Traveling internationally for any reason is a thrilling endeavor, but traveling for mission work holds extra excitement as you aren’t just traveling to feed your need for something new, but instead to do God’s work. As you set about making your mission trip dream come true, there are some necessary planning steps of which you should be aware. By tackling each of these tasks as your mission trip departure date approaches you’ll improve your chances of having a delightful and spiritually enriching mission trip you’ll never forget.
Get your Travel Documents
When traveling domestically, you can generally do so unhindered by paperwork. On an international mission trip, however, you won’t be so lucky. As with trips abroad for pleasure, to venture off on an international mission trip you will need to acquire a passport and, in some cases, a visa. Because all of this pesky paperwork can take some time to sort out, start working on acquiring and finishing it all a minimum of six months before your planned trip.
Shop Around for Airfare
When taking a mission trip, airfare is commonly the most costly budget item. While nothing will make an international flight cheap, you can reduce your financial outlay by shopping around for your tickets instead of just committing to the first ones you come across. If you have some flexibility in your mission trip dates, shop for airfare before you commit to a trip window; you may find that the difference of a day or two in your departure can save you hundreds of dollars.
When you venture outside the borders of your home country, your long-trusted insurance likely won’t be sufficient to cover your needs. Particularly when heading off on a mission trip, where the nature of your travel will expose you to some additional risks, it’s important to be proactive and pick up an extra insurance policy to cover you in the event of illness or injury. Consider obtaining a missionary insurance policy, which is specifically designed to cover you while on a trip of this type. While you may never end up needing to use it, this often relatively low-cost insurance could prove a life-saver if you find yourself in need of medical attention while on your trip.
Though you don’t want to be without necessities, packing for a mission trip is an exercise in restraint. It’s vital to keep your bags light, making efficient packing a must. When you travel to the likely remote landscape in which you’ll do your international mission work, you’ll probably find yourself crammed into small cars or tightly packed buses or even traveling some long stretches by foot. To ensure that you aren’t hindered by an overly large suitcase full of frills that you would’ve been better off leaving at home, create a concise list of needs, consulting a suggested packing list for the region you will be visiting. With this list as a guide you can more effectively limit yourself without the risk of forgetting items you do need.
Though the planning process you must complete as you prepare for your mission trip can seem daunting, the fruits of your labor will be so great that dedication to these steps is well worth it. Instead of looking at planning as a bore, consider the great good you’ll do while on your mission trip, keeping your eye on the prize as you move through each necessary pre-trip step.
Photo: Jonathan Assink