When the time comes to go to Ethiopia to bring your adopted child/children home or to travel with a mission team, there are many helpful suggestions we can offer!
- Please refer to the Center for Disease Control website on health recommendations for travelers to Ethiopia. Here you will find suggestions for necessary vaccinations, any travel notices in effect and helpful tips for staying healthy while traveling.
- Amharic is the national language but many Ethiopians speak English. The hotels are beautiful and the food is great! There are many restaurants that serve American food but you’ll want to experience the traditional food of Ethiopia as well. Dress in Ethiopia is modest (women should cover their shoulders and knees) and you’ll want a jacket for the evening temperatures.
- After doing some reading about the conditions in the city of Addis Ababa, you’ll be better prepared to witness the extreme poverty, the large number of people in the city, the congested traffic and the beggars that approach most all ‘ferengi’ or foreigners.
- Ethiopia is ten hours ahead of Pacific Standard time in the US. Here is a link to the current time and weather conditions in Ethiopia: World Time Server.
- Electricity is very sporadic throughout Ethiopia. We highly recommend that you carry a flashlight with rechargeable batteries and don’t depend on daily electricity. E-mail and internet connections are very slow and unreliable in Ethiopia. There are internet cafes in the capital of Addis Ababa and internet service is available in the business centers of the hotels. Electricity in Ethiopia is 220 volts AC, 50 HZ. If you take an appliance, take a two-prong European adapter.
- Drink only bottled water (including for tooth-brushing).
- Travel insurance is recommended but not required.
- Cash is the only way to pay for most everything in Ethiopia. Bring new bills (order these early from your bank). You must pay for your Ethiopian tourist visa upon your arrival at the airport in Addis Ababa in cash and they must be new bills. Money should be exchanged at the airport – it’s the easiest place and a fairly good exchange rate. Please do not count on using an ATM machine in Ethiopia – they are unreliable.
TRAVEL SUGGESTIONS FOR ADOPTING FAMILIES
- Families will be notified when it is time to make international flight reservations and you’ll be given suggestions regarding those flights.
- There are many options for your international flight to Addis Ababa. A travel agent can sometimes find the best price. One travel agent experienced in Ethiopian travel is Susan Parr Travel, Inc. located in Port Angeles, WA. Also check out Cheap Mission Trips travel agency’s website for discounted fares for adopting families. Ethiopian Airlines has the only direct flight from Washington D.C. to Addis Ababa – the return has a one hour layover in Rome.
- When arranging your U.S. flights, please allow enough time (a minimum of 2-3 hours) to catch your international flight in case of flight delays.
- A ticket for your child in his/her Ethiopian name is required even if your child is under the age of two. (You do not have to purchase a seat ticket for a baby but a lap ticket is required and the cost is a percentage of your adult ticket.) The ticket must be in your child’s Ethiopian name because that is the name that will appear on his/her Ethiopian passport. All names on tickets must match the names of the passports.
- Request bulkhead seats on all segments of the flight home. These seats cannot be reserved but are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis for handicapped passengers and families with children, so you may want to get to the airport early! Traveling with children on long flights means a lot of advance preparation and a good supply of snacks and activities to keep them busy.
- Be sure to call the airline directly two days before departing for Ethiopia to reconfirm your flight. Check with the airline before departure to find out how much luggage and carry-on baggage is allowed. You can also go to the Hilton Hotel to reconfirm your flight – this may be your best option.
- Pack necessities in your carry-on bag in case your checked luggage does not arrive with you. The carry-on bag should include all of your important documents and a change of clothes. Cameras, adoption paperwork, medications and valuables will be safer in your carry-on bags. Keep your travel documents (passports and airline tickets) organized and easy to access. Make copies of your passport and visa and keep in a safe place in your carry-on luggage.