Notes for My Next Trip from My Africa Trip

While my trip to Africa was great, there are things that I wish I had done a bit differently.  Below are the things that I would have done differently as well as the reasoning.   Take them with a grain of salt and your mileage may vary.

Bring an old smartphone instead of a tablet
For this, a lot really depends on what you are using the electronics for.  I did end up watching a few movies on my tablet so it was handy for that, but in the grand scheme of things, my phone would have been much more convenient.  I find typing on my phone easier than on my tablet and the phone is smaller and easier to carry.  It would have been much easier to share pictures with people back home via email if I had used my phone.

Bring my Kindle
I read, a lot.  I read 12 books over the course of the month that I was in Africa.  I found my tablet was cumbersome to read on and sometimes it was too bright due to the screen.  While reading didn’t drain the battery too badly, many other things did so I quite often was charging it when I wanted to read.

Make sure the locks I bring fit my carryon
I typically keep my carry on locked when I am travelling.  But the locks that I brought were too big to fit on the bag I was carrying.  This was actually due to using a different bag than a proper travel bag due to space.  I assumed all zipper pulls are the same but these were not and as a result, I couldn’t lock up my bag during my trip.  It wasn’t a big deal but it was frustrating.

Bring a change of clothing/sunscreen/deodorant in my carryon
I’ve always heard a person should have spare clothing in their carryon just in case.  But, as I have never lost luggage before, I hadn’t bothered.  Now that it has happened, it is something I will definitely have to consider.  While I did wash out my clothing at the other end, due to the weather, nothing dried and I had to go out in damp clothing.

Put name inside my luggage and first destination
Again, this has to do with losing luggage.  Another traveler told me of them losing her luggage and the identification tag got lost somewhere.  She was able to get her bag as she was able to describe it and think her name was inside somewhere.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to have something with your name and first destination inside so that they can verify the bag belongs to you.

Head lamp if camping
Apparently I did not read the packing list very carefully, if at all, and this caused some problems during the trip.  For the most part, I was able to make do with my flashlight and the light I got off of others headlamps.  While I don’t expect to do anther camping trip, hopefully my mistake will benefit you.

Calculator for easy currency conversion
I typically do not have an issue with figuring out various currencies and what equals what.   But there were times I was getting confused, especially as we were changing currency on a regular basis.  Having a calculator for some quick math likely would have helped me out once or twice or at least reminded me of how much I was paying for something.   With that, if I had an old smartphone, it would have had a calculator app I could use.

While this list is not a definite list of items that I wished I had had, it is a starting point and hopefully will help others.  Have you gone somewhere and wished you had brought something else with you that you had left at home?  Please let us know in the comments.

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