Your Camp USA Packing Must-Haves!

By Joy Lo

It’s time to pack for camp! Packing for an adventure makes it feel real, and we’re so excited for the incredible memories you’re about to make.

One thing you shouldn’t worry about? Your Camp USA packing list! Here are the essentials to pack for camp.

Packing Pointers


Don’t worry if you forget something. You can buy everything you need in the USA except for your important documents and medication.

Keep It Casual

You’ll be having a ton of outdoor fun at camp and it’s going to show on your clothes! Bring casual pieces that you aren’t worried about ruining. You may even want to leave behind some items when camp is over to make more space for souvenirs.

Modesty Is Cool

You’re already a role model for young kids and it’s important to dress like one. Dress modestly, but still for warm weather, and focus your swimwear on function instead of fashion.

Be A Bargain Shopper

The U.S. has awesome deals on shoes and clothes, especially for name brands. Consider picking up some affordable new styles when you arrive- they’ll also be souvenirs!

Show Off Your Culture

If you have extra space, bring unique treats or small souvenirs from your home country. Sharing these will be a great way to bond with your fellow camp counselors from all over the world.

Share With Others!

Share with us and other campers what you pack for #campusa by following and tagging us on instagram

Camp USA Packing List

Absolute Must-Haves!

Do not forget these irreplaceable items.
  • Passport
  • J-1 Visa
  • DS-2019 Form
  • International Driver’s License
  • Copy of each of the above documents
    • Keep the originals in your carry-on luggage and keep the copies in a separate bag when you travel.
  • $250 cash in USD
  • Debit or credit card that will work internationally
    • Check with your bank before you go
  • Medication
    • Bring enough medication to last the entire trip


You’ll need the below items at camp, but you can buy any of them in the USA if you forget something.
  • Flashlight
  • Flip flops
  • Hat
  • Jeans
  • Light Jacket
  • Outfit for Going Out
  • Rain Boots
  • Rain Jacket
  • Shorts
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sneakers
  • Socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sweatshirt
  • Swimsuit
  • T-shirts
  • Toiletries
    • Shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, deodorant, sunscreen
  • Towel
  • Underwear
  • Waterproof Watch

Leave At Home

You will not need these items at camp, and it’s better to leave them behind.
  • Expensive jewelry
  • Family heirlooms
  • Bulky items
    • Large items, like a guitar, will count as one of your checked bags.
  • Insect Repellant
    • Insect repellant is country specific and should be bought in the USA.

Still have questions? Check out our more detailed packing guide from your Camp USA Participant Handbook.

Joy Lo By

Joy is a huge advocate for cultural exchange. She's lived across the U.S. and various countries around the world including the UK, Australia and Indonesia. She has a unique perspective on working and thriving in other cultures. She's been a contributing author on Au Pair USA program.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation