Packing is one of the most important steps when preparing to go on a trip to Malawi. Proper planning will ensure you have all the items needed to make your experience the best it can be. The trips also give us the opportunity to bring over supplies, gifts and clothing to vulnerable families. To avoid feeling overwhelmed by this process, this post will cover everything you should have in place before leaving.
Travel Packing: When preparing for your flight, don’t forget to bring your passport along. Remember to check if your passport expiration date is valid, at least 6 months from the departure date, prior to leaving. Once you arrive at the Blantyre airport, there will be a $75 visa requirement that will be paid in cash. Malawi largely remains a cash only economy. We suggest you bring $100 to $300 along with you on your trip in cash since there are very few ATMs. Cash can be exchanged at a Foreign Exchange Bureau. Since the flight is long, we suggest wearing comfortable clothing while traveling.
Clothing to Pack: Women in the villages dress modest and avoid showing their legs and shoulders. We ask that all women pack long dresses and skirts well below the knee along with a slip to avoid see through fabric. For shirts, plan on packing tops with sleeves; t-shirts are acceptable to wear. For men, pack causal light pants only (no shorts), t-shirts, and collared shirts. Everyone should plan on bringing a dressier Sunday outfit for church. In addition, pack light jackets, rain jackets, sweatshirts, pajamas, sturdy sneakers or shoes for rough terrain and sandals. Women can also wear chitenges which is a large piece of cloth that is wrapped around your body like a skirt. During the trip, we’ll stop at a fabric store for those of you who would want to bring home this beautiful fabric.
Additional Items to Pack: To make the most of your trip, we suggest you bring the following items. Headlamps and flash lights are suggested to pack for night. If you would like to bring food from home, bring items that can easily be stored like granola, trail mix, and power bars. Pack a refillable water bottle. Jugs of clean water are provided at the farm to refill your water bottles. In addition, pack a backpack, a Bible, books to read, a journal, cards or games, pens, paper, hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, and small gifts for Malawian colleagues. Often, one suitcase is packed with items specifically for the villagers including tooth brushes, tooth paste, light blankets, t-shirts, fabric, soap, Vaseline, and picture books with dark skinned characters.