Multi-Lingual Lessons For Business And Personal Growth

Tips For Planning Your Trip To Ethiopa

by Samantha Hudson

Planning a trip to any foreign country can be challenging, but, sometimes, places like Ethiopia are even more interesting to prepare for. The language, culture, and laws are all completely different than what you might be used to, so you will have no context on how best to prepare for your stay.

If you are traveling to Ethiopia in the near future, here are some tips for making your trip a success. 

Hire an interpreter if you're doing business. 

If you're heading to Ethiopia for a business trip, you need to make sure you can communicate when you get there. There are many languages spoken in Ethiopia, so it's best to find someone local who specializes in speaking whatever language you need. The most common language spoken in Ethiopia is Amharic, but there are several other common languages, including Somali and Oromo. Tribal languages can also differ based on where in the country you are traveling. To learn more about hiring an interpreter, contact companies like the Language Banc.

Choose accommodation locations wisely.

In general, you'll be safer if you base your stay in one of the larger cities in Ethiopia. It's popular for visitors and tourists to stay in Addis Ababa because this is where the international airport is located. There are many districts in the city, and some are more expensive than other to stay in. However, coming from American hotel prices, prices in Ethiopia are reasonable, even in nicer areas. Don't automatically settle for the lowest prices, because these places might be in areas of town that don't have the best accommodations, or the area might be very busy and loud with foot, vehicle, and animal traffic.

You might choose a place to stay that is on the main bus line in Addis Ababa. Bole road, which is in the financial district of the capital, has easy access to the rest of the city via buses, but is still nice enough to avoid the louder, more dangerous areas of the city. 

Take responsibility for personal safety.

Even though the city is not a hub for more violent crime, theft and pickpocketing are common. You can protect your belongings by:

  1. Keeping things close when getting off any city bus. Bus stops at market squares can be thick with people, making it easy for pickpockets to sneak a hand in your purse or back back.
  2. Try not to carry a pack. If you can, wear simple clothes and do not carry a pack, purse, or wallet. Even though it might seem touristy, having a zippered belt pack might be safest, especially if it hides under your clothing. Keep your laptop in a case that locks, and hold it with your hand instead of slinging it over your shoulder.
  3. Keep cash directly in your front pocket, or in the inner pocket of your jacket. Never carry very much at once. 
  4. Keep accessories to a minimum. Leave your expensive watches, earrings, wedding rings, and necklaces safe at home. 
  5. When driving or being driven, do not leave purses, cameras, or other valuables on the seat, even when in the car. It's not uncommon for someone to reach though the window and take things while you are driving or when waiting at a stoplight. 

Keep these tips in mind when packing for your trip. You won't need a lot of accessories. You can bring small US currency bills with you into the country. This currency is easy to exchange, and many people take it as payment, even though it is not the country's tender. 

Make sure you are up to date on vaccines.

Visit your local health clinic and explain your travel plans. You might need additional vaccines before you go to Ethiopia. You should also make sure you have malaria pills packed as a precaution.