The following information was compiled in order to help have the best missions trip possible. If you want to take a missions trip soon, there are several questions that need to be asked and answered before you leave the good ole USA. First, does the United States government suggest the area in which you will be traveling to be safe? Second, what shots are you required to have when you come into a foreign country? Neither, Alabama nor Arkansas are foreign countries! Third, how will you be traveling? Fourth, how long do you plan on staying? Fifth, what kind of accommodations would you like to have? Sixth, what other extras will you need to bring? As with any project, planning is the key.
I. International Travel Advisories
Review the State Department’s International Travel Information web site at:
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_1168.html for travel advisories and information.
II. Passport Requirements
Ensure you have a current passport. The US State Department Passport Services page (http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html) has all the information you need.
III. Medical Shot Requirements
Check the Center for Disease Control’s Traveler’s Immunization Information page at:
http://www.cdc.gov/nip/webutil/menu-travelers.htm in order to ascertain the shot requirements for traveling in the part of the country you wish to go.
IV. Travel Plans to the Mission Field
Air Travel: Definitely the best way to go, air travel is the most comfortable, most expedient and not necessarily the most expensive method of transportation. In fact when traveling to South America, a US property or anywhere outside of the Western Hemisphere it is the only viable option. Remember the following tips when making your plans:
– Check with your major airlines for the best rate and consult with a travel agency for seasonal specials. Begin your search at least 6 months in advance.
– The closest airport to your departure city and destination city is always best, even if it costs a little more.
– Give all the airline information to the person who will be picking you up. If possible, include the gate information as well.
– Know what can and can not be brought onto the plane, i.e., liquids, knives, etc.
Ground Travel: The only areas outside the mainland of the United States that I would recommend be reached by automobile would be Canada and Mexico. But be prepared for long traveling days, possible break downs, restaurant breaks, gas breaks, potty breaks and hotel stays.
V. Travel Plans while on the Mission Field
Air Travel: If the area you are traveling to within the mission field is not accessible by major airlines or ground travel, then another means of air travel may need to be secured. Make sure enough money is set aside for this.
Ground Travel: The missionary you will be visiting will know the laws and will be the best guide to get around the area. If the missionary has a large van then that will be the best way in which to travel. If not, then consider renting a vehicle or using public transportation. Have the missionary or missionary’s assistant with you when out in the public at all times.
VI. Housing Accommodations
Hotel: Always the best way to stay when traveling however, have the missionary check for the best rates and the most amenities. Many of these rates can be checked on line by the visiting party. Nice hotel stays cost about the same as in the states.
Missionary Home or Dorms: Sometimes a veteran missionary will have dorms or some other housing but it may not be up to the standard of the visiting party. The missionary home may be able to accommodate a few people.
Restaurants: Many times the hotel will have nice restaurants within the hotel or near them (meals at a restaurant cost the same as in the states.) Trust your missionary host when it comes to the location of safe eating establishments. Or, if possible, dine with the missionary at his home.
VIII. Length of Stay
A mission trip can last as long as the money lasts but common sense and planning are the keys.
An ideal mission trip can be as follows.
– Travel to the mission field on Monday
– Spend Tuesday soulwinning and seeing the facilities of the mission church.
– Spend Wednesday soulwinning and experiencing life as a missionary.
– Spend Thursday soulwinning and preparing for the church service.
– Spend Friday visiting some tourist attraction or famous landmark.
– Travel back home on Saturday.
– The trip could be cut short by one day. Friday could be the return day.
IX. Miscellaneous Items to Bring
– Personal wipes
– Carmex or some kind of lip balm
– Extra cash for bottled water, restrooms, souvenirs, etc
– Good walking shoes or comfortable tennis shoes
– Mosquito repellant
– Sun glasses
– Make a copy of your license or ID and have it laminated
– Make a copy of your passport or visa
– Sun block
– Cell phones may or may not work. If they do, there will be roaming charges.
– Learn the currency of the visiting country.
– Remember almost nothing is free in another country. That includes water, restroom use, etc.