The standard international flight limits two suitcases that can carry 50lbs worth of things. The flight from Lima to Pucallpa may only allow one 50 lb bag if it is not a connecting flight (you booked it separately). Be sure to verify weight limits with your airline. Try for large bags with wheels, crates, or wheeled suitcases.
The following suggestions are for a ten-twelve month term.
Clothing (enough for about 1 week) – Bring a few things specifically for work as well as 2 nice outfits for Sabbaths and special occasions.
- 6 pairs of socks – most people generally use flip-flops or sandals and rarely use socks except for exercise (running)
- 2-3 pairs of jeans/pants – nylon pants ideal for coolness and easy washing
- 4-5 pairs of shorts – appropriate length is knee length or longer
- 6 short-sleeve shirts – non-cotton shirts are recommended due to the humidity
- 2 long sleeve shirts
- 10 pairs of underwear
- 2 pairs older tennis shoes – they will get dirty fast
- 1 pair of sandals – you can buy flip flops here easily and get sandals too
- 4-5 pairs scrubs – required for medical
- Work boots – instead of work tennis shoes
- Girls: bras or sports bras
- 1 warm fleece or light jacket
- Rain jacket or poncho – can be bought here
- Rain boots – can be bought here
- Church clothing – enough for week-long evening campaigns. The key is to be modest, you need to blend in with the conservative lifestyle!
- Men – dress pants…brown, black, nice khaki. Button down shirt (short sleeve), tie, and dress shoes. Suits are not recommended.
- Women – dresses or skirts knee length or longer. Nylons are unnecessary. Shoulders must be covered at church.
- Bandanas or hat
- Modest swim suit or trunks – one-piece for women
Toiletries – you can buy most of these here. Bring enough to last you as you get situated. If you don’t want to part with your favorite brand or have specialty items, you should bring them.
- Chapstick – unavailable here
- Aloe Vera – for sunburns
- Waterless face towelettes or baby wipes
- Razor and extra blades
- Special conditioners or hair products
- Special lotions or perfumes/colognes
- Fingernail clippers
- Contact solution and spare contacts – if needed
- Female hygiene needs: pads and tampons – tampons are difficult to buy here, bring enough to get settled
- Travel size toiletry bottles refillable for trips
- Lice comb – optional, but it’s not available to buy in Peru
- Deodorant, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, toilet paper, etc. can be bought here – you can even get some familiar brands (Crest toothpaste and Pantene shampoo). However, if you are stuck on needing a specific type or brand of a product, you may wish to bring it.
- Pepper spray
- Personal medication – put some in your carry-on bag for plane (in case your luggage doesn’t make it)
Other accessories and supplies
- No jewelry
- Sunglasses – can buy cheap made ones here
- Bug spray – you will not be able to buy this there, at least 40% DEET
- Anti-itch cream – for mosquito bites
- Devotional books/uplifting casual reading
- Pocket Spanish/English dictionary
- English/Spanish bible
- Spanish hymnal – you can purchase one in Peru without music for approx. $3 or with music for $10
- Peru Travel Guidebook – Lonely Planet is great
- Small calculator
- Thank you notes for donations, care packages, etc.
- Good pens
- Travel alarm clock
- Small calendar or planner
- Ziploc bags – expensive in Pucallpa
- Ear plugs
- Eye mask (for sleeping)
- Duck tape
- Permanent markers
- Pocket knife – do not put in carry-on in plane
- Small rope – for clothesline
- Headlamp and flashlight – bring a good supply of batteries
- Camping lantern – when on travel team you may not have electricity
- Large water bottle – hard plastic or metal, at least 1 liter
- Water Filtration Unit – Sawyer Mini recommended
- Sewing kit
- Seasonings for cooking – some can be bought, but bring your favorites
- Ethnic food – sriracha, Taco Bell sauce, tapatio, tortillas, seaweed, freeze-dried raspberries, etc
- Peanut butter & jelly – it’s just not the same here
- 220 – 110 Converter minimum 50W – check the capacity of the converter/check the volts on what you’re bringing and make sure they are all compatible with your converter. 2 pronged cords work but there are no 3 pronged (grounded) wall plugs here
- Surge protector – rated for 220
- Laptop – there is internet (excellent for communication with family, it’s not there for movies and gaming)
- Good case to protect laptop – from ever present dust
- Digital camera with memory card
- Flash Drive
- Stethoscope – nurses
- Passport Copies – travel with at least two copies of your passport stored in other areas of luggage
- Wallet and/or change purse
- ATM / Debit Card – call bank and let them know you’re traveling
- Malaria medication – mefloquine recommended
- Instruments – people love to hear you play, especially during church. There is an electric keyboard here and there are music shops downtown so you can buy stuff for your instruments if needed.
- Christian based Spanish coloring books – copies can be made here
- American magazines
- Little toys for kids from dollar store – like little toy cars, tiny stuffed animals, bouncy balls, marbles, rubber ducks, balloons, puppets, face paint, stickers, crafts, bubbles, bracelets, crayons, athletic game equipment, etc.
- Wrapped candy that will not melt or spoil
- Two sets of sheets
- Light blanket
- Two towels and washcloths
- Laundry bag or pop-basket
- Skirt hangers – girls
- Hammock (optional) – can be bought here
It is impossible to cash Traveler’s checks in Pucallpa, Peru. US dollars can easily be exchanged in Pucallpa but Peruvian banks & stores do not accept bills that have tears, bad creases, folds, marks, or contain writing. It is very important to bring pristine American bills. You may call your local bank and see if it is possible to order “new” bills. Twenty-dollar bills are preferred. You can also use your debit card to extract money from your bank account at home and receive it in the local currency (Peru Nuevos Soles). Be sure to tell your bank you will be in Peru.
Things you can buy here:
Hangers, clothes pins, laundry soap, bleach, cleaning supplies, most clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc.
Don’t feel like you must bring everything you need to live for the year. Pack light and buy here to support the local economy. Most volunteers list as one of their top-five “would do differently” items as bringing less stuff.