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Many travel books, gap year websites and gap providers have suggested kit lists for travel. You will need clothing suitable for the culture, climate and type of activities you plan to undertake. In hot countries, you will want to wear light coloured, loose clothing to try and keep cool. If you are undertaking wildlife-related volunteering in a hot country, however, it may be more suitable to take clothing that will help you blend into your surroundings better so you don’t startle the wildlife. 

Below are suggestions for some essential items to take on your trip:  

  • Security: Money belt, padlock, watch, rape alarm. 

  • Sleeping: Alarm clock, mosquito net, pillow, sleeping bag/liner and torch/headtorch.

  • Eating and drinking: Cup and spoon, water bottle and water purification tablets/system.

  • Medication: any medication you usually take (plus spares), contraceptives.

  • Toiletries: Hand sanitiser gel, sanitary products, toilet paper, towel, washing line, soap, wet wipes and no-water washes, earplugs, eyemask and sunscreen.

  • Travel planning/recording: Address book, travel journal and pens, camera, guidebooks, maps and phrasebooks.

  • Ancillaries: Batteries, phone/camera/solar charger, portable charger, calculator, compass.

  • Miscellaneous, useful items: First aid kit, travel medical handbook, lighter/matches, gaffer tape, glue, sewing kit, penknife, book to read, games and small gifts.

  • Communications/entertainment: Mobile phone (and local SIM card) – check it works when you arrive in-country.


Exploratory questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I need any specialist clothing or equipment for the activities I plan to undertake and the countries/environments/cultures in which I plan to travel?

  • Do I need to get all the equipment for the activities I plan to undertake myself or is some provided for me? Does this fit in with my budget? Where could I get this clothing/equipment from? (Websites such as and have a huge collection of second hand and discount equipment.)

  • Do I need to get specialist advice before buying?

  • Do I have access to a suggested kit list for the activities I plan to do?

  • Does the culture of the country in which I am travelling require particular clothing? E.g. Long-sleeved tops or trousers.