Today's guest blog is from Wynne Elder.  I met Wynne one time at ACL last year, but I feel like we have lots of mutual friends and for sure have a lot in common in life.  I love her heart for the orphan and she might have the cutest babies around!


Hi Jamie Ivey's blog readers! So great to be with you again 🙂 My name is Wynne Elder and I blog over at Gloriously Ruined. You may remember me from the post I did on Jamie's “You want to adopt” series [here]. I'm excited to be back today with one of my most favorite things to talk about. What the heck to pack when you travel to the third world. Yes, you read that right. Before we traveled to Ethiopia to pick up our precious Camp + Asher, I made 3 trips to Africa on various mission + work trips. I learned very quickly what you should (and should not) bring while traveling. Whether you are traveling for a mission trip, a work trip, or a adoption trip — this list should help you out! If you have any questions or want to chat, visit my “be ruined” resources on my blog here.


[me and my boys in Ethiopia this June. maybe I should do a post about mission trip fashion….]

So I thought I'd put my little list 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. 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.
  • I'm adding panty liners to this list. yep.
  • 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.
Our adoption story [told so beautifully by Fotolanthropy] released this week.
I hope it encourages, challenges + inspires you.