Thursday, September 9, 2010

Group 76 packing list

Hey group 76! We're all excited for your arrival here in Tonga! Here is my suggested packing list for you. You won’t be able to bring everything but not much is available here and shipping to the other side of the world is expensive so don’t skimp. Volunteers who return home to visit for the holidays have been known to come back with over 100 pounds of baggage. It will be worth it!

Enjoy your flight over and I'll see you in Ha'apai!

The list:

Bring you computer for movies and a hard drive to exchange movies with other volunteers –very common here

Good books -covered so they last longer. There are many books in the offices here but bring a few that you really want to read or haven’t had the time for.

A good sharp chef knife is priceless. Never lend it out. Ever!

Measuring cups and spoons –not available here

A medium non-stick frying pan

A headlamp -It is very dark here at night and it will serve as your bikes headlight at night

Snorkel gear –used fins can be found here but buy a quality mask

Rechargeable batteries and a charger –the batteries here are low quality and there is no means of disposal

A backpack that you would travel around Europe in -it makes travel from island to island or weekend trips much easier

Camping towels are nice to travel with

Several pairs of sunglasses,

Light sleeping bag, tent, and sleeping pad if you want to camp -a cheap way to relax on the weekend

Unlocked cell phone if you have it. If not, buy a TCC (Tongan Communications Corporation) cell phone and a Digicel phone number/sim card when you get here. TCC sells unlocked phones which means you can use a TCC or Digicel phone card in them and you can bring them on a trip and simply buy a sim card if you go to New Zealand or anywhere else. Do not buy the Coral model phone. It is the cheapest one and many volunteers buy it and hate it. While in country I suggest using the Digicel network –they are more reliable and cheaper.

A good pair of flip-flops. They will be your main article of footwear for the next two years. Chaco brand makes some awesome pairs and they give Peace Corps 50% off.

Water shoes if you still have room in your bag.

One pair of sneakers for running, feeling what it is like to wear a pair of shoes again, etc.

Dry bags

Sewing kit

Pictures of your Mommy

Earplugs! Barns don’t exist here and your neighbors cow, chicken, pig or drunken uncle may like to make noise all night and into the early morning. You will eventually get over it but for training, they are a must.

iPod or music player

Portable speakers -I brought this pair and they have done well in the climate here and put out some good sound. They go to the beach, camping, bike rides and I use them in my house and classroom often.

Leatherman multi-tool

Alarm clock

Rain jacket

Hammock –Great for camping on to put up in your house. REI sells a few with mosquito nets.

Fishing equipment if you want to fish. Some supplies can be found here.

One good suggestion I’ve heard here is to bring something you want to learn. Like the guitar or if you want to learn a new language bring resources for that. Same if you want to study for the GRE. Guitars are available here but the strings are cheap so bring some from home.


Peace Corps supplies all medical supplies and I mean everything so don’t waste room on that. They even provide bug repellent and sunscreen so forget about packing that.


Some of the girls from my group have posted packing lists for the girls. Here is a good one at

It seems like longs skirts are in style here for the women.


For school or work, you will need shirts with a collar. Short-sleeved buttoned downs are the best, as the polo style is considered more casual. Bring two nice long sleeved buttons down for church –black and white will work. If someone dies you will have to wear black for several days. Make sure you have both a short sleeved and long sleeved black buttoned down. One tie will do.

A few pairs of cargo shorts are nice for going around town.

A few pairs of gym shorts to wear under you man-skirts

A few under armour non-cotton shirts are great to wear around when you are not working.

Bathing suits –the water is awesome!!!


Sporting equipment if you have room. Baseball, Frisbee, football, etc.

Gifts for your home stay family –perfumes, candles, calendars, or something from your hometown.

Spices if you have room –they can be mailed later. Don’t bring anything salt based, the humidity will make it stick together.


That’s all I can think of for now. E-mail me at Todd828@gmail if you have any questions.

P.s. Air New Zealand offers unlimited alcohol on it's international flights. Just saying...