(Keep in mind this is for St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean)
~Snorkel, mask, fins (expensive to get down here… even just a mask and snorkel would be good to bring)
~Hammock (eagles nest outfitters)
~Travel Iron (Eastern Caribbean's like crisp clothes)-this is something you could get here
~Headlamp (I here that these are great gifts down here… they really seem to like them)
~Family Pictures (always nice to have)
~Small notes/cards from friends (good for those times when you need them)
~DVDs (good to have a few for some "me" time)
~Pillowcase (good for many random things such as a laundry bag if necessary)
~STURDY umbrella (I actually brought a flimsy one and it's worthless… you need a sturdy umbrella or 2 down here)
~Thin towels (thick ones don't dry in the humidity and take up more space anyway)
~Don't worry about bringing sheets; you can get those here
~Sewing Kit (always a good thing to have)
~Radio-battery operated shortwave (I got a solar powered/crank one from LLBean… it's nice and compact and a must)
~Extra batteries for everything
~Universal surge protector
~2 Wattage Converters
~2 Plug Adapters (check out walkabout travel gear… it's a google website that explains this stuff and you can get pretty good deals… these things are a must, it sucks being without)
~Hole Puncher (for those organized types… although, I will probably get by without using it)
~Travel Alarm clock… battery operated (just a small light one but it is a life saver)
~1 or 2 books (they have a pretty good library here from past PC Volunteers… you won't be without books to read so no worries if you have no space)
~A few pads of paper and pencils and pens
~Walking shorts (2 pair)
~Athletic shorts (2 pair)
~Athletic tank tops
~Layering tank tops/ camis (lots)
~Moister wick shirt
~Button front shirts (lots and lots… easy/comfy but business-y, great with a layered tank)
~Khakis (not really seen as "nice" for girls… but good for those in-betweens)
~Raincoat (may not use this as much because rains are quick and it is so hot)
~T-shirts (if you are running out of room, downsize on t-shirts, you won't use them much… but it is nice to have a few for lounging around the house… tank tops work just as well though)
~Dresses (I brought 2 one nice black one and one sun dress… I definitely feel that I will use the nice one)
~Bandanas (good for head bands, covering hair from sun, youth activities, etc)
~Plain colored cotton t-shirts of various styles such (nicer ones from target and such… good for mix and match, dress up, dress down, and comfort)
~1 light jacket (for plane rides, air conditioned building, and the occasional cool spurt)
~2 skirts (bring more! They easily dress up an outfit and are so much cooler than pants. I brought knee length plain colored ones so they can go with anything I have)
~1 pair of jeans
~Lots of underwear and bras
~Sneakers (sports, hiking, walking, etc)
~Chacos (self-explanatory, I can't go anywhere without a few pair)
~3 pairs of sturdy nice flats (again they dress very nice here… they wear heals though)
~Shower/around the house flip-flops
~Camera battery charger
~Cell phone (unlocked)
~Ipod (great for listening to the kweyol CD)
~Thumb Drive (a life saver!!)
~External Hard Drive (back ups!)
~I purchased insurance through Clements (pamphlet should be in your PC invitation). It's very very reasonable and will definitely be worth it should anything happen to my stuff.
I brought most of the basics to get me through the first little bit until I got adjusted.
~Lotion (I usually have dry skin but haven't had it since I've been down here… so the climate change sorta negates needing lotion.. it sorta makes you feel sticky)
~Extra Toothbrushes and Razors
~Contacts/ Solution/ 2 pairs of Glasses (plus repair kit)
~A tad bit of makeup
~Lots and lots of hair ties, pins, clips, headbands (whatever you use)
~Basic jewelry (mostly earrings)
~I learned that PC provides sunscreen, bug spray, floss, Tylenol, ibuprofen, anti-itch cream, bandaids, tums, and so much more in their medical kit. You get sunscreen, bug spray, and anti-itch spray upon arrival.
I'm really wishing I had packed/ Random things I'm so thankful I have…
~More skirts (I wish I had maybe 5 because I'm finding myself wearing the same 2 every day)
~Pocket-sized moleskin journal for language learning! (would be a lifesaver right now!)
~My bars of soap seem to sorta melt away down here so bring liquid soap (like Dr. Bronnor's castile soap… that would last a long time and not melt)
~I'm really glad I have little change purses. It's nice because in ECs 1 dollar is a coin. It's also helpful to keep small bits of cash in there so you don't have to wave big bucks around just to pay bus fare
~A book on HIV/AIDS… I had a really good one at home and am kinda wishing I had it, but they have plenty of materials here
~I should mention that I also brought coffee as a gift for a couple of Peace Corps Volunteers down here. You cannot find good coffee down here; they drink Nescafe (instant) or cheap coffee. So if you want good coffee you may want to bring some. Shipping coffee here is ridiculously expensive.
~A plastic accordion folder. They give you tons and tons and tons of papers during staging and training. It's hard to stay organized so it would be nice to have something like that to keep all the stuff in.
~Small gift for my host family. I meant to bring something, but forgot. It would be nice to have something to give them.
And yes I fit everything I brought into the Peace Corps baggage regulations (2 checked bags 80 lbs total and 1 carry on and 1 purse) You can choose to bring more but don't expect Peace Corps to cover the cost of the extra luggage. They will cover extra costs if it is within their baggage requirements. I used a large rolling duffel (from LLBean) and an average Adidas duffel. I'm kinda wishing I had used a big backpack rather than the small duffel. A backpack + rolling duffel = easy getting around. But 2 plain bags + carry-ons is definitely manageable. My carry-ons were a backpack (school sized) and a large lumbar pack (like a big purse but can be used for hiking. Compliments of mountainsmith).
Having anything shipped here is extremely expensive and if it is electronic stuff you may have to pay up to 100% customs. Letters and those envelope packages seem to be the most reasonable way to go. So, unless you have the $$ to dish out, don't expect to have stuff shipped to you once you are here.
Try to keep stuff divided between the your bags so not all your underwear or nice shirts are in one bag. This will help if one of your bags gets lost for a few days, or in the case of those moving on to another island from St. Lucia, you may have to leave a bag behind for a couple of days because of the size of the plane.
You can survive with lots less than I brought, too.
Oh and come with a good bit of cash for staging to cover baggage costs (until they reimburse you), food, and to cover taxi rides and tips for bell boys and such. Once staging starts you can survive on what PC gives you.