Posted by: travelwithcurls | May 20, 2009

My Care Pack

There are several items that every traveler should instinctively know to pack (I mean besides clean underwear of course). However, traveling to third world countries is a little bit different.  Today I compiled what I call my travel care pack. I’ve listed out the items I recommend. If you have any additional travel care items, feel free to add them in the comments section.

My Care Pack

 1)   Band-Aids in case of a cut or open wound. I don’t particularly like band-aids, but they can help protect against parasites and disease which spread through open wounds. They are also good for blisters!

2)   A spray on antiseptic is also a good idea to kill germs. I use this one from Gold Bond because it also has pain and itch reliever. Of course brands don’t make any difference, but I like that this one.

3)   Sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. This is very important! I recommend one that is water and sweat resistant, at least SPF 15, rubs in quickly and protects form UVA and UVB rays.

4)   Hand sanitizer wipes are nice because they don’t take up too much space and are cheap. I know some people who prefer Purell or antibacterial gels, but there is something about wiping off the germs that makes me feel cleaner.

5)   For this trip I’m packing disposable cameras (one for me and one for Brother) just in case something happens to our digital cameras. My digital camera runs on a chargeable battery. I know Brother and I will be doing some camping in tents and I’m not quite sure my battery will last if I can’t charge it at the campsite. I’m about 87% sure I would just cry my little eyes out if I missed a photo opportunity because I couldn’t charge my battery.

6)   I always include a large bottle of Advil (I swear by the round, coated kind). Advil brings down fever and swelling and of course works as a pain reliever. I absolutely could not live without it.

7)   An over the counter sleep aid like Simply Sleep or Tylenol PM can be beneficial, especially for long plane rides. But, I highly urge you to experiment with a sleep aid on a weekend, at your home before traveling. The first time I took a sleep aid was on my flight to London. I hallucinated the entire plane ride. It was terrible. (I have used that same sleeping aid several times since that flight and never again had a problem with it. I think my body was unused to the drug and was reacting to my high level of stress). Every body works differently, and while you may not react the same way, it’s a good idea to understand how chemicals react in your body in a safe place. There is nothing worse than being unable to function in a country where you do not speak the language because of some drug you took.

8)   I was able to round up my old outlet adaptor. Then I made sure that my camera charger properly fits in the adaptor. Be warned, not all electronic devices work correctly with an adaptor. Most computer chargers are safe to use with adaptors. But, outlets in other countries have different voltage outputs and can short out your electrical device. I’m lucky because I don’t use a hairdryer for my curls. But, most US hairdryers don’t work in other countries. You can either buy one at a convenience store in your destination city, or purchase a specially made hairdryer from a specialty travel store in your area.

9)   A quality chap stick (notice: not lip gloss or lipstick) is a travel essential. I love Burt’s Bees, but once again, brands don’t matter, just try to get one with an SPF and make sure it moisturizes.

10) Since we will be camping out, I’m definitely bringing a flashlight.  I have no idea if there will be an outhouse or something, but having a small flashlight handy certainly can’t hurt!

11) I tend to be a bit clumsy. Actually, I’m very very clumsy. I usually have a little sewing kit with me at all times and this trip is no different. Somehow I always manage to rip my clothes on branches, doorknobs, or other people so having a sewing kit with safety pins and extra buttons is a huge help for me. It’s especially useful when I travel since I only have a limited supply of clothing.

12) I also keep a travel tissue pack with me ever since my trip to Israel. We spent a night in a Bedouin campsite and they had run out of toilet paper. I certainly learned my lesson.

13) If I could, I would walk around barefoot all day, every day. But, I know I’m going to do some hiking in Africa so bare feet are not an option. To prepare for days in sneakers, I bought a couple pairs of socks. You can never have too many socks! It’s always a smart idea to refresh your sock collection if you are going hiking. Nothing creates blisters like worn out socks.

14) I’ve included in this care pack an environmentally friendly bag that rolls up to the size of my cell phone. I got this particular bag from National Geographic, but they are available in a variety of locations. I love how small it rolls and how useful it can be.

15) Lastly, I’ve obviously included my South Africa guidebook which I discussed in this post.

 One of the most important items I am bringing is this yellow sheet of paper:

International Certificate of Vaccination

While it may look small, this piece of paper could determine if I make it into Africa or not. I got this booklet from my doctor who administered the vaccinations I need for Africa. I got four: Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever, Hepatitis A, and a Polio booster. (Naturally, I’ve had many more shots, but these are the ones I got specifically for this trip).  I might have to show this paper at the border patrol to enter Africa, in between countries in Africa, and to get back into the US to prove I was protected before leaving the US. Additionally, I got prescriptions for Malaria, diarrhea, and the flu. A Malaria prescription is an absolute must, but the other two are just for prevention.

Get ready for tomorrow’s post, it’s about packing!



  1. If you have a weak stomach you might also want to consider things like imodium, pepcid, and similar options.

  2. Good point, Brother. I am also adding to my travel care pack a very strong bug repellent with DEET.

  3. I really did honestly learned alot by reading this article/packing (it’s a KEEPER) & great tips! I’ll let you know if I travel anywhere exciting!

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