Volunteer in Thailand with Friends for Asia

Thailand Volunteer Packing List

What to Pack When Coming to Volunteer in Thailand

Last day at children's Home

Traveling half way across the world for a couple weeks or months can take a lot of planning, and preparation. Making sure you packed the most appropriate items while within the weight limits of the international airlines is important. Most long-haul international airlines allow economy passengers a maximum checked baggage load of 23 kilograms, or 50 pounds. Many volunteers and interns travel in Thailand domestically before or after their project. When doing so, the Thai domestic airlines do not offer as much baggage weight as the international carriers. Some low cost carriers, like Air Asia, don’t offer any checked baggage without additional fees.

Travel Documents and Contact Info

We have had many volunteers and interns make all their arrangements, and are ready to set out on their international volunteer adventure, when at the last minute, they find out that their passport has expired! Most countries require international visitors to have a passport with more than six months prior to its expiration date. Being mindful of this is of the utmost importance.

A printed copy of your flight details is nice to have, as this is occasionally asked for by airport and immigration officials or when checking in for flights. Also, a copy of one’s passport, and visa stamp page is a nice thing to have while in-country. Carrying it around all the time may be clumsy, but having a copy of it for taking day trips may be a good idea.

The international airports of Thailand, especially Bangkok’s can be somewhat crowded and hectic. It’s easy to miss the person there to pick you up. Having the contact person’s phone number can really come in handy in this situation. Therefore, having the names of at least two people, and their phone numbers written down before departing home will be a big help if there are any difficulties with meeting the pick-up coordinator.

Clothes and Volunteer Personal Items

It can be difficult to pick the right clothing items to take with you to Thailand, when it’s hot and sunny in Thailand, but cold and snowy back at home. Certainly, you can’t leave your house and show up at the airport in your hometown wearing a t-shirt and shorts, if it’s snowing outside. However, a big, bulky coat is going to really weigh down your bags, and space, after you depart your home.

Volunteer Thailand English Education

The type of clothes that you will be wearing at your project site is going to depend a lot on the type of project you are doing. If volunteering with elephants, then you are going to want to bring older clothes that you won’t mind if they get dirty, muddy or full of elephant slobber. If volunteering at a school teaching English, then it’s going to be important to bring professional clothes (long skirts or long pants, button up shirts, etc.). Appearances mean a lot in Thailand, and it’s important to look the part, and not offend our hosts.

Most of our volunteers and interns are women. Most women are going to pack more toiletries then men. Having your own shampoo, soaps and other bathroom items from home can allow one to settle in and adjust to things easier and faster. But, at the same time, bringing a huge bottle of shampoo with you when you travel, is not only heavy, but always runs the risk of breaking open and making a big mess in your checked baggage. Therefore, bringing just enough bathroom items for a couple of weeks, and then finding those items in the city of your project, or other similar items is going to be easiest on your luggage and your peace of mind.

Donations and Gifts


Donations and gifts are not mandatory, or expected. But some really want to bring items for the people at their project site. It’s great that people are interested in donating, but at the same time, dragging a bunch of paper and crayons half way across the world is really not necessary, when these items can be found in Thailand for cheaper. Small gifts, such as candy (not chocolate), post cards, small toys, etc., are fun.

For larger donations, we recommend volunteers come with money, and purchase items here for your students, or the people that you’ll be working with. There are a few stationary and book stores within a 10-15 minute walk from our accommodation, and we can point you in the right direction, and even give you a ride, if you are looking to purchase larger items.