Pack Lists

Packing List 1: Road Trip

Destination: Various
Duration: At least one week
Roaming frequency: Every one to three days
Transportation: Private vehicle
Lodging: Various
# in party: 1 to 4

Go here for a road trip packing list. 

Packing List 2: Solo trip to Ethiopia (non-backpacking)

Duration: Two months
Climate: Mostly warm weather, with some chilly exceptions
Roaming frequency: Weekly
Transportation: Airplane + public bus or van
Lodging: Private room in hotel or home
# in party: 1

10 most useful things I packed:

  1. Flashlight
  2. Wide-brimmed hat - the Ethiopian sun is brutal, and shade is sometimes scarce; sunglasses alone were not sufficient for protection from light for vision, not to mention skin protection.
  3. Imodium -- should have taken even more. I was able to buy Cipro in Ethiopia, but not Imodium or similar. 
  4. Camera, but see this.
  5. Two, one-cup size Rubbermaid "take-along" cups with screwtop lids, which I used for brushing my teeth every day or drinking coffee on a bus. 
  6. Universal plug (and a largish prescription bottle filled with powdered laundry detergent)
  7. Wristwatch with alarm - for those early buses. Inexpensive and alarm only sounded for 20 seconds, but it did the trick.  
  8. Flash drive for uploading photos onto same; because I had this and used it, I still had half of my trip photos when my camera was stolen. (But I'd also uploaded the same onto Facebook, so that was another safeguard.)  
  9. Paperback books that I released to the wild along the way
  10. Pacsafe money belt with plastic buckle (I also wore an Eagle Creek hidden pocket, which is very good) -- the belt was so ordinary, casual, and comfortable - loved it; fit many bills; and it was very inexpensive.

Things I most wish I'd brought:
  • Immersion coil or mini kettle for coffee or oatmeal in my room in the morning. I looked, but never saw one in Ethiopia. (There were kettles, but too large.)
  • Scarf or bandana to protect mouth and nose from the cursed dust on Ethiopian side streets (and sometimes main streets); I did finally buy one in Ethiopia, but it would have been so much more convenient to have brought one with me. 
  • A serious exfoliater for my feet, such as a pumice stone, specifically for my heels. I looked for this in Ethiopia; could not find anywhere.

Things I'm glad I brought, though not essential:
  • MP3 player plus mini speaker - this plus the voice recorder provided sustenance when the electricity went out in hotels, a not-infrequent occurrence in Ethiopia
  • Voice recorder onto which I'd loaded inspirational podcasts
  • Single-serve powdered drink "straws," e.g. Crystal Light; wish I'd brought more, especially since I gave some out to curious wait staff along the way. 


Here's what I wrote on luggage before I left for Ethiopia.  

I took this eBags Mother Lode TLS Mini 21" with me to Ethiopia:

Am I glad I took the wheeled bag instead of my soft-side, convertible tech Weekender, also from E-bags? 

At the end of the day, yes, I'm glad I took the wheeled bag, even though I don't love it the way I love the Weekender.

The wheels were very sturdy, the bag rarely tipped over, and with a lifetime warranty, I did not hesitate to roll it over any terrain. As a matter of fact, I had to get downright insistent about rolling it when bus or hotel staff felt the need to carry the bag rather than set it down and roll it, for fear of hurting the bag. And, I will say, it was more awkward to carry than a soft-sided, unwheeled bag. And yes, stairs necessitated carrying rather than rolling. But I didn't encounter stairs all that often. And, finally, I didn't feel the need to prove anything by hefting my own bag up the steps if there was someone at hand practically pulling it out of my hand to do it for me. That was an opportunity for me to help the local economy.

Having said all of the above, the Weekender would have done OK also.

When it came to air travel (and the lengthy treks to distant gates), it wasn't an issue, as I checked the bag. (Free because it was international travel.) If I hadn't checked the bag, the advantage of my wheeled bag over the soft-side carry would have been even clearer because of the ease in rolling it down those long gate ways.


  • Three pairs of trousers (one that I could also use as pajama bottom)
  • Three pairs of underwear
  • Two bras
  • Four warm-weather tops (one that I could also use as pajama top)
  • One long-sleeved turtleneck for chilly weather
  • One blazer for chilly weather
  • One fleece vest for chilly weather
  • Three pairs of socks
  • Chaco sandals
  • Teva sandals (that I could wear with socks)
  • Old pair of tennis shoes that I knew I'd dispose of on the trip
  • Pajamas (a top and bottom)


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