• Don’t drink the water. Bottled water is readily available in stores and at hotels. If you’re at a restaurant, don’t drink the water unless you see them open the bottle (some places may refill the bottles with tap water). It is okay to boil the tap water for coffee/tea. If your hotel does not use filtered water, then use bottled water to brush your teeth.
  • If adopting an infant or toddler, take Pedialyte and an easy to digest soy-based formula with you. Many children are used to bottle nipples with larger holes. Sometimes, even older children are still fed formula for the majority of their meals, so some formula is good to have on hand regardless of age.
  • Pack snacks. You may have days where you do not have the time or opportunity to stop for lunch, so having granola bars, trail mix, applesauce, etc is helpful.



  • Carry your money in a money belt under your shirt. Keep it with you at all times; do not leave your money in the hotel/apartment. Check the US State Department’s website to get information on the amount of money you’re able to bring to the country without submitting a customs declaration.



  • Pack Immodium and/or Pepto Bismol. Some people will take a Pepto Bismol tablet before eating to “coat” their stomachs.
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe you antibiotics for yourselves and your children. Ideally, take something to treat ear/nose/throat trouble and one for stomach issues.
  • A “Travel Medicine Box” is a great idea. Here’s one parent’s list of what their family took:



  • Take plenty of clothing in different sizes for your adopted child. Local people may approach and admonish you if they feel the child is uncovered. Bring an extra set of clothing to get your child from the orphanage, as you may have to leave their clothes at the orphanage.
  • Don’t bring any expensive jewelry, but do wear a wedding band of some sort.
  • Bring shoes that are easy to clean.



  • Take lots of pictures at the orphanage, and ask as many questions as possible of the child’s caregivers. Ask questions about day to day routines and preferences, as well as the child’s background information.



  • Be sure to take an electricity converter for using American electric devices.
  • Take an umbrella and waterproof shoes/boots.
  • Bring travel toilet paper. You can usually find this in the camping section of Walmart.



  • Travel with all paperwork in your carryon bags, not your checked luggage.
  • At the U.S. Embassy in country, you will be given a sealed envelope with paperwork that must be turned over to a U.S. Immigration officer when you enter the United States. Do not open this envelope!