Packing List

Planning a visit to East Africa? Use this packing guide as a start!


  • Passport
  • Visa (You can purchase a this at the airport – bring extra passport photos)
  • Vaccine Card (Check CDC website for required/recommended vaccines)
  • USD Cash (bring a little as a backup, or to pay for high end trips)
  • Bank Cards (Make sure to let your bank know you’ll be abroad!)
  • Health Insurance Cards (up your coverage, if only for a short time, to make sure health care costs abroad and evacuation are covered)
  • Scanned copies of all essential documents (and email the electronic versions to yourself and loved one)
  • Pens (carry with you on the plane for filling out immigration forms)
  • Address you are traveling to (for immigration forms)


  • Bring snack food! Cliff bars, trail mix, etc just in case you find yourself someplace where you don’t trust the food


  • Any prescription or other medication you normally take (carry prescription bottles with you)
  • Malaria medication
  • Other travel prescriptions (e.g. antibiotics)
  • Basic first aid supplies
  • Basic medication – painkillers, pepto, immodium, benadryl, other favorites!


  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer/wet wipes
  • Chapstick
  • Contacts/Glasses (travel with extra pairs of both if you have them, and be sure to bring them as carry ons)
  • Contact Solution
  • Toothbrush and cover
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Body soap
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Any other hair and body products
  • Deodorant
  • Tampons/pads
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Razor
  • Ear plugs
  • Laundry detergent (you can buy tiny sachets at Target in case you want to wash on the go)
  • Makeup


  • TSA Approved Travel Locks (other options include zip ties or wrapping your suitcase in saran wrap)
  • Adapters (UK plugs)
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Money belt
  • Dry bags/ziplocs
  • Books/Kindle/iPad
  • Guide Book
  • Swahili Phrase Book
  • Camera
  • Music
  • Laptop (not necessary, but good if you plan to take a lot of photos and want to look at them or free space to take more)
  • Chargers
  • Purse
  • Backpack
  • Sunglasses
  • Neck Pillow
  • Eye mask
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Journal


  • Pants
  • Jeans
  • Leggings (wear under shorter dresses or skirts)
  • Shorts (for beach wear only)
  • Skirts (shoot for past your knees or plan to wear leggings)
  • Shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Cardigan
  • Sleeping clothes
  • Scarf
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Shoes (tennis shoes, flip flops, flats – boots not really necessary unless you’re climbing a mountain)
  • Bathing Suit
  • Raincoat

Are you moving to Kenya? If so, what you need to bring with you will depend a lot on where you’ll be living and what you’ll be doing there. For example, are you working in an office environment where you’ll need to dress to impress, or a hospital, or are you going to be out in the sun advising farmers on how to improve their crops? Will you be in Nairobi where you can purchase most things you need, or outside the big city with less access?

In general, some things that are difficult to find in Kenya (with the possible exception of Nairobi) are:

  • Contact solution
  • Tampons
  • Solid deodorant
  • Quality Ziploc bags
  • Adapters
  • Electronics
  • Soft sheets/pillows
  • Some of your favorite foods! (e.g. good chocolate, chocolate chips, cheese, special sauces, etc)

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