Okay, as promised, I am going to post some of the packing lists for items we took to Ethiopia.
I’ve gone through each item and decided what we used/did not use, what was useful and what was not, and how much we took and what was really needed. I find that I am a massive over-packer sometimes, so over the years I like to get these lists pared down to what is really needed. To give you some perspective: for this trip, we took one suitcase full of items for myself, one full of BDH’s stuff, one full of baby stuff, and one full of miscellaneous and baby items. Probably, in retrospect, we could have done just one suitcase apiece.
I am sure these lists will generate all sorts of “yes-you-should/no-you-shouldn’t” sort of debate, and that’s fine. I am giving you what WE used, and if it helps, then great.
We’ll start with the most obvious (given the sick we’ve all been experiencing since we were there): Pharmacy and toiletries. Although I am sure we could have gotten a lot of these items locally, I didn’t want to chance being without some of our most-commonly used things, especially where meds are concerned. Just didn’t want the hassles, really.
- Advil (1 bottle of average size): Packed and used. With BDH’s migraines, not to mention just precautionary in case of headaches and other ailments, we couldn’t leave without it.
- Baby Advil (1 small bottle): Packed but didn’t use. Took it as a precautionary measure, in case the baby was sick. Glad we didn’t have to use it, but was glad to have it nonetheless.
- Advil Cold and Sinus (1 bottle): Packed and invaluable. With BDH getting sick about halfway through the trip, this was a godsend.
- Tylenol (1 bottle average size): Packed but didn’t use. I think we could have done with just the Advil, but I guess this one is personal preference.
- Baby Tylenol (1 bottle average size): Packed and invaluable. From everything to her cold to teething/the earache pain we thought was teething, Baby Tylenol made everybody a lot happier. We took the white grape (non-staining) kind, which comes with its own little dropper and is easy to manage on planes.
- Gravol (1 small package): Packed but didn’t use. We took Gravol as a sleep-inducer, in case we could not sleep on the plane or at the hotel due to… whatever. Turns out, we were so dead tired a lot of the time, we needed nothing at all to induce us to sleep.
- Baby Gravol (1 small bottle): Packed but didn’t use. We took Baby Gravol (on the advice of a pharmacist) also to help with sleep, should the baby not be a good traveller. Turns out, the kid’s a champ, so it was not needed.
- Anbesol (1 small tube): Packed but didn’t use. A couple people mentioned that teething might begin to be an issue with a baby of our girl’s age, so we brought the Anbesol just in case. Didn’t need it, and although she shows all the signs of teething, turns out it’s probably the ear infection that’s the culprit.
- Pepto Bismol (2 large packages of chewables): Packed and invaluable. We took two chewables apiece every morning to fight off whatever discomforts the change in diet would bring. It worked like a charm (until the trip home for me, anyway…)
- Immodium (1 bottle): Packed but didn’t use. The Pepto Bismol worked well for us, and once I got sick on the way home, the Immodium didn’t make a bit of difference.
- Cipro (1 prescription each): Packed and invaluable. If this ghastly intestinal bug had hit while we were away, I’d have been desperate. And it worked a charm, let me tell you.
- Boudreaux’s Butt Paste (1 tube): Packed and invaluable. With all the explosive farting and baby diarrhea, baby bum cream was always welcome. One less problem to worry about.
- Aveeno (1 tube): Packed and used. We wanted something gentle but long-lasting on her skin. Plus I use Aveeno, so it saved space and we shared it.
- Aveeno Lavender (1 tube): Packed but didn’t use. I thought it might be nice to have as a nice post-bathtime bonding ritual — a little baby massage with lavender — but the shea butter seems to work really well.
- Shea butter cream (1 large tube): Packed and invaluable. Baby’s skin needs to be regularly moisturized, and so each day after bathtime we had baby massage time. The scent was not overwhelming, and she enjoyed the bonding time. Seems to last about as long as Aveeno, too.
- Ventolin (2 inhalers): Packed and invaluable. With the terrible smog in Addis, combined with the elevation, asthma meds were a must for me.
- Flovent (2 inhalers): Packed and invaluable. See above.
- Rolaids (1 bottle): Packed and used. Nice to have after spicy Ethiopian meals, or lots of Ethiopian coffee at the coffee ceremonies.
- Hand Sanitizer (3 small bottles): Packed and invaluable. We used it absolutely all the time — after we washed our hands, after we diapered, after we went anywhere. Interestingly enough, we only went through just over 1 60-ml bottle in the 10 days we were there… I thought we’d go through a lot more than that. The stuff lasts well.
- Baby nail clippers (1 pair): Packed and used. Kid’s got sharp talons.
- Adult nail clippers (1 pair): Packed and used. Duh.
- Travel pack Q tips (1 small): Packed and used. Handy dandy little items, these. Ears, boogers, all sorts of applications.
- Ovol (1 small bottle): Packed and used. We had a gassy baby one or two nights, and this helped fix the problem. I don’t think that burping a baby post-bottle is done there — at least, not that I saw, and our girl was certainly confused by the whole process. So having something to help with the gas was good.
- Mini-pack Kleenex (4 3-packs): Packed and used. We probably did not need as many as we took, since the hotelroom was well-stocked with a big box of Kleenex, and we did not go out a ton. But hey, they’re small, and it’s not like they go to waste.
- Antihistamine (1 box of 30): Packed and invaluable. I’m allergic to EVERYTHING. And with the smog? ‘Nuff said.
- Blistex (1 tube): Packed and used. Always a good thing. I guess you can take lip moisturizer of any kind, but hey, that’s what I had with me.
- Razors (1 each): Packed and used. Nobody likes a prickly parent.
- Razor power cord (1): Packed and used. Why is it that most hotels have a power converter built-in to the bathroom for razors, but not for things like, say, a hair dryer? Just sayin’.
- Razor cleaning brush (1): Packed and used. Dad’s got to look his best for his little girl, people.
- Deodorant (1 each): Packed and used. When you are sleep deprived, at least you won’t stink. Well, too bad, anyway.
- Toothbrushes (1 each): Packed and used. If you can remember to brush with bottled water, you’ll be fine. But if not, toothbrushes are easy to come by in the local grocery store.
- Toothpaste (1 tube): Packed and used. Also available in the local grocery store, but BDH is fairly particular about the brand.
- Dental floss (1 package): Packed and used. Don’t know if it’s readily available in the local store… I didn’t look.
- Hair product (1 bottle each): Packed and used. Without it, BDH just gets all poofy, and I get helmet head.
- Make up bag (1): Packed and used. Why, I do not know. It’s not like the baby cares. Maybe I just wanted to look my best when I met her. Could have done without it, probably.
- Brush (1): Packed and used. Hello.
- Hair elastics (some): Packed and invaluable. Ponytails are quick and easy and grab-proof for little hands. Plus, waggling them around makes my kid belly-laugh. So, functional AND fun.
- Baby soap (1 small bar): Packed but not used. We had some disposable washcloths containing soap and shea butter that rocked the bathtime, dude.
Other items of note:
- Mouthwash — BDH woke up with a black tongue one morning. Despite my assurances that this is a side effect of the Pepto he took before going to bed, he was a little wigged out, and had me run to the grocery store and get some mouthwash. So I did. It was this bizarre Italian brand, bright red. And it cost about 20 dollars. So, if you use mouthwash, I recommend packing some. (And after all that, BDH didn’t even use it.)
- Vaseline — The nurses at the transition home use this on the babies’ skin. We did not bring any, nor did we see any when we went shopping (although I am sure you can get it; we did not look too hard.) We had shea butter cream, which worked well, so we were fine.
- Hair dryer — I NEED a hair dryer most days, because I have truly uncooperative hair. And the Hilton had them in-room. Mind you, they are the 1960’s-style dryers that look like a vacuum, but the one we had was rarely used, it seems, and worked well. Plus, any hair appliances will require a power converter, and not only is that a hassle, but I cannot recall if there was even a power outlet in the bathroom for anything besides a razor.
So, that’s the first list. I think I got everything. Next up? Baby items. Probably. Or something.