Thursday, February 5, 2009

What to Bring and What Not to Bring when Moving to Lagos

I have been asked many times what should folks bring when moving here. Bob and I came to Lagos for business about a month prior to moving here so we had the opportunity to go to the stores and see what we could buy in country. As I recently mentioned in a post, you can get almost anything here but you will likely pay for it. While you may find a certain item at the grocery store one week, odds are it won't be there next week. Grab it if you see something you want. I buy Dr. Pepper (for about $1 a can) whenever I can find it!

If you are coming from Houston, go to East-West electronics and get your step down transformers to covert the 200V power to 110V so that you can use your 110 appliances if you choose to bring them. We saw that the transformers were available in Lagos but the quality is not very good. We brought all our 110V appliances as we did not see the point in buying all new stuff and putting our stuff in Houston storage only to retrieve it 3 or more (hopefully more) years later.

I brought a picture printer so I can print pictures to give to people, especially the people that let me take their picture! Bring replacements ink cartridges and paper too!

We bought a TV and surround sound in Lagos. If I could do it again I would probably bring it in my shipment. I think we paid a little more buying it here. We did buy dual voltage so that we could take it anywhere we go next. The good thing about buying it here is that we had it right away and did not have to wait for our shipment, which took 4 months to get here.

We brought our couch. Most couches here are stiff and not very comfortable.

Paper Products
The toilet paper form the US is heaven compared to the stuff here and the paper towels that I have bought here disintegrated in my hand once they got wet.

Laundry Detergent
Laundry Detergent is Expensive as it is imported from Europe. If you are a brand snob, then bring what you want because you won't find it here. This applies to more than just detergent.

Sports Equipment
There are lots of activities to do here in Lagos. You can join the Ikoyi Club and play tennis, squash, golf, or swim. Membership is expensive but tennis coaches are not. Bring your own gear including shoes. If you like to sail, join the Lagos Yacht Club to sail (or learn to sail) Lightnings or Hobie Cats. Bring your own life jacket and sailing gloves. We enjoy biking and have our mountain bikes with road slicks here. We have done some road biking but mostly enjoy mountian biking in Idanre or IITA.

As I mentioned, you can get many items here but you just pay for it. I bring olive oil and canola oil in my shipment as it is very expensive here. Canned goods are more expensive but available. If you have a shipment, then bring some goods if you want but don't go overboard.

I will post more if I think of something else.


Larri said...

It is such a relief to find some helpful information about what living in Lagos is really like. My husband and I are moving from our home here in Australia to Lagos, Nigeria in just over a month (June 2009).
I was wondering if you can help me. Your blog suggests bringing in a bunch of items such as food etc but from what I understand from the Nigerian Customs website is that items such as noodles, paracetemol, tissues etc are prohibited items. Is this correct or should it read that the items are prohibited in large volumes only? Thank you for your help.
Kind Regards

Larri said...


It is such a relief to find some helpful information about what living in Lagos is really like. My husband and I are moving from our home here in Australia to Lagos, Nigeria in just over a month (June 2009).
I am a little confused though. You mentioned in your blog to bring in as much food etc as possible but I had a look on the Nigerian Customs website and it mentions that toilet paper, parecetemol etc is prohibited? Is this right? or is it just certain types? Furthermore, can we bring in our own wine or is there an excise we need to pay? I hope you can help. Keep up the work with your webpage it is really great!

Lisa said...

Our shipment was done through our company so I am not sure what agreement was made with customs, if any agreement was made at all. We could not send alcohol but that was company policy, not customs.

FYI - There is a wine club here called Grape Grazers and wine and champagne is imported and not terribly expensive. I could give you the contact info when you arrive. The last get together was held about two weeks ago and was hosted by Baron Philippe De Rothschild at an Italian restaurant Medici.