africa travel must have list.

what I really love about the season we are in (being at home in the US) is getting to help all my friends get ready for their African adventures.
really.  it makes me so happy.
something that I can tangibly DO here.
I’ve recently been on trips to Target with Alison (who moved to Rwanda) and Allison (who is going to pick up her brother in Uganda) to get all the “must haves” for an African adventure.
So I thought I’d put my little list right here on the blog for any of you (or people you know) traveling to the third world.
I’ve learned a few things from going to Africa 3 times in 6 months….
  • GUM.  you need gum.  all the time.  so bring enough, I mean more than you think is enough. 
  • WIPES.  you need wipes, and the small packages are better (don’t take up as much room when you throw a pack or 2 in your backpack – think $1 ones at target)
  • COFFEE.  via packs from starbucks to take with you….we call “coffee” in uganda “cof-tea”  you’ll want the VIA packs.  Note: Ethiopia has amazing coffee, but for all other african countries….VIA is the best.  mix with hot water in the morning and you are in business.
For the PLANE Ride
  • face wipes,
  • eye cover thing (you know when you sleep),
  • comfy socks,
  • neck pillow,
  • earphones,
  • sleeping pills,
  • tooth brush/small toothpaste, a little bit of makeup.


I have a routine – when it’s time to go to bed (that time in country) I wash my face, brush my teeth, put on my comfy socks, eye cover thing, take a sleeping pill & go to bed.  watch a movie maybe while trying to go to sleep.  
then when it’s “morning”, do the same thing.  I never change clothes, but washing up & putting on some fresh makeup always made me feel better.  
*note: if you are flying Ethiopian Air, at dinner time – put your roll & butter on TOP of your hot meal.  you’ll thank me later
{you never know when you are going to have an allergic reaction to something & go to the clinic…not that I know….}


Bring a mini med stock.  advil.  tums.  sleep aid.  day/night quil.  a couple bandaids. benadryl.  if you or any of your crew get motion sickness, get the motion sickness SEA-BANDs for your wrists.  I wore mine i think every day in uganda on the bus.  and then BOINIE ( i think that’s how you spell it) pills are great for motion sickness too.  

Believe it or not, you will get hungry.  Your stomach will not like something & you will want a snack.  I always buy the mini pre packaged snacks (mostly little kid food – cheez it, pb crackers, granola bars, fruit snacks) and then take them out of the boxes & put in gallon size zip lock.  then smaller zip locks to carry each day in my bag.  
  • mini peanut butter things – seriously, you will thank me later
  • crystal light packs to put in your water
  • just be prepared!
take a small journal w/ you in your purse/backpack during the day.  just so you can write down details that you don’t want to forget!
Random things:
  • tissue packs for backpack (don’t get the cheap kind, you’ll really want something soft.  get the small individual packs)
  • flashlight (not the big lantern, you’ll never use it – a midsize handheld one will do)
  • adapter to charge camera/phone/etc (muy importante!!!! make sure you have more than 1 if you are with a lot of people, you will fight over who gets it!)
  • bug spray WITH deet in it
  • sunscreen
  • hand sanitizer (the small individual ones – bring 2-3/person)
  • pens (random things that are just easier to bring than try to find)
  • travel fabreeze…..just do it.  you’ll know why later. 
  • pictures of your family back home 😉 
While packing!
  • dryer sheets!  someone told me this trick before my 1st trip.  when you are packing, stick dryer sheets all in your bag between your clothes.  then when you get there you’ll bag will smell fresh & remain fresh!
  • zip locks – seriously, you just always need zip locks.  big ones & medium size ones
  • I always pick out my outfits & tie them up w/ something you find lying around the house (ribbon, toole, etc) so they pack tighter and you don’t have to think about what shirt goes with what skirt. 
  • make sure you have a luggage weigher – you never know when you are going to need to shift things around from bag to bag
  • I always take a separate small bag for undies/socks/etc. 
So there you have it.


Hey, I'm Wynne!

Hi, friend! First, I truly am so giddy that you are here. I want you to know I believe in you and all the ways you are growing towards living a more intentional life.  I genuinely hope you are encouraged from our time together here.

A little about me, I’m a type 7 on the enneagram, a total extrovert + people lover, entrepreneur, connector, storyteller, people gatherer, and passionate wife, mama + friend. I feel most alive when I’m exploring new places and surrounded by people I love. Give me a day in the outdoors disconnected from wifi, and I am a happy girl. I run on oat milk lattes, Jesus, gratitude journaling and kitchen dance parties with my four kids.
Welcome, come on in!

let'e be friends

  1. Ann Bennett says:

    That was so helpful. Thanks for sharing, Wynne!

  2. ourlovegrows says:

    Hi! I follow your blog and am SO glad that you put this post up! My husband and I will be traveling to Ethiopia on a mission trip in less than 2 months, and your list will be so helpful!!! Thank you!!

  3. Lindsey says:

    This is awesome! I’m going on my first mission trip two weeks from tomorrow!!! 🙂

    We are flying Ethiopia Airlines…why put the butter and roll on top of our meal? What’s it do?

    Thanks for posting this! 🙂

  4. MsMills says:

    Sweet! I am keeping this in mind for my trip to India 🙂

  5. Lauren says:

    fantastic list!!! perfect!

  6. KaraM says:

    I’m not traveling anywhere, but I really enjoyed this. There is an art to traveling internationally. I’ve done it too many times and am very particular about what I pack. I’ve never traveled to Africa. So, I wonder how that differs!

    I ALWAYS pack the face clothes that are not already wet. Just add water and it’s soapy. They are perfect for plane rides, middle of nowhere hotels, and Mt. visits!

    I never thought about tying my clothes together!

    Here’s hoping you get to travel to Ethiopia soon! 😀


  7. Wow! This was very helpful! My husband and I are traveling to Sudan next month for a mission trip. It’ll be my first African adventure. The roll and butter have me guessing too…guess I’ll find out! Hey, I am just wondering if you take Malaria meds when you go to Africa? We have a Dr’s visit this coming week and I was wondering what your experiences were with any of those drugs. Email me if you’d like!

  8. larisaa says:

    SOFT! don’t forget your SOFT! hahaha i love this list. obviously. and the idea of putting the dryer sheets IN your suitcase! brilliant.

    oh, and ethiopia air. <3 CHEA? CHEA? CHEA? <3 <3 <3

  9. spagirltina says:

    This is great! What type of luggage do you take? Soft, large duffle type or regular luggage? Thank you!

  10. Wynne Elder says:

    yall are sweet! glad this is helpful! I take a SOFT duffel bag. ogio is my favorite.

    YES to malaria meds! I’ve always done malarone & as long as you eat it with food you are good.

    AND always take an extra pair of clothes in your backpack on the plane.

  11. Andy says:

    When the time comes near all airlines start increasing their rates and in December the rates go sky-high!

    Nigeria Cheap Flights

  12. Becky says:

    thanks so much for sharing! this is my first time going over there {uganda} and i’m SO sad to leave the hubby here but the Lord has had this planted in my heart for so long. can’t wait! xoxo.

    • Wynne says:

      yay! Thanks Becky for your comment! I know you will have a great trip to Uganda! IT’s hard to leave the fam, but God will be with you! Can’t wait to hear about it!

  13. marisa says:

    i LOVE this list! i’m taking the #blogABLE team over, and Hayley sent us your blog… great tips, i totally agree on all of them!! and I totally put my roll/butter on my hot meal on ethiopian too 🙂 and i’ve learned to love the VIA packs on my last couple of trips… give you a little sip of home 🙂

    • Wynne says:

      Marisa! LOVE THIS! I love what yall do at mocha club (I’ve been a mocha cluber for a few years) and fashionable! (I am also a noonday collection ambassador!) and my DREAM is to go on a trip like the #blogABLE trip yall are taking! can’t wait to follow yalls journey and see what God does! So glad you like my list. It was from years of experience 😉 Sounds like you know it all too well too! awesome! thanks for stopping by!

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