Packing list for the Eastern Caribbean

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Packing List for the Eastern Caribbean

Packing Lists by Country

These lists has been compiled by Volunteers serving in the Eastern Caribbean based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list!

See also:
Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

There is no perfect packing list. You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later.

One essential item to bring is a shortwave battery-operated radio. We strongly encourage all Volunteers to keep a radio at home so that in the event of an emergency or hurricane you can be kept informed of the latest developments

You will need clothing for work, special occasions, and relaxation and fun. Bring clothes that are washable (although you can always have your nice clothes dry-cleaned, as this is available in the capital and main towns). For work, both men and women should stick to cotton and poly-cottons so you can dress to stay cool. Military-style clothing (i.e., camouflage or olive-green Army surplus items) is inappropriate for a Volunteer.


[edit] For Work

For men: Let “stay press” and wash-and-wear be your guide. For most jobs, short-sleeved shirts that tuck in and washable slacks will be your mainstays. Bring the number you think you need. Some people hate to be bothered with laundry and tend to let it pile up before attacking it; others prefer to wash things as they go. If you end up working in an office or a school, you can expect that your colleagues will always be well-dressed, with neat shirts and pressed slacks. The “professional image” is important. Select your shirts (with collars) and slacks with this in mind. Darker colors do not show dirt or stains as readily. Cotton is cooler, but cotton-poly mixes do not need ironing. The “shirt-jack” is a button-down tropical shirt, which is accepted as formal or professional wear in lieu of a coat and tie. It is available on all islands in a variety of styles and at nominal cost. You may wish to wait until you arrive and purchase a few when you see what your needs are.

For women: Wash-and-wear cottons and poly-cottons are basics for your wardrobe. Cotton knits and cotton blends in darker shades or prints are the easiest to keep clean, neat-looking, and are the most comfortable. Short-sleeved dresses, skirts, and blouses—your basic summer wardrobe—will do. Remember, loose fitting is cooler. Dress styles for work are sharp and professional, not casual. Simplicity is a lot easier, especially when facilities for washing and ironing are difficult.

[edit] For Special Occasions

Men: A locally acquired shirt-jack or a fine tropical dress shirt and slacks will serve for occasions such as weddings, funerals, christenings, formal school functions, and government functions. However, West Indians dress with care, and men usually wear suits and ties for dress-up occasions. Volunteers should consider a summer suit in addition to a shirt-jack or tropical shirt, but is not an absolute necessity. If you do not bring a light suit, a dress shirt and tie is necessary.

Women: At least two or three “special” dresses, dress suits, and/or pant suits for the same kind of events listed in the men’s section, and for evening parties, special events, or church. Don’t bring anything elaborate or expensive. Conservative styles with pleasing colors will be most versatile.

Long sleeves are not necessary.

[edit] For Relaxation and Fun

Shorts are acceptable around the house or at the beach, but not on the street. You may want to bring a couple of swimsuits. On most islands they are available, but expensive. Sleeveless tops are fine for casual wear. Bring appropriate clothing and shoes if you walk, exercise, or play sports.

[edit] Shoes

Good-quality shoes are hard to find and very expensive. You probably will not regret any pair of shoes you bring. But don’t get carried away; one of the best places for mildew to develop is in shoes that lie undisturbed in closets for long periods. As a Volunteer, you will do a lot of walking and streets and roads are rough, so pick shoes that are durable and comfortable.

Bring at least one pair of professional shoes as well as a comfortable pair of walking shoes with thick rubber or nonslip soles. Cotton socks are necessary because feet sweat profusely in this climate.

[edit] For Men

[edit] For Women

[edit] Miscellaneous

[edit] Toiletries

Unless you must use particular brands of anything, there is no need to bring a two-year supply of any toiletries. Everything you need is probably available on the islands.

[edit] Photos

Bring four passport-size photos (color or black-and-white) with you for local permits, visas for travel, etc.

[edit] Overnight Bag

You will spend your first night in St. Lucia in a hotel. We recommend that you pack an overnight bag with a change of clothes for your first night and carry it with you on the plane. This will save you from having to unpack larger bags before you arrive at your host family’s home.

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