Traveling to Nigeria — clothing and accessories

To those of you who asked questions about staying in the village, my mom would correct you rather quickly and tell you that Akure is not a village, that it is the capital city of Ondo state and its largest city to boot, with a population of approximately 387 087 people (thanks, Wikipedia). Of course it’s a very small city compared to Lagos (according to wiki the population of Lagos is over 17.5 million? Wow!), but it’s a city nevertheless. And like most places, there are parts with paved roads, running water and (thanks to generators) air conditioning and electricity, but there are also parts that are kicking it oldschool, with a small generator when needed, no running water and dirt roads. My grandmother’s youngest sister lives two streets over and her house puts my parents’ place to shame, it’s so fancy inside.

To answer other questions, I was last in Nigeria in 2008 and I hope to go either this year or in 2011. It’s my preference to go in October/November so that I can miss out on some of the chilly weather here, but my co-travelers (mom and sister) want to go earlier in the year. December in Nigeria sounds like it would be too hectic for me, and to be honest I like spending Christmas with all my immediate family and since my brothers don’t have the money to go to Naija anytime soon, Christmas must be in Canada.

There were so many other great suggestions for things to bring to naija as relates to the bathroom and personal grooming:

  • flashlight – this is a must! Actually I have to talk about flashlights in a separate entry
  • personal cleansing products (body wash with salicylic acid in it, deodorant – the natural kind, hand sanitizer, Evian facial spritzer (I love this idea…I’ll be sure to bring a few spray bottles to fill with water, just in case aerosol cans aren’t allowed on the flight), body splash/perfume (I may not do this due to not wanting to attract mosquitoes), toothpaste, sponges, face wash, etc.)
  • a caftan (love this idea of having something fancier than a towel wrapped around me when I’m going to bathe)
  • insect killer (a must for me, seeing as I’m such a chicken!)
  • insect repellant (I’m adding this one to the list)

Omosi had a great suggestion that’ll come in handy if my luggage is too heavy this time around: When we land in Lagos I can buy some of my supplies there, saving space in the suitcases. If there’s anything missing from the above or from this entry, do speak up!

For me, planning the trip is most of the fun, from sorting out what to bring/what not to bring, packing things efficiently to mapping out how to see everyone we want to see and making sure we have enough time to do everything.

Today I want to talk about clothing and accessories. Last time, I packed too many items that I didn’t wear once in nearly four weeks. I had two large suitcases, both oversize (though, to be fair my mom had packed a lot of stuff in my luggage), but even if you remove all my mom’s cargo, I still had far too much stuff. I was amazed that Adaora (her blog no longer exists) managed to pack all her things into a suitcase small enough to be her carry-on! Her reason was she doesn’t trust the airline to make sure her clothing would make it to Naija but still, she blew me away.

This time, I’m focusing on lightweight pieces that can do double duty or be layered/remixed to create different looks. There’s this miracle dress that would be fabulous but it does not come in my size (and I do not have the body to rock it). I’d rather run out of clothing and have to wear something twice in a row than bring a bunch of stuff for nothing (the exception is undergarments where the rule there is the more the merrier!).

But those of you who are seasoned travelers, what clothing items or shoes are absolute musts? Here are mine (keep in mind I don’t go to many fancy events when I’m in Naija, and my style is “CASUAL”):


  • 10 or more lightweight t-shirts and tanktops
  • 5-8 lightweight skirts, shorts, skorts and capris to go with the tees and tanks
  • 1 pair of jeans (I still don’t understand how anyone can wear long pants in that weather but maybe I’ll try)
  • 1 hoodie for cooler evenings
  • 1 casual dress
  • 1 fabulous dressy dress

I don’t have to pack any traditional since I will be getting ankara made like crazy! I’m excited just thinking about it and about how much more daring I will be with styles this time around. Everything I brought back looks so boring (it definitely screams old lady). (Also, it fits a lot more snugly since um…being in Nigeria and doing so much walking and sweating took a few pounds off!)


  • 1 pair of dressy heeled sandals in black, brown or bronze (should go with dressier outfits)
  • 1 pair of closed-toe heeled shoes (preference: in a fun colour)
  • 1-2 pairs of flat shoes in black (one would be ballet-flat style and the other a dressy sandal…maybe gladiator style)
  • 1 pair of bathroom flip flops
  • 1 clutch to match the dressy sandals
  • 1 basic purse
  • A pair of earrings for everyday wear, 2 pairs of dressier earrings, one necklace/earring combo for dressier events and maybe one necklace for everyday wear (it’s so hot that I’ll probably want to have as little on as possible)

I’m still debating whether to bring a pair of sneakers/running shoes and socks. I did last time but didn’t use them at all.

I wonder how closely what I actually pack will match the above. At least I have good intentions.

15 thoughts on “Traveling to Nigeria — clothing and accessories

  1. GNG! Happy New year! Thank you for checking up on me you sweetheart.

    I just posted something on my blog that might be just a bit explanatory. My life is a hectic mess right now, hence my silence. But do not doubt of my return to your blog whenever I have the chance! (like today)

    seems like this post is a follow up to another one? I don't know

    Anyway, seems like you got a lot covered..I also do not comprehend how anyone can wear anything with length in that heat. I would also recommend one pair of sandals that look ok but that you can walk in comfortably in case you need to do a lot of walking one day. Flashlight is a must as you said. Also a little package of pharmacy essentials in case of anything. Trust me! I thought I'd never get sick but last time in Nigeria i was so ill and had no good medicines to get.. same thing happened in New york just now (I got back a week ago). So that is like basic pain killers, aloe vera in case of burns, plasters, something for the stomach etc. Insect killer you could always get in Nigeria, but you should get something anti-scratchy in case you get bitten. And a power adaptor if you need that? I always do anyway cuz the outlets here are not the same as there.

    miss ya :-)

  2. You seem to have it all worked out!

    You might want to add those sneakers though, that is, if you intend to do much walking around. I find them to be more comfortable than regular shoes.

    Of course that would only work for you if they are indeed comfy.

  3. You got it pretty worked out i think!

    You might bring your sneakers for walking around, and i guess we're able to wear long things cos we're used to the weather :-)

  4. I always bring tank tops….lots and lots of it. I just usually go to old navy and stock up on their tank tops in different colors and I add a couple of t shirts to the mix.

    I would also recommend a pair of sneakers…they just work a lot better for me than ballet flats. I usually have a black pair of chucks, the ones without laces.

    Another thing that works is one of those little spritz fan things– fill that sucker up with some iced water, and voila, instant AC in your pocket lol. I'll be back when I think of some more stuff.

  5. this list is great, not forgetting pretty summer dresses since the weather is so hot. I think that would instantly brighten everyone's day.


    Thanks for this list, hope your weekend is going great, xoxo!

  6. Girl…ditch the hoodie. It will NEVER be cooler in naija. I had to go shopping for t-shirts and shorts in naija cus I was sooooo hot.

    Happy New Year, my dear!

  7. I'm not going to even plan the next time I go. I'm just going to go by your lists and I'll be fine. You're fabulous! Maybe we'll go at the same time and see each other next time.

  8. Happy New year love! Lol @ a list from Nigeria! I must say as for personal items, go for it! But other stuff like insect rtepellant and body lotions. babe trust me, you'll be shocked to find that the things you want to take are already lounging in the shelves at Palms mall… lol


  9. lol @ Akure being in the village.

    Seems to me that you like to have your bath oh…what to carry to the bathroom doesn't miss your list :-)

    I think your list is pretty complete…but it is for the seasoned travellers to say :-)

    Have a lovely day.

  10. â–ºAdaeze

    Happy New Year!

    Thanks for the tip on a good pair of walking sandals. You know: I brought some tylenol with me back in 2008 and I would definitely bring that again. My mom had an upset stomach so I think I would bring some medication to deal with that and any other similar medicines and other things like a first aid kit. Great tip!

    Yes…I brought power adaptors; those are definitely a must, well, assuming you are somewhere where you actually have electricity!


    But sneakers don't look as stylish (lol though I would never be called a stylish person). Well, given that they are sneakers they may "sneak" into my luggage anyhow. ;)


    I think you're right. I guess I'll need a few years in Nigeria before I do anything like "adapting".


    Girly! Well of course it is…I am a girl :)


    Ok, I think sneakers are a must! Oh, I know just the ones you're talking about…are they comfortable for a lot of walking around though?

    Love the idea of the spritz fan. I've never actually seen one but my mom was sweating buckets so I know she'd appreciate one. This list of mine is getting longer and longer!


    You're cute! Dresses are pretty but for me shorts are just easier!


    Happy New Year to you too! I must get my butt to thy blog to wish you a proper New Year greeting.

    I'm trying to remember what the nights were like, and if I ever wished I had a hoodie. Now that I think of it I guess I never needed one. A friend suggested a pashmina though.


    Thank you, dahlink.

    Wouldn't it be so funny if we met up in Nigeria instead of in the same country that we currently live in?


    Oh, the malls in Naija are stocked but I'm thinking of avoiding the wahala, especially since I don't spend much time in Lagos.


    hehehe…I sure do like to have that bath ;)

    You have a lovely weekend my dear!


    Thank you! If you think of anything, I'll count on you to let me know.

  11. After reading through your post, I had to scroll up again to verify the probable time your traveling will be.

    I don't have any suggestion on what to add or remove, but I can assure that you can't bring too little.

    What first drew my attention to this post was the part on Akure, I spent like 84% of the last five years in Akure running my undergraduate studies in FUTA (that reminds me, you should mind the shoes you'll bring as Akure is not shoe-friendly, I have more than six shoes to confirm that).

    I'll also advice you to use anti-malarial drug a week before coming, don't bother about insect repellers 'cos if it works today it won't work after tomorrow, I will recommend you get Baygon insecticide here in Nigeria (it's the most powerful, but it gives me Catarrh so I use it long before coming back to the room). I must also warn you that the mosquitoes in Akure use straw, they don't just drink blood for food they seem to have a invented a little wicked game of drinking and spilling.

    Well then, bon chance.

  12. Thank you for your suggestion regarding the anti-malarial pills. They are a must for me and I have an upcoming entry about them (and other 'essentials' that don't fit the categories I've already covered).

    I haven't heard of Baygon insecticide but if I was brave enough to spearhead a cleaning initiative of my grandmother's room I'd certainly make sure we include heavy uses of the stuff (after checking to make sure its fumes aren't toxic, of course!

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