Tips on preparing for Ghana

Los Angeles Travel Blog

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proof of my six vaccinations!
Preparing for a country like Ghana is a pretty tedious thing to do.  There are the necessary immunizations, medications, buying proper gear and clothing, obtaining a visa, etc.  I would recommend starting your preparations at least one month before your trip, as some vaccines and meds take a few weeks to take effect.  Start with visiting a travel doctor or someone who specializes in tropical diseases.  They'll know what's up, rather than ask you, "Where's Ghana again?"  I got six shots: Hepatitis A, yellow fever, rabies, polio, meningitis, and dyptheria/typhoid!  Painful.  And painfully expensive!  It is true that Ghana is one of the cheapest places on Earth, but it can get pretty expensive if you count the flight ($1500), doctor's visits ($700), meds ($700), etc. 
As for meds, it's wise to take malaria pills.  I took Malarone, which you take daily, and has the least side effects.  Most expensive at about $6/pill, but when the cheaper brands have side effects such as hallucinations, depression, and extremely vivid dreams, who cares?  Other essential drugs to bring are antibiotics, anti-diarrheals, cold medicine, and basically any other medicine you would want to bring if you were to get ill in a third world country with sketchy hospitals and pharmacies. 
I wear contact lenses, but I didn't want to bother with cleaning them everyday and risk getting them infected (since Ghana is not always a pristine place), so I switched to the one-day disposable kind during my trip.  It made things a lot easier. 
As with all travel, if you have any dietary restrictions, it's safest to bring your own food.  But since I was going to be in Ghana for 12 weeks, bringing 12 weeks worth of granola bars in my suitcase was just not practical.  I had to make do with a package of evaporated milk, one box of my favorite cereal, and vitamins.  Vitamins are CRUCIAL. 
Clothes -- The weather in the summer is hot and humid, with bouts of thunderous rain.  Though it was technically the rainy season, it only rained once every 3-4 days, and only in short bursts.  The cool wind and rain was a nice break from the hot sun.  I brought only light, cotton shirts and skirts, a pair of thin capris, and the thinnest rain jacket I could find.  Out of cultural consideration, don't wear anything above the knee or showing too much skin.  Ghanaians are very conservative and may be slightly offended of women who are dressed provocatively.  I recommend bringing only clothes that are super easy to wash and dry quickly. 
Gifts... are a sticky situation.  At first you would think toys and gifts are great to give to the less fortunate.  But the problem with giving items (and monetary donations) is that they are not sustainable.  Once it's used up, that's the end of your giving.  Instead of giving toys, I decided I would offer my skills and teach them a thing or two about ballet, origami, Japanese, etc. 
Other packing essentials are beach sandals, sturdy hiking shoes, umbrella, lots of sunscreen, lots of bug repellant, sunglasses, swimsuit, gatorade powder...

I somehow managed to fit everything into one rolling duffel bag, and then I was off!! 
supasmilez says:
GREAT tips dear!
Posted on: Apr 11, 2009
Jc22ny says:
Very Great Tips!I have been to Ghana before and can honestly say that all your advice is very accurate.
Posted on: Sep 11, 2008
kipperass says:
I'll be visiting Ho on my upcoming trip to Ghana. Maybe I'll run into some of the same people. Great and wonderful preparation guide.
Posted on: May 15, 2008
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proof of my six vaccinations!
proof of my six vaccinations!