Ten Things to Do Before Travelling to Africa


ID-10053921Parents adopting from Africa will likely need to travel to their child’s country of birth to bring their child home. Parents who adopt from countries such as Congo, Burkina Faso or Ethiopia are required to take at least one trip to the country to finalize their adoption process. Traveling to Africa comes with some inherent risks and adoptive parents should fully prepare for their trip. Below is a list of important to-do’s before embarking on your trip to Africa.

  1. Check the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Warnings. Information about travel warnings issued by the U.S. State Department can be found here.
  2. Register your travel plans on the Smart Travel Enrollment Program. The Smart Travel Enrollment Program allows travelers to register travel plans with the U.S. Embassy. The site will ask for information such as where you are traveling to, your passport number and dates of travel. In the event of an emergency while you are in country, the U.S. Embassy knows you are there and can assist if it becomes necessary.
  3. Learn more about your destination. Visit the U.S. State Department – Bureau of Counselor Affairs for information about your country of destination, including entry requirements.
  4. Check the country of your destination’s embassy website in the United States for requirements to enter the country, such as a visa and immunizations.
  5. Consult with an international/travel physician familiar with the illnesses and diseases associated with the country you are traveling to in Africa. Many countries require vaccinations such as the Yellow Fever vaccine before you are allowed entry into the country. A travel or international doctor can also suggest other immunizations and medications that you should bring with you, such as anti-malaria medications or antibiotics, in the event that you become ill.
  6. Check the expiration date on your passport. Ensure your passport does not expire within six months of your travel dates.
  7. Invest in a money belt. While traveling internationally to complete your adoption, carrying cash is often a necessity. Credit cards, while an everyday convenience here in the United States, are not always practical when traveling to third-world countries. We recommend our families carry cash both in American dollars and local currency.
  8. Pack bug spray. Pre-spraying clothing prior to packing is also recommended, bug repellent with the highest concentration of deet works the best.
  9. Check the predicted or average weather in that country during the time of your travel to best know what clothing to pack. Many countries experience cooler temperatures, especially at night.
  10. Be well versed on the country’s culture and acceptable behaviors.


For more information on adopting from one of Burkina Faso international adoption program, please contact us.

Photo Credit

Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptions’ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.