Dec 18, 2020 9:46:32 AM by YWAM San Jose

What to Pack for DTS

missionary training, DTS, Discipleship training school

Packing for a DTS can be overwhelming, you’re not only going to live for three months in a new country, but you’re going to live for two additional months in another different country! How do you plan for that? With the hope that you can avoid packing regrets, we want to share what we’ve learned with you!

1) Pack a variety of clothing
You will want to have something appropriate for going to church, something you can get paint on, and some to use for exercise. You also want to be prepared for different weather types. DTS has two different phases:

a) Lecture Phase – you will mostly be in a classroom and hanging out around the base. You will also have kitchen/cleaning duties and ministries off base, where you may get dirty. 

b) Outreach – what you need for your outreach will depend on the country your team goes to. Be prepared for cold and hot climates by packing clothes that can be layered. Bring versatile low maintenance clothing.

Consider each of the things you want to bring. Test it with these five questions, each piece should satisfy at least three of these.

  • Comfortable for walking around but can be dressed up for an event.
  • Is appropriate for warm or cool weather.
  • Can be folded up small/doesn’t wrinkle easily.
  • Coordinates well with everything else you’re bringing.
  • Can be washed in a regular washing machine or by hand.

2) What season is it in the country you are traveling to?
Temperatures in San Jose, Costa Rica are usually between 18-28C (65-82F). There are two seasons: rainy and dry. Rainy season is generally from May to November. During those months in San Jose, it will likely be sunny in the morning and then cool off and rain in the afternoon. The dry season is generally from December to April. The weather will be nice and sunny on most days. Regardless, know that we’re located up the mountains. This means that you always need to be prepared with warm clothes.

3) How much should you bring?
Keep it to what you can carry. You can bring everything you need in one checked bag and one carry-on. Travel with a hiking backpack that you can check and a day pack that you can carry on. If living off of so little for five months gives you anxiety, try to pray and ask God to show you what He wants to teach you during this time. He often shows us a lot about living more simply.

4) Tips for saving space:
For example, a sleeping bag is something that can take little space or half of your backpack depending on the type you have. If you’ve trouble fitting everything into your bag, looking for a compact sleeping bag might be a good option and if you fold or roll your clothes nicely, you can fit twice as much as if you just throw everything into your bag.
It’s easy to buy more supplies here. Keep in mind things might be a little more expensive in Costa Rica than at home. When packing, I recommend you save the things you could buy here until last. If they don’t fit, you can purchase those things here.

5) What’s appropriate?
Consider the culture you’re coming into as well as the cultures you could be visiting during outreach. There will likely be times where all you can wear are long-sleeves and/or long pants and long skirts. For certain times of ministry or visiting local churches in conservative cultures, you’ll want to have these types of articles of clothing on hand. Otherwise, try to pack casual clothing.

We hope to see you soon! Are you interested in doing a DTS? Send us an email to

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