Packing: the total package

Peace Corps has very specific luggage requirements.  Knowing this, and how terrible of a packer I’m known to be, I was very nervous about getting all of my stuff in.  As it turns out, the luggage requirements are very generous.  Two large bags can be checked. Their total linear inches can equal 107″.  The largest cannot be more than 60 linear inches. They can weigh up to 50 pounds apiece. A carry-on can be brought (and I heard that it was a recommended piece of luggage for in-country travel to avoid the tourist vibe that backpacks give). And a personal item is permitted. And that is how I got everything pictured above.

But first, I laid out everything I wanted to bring.

Then I determined what I wanted in my personal item. I put more in here than I normally would, but that’s because it also contains items that I want to use over the next five days. Picked out my clothes for the first five days of the trip, and packed my carry-on.

Next I prioritized the items I definitely wanted, and began packing my large suitcase.  I stuffed things inside my coffee mug and water bottle, as well as my shoes. After creating a good solid layer, I added my clothes rolled up.  Then I filled in the nooks and crannies with little loose items.  Closed up my suitcase, stuck in on the scale…and it was only 36 pounds!

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At this point, I was 100% stunned.  I got all of that in, well underweight, and only had these items remaining:


So I packed up my backpack.  Closed it up, threw it on the scale…29 pounds!


I’m now going back and adding in some additional items. I got smaller plastic bottles and filled them with the remaining shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. that I had in the shower. I bought a few more teeny tiny fake toothbrush things. I tossed in some tabasco. Now I just need Sriracha and will be good to go!



About the author

Mountain View

A little about me!

Hey! I'm Brianna Hope, a born & bred midwesterner embarking on an adventure as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia. I am clumsy, I spill a lot, and I share most of my interests with 6 year-olds.

Follow me on Snapchat: alabrianna


The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the Colombian Government.


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