FAQ & Packing List
Here are some questions people have asked about the most and also, a packing list. Hopefully they help!
Also, if you are coming on the trip, click this link for our Facebook group and request to be added. That is another great spot to ask questions and keep connected to folks who have traveled with us. Facebook Group: Adventures with Love Does
FAQ (packing list at the end)
How do I sign up for the trip?
First, apply at this link (read through and you’ll find the link to apply). If you’ve done that already, we’ll be getting back to you if there’s space. If so, we’ll send you a link to sign up through Pure Charity.
What do I do when I get to Uganda?
We've got all your arrivals listed and will either be there to greet you at the airport with a sign that says Love Does, or will have a driver there to greet you, also with a Love Does sign. Most of you are on the same flights so we will send emails out to let you know who’s on what flight. Or you can write on the Facebook page to see who else is on your particular flight.
Important Items to Note:
Girls, please do not wear shorts above the knee or tank tops on this trip. It is going to be warm, but we want to be sure to be respectful of everyone that we meet - so pants, long shorts, or skirts are the best option! We have found that it is best to bring two long skirts for two of the places we will visit. Don't worry, we will make sure that you all stay cool so it won't be too hot in longer clothing!
To exchange US Dollars in Uganda we recommend bringing new $100 dollar bills! These bills are harder to counterfeit, so they are much more easily accepted across Uganda.
Can I bring gifts for the kids?
We have found it’s best not to bring gifts and instead just spend time with the kids. However, there is a big need for more books in our libraries, so if you want to gather appropriate books for ages 5-13 that would be amazing! A lot of people have also asked if they can donate clothes they bring or extra clothes they have at home - yes you can! Just be sure to give it to our team leaders before you leave!
I got stuff in the mail from Love Does to bring over to Uganda what should I do with it?
We will not send you anything unless we ask first! Check out the contents so you’re aware of what you’re bringing, and then repack them however works best for you. They can be packed as an extra checked back since you should be packing most of your own things in carry-on luggage. Once you arrive in Uganda, pick it up at baggage claim and meet up with us – and we’ll handle it from there! Most of the time the items we ask folks to help us bring are supplies for our school or guest house. It could be sheets and towels, craft supplies, or care packages and/or letters for friends in Uganda. When you arrive in Uganda, go straight past the “nothing to declare” sign, otherwise they might try to tax you on stuff – so just go through the nothing to declare section.
I’m supposed to get stuff in the mail but haven’t yet! Will it come in time?
It should arrive on time but if not, no worries, we’ll figure it out later.
You mentioned packing in only carry-ons – but what if I have larger liquids?
Packing in a carry-on is mostly to a) make sure we’re “packing light” because we could be on a hopper flight and in cars, etc and will have to be mindful of space, and b) to ensure that if there are baggage delays, you won’t be stuck without all your stuff. But, with that in mind if you prefer to just check a bag for stuff you could potentially live without if it got delayed, that’s totally fine, or if you’re bringing stuff for us that gets checked and you want to toss in those larger toiletries, that’s totally fine.
Do I need to have my yellow fever card on me?
Yes – have the original card handy in case they ask for it on arrival. We like to staple ours into our passport or keep it in the passport holder.
Are leggings and long shirts okay?
You could bring this for the safari part, or travel days, etc but generally while out and about and on projects, regular pants or a skirt are best.
Should I bring a hairdryer?
No – most voltages won’t allow for hairdryers. If the hotel can handle it, they’ll probably have one in the room. If not, then it wouldn’t matter if you had yours because the voltage either wouldn’t work or would blow their fuse. In fact in our guest house, if you use a hair dryer it will break the power system so please just go with your natural hair for this trip :)
Can we drink the water?
No, it is best to drink bottled water. We’ll always have it on hand and and will make plenty of stops for water. You can drink the water at our guest house, but we’ll explain how that works when we get there. Remember to also use bottled water while brushing teeth, etc.
Can I take pictures of people?
It’s always safe to just ask first.
How many are coming?
It varies every time, but usually between 15-20 people.
Can I keep in touch with family while I’m gone? Let them know I’m safe, etc?
Most places will have some wifi so you can check in, but I always love a chance to go offline for a bit. You can also give them this email: firstname.lastname@example.org in case they want to check in.
We usually tell folks to send a note back home once we get to the hotel that first evening, and then let them know you’ll be offline a bit so you can just be present there.
How does the visa work? What do I put down?
We will be emailing you all the details you need to know about this! Do not worry, it is simple!
Should I bring bug spray?
Yes – there are bugs/mosquitos so this is always helpful, especially at night. We suggest that you always wear long sleeves and pants when it is dark, and that you take your malaria medicine every day! There will be mosquito nets provided at each place we stay - so you will not need to bring these!
Can I exchange contact info with students or teachers at the school or the kids at the safe houses?
We have found it is best not to exchange contact info – this is a huge help to us and less confusing to the kids, teachers, etc. They might be excited and ask to be Facebook friends, exchange emails, phone numbers, etc, but we ask that you kindly say no, or give them Dae’s contact info and let them know they can connect through our team instead. This ensures that should the child need anything, they are going straight to the people who will know how to help them in the best way.
How much money should I bring?
It really depends on the person – you’ll at least need $50 for the visa fee, and then after that you’ll only need money for misc snacks if you want, or gifts, souvenirs, etc. Including the visa fee, I would suggest about $300 and you’ll probably have extra, depending on how much you shop. But you can always re-exchange it back into American dollars later. Please bring new $100 dollar bills if you are going to convert cash in country - it is the easiest way to ensure they will take USD.
How does the money exchange work?
The visa fee can be paid with USD and then on the first day we’ll go exchange money.
Can I use credit cards or checks?
No, not usually. Best to have cash, and the best exchange rates are on new $100 bills (they’re harder to counterfeit so they prefer those).
Should I bring snacks?
Yes it’s always good to have some on hand in case you get hungry at odd times or don’t like some of the meals. Trail mix, granola bars, etc. Especially if you have specific dietary restrictions it’s best to plan ahead.
What kind of shoes are best? Can I wear open toed sandals?
We usually wear sandals, boots, tennis shoes or converse. You can wear anything, just keep in mind it’s dusty and dirty so you might prefer to have shoes sometimes. I’d bring options so you can decide!
Uganda Packing List: some suggested and helpful items
Please pack in a carry-on size suitcase or small bag and a personal item/backpack/purse.
Here are some specific items for our trip that will be needed:
-Yellow Fever Vaccination card
-Any other medications you need
-Travel size toiletries
–1 “nice” outfit. Women: 2 long skirts, shoes or sandals, shirt with sleeves. Men: dress pants and dress shirt, tie, shoes.
-The rest of the time, plan on lightweight, comfortable clothes – typical outfits: Girls: knee-length or longer skirts or slacks/jeans, T-shirt or lightweight collared shirt, tennis shoes. Guys: jeans or slacks, T-shirt or collared shirt, tennis shoes.
-Purse/backpack/small bag for day trips/outings
-Light-weight water-proof jacket and light sweatshirt
-Boots or tennis shoes for working
-Hand Sanitizer, wet-wipes/baby wipes and hand sanitizer for cleaning up – it tends to get dusty.
-Converters for electronics - you will need a type G converter
-Spending money (depends on the person: around $300 should be plenty)
-Alarm clock or watch with alarm
Items that are helpful:
-Camera (we love to use a film camera – old school but turns out super fun)
-Reading/Music for planes
-Sunglasses, hat, sunscreen (some malaria medications make you more sensitive to the sun so make sure to put on plenty of sun protection)
-Airborne/Emergen-C/other energy drink or vitamin supplement.
-If you’re a coffee drinker, you might think of bring along some VIA packets. The hotels will have instant coffee as well, but it’s not as good.
-There is a nice swimming pool at one of the hotels so bring a suit if you want to take a dip.
Other advice: https://www.advance-africa.com/Uganda-Volunteer-FAQ.html