enough for 1 ½ weeks or so, and comfortable bras that you can wear in hot weather
- Shoes - three pairs of sandals that are very comfortable and sturdy. Bring at least one pair of flip-flops, and one pair of strap-on sandals. Tennis shoes if you run.
- Jewelry - necklaces, earrings, etc, it’s something you can wear to feel more like yourself
- make-up - many girls don’t wear make-up here, I brought mine and am glad I did, another thing to make you feel more like yourself if you wear make-up back home.
- hairdryer - if you have one that converts to 240 voltage it’s worth bringing it and it’s nice to have when the weather gets cold
- tampons - they don’t sell them here! Bring enough for at least through training and then have more mailed
- razors, bring a few, you can buy cheap ones here as well

- mix of t-shirts 5-6 (dark colors are good)
- 3-4 short sleeve button-up shirts, light weight if possible
- 1-2 long sleeve shirts for the colder weather
- 1 pair of jeans for cold nights or for vacation
- 1 pair of Khakis for cold nights or rainy days
- 3 pairs of shorts, light weight if possible
- 1-2 belts, try to find cloth belts, they work the best, leather does not hold up
- 1-2 pairs of board shorts or swimming trunks
- 1-2 quick dry shirts for swimming or casual wear (Target has cheap nice shirts)
- 1 rain jacket
- 1-2 sweatshirts or fleeces for cold weather or overseas travel
- 8-10 pairs of boxers or underwear
- 3-4 pairs of socks
- 1 pair of running shoes ( good for exercising and for vacation in NZ or Australia)
- 1 pair of good flip flops
- 1 pair of strap on sandals for walking on reefs or walking in the bush
- electric shaver/trimmer, no hot water to shave with unless you boil, electric shavers work good
(guys, remember not to bring any baggy cloths, you will most likely loose 1-2 inches in your waist.
-don’t worry about bringing jackets, if its really cold you can wear a sweatshirt and wear your rain coat over that, it works good.
-good set of knifes and good filet knife
- one good frying pan, the ones they sell here are cheap
- measuring cups and measuring spoons
- can opener
- coffee perculater or French press if you’re a coffee drinker, and your favorite coffee.
- water bottles - sigg or nalgene type water bottles, you’ll be using them a lot!
- some food that you’ll miss - candy, granola bars, pasta mixes that you can make once you get to site, spices/seasonings or get them sent later in the mail.
- Hanging basket 3 tier for food

Bathroom: (bring enough with you for three month to last through training)
- supply of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash/soap. You can buy some stuff here that you get in the states like suave, but if you prefer certain brands bring that along.
- toothpaste - You can get expired crest here and some asian brands, we get most of ours sent in the mail.
- toothbrushes, bring a few extra, and bring toothbrush covers, you can also buy covers here.
- contacts - if you wear them, bring as much contact solution as you can, we brought six bottles and have had more sent in the mail, you can not buy it here.
- towels - you can buy them here, but bring one to start with

- Alarm clock
- wrist watch, timex makes nice rubber ones (Target)
- 2 pairs of sunglasses, things break easy
- knife or leatherman, good for fixing things
- duct-tape
- games - bring whatever games you can, that are good with a few people or with many, and easy to learn
- computer - yes, bring one! It’s great for watching DVD’s, typing up emails before getting to internet, storing photos, etc. Most people will end up somewhere with electricity. Chances are your computer will break here, bring a dry sack for your computer to be stored in when not using, this will increase its life here.
- hard drive - many volunteers bring hard drives to exchange movies and photos
- digital camera, underwater bag is also a good idea for your camera
- books - bring a few to start, but the peace corps libraries in each island group also have a lot of books
- hammock!!! - very glad we brought one, it’s the only furniture in our living room! Also good for camping.
- tent - good idea if you’re planning on camping at all.
- sleeping bag - lightweight, cheap sleeping bag, we got fleece ones at target
- 1 set of bed sheets - not as easy to find here
- good flashlights, hand-held and a headlamp is a very good idea, easy to use when biking
- I-pod, we brought ours along with a circle speaker
- Photos from back home - we brought an album with photos of family and friends, it’s fun to show the Tongans, and for decorating once you get to site.
- Presents - for homestay families. Some good ideas - women like perfume, give gifts that have to do with your hometown or state - postcards, calendars, food, etc. Bring stuff for little kids - toys, coloring books, etc. you’ll probably have kids at your homestay. Don’t waste too much space though on these gifts.
- adaptors - bring a couple of adaptors - Tonga is the same as Australia. You probably won’t need converters - most computers will convert the voltage, and you can get surge protectors here.
- Snorkeling - bring decent quality masks and snorkel, and flippers if you have room, if not you can usually find flippers here.
- Rechargeable batteries, if you have things that use AA or AAA consider bringing rechargeables
- Good pens, maybe one notebook for writing home or journaling
- Small sewing kit, clothes will get worn, buttons will fall off, etc.
- A couple months supply of multivitamins (the health office also has some available, not sure what kind)
- pop-up laundry bin or laundry bag, or stuff sack
- Things you’ll have supplied by peace corps- any kind of medical needs, sunscreen, bug spray, bike helmet, kerosene lantern, FM/AM radio, mosquito net for your bed, and a peace corps tonga cookbook

If you can’t fit all this into your bags, don’t be alarmed, you’ll be able to find some of these things here in Tonga, just bring what you think you need and it will all work out, don’t stress over packing! You can also have things shipped over anytime when you realize what you need. Volunteers are more than willing to help you find the things you need once you get here, just ask.

Also a good discount is offered on Chaco's website for sandals, 50% off for Peace Corps volunteers.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us.


Meredith said...

Thanks for posting this! I got my invite a few days ago and am so excited and overwhelmed all at the same time! :) Your blog answered a good number of questions I had about clothes, computers and the like.

Kate and Brett said...

Glad the packing list helped, we'll see you soon during training here in ha'apai!


MK Squared said...

Thanks for the packing list! We've been sorting and deciding here at home and were wondering what the inside scoop on packing really was. Your comment on getting surge protectors in Tonga (rather than in the US) just saved us a cool $40 at the AAA store.
We're looking forward to meeting you!
- Elena and Mark

John said...

Thanks so much for the post. I've been going back and forth with many people on couchsurfing trying to learn all about what you just said. Can't wait!