Burkina Faso Trip Prep
Because there is so much preparation involved in traveling abroad, we have divided trip prep items into different categories. In the list below, categories that are bold are absolutely required in order to travel to Burkina! Click a category to see its specific items:
- Passport/Visa – to be done ASAP!
- Required vaccinations – to be done at least a couple of months before the trip
- Must-have packing requirements for traveling to Burkina
- Strongly-recommended items for traveling to Burkina
- Other packing recommendations
You need both a passport and a visa to travel to Burkina Faso.
- Passport – You must have a passport with at least 6 months remaining validity to it. Pay the expedited fees to ensure you’ll have the passport in time – don’t take the chance. (Expediting is 2-4 weeks vs. the usual 4-6 weeks). The cost of a passport is approximately $135. Once you have a passport, it’s good for 10 years. It is well worth the investment. Go here for information. You can also pick up Passport applications at most major post offices. (Please keep in mind: The cost of the passport is a separate expense from your trip fees).
- Visa – Once your passport has been secured, we will be collecting all the passports and sending them off to a Visa Agency as a group. See the important dates page. The cost of a visa for Burkina Faso to be processed by TravelDocs.com is $160. This is a separate expense from your trip fees. However, similar to your passport, once you have it, it’s good for 5 years.
You must get the following vaccinations before traveling to Burkina Faso.
- Yellow Fever – It is an absolute must and must be recorded in your yellow immunization booklet. If you haven’t had the shot, or had the shot and forget your yellow immunization booklet, they will vaccinate you on the spot at the airport! Don’t let that happen. (For Ohio members, we’ve heard from some travelers that the Board of Health in Batavia/Clermont County, Ohio offers a cheap yellow fever immunization.)
- Malaria Prophylactic – It is an absolute must. Check with your doctor for his/her recommendations. See the following possibilities:
- Mefloquine - Taken once per week. (Taken a couple of weeks before the trip, once per week during the stay and then for 4 weeks after the trip).
- Healthcare Ministries of the Assemblies of God World Missions suggest other possibilities:
- Malarone - A daily dose with possible side effects in some people of upset stomach.
- Doxicycline - A person is more susceptible to sunburn while on this medication, so must be more careful to wear sunscreen, long sleeves, hat, etc.
- Mosquito Repellent - Strongly advised and can be purchased at local drugstores.
- Tetanus – It is required. The immunization is good for 10 years, so check to see when you had one last. If in doubt, get it and have it recorded in your immunization record.
- Immunization booklet – You must bring this booklet with you on the trip! This is also known as the “yellow health card”, and it is provided by your doctor or immunization provider. Your provider should fill out the card, and the card must also be stamped either by your doctor or by your county health department.
Important immunization notes:
It’s important to note – take care of immunizations as soon as possible! Many vaccinations require several days or weeks to take effect; you will want to anticipate any “holding period” well before you are to travel. The CDC recommends that travelers visit their doctor four to six weeks before an international trip.
Unless your doctor insists, Healthcare Ministries does not indicate that you need Typhoid, Hepatitus, Cholera or Menningitus, etc. Also, there is no record of Swine Flu in Burkina at this time.
Before you leave to go to the airport… make absolutely sure you have the following!
- Your plane ticket! Make sure your plane ticket reflects your correct, full name on your passport, including your middle name.
- Passport with visa stamp – packed on your person
- Yellow immunization booklet – packed on your person
- Itinerary and receipt – Bring with you not only a hard copy of your itinerary, but an itinerary with a “receipt” which shows what you’ve paid. This will be necessary to get into the Ouaga airport on the return. Those without a “ticket” or receipt cannot even get into the lobby area for check-in. Make sure this is packed on your person and easily accessible.
- Clothing – Consolidate as much as possible! You don’t need to “dress to impress”, and it’s okay to wear the same pants for 3 or 4 days in a row. (Seriously. Well, with the exception of underwear). So try to pack as few clothes as possible. Also, the travel clothes you wear on the 2-day trip to Burkina Faso can be left in Ouagadougou, the capital city, to be laundered and ready to wear on the trip back to the USA.
- For men, short sleeves and khakis/slacks are recommended. Even though Burkina Faso is an impoverished nation, jeans and shorts are rare among the men. However, construction team members are free to wear jeans and t-shirts.
- For women, dresses or skirts are required. Rarely do you find the African women in slacks or pants. Skirts and dresses must be at least below the knees.
- For traveling, shirts with 2 large pockets are recommended to make travel documents easier to access. Also, a money belt is helpful.
- Some cash – (perhaps $100 or $200). You will have the opportunity to shop in local markets for souvenirs and have tailor-made shirts / skirts created for you by the Bible College students.
- Over-the-counter health aids and prescriptions as needed
- Malaria medicine, as prescribed (see required vaccinations above)
- Sunglasses – please note: due to dry, windy, sandy conditions contact lenses may be problematic. Bring regular glasses if possible.
- Hat – a wide-brimmed hat (like a cowboy hat) is best for protecting your face, ears, and neck from the sun.
- Flip flops for shower and comfortable shoes
- Toiletries – toothbrush/toothpaste, shampoo/soap, deodorant, facial cleanser, etc. (no need to bring cologne or perfumes)
- Bed sheet and pillow (We will be sleeping on cots or mattresses, so inflatable pillows work nicely. The Dreamie Sheet with attached pillow case which can be purchased on Amazon also works nicely.)
Strongly-recommended items for traveling to Burkina
- Money belt – This will keep large amounts of money safe while traveling and while in Burkina. We will be exchanging money upon arrival.
- No jewelry/metal – Through airport security, avoid wearing clothing and jewelry that has metal buttons, clips, chains, etc. This will only slow you down.
Other packing recommendations
- Notepad and pen
- Reading material / media for the plane
- Snacks (i.e. – granola bars, nuts, etc.) Bottled water will be purchased upon arrival
- Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses
- Video camera
- Pictures of your family
- Donations / gifts
- iPads / Tablets – (Please keep in mind that there can be high levels of dust in the region, so use caution when bringing a laptop).