Packing List for 7 Month Internship in Developing Country

By Desiree Beardmore

My packing list and travel tips for 7 months of working in developing communities (including construction work, community assessments, meetings with government officials, and hiking fun).

  • This packing list is for Uganda which is a tropical environment with conservative and business attire dress customs (I recommend checking up on dress code laws and customs before travel).
  • I will be checking a 50 L backpacking pack (stored in a trash bag or my large mesh sack for my sleeping bag to protect the straps from getting caught in conveyor belts).
  • I will be carrying on a small duffel bag which will be holding my hiking day pack, work backpack – that has several compartments for easy access of office supplies, and all my carry on essentials (Remember to bring all irreplaceable items in carry on. Bring clothes for your first day in country, toiletries for your first day, medicine, electronics, etc.. Your checked bag may arrive late or not at all.).

20180419_190829Bag of Power Gadgets:

  • Outlet Adapter/converter with multiple outlets and USB ports (so I can charge all my devises at once and share it with multiple people at airports with limited outlets).
  • Charging Cables: US phone, local phone, computer, go pro, travel battery charger
  • Go Pro Camera (Consider insuring gadgets or luggage. Write down serial numbers, take pictures of passports, bank cards, etc. for easier replacement if lost/stolen.)

Foot wear (stored in plastic bags and pillow cases so they don’t get my bag dirty. I can use the pillow cases as laundry bags or shopping bags):

  • Hiking Boots (socks stuffed into shoes)
  • Steel/Composite Toe Boots (work gloves, gloves clip, utility knife, & safety glasses stuffed into shoes)
  • Tennis shoes
  • Hiking sandals (Great for wading through bodies of water during a hike, or wearing to a shower or pool).
  • Dress Shoes (will purchase in country)

Socks (stuffed into shoes)

  • 3 pairs of wool hiking socks (rolled and rubber banded)
  • 1 pair of compression socks (worn on plane to increase blood flow and reduce light headedness)
  • 4 pairs of ankle socks (all stuffed into one sock to save room)

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Clothes (Stored in small packing cubes for ease of access on the go. I roll my clothes and use rubber bands to keep them compressed and to optimize space. I leave collars out of the roll so they remain crisp. I try to pick fabrics that are breathable, moisture wicking, wrinkle resistant, and quick drying since I will be on the move. I also try to pick a color scheme so that all my clothing items can be mixed and matched together).

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Underwear:

  • 3 wool or antimicrobial synthetic underwear (quick drying, breathable underwear so that you can wash and dry them on the go).
  • 1 sports bra
  • 1 versatile strap nude bra
  • 1 white undershirt

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Shirts (stuffed into 1 small packing cube)

  • 1 cotton print tee-shirt without any English wording or Patriotic Symbolism
  • 1 synthetic moisture wicking athletic quick drying synthetic tee-shirt (for workouts)
  • 1 adjustable length sleeve synthetic moisture wicking quick drying button down shirt
  • 1 quarter length sleeve cotton button down shirt
  • 1 full length sleeve button down cotton shirt
  • 1 polo shirt
  • 1 full length cotton maxi dress
  • 1 versatile light weight cardigan (carried on)

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Bottoms (stuffed into 1 small packing cube)

  • 1 pair of dark wash jeans
  • 3 pairs of moisture wicking, quick drying, hiking pants (with smooth seams and hidden cargo pockets so they double as khaki pants)
  • 1 pair of knee-length or full-length athletic moisture wicking, quick drying  synthetic leggings (for workouts)
  • 1 one piece swimsuit and swimming goggles
  • 1 Rain jacket
  • 1 Warm jacket (carried on)

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Carry On Essentials:

  • 2 pairs of sunglasses
  • 1 hat (I like my ball cap)
  • 1 Hair Comb
  • 1 Eye Mask & 1 set of ear plugs (great for comfort on plane and while adapting to sleeping in new time zone)
  • Business cards (To help facilitate creating future connections for partnerships, research,  and internships/careers)
  • Gluten Free snacks (kind bars, trail mix, and Luna bars)
  • 1 Water Purifier (steri pen) and 1 universal water filter
  • Computer & work backpack (Consider using VPN to access services from your home country)
  • Unlocked cell phone with audio books, downloaded movies, and whatsapp (Bring a zip-lock baggy to hang it from the tray lock on the seat in front of you to reduce neck strain while watching previously downloaded movies on plane. I also recommend downloading an app to scan and organize business cards that you collect abroad. I also recommend downloading maps of the area you will be in for offline use.)

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  • Travel Pillow
  • Empty water bottles
  • Clorox wipes (To clean plane seats)
  • Toilet Paper (You may end up at a bathroom without TP or have a bloody nose)
  • Batteries
  • Flashlight (You never know when you will lose power. You can place a flashlight against a full water bottle to use as a lantern. You can also use it to navigate a new room when going to the bathroom at night.)
  • Post Cards From My Home (That can be used as thank you notes for people I work with)
  • Field notebook (Consider waterproof books set up with areas to draw and write down information for topographic surveys)
  • Book on destination country, or book from destination county’s culture to read on plane (Make sure to familiarize yourself with laws, customs, norms, etc before you go. Check out local news, embassy website, blogs, government immigration/tourism website, lonely planet, development report, language guides, ISOSCDC, state department warnings, Wikipedia page, expat groups, etc.)

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  • Drop wallet with old deactivated cards and small amounts of cash needed for the day only in case you get robbed (Don’t carry wallet in back pocket. Don’t store valuable items in outside pockets of bags. Don’t stare at maps while walking around cities, or let yourself be distracted. Walk with purpose. If you are robbed don’t resist. Try to defuse situation if possible.)
  • Money belt (I store my valuables hidden between taboo items. I hot glued feminine hygiene products to cardboard to make a hidden pouch for my items.)
    • Passport and visa (Get visa in advance if possible! Make sure you are traveling under the correct visa. People who are working or volunteering in a country can be arrested if they are illegally present under a tourist visa in some countries. Also don’t forget to register your trip with the Embassy, and get travel insurance.)
    • Yellow fever card
    • Debit card (With no international ATM fees. Don’t forget to let bank know you will be out of the country!)
    • Credit card (Don’t forget to let bank know you will be out of the country!)
    • A few checks
    • Cash (Check what year and bill amount has best exchange rate in destination country).

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  • Medicine bag
    • Retainer
    • Prescriptions (Find out legality, availability, and quality of local medicine before you go. I contacted the immigration office, local pharmacies, local doctors, and the embassy. If you have to refrigerate medicine find a power supply backup for your fridge. Make sure you know where to purchase ice for a cooler. Investing in a high quality cooler is also a great idea.)
    • Antibiotics for traveler’s diarrhea
    • Malaria medication or other travel medications (Check CDC for required vaccines)
    • Melatonin to help with sleep

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  • Clear quart size TSA compliant liquids bag
    • Sample toothpaste
    • 3 oz refillable squeeze tube of hair conditioner
    • Small sunscreen
    • Small soap
    • Small lotion
    • Tooth brush
    • Hand sanitizer

Hygiene:

  • Lotion for sensitive skin
  • Solid sunscreen (Solids are easier to travel with and reduce waste)
  • Solid Bug repellent (Solids are easier to travel with and reduce waste)
  • Solid shampoo for sensitive skin (In decorated and water proofed Altoids tin and in wash clothes)
  • Solid soap for sensitive skin (wrapped in reusable wax cloth)
  • Menstrual Cup
  • Tooth Paste
  • Floss
  • Tooth Brush
  • Comb
  • Solid natural deodorant
  • Body wipes
  • Soap for dishes/clothes (to be purchased in country)
  • Universal sink stopper for washing dishes and clothes

Small mesh sack that came with my travel towel:

  • Ear Plugs
  • Microfiber towel
  • 3 razor blades (I will use a safety razor once all my old plastic razors are used up)

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Makeup Bag (I used a reusable snack bag):

  • Eye Shadow
  • Mascara
  • Chap stick
  • Eye Makeup brushes
  • Tented Lip Balm
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Hair bands

Art Supplies:

  • Art Journals (1 for dry media, 1 for watercolor)
    • I put inspirational quotes in my journal for motivation.
    • I sometimes write a letter a day to a friend, or do a motivational writing or drawing activity that I previously prepared in my journal to keep my spirits up.
    • I also have a map of my destination country so that I can mark off where I have been and journal about it. 
  • Oil Pastels (I carry dry media for ease of transportation. I don’t want my paints to explode on the plain. The dry media is less bulky than paints and can be carried on.)
  • Wax Pastels (in tin)
  • Watercolor Pencils (in tin)
  • Canvas bag of supplies
    • Artist Pens
    • Pencils
    • Erasers and eraser template
    • Sharpeners
    • Markers
    • Washi Tape
    • Adhesive
    • Fixative

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First aid (I used one of my waterproof outdoor bags and a reusable snack bag):

  • Multi size Band-Aid’s
  • Gauze pads
  • Medical tape
  • Excedrin
  • Benadryl
  • Ibuprofen
  • Non Drowsy antihistamine
  • Electrolyte tablets (Great for Diarrhea or Vomiting)
  • Moleskin (Great for Blisters)
  • Duct-tape (Great for Blisters or applying bandages)
  • Ace Bandage
  • Butterfly bandages
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Antiseptic pads
  • Triple antibiotic Ointment
  • Anti-itch Ointment
  • Antihistamine Ointment
  • Imodium
  • Epi Pen
  • Scalpel blade
  • Scissors
  • Eye drops
  • Gloves
  • One way face mask valve for CPR

Hiking:

  • Head Lamp (Wonderful for night hikes)
  • Trekking Poles (These make hikes so much better if you have arthritis or herniated discs like me)
  • Traction Devices (Makes ice hikes more manageable and safe)
  • Sleeping bag (I have an ultralight compressible down 15°F mummy bag that keeps me comfortable in 20°F – 65 °F, and can be used as extra padding or a blanket in warmer climates)
  • Self-inflating sleeping pad
  • Compass
  • Watch
  • Day pack (A well fitted pack designed for hiking can relive a lot of stress on the back)
  • 3 L Hydration pack/bladder
  • Pepper Spray (I like to be prepared especially when I am alone in a new environment and know how to use the defense mechanism I brought with me. I also check out what natural hazards, dangerous animals, and laws and regulations regarding weapons are in an area before I bring a weapon. Talking to a park ranger is really helpful.)
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