What to Pack for Africa

This is going to seem like a really random post and that would be because it is haha.

But recently someone either emailed me or left me a comment asking me what I packed for Africa when I went to Uganda last summer. That is a very valid question because 1) Even if you’ve been out of the country, it’s most likely way different dress than Africa. 2)  You most likely are trying to pack light. 3) Theres no CVS if you forget something 4) You are about to have some long travel too.

Like I said, it’s been a year so I’m not 100% sure of what I packed but since it was such few things I have a pretty good idea! Plus you are getting the better version of things I also WISHED I had packed.

First off, our group leaders told us to pack in a carry-on size bag. I’d definitely recommend this as well because you do not want to get all the way over there only to find out your luggage got lost or is late. Plus a carry-on is all you really need anyway. If you do not already have one or are looking for a new bag I’d suggest this one 10/10. I got this bag specifically for that trip but have been using it frequently ever since. Sadie and Brighton ended up getting the same one as well.  It was the perfect size and you can carry it on your arm or put it on your back. The workers at the Patagonia store told me its actually not regulated carry-on dimensions, but because it’s a soft bag it fits great, and they all use it and have never had issues with it. We didn’t have any problems either.

We wanted to respect the natives and try to follow some of their customs for dressing so for the girls it meant long pants and longs skirts/ dresses and covered shoulders. Jeans are pretty hot for a normal day so I would try to find something a little cooler/ breezier. Korie found us a bunch of skirts on sale at Cato and they worked great. I had a little jumpsuit that I tied a shirt up with it as well for the day we needed to dress a little nicer. Also the last day I just wore my black pajama pants!

What I packed for 1 week:


travel day: leggings + t-shirt + sweater + socks

5 shirts

3 skirts

1 romper/ jumpsuit

pajama shorts + 2 sleep shirts

1 swimsuit

1 hat

athletic shorts (wore for rafting the Nile)

rain jacket


Tennis Shoes

travel day: same as first just wear different shirt



fanny pack (super helpful for phone, germ-x, chapstick)

melatonin (great for plane and jet lag)

germ-x (always good)

baby wipes (^)

snacks (duh…always. haha but really I liked to have some cliff bars!)

journal (all your days will get mixed up and you definitely want to remember!)

downy wrinkle releaser (ALWAYS carry this!!! not just for wrinkles but freshens up your clothes so you can rewear things!!)

and of course your toiletries, just keep them super light and regulation size for flying

also I didn’t worry about a hairdryer


Don’t sweat the packing! Just bring your essentials. Don’t stress over makeup or how you look. I promise, you will not care when you get over there. Plus when you’re over there you sweat whatever makeup off anyway haha. Plus it’s not like anyone else will be able to bring much more than what you are bringing! Whatever reason you are going over there for, especially if it’s for missions, just remember why you are going. It’s not about how you look or what you have, its about loving the people you are going to see. It’s about spreading the love of Jesus and helping to empower these people.

Kind of related but not really…if you are reading this go right now and read Galatians 5 the Message version. GO. So good.

Hope this is helpful to some of you!

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23 comments so far.

23 responses to “What to Pack for Africa”

  1. Holly says:

    Please share your diet and exercise routine as a busy college student–what works and doesn’t work for you!

    • Amy says:

      Yes, please do!! I think it would be so interesting especially being a busy college student myself. God bless 🙂

  2. chloe says:

    i love your blog so so much!!!!! i’m a high school senior and am looking at Liberty University! i would love to read a post about your opinion of all things Liberty!!

    • Jaime Excellent says:

      Yes would love that considering go to liberty as well and also considering lee university

  3. Molly Dorris says:

    I would love for you to do a random facts post???

  4. Katie says:

    I would love for you to post about how to keep a feed and stuff like that 🙂

  5. catherine o'halloran says:

    could you do a blog post about staying above depression? i know you’ve done one about your depression, but i have a hard time trying to staying on a path of christ and not straying.

  6. Annabelle says:

    please do a post on your workout routine and fav things to eat! or any college posts for freshman this fall! love you!

  7. Regan says:

    Love your random posts! You should do a random summer favorites! Like scriptures you’re currently reading, songs, snacks, etc

  8. Payton says:

    hey!! (I love your blog btw!) It would be cool to hear more about your brothers adoption!!

  9. Kaylee Rose says:

    Mary Kate!! this is awesome! can you share your makeup routine and kind of do like a bible study or certain books of the bible to read?!

  10. Amy Kober says:

    Can you write a post or something about how you edit your photos? i think the aesthetic of them is perfect and i can’t seem to get it right!

  11. Jaime Excellent says:

    Would love for you to talk about godly relationships and about not getting discouraged because you don’t have a boyfriend when all of your friends do and to encourage girls that god has someone for them.

  12. Haley says:

    I would love a blog post on how you stay healthy while at summer camp! Can you work out? How do you maintain a healthy dietary balance or do you at all?

  13. Emily says:

    Hi Mary Kate, I absolutely love Love LOVE your blog. I was just wondering what group you traveled with to Africa. Was it Love Africa Mission?

  14. Aly says:

    As another college student, I would love to hear about your diet and exercise routine as well!

  15. Tianna Rager says:

    I love love love your blog! Would really like to hear about the process of being engaged for you guys and getting married young (I’m 19 and get married in a month from today). It seems as though it’s frowned upon to get young but would love to hear how you guys put God first in your relationship and how you do so or fandoms on this topic!

  16. Alex St. Martin says:

    Thanks for posting this? I love the ending!

  17. Caroline Conner says:

    I love reading your blog posts! Do you have any advice for girls struggling with acne? Like how to clear it up, but also being confident/your journey with it?

  18. Lindsay Kate says:

    wow, that must have been one amazing trip! I would love to go on a missions trip! Where did y’all go for y’all missions trip?

  19. Grace Moore says:

    This was SO helpful! I am leaving for Uganda in a week on a mission trip and I have no idea what to expect or pack. I was so excited when I saw this post, perfecting timing! Thank you!!!

  20. Emily says:

    Love this! So much simpler than other packing lists I’ve seen. Going to Busega, Uganda in April. Not my first out of the country mission trip, but my first one to the other side of the world. This list is so helpful!

  21. Andrea says:

    Where did you get the skirts? I’m going on a mission trip to Haiti in May. I’m about your size and would love to know where you got them and if you liked them?!

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