Packing List for Volunteering Abroad

What to pack for your volunteering trip abroad? It can be a difficult task, especially if this is your first tip abroad.

First, there are  a handful of country-specific items which we will remind you of before you leave home:

For example if you are volunteering in Ghana or teaching in Kenya, you must carry with you a Yellow Fever Vaccination Card.

And if you are taking a Spanish language class in Guatemala, we strongly advise you to bring a small umbrella and waterproof jacket to deal with the frequent afternoon showers.

Scott Burke Luggage Cosmic Volunteers

There are also some rules of the road for packing and traveling for your volunteer trip:

1. Keep passport on your person not in bags

2. Keep all valuables in your carry-on bag

3. Do not over-pack

OK, so now, onto the actual packing list we send to volunteers before they leave home for the service trip abroad:

Packing List for Volunteering Abroad


  • Passport
  • Printed Flight Itinerary
  • Cell Phone (+ charger, earbuds)
  • Cash of $100-$150 (USD equivalent)
  • Any Credit/Debit card(s)
  • Travel Insurance policy (printed)
  • Prescription medicine(s) & any meds for pain/fever/diarrhea
  • Electronics (camera, laptop/tablet) + chargers
  • Contact info for Coordinators + family back home (printed)
  • Pens (2)

Checked Baggage

  • Long Pants (4-5) (e.g. yoga pants, jeans, capris)
  • Skirt/dresses (2)
  • Shorts (4)
  • Short-sleeve shirts (7-8)
  • Long-sleeve shirts (1-2)
  • Underwear (7)
  • Socks (7)
  • Light Jacket / Sweatshirt / Hoodie (1)
  • Sneakers (1)
  • Sandals / flip-flops (1)
  • Sleepwear (covers legs and arms)
  • Hat (for sun) + sunscreen
  • Bath towel (small)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • All normal toiletries (soap, shampoo, makeup etc)
  • Gift for host family
  • Bug spray for mosquitos
  • Do NOT bring bedding / pillows (they will be provided)
  • Outlet Plug Adapter (or buy for $1 in Ghana)