So, you’ve made your plans to travel to West Africa, congrats! You’re in for an epic journey! But, you may come to a moment in time when you start to freak out because you don’t know what to pack….
What do people wear there? Should I bring tennis shoes? Will I be able to dance in flip-flops? How can I be fashionable?
Keep calm and read along and this list will save you from your troubles!
10) Pack LITE. Literally. I’m not going to be able to convince you to condense your two large duffle bags into one, but make sure your CLOTHES are lite because it is VERY VERY HOT in West Africa. You will be sweating throughout the day, bring the appropriate kind of clothes. Cyrstal LITE may be another great thing to add, as it is refreshing on a hot humid day (which is basically everyday).
9) Outlet converters: I can only speak about Ghana for this one, and the outlet adaptor you will need has three pegs and is triangular shaped. You can find them at your local travel/luggage store, or online. They are called Grounded BS-1363.
Hopefully the power won’t go out too often and you can use them all the time
8) Vitamins. A lot of the food served in West Africa is local and delicious, but not always so nutritious. Eating with your hands can be fun, but so is being healthy! I’d recommend bringing some multivitamins to stay healthy.
7) Dancing Shoes. You will notice that, there really aren’t many situations that dancing is not acceptable. On a walk, at work, at a restaurant, on the beach, it doesn’t matter! People will encourage you to dance as well and you gotta make sure you have the right shoes for it! Don’t worry if you have no moves, you’ll be LOVED for trying anyways!
6) Nice/Bright CLOTHES. In Ghana, guys wear bright green pants and it is seen as fashionable. Bring any rainbow or neon clothes you have because it’ll fit right in. Just be careful and remember how people dress when you are back at home. When I came back from Ghana, I had all these traditional African clothes that were super bright, but it was a little sad when everyone thought they were pajamas!
Also, bring formal clothes. Most men will wear pants during the day (most nightclubs require pants. Yes…Ghana has many nightclubs!), even in 90-degree weather. People tend to dress more formal there than in the United States. If you’re coming from Paris, you’ll fit right in! Don’t forget a pair of sunglasses too, it’s very hot and sunny, and you gotta look good while you sweat!
5) A fake wedding ring (for women only): Lots of West Africans may get SUPER excited if they meet a lovely woman from a rich country such as the US or the UK. Often, they can’t hold back from their love for you and they’ll ask you to be their wife. How serious are they? Who knows, and I guess it depends! But, having a fake wedding ring is a good excuse for them to give up…..I’m only half serious, but just wait for the wedding proposals to come from 60 year old men who won’t leave you alone and then you’ll wish you had listened to my advice!
4) A fan. Depending on where you are and what season it is, it’ll probably be between 75-95 degrees…..ALL THE TIME. When I was in Ghana, there were weeks that the temperature didn’t drop below 80. Bring a fan to help cool off. I’d suggest a battery fan, too, for when the power is out.
3)BUG SPRAY AND SUN SCREEN. All your friends and family are probably warning you not to go to West Africa because they think you will get Malaria and die. Although these people usually aren’t too knowledgeable about what they’re talking about, the last thing you want to do is prove them right. Get some strong insect repellent with a high percentage of DEET. The highest I found was 34%, and can be purchased on amazon.
Sun screen you can easily buy there, but if you can snatch some SPF 1 billion, do it before you go and you’ll save yourself some money and your skin will thank you (and me)!
2) A Positive attitude. This is something you should have with you at all times. Just don’t leave it at your apartment back home!
AND THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU DON’T WANT TO FORGET…
1)Patience. This thing you won’t want to leave behind. If you do, you’re just going to be miserable….TRUST ME. In West Africa, many things take time, like……a freakishly unreasonably large amount of time. Don’t try to rationalize it; you will drive yourself crazy.
For example, you could go to the station to wait for a bus that is suppose to come at 2pm, and someone comes around 3pm and tells you that they think it is running a bit late. Then it gets dark, and your new friend says to come back the next morning and that the bus should be running again. So, you come back in the morning, and no one is there. Then, the bus that was suppose to come at 2PM the day before doesn’t come until…..4pm. I’m not saying this is ALWAYS what happens, but it could happen. I’d suggest to…
LEARN TO ENJOY WAITING AND YOUR LIFE WILL NEVER BE BORING.
Be prepared to go with the flow and make the best of any situation.
Well, there you have it folks. I hope this helps! And, if you still feel timid about making the trek, there’s one more thing you can bring that will make your trip infinitely more comforting and exciting…ME! Let me know if your suitcase has interior cushions!
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!
Do you know anyone traveling to West Africa anytime soon? Send ‘em this link and they’ll appreciate your thoughtful gesture!