My packing suggestions for an adoption trip to Ethiopia

February 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm 7 comments


Here is what we packed for our trip to Ethiopia.  Logistically, we checked 3 suitcases/ Rubbermaid containers of donations and one suitcase that had our items in it.  We also carried on 4 bags– a hiking day pack, a school-type backpack that doubled as our diaper bag in country, a camera bag, and a carry on suitcase that had enough of Abram’s stuff to get us through if we lost our luggage.  We packed our carry on bags in a way that would allow us to be prepared if our luggage was lost.  Turns out that was a good strategy because our luggage got to Ethiopia a day and a half after us (although we suspect that this was more our fault than the airlines.  If you are flying Emirates with an overnight layover in Dubai, let me know and I’ll give you the spill on how to make sure your luggage shows up).  


Here is how I have organized these lists for your use.  Things are sorted categorically (medical, baby, etc.  If we used it en route or in country, I have bolded it.  If I packed it in our carry on luggage, I have written CO after the item.  Hope this is helpful.  Let me know if you have any questions!  


Regular prescriptions for the adults traveling + Cipro for each adult, Predniszone taper for me (based on my allergy tendencies).  CO                                                                                               

Baby prescriptions-: antibiotic, scabies cream, ringworm cream (we would have used the antibiotic but he came with a round already started)  CO                                                                

Neosporin+pain                                                       Bandaids                                                                                                                               


Imodium AD  CO

Peptobismal  CO  

Benadryl  CO

Zyrtec CO

Mucinex D  CO

Infant’s Tylenol CO

Excedrin Tension Headache  CO

Tylenol  CO

Lotrimin Cream for baby  CO

Mylicon Gas Drops CO

Infant Thermometer  CO

Pedialyte  CO

Antibacterial Wipes CO

Baby Oragel CO

Nose Syringe CO

Infant Nail Clippers CO


Earplugs CO

Eye Shade  CO

Nyquil/ Dayquil  CO


Toiletries/ Electronics

Travel Alarm Clock  (the baby was a sufficient alarm clock!)

Electric Converter CO   

Ipod CO

Flashlights CO

Batteries CO

Flat Iron

Digital Camera, back up battery and sim card  CO

Video Camera  CO

Wet Wipes   CO

Lotion  (small bottle for carry on) 

Kleenex  CO

Travel Toilet Paper CO

Ponds Cleansing Cloths  CO

Hand Sanitizer CO

Toothbrush/toothpaste CO

Travel Shampoo/ Conditioner/ Curl Cream  CO

Comb (the one thing I totally forgot to put in our carry on)

Hair clips

Make Up

Soap/ body wash

Contacts, saline solution (travel size saline carry one)  CO

Glasses  CO

1 extra towel CO

Plastic Grocery Bags  CO

Ziploc bags, various sizes  CO 

Shower flip flops  CO   

Lip Balm CO


Our Clothing

1 pair of closed-toe, solid shoes each  (we wore them)

2 pants each

3 shirts each

1 yoga, hanging around the room outfit for me (long Capri pants, t-shirt, hoodie)


Something to sleep in

Underwear  CO  

Raincoat  (Rosie)  

Vest (BF) 

We each carried on one change of clothes and our underwear for the week. 


 Sweet Baby A’s stuff

1.5 outfits per day  (8)  4 in CO

1.5 pjs per day   (8)    4 in CO  

Socks   some in carry on

1 pair of shoes  CO

5 Bibs  3 in CO

5 burpcloths  3 in CO

2 blankets  1 in CO

1 crib sheet

Baby shampoo, lotion  CO

Washcloths with soap  CO

Diaper Rash Cream CO

Diaper Wipes  some in CO

3 knitted caps  2 in CO

Playtex drop in bottles, bags, various nipple speeds   CO

Dr. Brown’s bottles, nipples, various nipple speeds    CO


Formula  some in CO  

Age appropriate toys (2 rattles, soft book, 2 teething toys)  some in CO

Baby Bjorn  in CO

Sling (he hated the sling) 

Head to Toe Fleece Outfit  (we only used this when we landed back in the US and needed to switch terminals at JFK and then get to our car when we got home) 

2 Sleepsacks  1 in CO

Pacifiers (2 different types)  (he hated pacifiers.  Spit them out when he realized they were not a source for formula)   

Baby towel CO



Protein Bars  some CO

Oatmeal Bars  some CO

Shelled Pistachios  some Co

Chocolate  some CO

Gifts for carehouse and individuals some CO


Other Carry On Items

Deck of Cards

Books (I packed three and that was way too many.  One would have been fine). 


Embassy Paperwork

Other Paperwork (I bought an 11 pocket expandafile and labeled each pocket:  travel, embassy, forms, general info, medical, baby, mementos, language, thank yous) 














Entry filed under: Life at Home. Tags: , , , , , .

When BF took yoga He Said, She Said

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Betsy  |  February 20, 2009 at 9:50 am

    This is incredible, thank you so much for putting this all down. Our court date is April 13th….. hope to use this information May/June. Thank you, Betsy

  • 2. Best of Life at Home « Hijas Americanas  |  May 6, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    […] Packing suggestions for an adoption trip to Ethiopia   Our packing list broken down into what we carried on, what we packed in our checked luggage, what we actually used in country, etc.  […]

  • 3. Lori  |  July 1, 2009 at 10:51 am

    I’m looking at flying Emirates air as you did and would be interested in learning your “tip” for getting your luggage to Ethiopia on time. Also, did you fly back through Dubai and did you kid(s) need a visa to be in the airport?


    • 4. rosiemolinary  |  July 1, 2009 at 11:29 am


      How exciting! Likely, you will have an overnight layover in Dubai. You might be told by your travel agent to pick up your bags in Dubai and take them to the hotel with you for the overnight then recheck them the next day. When we arrived in Dubai, we asked about this three or four times and each time were reassured that we did not need to get our luggage, they would hold them safely overnight and put them on our morning flight to Addis. After a long flight, we were so relieved to be done with the bags and took the Emirates employees’ word for it. To be on the safe side, don’t do it. Take your bags with you that night and recheck them the next day. It’s the safest way to insure your luggage arrives in Ethiopia with you.

      We did fly back through Dubai and no visa is needed with Emirates.

      Best of luck to you!

  • 5. chris  |  January 2, 2010 at 11:43 pm


    We’re leaving soon! via Emirates to Ethiopia! I was wondering how picky they are about carry ons? it’s hard to figure out on their web site…….I looked like when traveling economy, you can only carry on one thing?

    Any help would be great!


  • 6. The Non-Biological Moms : Ramona Holloway  |  May 5, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    […] can be expensive, you don’t have to be an A-lister to make it happen.  Debbie Walker, Rosie Molinary, Sandra Szoke, Peggy Hays, Linell Walker, Lori DuBois… those are just a few of the adoptive […]

  • 7. Rachel N  |  June 26, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Thank you for your great tips. We are travelling soon to pick up a 2 year old boy and an 8 mos old girl. We are flying Emirates and I would like to take you up on your offer for advice on ensuring that our checked bags come through. Please email me at Thanks so much!


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