The Paranoid Packer’s List
Special note if flying Ethiopian Airlines: Check the size and weight restrictions for carry-on luggage at their website http://www.ethiopianairlines.com/en/travel/baggage/carryonbaggage.aspx. They are very serious about this and may force you to check your carry-on luggage at the gate if it is too large or too heavy. It is helpful to take a backpack and carry-on.
___ You are limited to one checked suitcase, one carry-on and one personal item (such as a pocketbook or backpack.) (Remember, that we have to haul around anything we take over.)
___ Pack a couple of changes of clothes, toiletries and essential medication in your carry-on, in case your checked bag is delayed (it can happen). You need to have enough clothes that you can survive in case your checked bag doesn’t arrive before the end of the trip (it has happened). The hotels offer laundry services.
___ Pen and journal
___ Passport and copy of passport to keep in separate place, such as a scanned copy on a laptop you might bring
___ Immunization records (specifically proof of yellow fever vaccination)
___ Anti-malarial medication prescribed by your doctor
___ General antibiotic prescribed by your doctor
___ Small detergent packages for washing clothes. The other option is to pay the hotel a small fee for washing your clothes.
___ Bring comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Sneakers and hiking boots work well. Two pairs of shoes are necessary in case one gets muddy.
___ Bring one nice outfit for church, skirts or slacks for women, button-down shirt, tie, and slacks for men
___ Insect repellent
___ Small flashlight (electric power does go off on occasion)
___ Light jacket and/or sweatshirt for cool evenings and mornings. Zimbabwe travelers will need heavier jackets during the May-August months.
___ Toiletries with the consideration that some of the orphan’s homes and sites we will visit do not have running water (the hotel does). Recommendations include disposable wipes such as face wipes or baby wipes (at least 2 for every day), and toiletries, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, personal medications, etc.
___Roll of toilet paper
___ Anti-bacterial hand-wash (small bottles)
___ Anti-diarrhea medication such as Immodium
___ Snacks, such as granola bars, dried fruit, cookies, beef jerky, crackers, etc. Occasionally, we will be on the road or visiting an orphan group through lunchtime. Chocolate is not recommended because it will melt in the heat.
___ Bring money for tips and/or souvenirs. Many people find that $150 to $200 is plenty of money for souvenirs, but it depends entirely on what level of shopper you are. All American bills to be changed in Rwanda and Kenya must be dated 2006 or newer or the banks and money exchangers will not accept them.
Any U.S. money is acceptable in Zimbabwe. They use U.S. money as their currency.
___ If you are bringing them in your carry-on baggage liquids, gels and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers and packed in one-quart zip-top bags to be presented at customs.
___ Battery powered alarm clock
Optional, but worth considering
___ A duffle bag in your checked suitcase may be useful for returning home with bulky gifts such as baskets.
___ Clothing that dries quickly, and try to avoid bringing white clothing as the environment and roads are very dusty. The orphans and African staff members tend to dress up for our visit, but please make sure your shoes and clothing are comfortable.
___ Laptop/wireless device, in Rwanda there is limited access to wireless; in Kenya there are usually hardwired computers available that are connected to the internet. Zimbabwe has access to wireless.
___ Ear plugs (the hotel may be noisy, and although unusual, you could have a roommate)
___ Sleep aid, if needed. (Some find Tylenol PM helpful.)
___ Small umbrella or rain jacket
___ Plug adapter, and possibly a power converter (check to see if your appliance has a power switch from 110 volts to 240 volts, if so a simple adapter is fine; these can be found at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Radio Shack etc)
___ Backpack or shoulder bag, to serve as a “day bag,” carrying snacks, passport, money, toilet paper, Chap stick, camera, etc.
___ Monistat for women or other medication you may want to have handy
___ Chap stick
___ Extra batteries for anything that uses batteries
___ Flip Flops
___ Hat for sun protection