Back to
The definition of serenity. Photo by Hannah Richter (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Finalist), Indonesia Semester.

Packing for the trip!

Hi team!

I’m sure you’ve all begun to gather the belongings you plan to bring with you on our trip, as you pack, please reference the packing list in the Participant Manual that you received from Where There Be Dragons – this list is specific to the program and was created with the input of past students and instructors.

Using that list, I wanted to add a few items – I’ll label them below as Mandatory or Recommended. Generally speaking though, try not to stress too much about packing – you can get just about anything you might need along the way.


  • Learning Service -please bring this book with you! We will be reading it together as a group in our first month. You do not need to read it before arriving
  • Indonesian-English dictionary that you received in your welcome box
  • Your Where There Be Dragons t-shirt
  • Homestay gifts, and small gifts for people at your NGOs etc – a general rule of thumb is high in meaning/sentimental value, low in monetary value


  • A Brief History of Indonesia – if you have time to read before you go, this would be a good book to give you some context, otherwise, feel free to bring it
  • Books to read for fun and swap with friends
  • Compact board games, bananagrams, playing cards etc – we will have lots of time at the program house and in transit where you may want to break these out to play with other group members – some are also useful for breaking the ice with homestay families
  • Ear plugs and/or an eye mask – it can be difficult to sleep in new environments
  • Some students have brought travel hammocks and been pleased about it in the past – if you do, bring the appropriate straps to rig it up safely

A few reminders:

  • A note on sunscreen – sunscreen is expensive in Indonesia, you should plan on bringing a full size bottle of regular sunscreen for use in the city, and a small-ish bottle of CORAL SAFE/REEF SAFE sunscreen to use in the ocean – Indonesia’s coral reefs are vulnerable, and we want to limit our impact
  • You do not need to bring aqua-socks/water shoes if you are bringing sandals that strap to your feet that you do not mind wearing in the water
  • You will want one warm layer – Ultralight down jackets are ideal, and maybe a warm hat and/or socks for time in the mountains or air-conditioned spaces
  • A note on swim outfits: bring one modest swim outfit – we recommend a RASH GUARD or QUICK DRY T-SHIRT AND a pair of BOARD SHORTS (to the knee) for swimming. Also, long sleeves and long shorts provide much needed sun protection. Your skin will thank you! Yet, it can be hard to find board shorts to the appropriate length, so it’s okay to get creative: many students choose to bring long basketball-style shorts, I swim in quick-dry capris, and Indonesians often swim in their clothes. Choose the modest option that is most comfortable to you. Keep in mind, if you put on your “swim costume” and think you look good, you’re probably doing something wrong. Some students choose to bring a bikini to wear underneath their Indonesian “swim suit,” a sports bra and underwear works just as well.


  • Wrap some duct tape around one of your water bottles to have on the road, this can come in handy!
  • If you do plan to begin using a Diva cup/Moon Cup as a substitute for other feminine hygiene products (which we highly recommend) try it out before you go – it can take some getting used to
  • Headlamps with a red light option (instead of just white) help reduce bugs at night. Rechargeable is better than battery-powered.