Packing list for Jordan
One of the most stressful tasks in preparing for Peace Corps service is deciding what to pack and what to leave behind. Generally, packing involves a gradual whittling process as more and more items shift from the "Necessities" pile to the "If There’s Room..." pile. The following list has been compiled by Volunteers currently serving in Jordan, based on their experience. There is no perfect list! Please use it as a guide, bearing in mind that experience is individual and tastes differ. Do not try to bring everything on this list; consider only those items that make sense to you personally. Peace Corps will not reimburse you for overweight baggage. Remember, you can get everything you will really need, and most of what you will really want, here in Jordan.
Dress is more conservative and formal than you might think and suggestions from recently arrived Volunteers are listed below. Your appearance is very important as a sign of respect and your effectiveness can be influenced by how you present yourself. Both men and women are expected to look “sharp” with clothes clean and unwrinkled. It gets quite cold in the winter and there is no central heating in the centers or schools. Dressing in layers is key! Any additional clothing you may need is readily available in-country at retail and second-hand shops. However, good quality cotton underwear is generally expensive and hard to find. Laundry facilities are limited, so clothing that can be easily washed by hand and air dried is a good choice. You can wear the same things repeatedly, so pack lightly!
Both men and women
- A warm coat, as well as a lightweight, waterproof jacket
- At least two heavy wool sweaters so that you have one to wear while the other is in the wash or drying
- Silk or cotton thermal underwear—they pack tightly and are quick drying. They can also double as sleeping outfits during the winter
- Scarves for warmth
- Jeans; a pair or two
- Wool socks
- A bathing suit (Women should bring shorts and T-shirt to wear over their suit. Men’s bathing suits should be baggy, knee-length)
- Summer hats
- Knitted hat, gloves or mittens
- Loosely tailored pants or khakis and lined pants for winter
- One dressier outfit (for women, either pants or long skirt; for men, a sports jacket/blazer and dress slacks plus a tie) and dress shoes. These will be worn for the occaisional official reception, swearing-in ceremony, and other important functions.
Suggestions for Women
Covering up is important and may feel strange at first, but neatness and appropriate dress will enhance your credibility and smooth your integration. All clothing must be loose fitting for comfort and modesty, but still look neat.
- Shirts/blouses: Any top worn on the outside needs to be thigh-length (in other words, covering your behind), loose (masking your shape); and long sleeved. Layers can extend your wardrobe and keep you warmer in winter. Collars or high necklines are important; do not bring anything sheer or opaque (really check yourself in the mirror)
- Dresses/skirts: must be long enough to cover the ankle; side slits must be sewn up
- Pants: loose and long enough to cover the ankle
- Short-sleeved or tank tops only to wear under long-sleeved tops
- Lightweight, long-sleeved jackets for wearing over short-sleeved shirts
- A few pairs of black slacks
- A long cotton slip
- Tights (hard to find here), dress socks, and knee-high stockings (preferably black)
Suggestions for Men
- Tie, belt, dress socks
- Nice short-sleeved dress shirts for summer months
- Professional-looking jacket for warmth and also for the workplace Shoes
- Comfortable, nice dress shoes for work (closed toe; black is best; avoid suede shoes due to dust and scuffing)
- Sturdy sandals
- All-purpose shoes (something to walk, run, bike, or hike in)
- Flip-flops or slipper sandals for use in the bathroom (can be purchased cheaply in Jordan)
Note: When you enter a person’s house, you normally take off your shoes. Bring shoes that are easy to put on and take off.
Once settled at site, some Volunteers participate in individual and organized sports. You should bring modest exercise clothes, including sweatpants and sleeved shirts. Do not expect to wear running shorts and tank tops as exercise apparel.
- A lightweight towel and washcloth (travel towel is good)
- Decorations for your house (pictures, maps, etc.)
- At least 12 passport-size photos (inexpensive kind available in portable photo booths are adequate). You will need them for your Peace Corps identification, obtaining visas to other countries, medical charts, and the Jordanian residence permit
- Good-quality backpack for travel, as well as a smaller daypack
- Baseball, football, Frisbee, hackeysack, or travel games such as Uno
- Camera (film and processing are readily available, but Volunteers recommend bringing a supply of film)
- Sewing items (iron-on mending tape, straight and safety pins, etc.)
- Rechargeable batteries and recharger (with power converter)
- Pocket calculator (preferably solar-powered)
- Small, battery-powered alarm clock or wristwatch
- Duct tape (can be bought in Amman, but costly)
- Compact sleeping bag
- A few good books, which can be traded at or donated to the Volunteer book exchange 106
- Family photographs (screen these for appropriateness to Jordanian culture. For example, photos of beach scenes with minimally clothed people or scenes with alcohol consumption will be viewed as inappropriate by many Jordanians) Maybe get them laminated because they'll be passed around a lot!
- U.S. stamps (for sending mail via anyone traveling to U.S.)
- Swiss Army, Leatherman, or an equivalent multipurpose knife
- Favorite stove-top recipes and cookbook (Peace Corps provides a stove top, but not an oven, although it can be purchased separately)
- Journal, diary, or schedule book
- Jump rope, yoga mat, round ball, or any small and light exercise equipment (as an alternative to jogging, which may not be a viable option)
- Small, retractable tape measure
- Items such as scotch tape, scissors, crayons, and markers for teachers (you can buy lower quality here)
- Polarized sunglasses
- Travel guides of countries you'll want to visit during vacation
- Measuring cups, spoons, etc.
- One or two sets of double-sized bed sheets and pillow cases
- Pocket-size dictionary and thesaurus
- Maps (good for wall hangings and traveling)
- Money belt or other means of concealing passport and valuables when traveling
- Favorite music CDs or tapes
Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
Many imported items (L’Oreal, Neutrogena, Nivea, Colgate, Tampax, Always, etc.) are widely available, but they are expensive relative to your Volunteer living allowance. Contact lens solution is also available, but expensive. Tampons are available, but very expensive. If you plan to use them, it is not a bad idea to bring a good supply.
If you wear contact lenses and use regular saline solution, you can buy bags of saline (like those used in IV's) at any pharmacy. This is much cheaper than actual contact lens solution. Just be sure to keep a bottle so you can refill it with the bagged solution.
- Makeup (the quality here is okay; if you are picky, pack it)
- Scissors or other hair-cutting device. Every group seems to have at least one person who can cut hair, but you need good scissors to do so
- Three-month supply of any prescription medications
If you plan to bring any small appliances, such as hair dryers, electric shavers, or contact lens disinfecters, get a voltage converter. The power is adequate for laptop computers with AC/ DC adapters. CD/cassette players can be purchased in Jordan, but are slightly more expensive than in the U.S. If you choose to bring one, make sure you have a voltage converter since batteries are expensive. Hairdryers and irons are readily available.
- Radio with shortwave and medium-wave (A decent shortwave radio will pick up VOA, BBC, and the Jordanian English station)
- Laptop computer. Bring one at your own risk. Power surges are common, so bring a good surge protector.
Get personal insurance; Peace Corps does not insure/ replace personal items
- Discman with speakers. This can be bought here, but it may make your plane ride more pleasant if you pack it