Packing List

packing list for volunteering abroad

Try to keep things to the minimum and stick to the essentials!

Travel Documents & Money

  • Passport
  • Vaccinations Card
  • Insurance details
  • Emergency Contact details
  • Spending Money
  • Credit card
  • Money belt
  • Day pack or small bag
  • Sleeping bag/Sleeping bag liner (depending on season)
  • Good torch (head-torch if camping), spare batteries/bulbs
  • Durable water bottle (1-2 litre)
  • African power adaptor
  • Travel towel
  • Journal/pens/pencils
  • Book(guide/identification/entertainment)
  • Ipod
  • Camera, charger, memory sticks
  • Alarm clock/watch/phone (appropriate chargers)
  • Small sewing kit
  • Binoculars for game viewing
  • Luggage padlock(s)


Most people make the mistake of bringing too much! Clothes should be easy to launder and reasonably hard wearing. Countries can be cold in winter and in the evenings bring a good sleeping bag or extra clothing you can wear in bed if necessary. Additionally warm clothes and jackets are essential especially on morning game drives in open vehicles. This applies particularly if travelling in southern Africa in the southern winter months (Jun – Aug). In the summer months choose clothes of light fabric and light colours to reflect the sun.

Suggested list:

  • Hat, cap, beanie
  • Sunglasses and case
  • Fleece
  • Quick dry t-shirts and sweatshirts
  • Warm & waterproof lightweight jacket
  • Shorts
  • Long pants/trousers
  • Warm socks
  • Skirt
  • Sarong – doubles as skirt, beach towel, pillow and picnic rug!
  • Swimsuit
  • Trainers/ pumps or sturdy boot with ankle support for hiking
  • Flip flops/ thongs/ jandals or sandals
  • Underwear (girls – include a sports bra)
  • ¬†One nice ‘going out’ outfit


  • Toilet bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Towel
  • Small mirror
  • Razors
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Soap/shower gel
  • Wet/make up wipes (great for a multitude of things)
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Moisturiser or after sun
  • Sanitary items
  • Tissues


Antiseptic ointment or spray (spray is better), cotton wool, sterile dressings, crepe bandage, band aids, scissors, tweezers, tape, antibiotic powder, painkillers, lip salve, sun block, insect repellent, water purification tablets, hypodermic needles and syringes, anti-malaria tablets, anti-diarrhoea tablets, and a good supply of re hydration powder sachets.


  • Jumper/ sweatshirt top
  • T-shirts
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm trousers
  • Walking trousers
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Warm jacket
  • Shorts
  • Thermal Underwear
  • Gloves
  • Balaclava / Scarf
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking Socks
  • Hiking Boots
  • Light Shoes
  • Cap/warm hat
  • Towel
  • Gaiters


Some clothing will serve you better at home:

  • Designer clothing.
  • Clothing embellished with expletives or inappropriate images.
  • Fashion footwear and high heels.
  • Brand new shoes that will result in blisters.
  • Short shorts and miniskirts.
  • Overly revealing tops.
  • Outerwear with labels that may attract a following.
  • Expensive jewellery.
  • Designer handbags.
  • Laptop computers.
  • New, top-of-the-range iPods/mp3 players.
  • New, top-of-the-range mobile phone
  • Prescription medication that is not in your own name.
  • Illegal amounts of prescription medication, even if it is in your name.
  • Illegal drugs.
  • Heating pads that require an adapter.
  • Cool packs that require freezing.
  • Any medication that is, or will pass, its use-by date during your travels.
  • Perfume or aftershave.
  • Scented body lotions or sprays that may attract insects or even wildlife.
  • Expensive hair accessories.
  • Vast amounts of makeup.

packing clothes for a safari or travel abroad