I remember before I left trying so hard to make the contents of my bag smaller and lighter and just finding it impossible. I could get a bigger bag but then as a 5ft 8stone girl, there would be no way I could carry it. I trawled the GVI blogs searching for tips and hints on how to prepare but found nothing. Therefore for my first blog here are my tips on getting prepared.
1/ Get a good backpack. If you are doing the same trip as me, the conservation internship, you will be traveling between 3 different bases so a good comfortable backpack is essential. Make sure to try it on before you buy as you can get different back lengths. Also make sure you can carry it. A friend of mine gave me his Osprey 60liter one, which he traveled around the world in (with adjustable straps’ to fit) and it is just amazing. I recommend googling ‘ best back packs’ for a list of the best brands.
2/ Make sure you check the airline weight restrictions. I traveled with Ethiopian airlines and they allow two bags under 23kg. However even if you just have one bag at 25kg you will have to pay for 2kg unless you can make the bag into two and therefore the two will be under 23kg. They are strict on this so be aware.
3/ Lock every single zip on you luggage and bring all valuables in your hand luggage.
4/ Be prepared to have your luggage lost for a day or two so bring whatever you may need e.g. clean pair of underwear in your hand luggage.
5/ Don’t worry about the cost of calls. You can buy a cheap phone here very easily and phone credit. I can guarantee you, it will be much cheaper than using your home phone.
6/ I don’t have one friend who didn’t ask about whether I would have toilet roll. Yes you will have toilet roll.
7/Do not bring expensive flip-flops, they will get destroyed and new ones will be available for about £2 at most market stalls.
8/ Test out the size of you mosquito net before you come. A lot of people found that their single size nets were too small.
9/ Do not do what I did and weighed down my bag with a years supply of sun cream, moisturizers and insect repellent. Bring what you need for a couple of weeks and you will have the opportunity to buy more when you go into town.
10/ Do not worry about bringing lots of clothes. Stick to the GVI equipment list and you will be fine.
11/ You will want a camera to make a record of this adventure. There are so many amazing photo opportunities here you will want to savor them.
12/Enjoy. It truly is a wonderful experience.
Text: Colette Moore (Conservation Intern)