Planning Your International Missions Trip
Taking a short-term missions trip abroad? Whether your group visits a neighboring country or a destination on the far side of the globe, planning is vital.
Assembling your team
- Determine the purpose of your trip, and put it in writing.
- Recruit leaders and team members who have missions experience and special skills (e.g., familiarity with your destination, medical experience, construction skills).
- Study the destination and culture of the host country.
- Screen prospective team members using criteria such as strong health; verification of personal insurance (e.g., health, life, and property); and parental approval for minors.
- Explain all known risks to participants, as well as to parents of minors. Have team members sign an Activity Participation Agreement.
Preparing for your trip
- Ensure that your insurance policy covers your project.
- Ask participants to schedule physical and dental checkups before departure.
- Locate the best hospitals near your mission destination. Establish an injury transportation plan, in case of emergency.
- Contact the U.S. embassy before leaving, and ask what services it offers.
- Ask the Centers for Disease Control to determine what inoculations and precautions for your missions team.
- Designate a contact person at home to relay team updates to families, your church community, and, potentially, the news media.
- Take medication for team members in the original containers and carry extra medication in case of a delay along the way.
- Provide final materials to your team members:
- Packing lists
- Luggage restrictions
- Trip schedule
- Contact numbers
- Leave copies of important documents (e.g., passports, airline tickets) at home, so if one is lost, a friend or relative can fax a backup copy.
Team leader’s folder
- Create a “master folder” that contains vital paperwork and information, including:
- Photocopies of your team’s passports and visas
- Passport-sized photos of each traveler
- Emergency contact information for each traveler
- Notes regarding special medical needs
- Medical release forms
- Written proof of insurance coverage
- Insurance company contact numbers
- Back-up money, in case of theft
- Airline itinerary listing travelers’ names, in case airline tickets are lost or stolen