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Whelmed

USA | Tuesday, 7 April 2015 | Views [242]

Dated:7 April 2015 (from blogger)

I am definitely feeling whelmed by the planning involved for our 7-½ week Africa trip.  This is ridiculous to say  because we haven't planned anything.  It's not just that we haven't planned anything, we aren't really making plans.  The only thing we know for sure is that we're flying in and out of Nairobi, and that we have a hostel booked for a couple days upon our arrival.

Below are the things encompassing our thought processes.
 
Immunizations: Molly needed Hep A, Yellow Fever, and Typhoid.  The kids needed Typhoid and Yellow Fever, and I needed Yellow Fever.  This is all fine and good.  Molly and the kids went to their normal M.D.s and got their Yellow Fever vaccines without issue and their prescriptions for Typhoid (oral).  I went to a  travel medicine place for my Yellow Fever because I had been there before, and, I don't really have any good other reasons.  Insurance covers none of these extracurricular activities so all these meds are basically face-value price which, when buying for four people, adds up quickly.  Now the Malaria discussion.  Wow, I had no idea how much this stuff would cost, and let me tell you something - it's expensive.  Malarone, which is the least poisonous (and the most expensive), was supposed to be $445 for Molly alone!  I bought Mefloquine (Lariam) for her and me from the travel med place for $360, however.  The only downside perhaps, is the extraordinarily vivid dreams and a small chance of a psychotic episode.  Nothing major.  The Lariam is a once-weekly pill that is started two weeks prior to needing it and for four weeks after leaving the endemic zone.  For the kids, however, we are definitely getting the Malarone pediatric.  I think, because we need 400 pills due to the duration of the trip, I am going to try and buy from Canada.  This should save us some money but will still be around $700.  If you're planning a trip to a Malaria zone, don't forget to add these costs to your budget!  The other side thought I had was perhaps attempting to buy the stuff for the kids in Nairobi?  I need to research this further.  But there has to be a way to do this and it should be cheaper right?  People for sure show up in Africa having forgotten their meds on the kitchen counter and need to buy locally.
 
Clothes:  We will be traveling almost exclusively along the equator, however, we will be at a variety of altitudes and temperature zones.  This means we get to bring the necessary clothing that one needs for a day on an equatorial beach or summiting an 14,000 peak in the Sierra Nevada.  So...yeah.  But we are backpacking so everything goes on our...backs!  And we'll be traveling mostly on public transport so we don't want to be schlepping any more than necessary.  Needless to say, we still have to bring a lot!  Everyone needs a couple of long-sleeved outfits to protect against mozzies, we need clothes that are suitable for working on a farm, clothes for hanging out in (once we're cleaned up), and an everyday travel on the bus and explore outfit.
 
Here are the beginnings of our pack list...
 
Backpacks:
REI Passage 40's & REI Tarn 18's (for the kids)
Osprey Xenith 105 & Talon 33 (Eric)
Osprey Ariel 75 (Molly)
 
Sleeping Bags:
Sierra Designs Zissou 15F (Eric)
Kelty Ignite 20F (Molly)
Mountain Hardwear Mountain Goat 20F (kids)
On the sleeping bags, yes they are definitely warm for Africa.  However, we already have them, they are great bags, and we're going to be camping almost the entire trip.  We don't have the money to buy four new bags more suitable for equatorial weather.  Additionally, we are going to be camping at some altitude in the national parks and I think the nighttime temps will be conducive to the gear we already have.  If nothing else, we will lay on top of them?  To a large extent this trip will be about new experiences and new knowledge.  Planning and gearing up for every eventuality is both cost prohibitive and not in the spirit of our kind of travel.
 
Sleeping Pads:
ThermaRests for Molly and I and REI inflatable's for the kids.  We already have these and we had considered buying closed-cell foam pads for a variety of reasons (weight, don't get holes, can sit on if traveling in the back of a pickup or something) we have opted to just use what we have.
 
Tent:
Marmot Limelight 4P
This tent is pretty good, and we love how easy it is to set up and there's just the right amount of room for the four of us.  The only real issue is the weight.  It's about 8 pounds which Molly and I will split. Again, we don't have the money for an ultralight setup so we'll run what we've brung.

Tags: africa, family, kids, malaria, packing

 

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