Travel Packing List – Last updated for Africa 2022

NOTE: Before you check your bags on an airline, take a quick photo of them with your phone. When the airline loses your baggage, they will ask you for a description of the bag. You can show them the photo.

First Day Back – Impressions and Ideas:

I just returned from a 10 day safari in and around the Serengeti, 2 days in Zanzibar and 8 days in the Seychelles.

Airlines still haven’t fully recovered from the pandemic so flights are being constantly delayed, moved, and cancelled. We almost missed our connection in Amsterdam due to a flight delay. The tight turn-around meant that our checked bags didn’t arrive in Arusha until 24 hours later. We wore the same clothes the first 2 days on safari, rinsing them at night and hoping they would be mostly dry by morning. Avoid checking bags until the return trip, if possible.

For the most part, we were very pleased with the items we took. I marked the items in the attached list with DN for (Didn’t need) if I determined, after the trip, that they wouldn’t have been necessary. I made the following notes along the way:

  • I would have been fine with only one pair of long pants and two pairs of shorts. This might vary depending on the climate.
  • I would have taken an emergency socks/underwear/t-shirt in my carry-on bag.
  • It is OK to wear socks with your sandals.
  • AT&T International Day Pass is awesome. It costs $10 / day for the first phone and $5 / day for the second. They only charge you on the days you use it and there is a maximum $150 / billing cycle charge. Talk, Data, and Text are included.
  • I would have included an extra toothbrush to clean dust from camera equipment, etc. I actually bought one along the way.
  • I would have remembered to change the date and time on my camera to the local time so my photo timestamps would have made more sense. I also would have reset the photo counter on my camera so all the photos would have been in sequence.
  • I would have taken a polarizing filter for my wide camera lens for water and fog pictures.
  • I would have taken a small roll of clear packing tape to add bag tags to boxes and tubes.
  • I would have packed denture tablets to sterilize water bottles and clean things.
  • I would have taken my multi-pliers (If checking a bag).
  • I would have taken a cork screw (If checking a bag) or just bought a cheap one upon arrival.
  • I was glad I took my European power adapters for charging in the airports.
  • $1500 cash in small bills is plenty for tips, gifts and incidentals (wine and beer) on a 10 day safari.
  • I was glad I took the once-per week malaria pills despite the potential side-effects. Many people who took the daily pills had gastrointestinal issues.

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry:

TSA PreCheck will save you a ton of time in the security line. You don’t have to remove liquids, CPAP equipment or large electronics from your carry-on bags or remove your shoes. You can access a shorter line for security which may mean the difference between making and missing your flight.

When you qualify for TSA PreCheck, you are assigned a Known Traveler Number (KTN). You need to make sure the KTN is included in all your airline profiles. Your boarding pass should indicate TSA PreCheck if your KTN number was included with your booking.

You have to pay for a KTN and schedule an interview with a security firm to qualify.

TSA PreCheck doesn’t help in foreign countries and some smaller airports don’t have a TSA PreCheck line so you still have to be prepared with all your liquids in a single bag in case you need to remove them.

Global Entry is the next level above TSA Precheck. It costs a little more but it offers the same type of benefits for flights returning to the United States. It makes it much easier to pass through customs. The interview is more in-depth and you will be fingerprinted. The interviews are difficult to get so the best way is to fill out all the information online and wait until your first trip back on an international flight. After you pass through customs, you can request an interview at the airport. The process takes about 45 minutes and, if you qualify, you will receive a new KTN that replaces your old TSA PreCheck KTN.

Carry-on vs Personal Item:

If your trip includes flights on very small aircraft that limit the weight of your carry-on luggage and do not allow an additional personal item, you have to improvise.

These flights typically do not restrict the weight you carry in the pockets of your vest or your coat.

I have a pocketed vest like a SCOTTeVEST that I use to carry items on small flights. I sewed a set of zippers inside that can hold additional pockets. The extra pockets zip out and zip together to become a sling pack / personal item. I keep all my heavy lithium batteries and chargers in these pockets because I cannot put them in my check bag.

Personal Item (could be carry-on):

  • Eyeglass Case with Extra Contact Lenses (I don’t wear contact lenses on long flights)
  • Sunglasses
  • Portable Water Bottle
  • Chewing Gum
  • Travel Med Kit with:
    • Simethicone
    • Imodium
    • Benadryl
    • Dude Wipes (4 pkgs)
    • Tums Chewable (2 pkgs)
    • Wisp Toothbrushes (2 pkgs)
    • Toothpicks & Dental Picks
    • Aspirin
    • Tylenol
    • Naproxen
    • Motrin (I didn’t have it but was asked for it by someone in the airport).
    • Hearing Aid Batteries
    • Excedrin
    • Lip Balm
  • Hidden Cash Billfold with Belt Loop (either on person or in carry-on)
    • Extra Cash
    • Photocopy of Passport
  • Headphones (DN)
    • I would have taken a cheap pair of in-ear headphones and a Y adapter to share sound from my laptop.
  • Earplugs (DN)
  • Mouthpiece (DN)
  • CPAP:
    • Unit (Power Cord is with other USB Cables in Jacket)
    • Hose
    • Mask
    • Adapter and Filter
  • Laptop
  • Camera w/ Wide Lens
  • Long Lens
  • Ball Cap
  • Neck/Face Wrap (DN)
  • Extra Paper Masks
  • Prescription Medicines
  • All RX Paperwork
  • Tanzanian Visa Paperwork
  • Passport
  • Printed Itinerary
  • European, East African, and Indian Plug Adapters
    • I didn’t end up using the India adapter in Tanzania but I needed the European adapters in the airports in Europe.

In Jacket / Vest Pockets (could be personal item):

  • 20800 USB-C Power Delivery Power Banks (2x)
    • I could have used just one because we weren’t off the grid as much as I thought and they provided 110V charging at about every seat in the safari vehicle.
  • Camera Batteries (4x)
  • USB-C Cables (3x)
  • USB-C Adapters (pkg)
  • CPAP USB C PD Power Cable
    • I may end up changing this to house the USB-C PD socket in the CPAP power box. If the connections get loose, you won’t have power to your CPAP.
  • USB-C Power Delivery Wall Charger with dual output
  • Portable SSD Drive
  • Headphone Charger Cable (DN)
  • Solid Travel-sized Deodorant
  • Camera Battery Charger
  • Additional Camera SD Card(s)
  • Waterproof Phone Case (DN)
  • Zip Ties
  • Luggage Locks (x2)
  • Lens Wipes (12x)
  • Toilet Paper and Dude Wipes in Silicone Case

In Checked Bag: 

Note: (40 lbs. max)

  • Extra duffel
  • Hey Dude Shoes in Shoe Bags (items stuffed inside shoes)
    • Camera Dust Blower
    • Scrubba Bag
    • Nail Brush
      • This little brush also works great for brushing the dust off your gear or cleaning stubborn stains.
    • Silicone Bottle Dry Laundry Soap
    • Additional Dry Laundry Soap (vacuum sealed)
    • Extension Cord with triple outlet
  • Crocks, Sandals or River Shoes (Keen Water Sandals work well).
  • Mesh bag with folded pants:
    • Tan Fast-Dry Pants (I really didn’t need 2 pr of long pants)
    • Grey Fast-Dry Shorts
    • Tan Fast-Dry Shorts
    • Swimsuit
  • Wrinkle-free packing folder with:
    • Green Short Sleeve Shirt (DN)
    • Blue Short Sleeve Shirt
    • Green Long Sleeve Fishing Shirt (DN)
    • Grey Long Sleeve Fishing Shirt
  • Packing Cube with: (Ranger Rolled)
    • Compression Shorts (DN) could just use fast dry underwear.
    • Fast Dry Underwear (4 pr)
    • Crew Length Socks (2 pr)
    • Short Socks (4 pr)
  • Wrinkle-free packing folder with:
    • Sleeping Shirt
    • Sleeping Shorts
    • Fast Dry T-Shirts (3x)
  • Liquids bag containing:
    • Toothbrush / Paste combination
      • You could just take a regular toothbrush and toothpaste. The combo kit from REI doesn’t last 2 weeks and the toothpaste got hard in one tube.
    • Contact Lens Solution (2 oz.)
    • Petroleum Jelly (0.25 oz. / 7g) (DN)
    • Lip Balm (0.25 oz. / 7g)
    • Afrin (1 oz. / 30 ml)
    • Contact Lens Re-wetting Drops
    • Extra contact lenses (don’t wear them on long flights)
  • COVID Antigen Test Kit (2x) (DN because US stopped testing just before we returned)
    • You should always have a hard case inside your soft duffel to protect items from smashing. If you don’t need it, you can always fill it with socks. This pencil case is inexpensive and works well. My pencil case broke so I may look for another hard case for my duffel.
    • I would consider a Plano® ProLatch® StowAway® Deep Small Parts Organizer from Menards (14″ x 9″ x 3.25″).
  • Gadget Bag with (could go inside the hard case):
    • Goal Zero Crush Light lantern
    • Mini Headlamp (DN and if you decide to take one, opt for bright over lightweight).
    • Lithium Batteries for headlamp (DN)
    • Battery Operated Alarm Clock and extra batteries
    • Extra USB-C Cables (include one long cable)
    • Extra CPAP Filter
    • Extra USB-C Wall Charger
  • Silicone Zip Top bag with:
    • Sunscreen Stick
    • Sunscreen Spray (DN, used the stick type most of the time)
    • 100% DEET (DN but might look for a solid type. Sprayed most of my clothes with permethrin ahead of time.) I would consider bringing DEET towelettes instead of the liquid.
    • Benadryl Itch Relief Stick (DN)
    • Flushable Wipes (Pkg of 18)
    • Wet Wipes (Pkg of 20)
  • First Aid Kit with:
    • Band Aids
    • KT Tape
    • Antibiotic Ointment
    • Sinus Rinse Packets
    • Gauze Bandages
    • Command Strips
    • Dressing Tape
    • Alcohol Wipes
    • Superglue One-Time Use (x2)
  • Tan metal-free belt
  • Dirty Laundry Bag
  • Binoculars w/ Microfiber Cloth
  • Tilley Hat (DN, used baseball cap and sunscreen instead)
  • Clothesline Kit – (I am very happy with this arrangement)
    • 36 feet of 100 lb test microcord wound on a Lexan spool
    • Blanket Pins (20x)
  • 21W Solar charger (DN)
  • Towel Bag with:
    • Large Camp Towel
    • Bar Soap (DN)
    • Bar Shampoo (DN)
    • Bar Conditioner (DN)
  • Dopp Kit with:
    • Large Deodorant (2.6 oz)
    • Nasal Rinse Top (fits water bottle)
    • Folding Brush
    • Q-Tip Box with:
    • Metal Sewing Scissors
    • Shaving Razor
    • Toenail Clippers
    • Q-Tip Box with:
      • Q-Tips
      • Metal grater blade from foot grater
    • Jeweler’s loupe
    • Sewing Kit
    • Dental Floss
    • Sinus Rinse Packets
  • Travel scale (DN)
  • Snorkel Mask
  • Snorkel
  • Tens unit (DN)
  • Tens Pads (DN)
  • Additional Dude Wipes (8x)
  • Camera beanbag (This was awesome and I am working on a new design)
  • Pocket Safari Vest (DN I did use a man-purse made from the pockets of a safari vest)

Wear, Day One:

  • Fast Dry Underwear
  • Grey Fast Dry Shirt
  • Grey Fast Dry Long Pants
  • Fast Dry Socks
  • Metal Free Belt (Black)
  • Cash Billfold with Belt Loop (either on person or in carry-on)
    • Extra Cash
    • Photocopy of Passport
  • Compression Sleeves (if long flights)
  • Hiking Shoes (or heaviest pair for trip)
  • Hooded Sweatshirt
  • Raincoat
  • Jersey Gloves in Raincoat
  • Compression Bag for Coats
  • Cloth Mask
Clothesline with Blanket Pins
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