Put your contact info on both the INSIDE and OUTSIDE of your luggage.

Pack light: you will be moving from place to place and will need to carry whatever you bring. Depending on group size, space for luggage on our bus can also be limited.

Don’t forget:

  • Passport and other important documents and copies
  • Toiletries in travel size containers
  • Hair care items
  • Clothing – NO SHORTS or SHORT SKIRTS. To limit luggage weight, bring enough clothes for three days. The hotel has a laundry service that is very reasonable. Leave the clothes out in the morning and they will be returned and folded that night. You will need two nice outfits to wear for nice nights out. 
  • Absorbent socks
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Flip flops for the hotel
  • Pajamas
  • Long pants for clinic. We usually wear scrubs, 2 tops and 2 pants and launder them on our day off
  • Pants for sightseeing (lightweight or capris or jeans)
  • Lab coat
  • Name tag
  • Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses
  • Light wrap for cool evenings
Other items to consider, but will add to weight of luggage:
There are no washcloths in the hotels. If you need them, bring your own. Otherwise, you can get disposable makeup removal wipes.
Flashlight to carry at night walking from restaurants to hotels as sidewalks are uneven.
Cords to charge your electronics
Camera and batteries
Extra batteries as needed
Journal and pen
Bug wipes
Small travel umbrella
Cloth shopping bag(s) for shopping (the vendors do not have many plastic bags and this way the contents of your bag cannot be seen)
Snacks for the bus ride home every day (granola bars, trail mix, etc.) Small items to give as gifts to hotel staff, interpreters, driver
Small backpack or purse for day trips
Medications to bring for yourself:
  • Zofran, meclizine, or something for nausea / carsickness
  • Imodium
  • Cipro
  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Analgesics, NSAIDS, as needed
  • Prescription medications
  • Antihistamine
  • Tums



  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis A, which is food and water borne
  • Typhoid injection
The water in Guatemala is not safe to drink. Most hotels will provide one bottle of water per day at no extra charge and/or have filtered water available to refill bottles. There will be cases of water for our clinical days. Bottles of water are readily available in little stores as well. Remember to shower with your mouth closed and brush your teeth with bottled water. Restaurants serve filtered water which is okay to drink.
The infrastructure of most communities throughout Guatemala has not been designed to handle paper. Therefore in all bathrooms you will find a small wastebasket next to the toilets. Toilet paper goes into the wastebaskets, not the toilet. This is very important as it is expensive to repair the clogged septic systems.
The current exchange rate is 7.9 Quetzales to $1 USD or 79Q/10USD. This changes daily so check the most recent exchange rate. Download a currency conversion app.
ATMs are available but use of those marked SB are the best and have proved most secure. Please DO NOT use an ATM without speaking with Dr. Murphy first. She knows the safe ones to use in the central area of Antigua. Prior to going to the ATM, let someone know you are going and go in a group.
While you can certainly make purchases using American currency, it is important to note that most Guatemalan banks and some businesses will not accept the American $20 bill unless it is in almost perfect condition. It’s just the way they want it. If you bring US cash, there is a bank in Antigua that will convert your cash for a fee. You will need your passport. 
MEDICAL EQUIPMENT TO BRING – ask your colleagues for donations
  • Stethoscope
  • Pen light
  • Adult blood pressure cuff – optional; if you have one, bring it
  • Pocket otoscope and batteries and specula
  • Pens
  • Scissors
  • Gloves
  • Antibacterial gel or wipes
  • Spanish resources


  • Used eyeglasses, esp. children
  • Reader eyeglasses
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste – this is heavy in suitcases, be careful
  • Pens to write with
  • Moisturizer
  • Soft cover bilingual children’s books
  • Deflated beach balls, small
  • Little stuffed animals
  • Stickers for kids
  • Crayons and colouring books
  • Toys
  • Nail polish


NOTE: Your hotels WILL provide the following:

  • Towels
  • Sheets
  • WiFi

MEDICATIONS you might need:

  • loperamide (Imodium)
  • bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
  • ibuprofen or other pain reliever
  • ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • acetaminophen/diphenhydramine/phenylephrine (Benadryl) or
  • ranitidine (Zantac)
  • calcium carbonate (Tums)
  • dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)
  • Sufficient supply of other medications you are taking


  • Make sure your Tetanus is up to date.
  • The CDC recommends Hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines.
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