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Group Travel 101

Packed and Ready to Go: Necessities for Mission Travel

By: Liz Patterson

So you have got the planning and organizing done for your mission trip. Now it is time for the real thing! All that’s left to do is packing. Well, what do you bring on a short-term mission trip? If you have gone before, you will have found out the hard way what you should have brought and what would have been most useful. However, if you have never gone before, here is a simple list of some crucial items to bring.

For your carry-on bag, I recommend you use a backpack. A backpack has lots of room but is easy to carry and access. It will also prove to be very useful on your trip. In your carry-on you need to put your important documents, your passport, and such. Though it is tempting to put them in your check bag where they will be “safe”, that is a dangerous idea. I’ve heard so many stories of mission travelers whose checked bags were lost and didn’t get returned to them until they were back home. You may think, “Now what are the odds of that happening to me?” But I strongly advise you to play it safe. Put a change of clothes, your personal papers, and any crucial supplies you will need in your carry-on bag.

Next you are going to want something to entertain yourself with on the airplane. A book, a travel Bible, or notebook is what I suggest. Bringing gadgets like iPods and laptop computers can be risky, because they present a huge temptation for theft in third-world countries. However, I do recommend you bring a camera. Though you may not want the hassle of taking pictures during your trip, I guarantee you will want them later to keep alive the wonderful, life-changing memories. Also be sure to pack your toiletries and any medicines you may need. A small first aid kit is always useful! Remember a flashlight, a roll of toilet paper, a compass, and a map as well.

Now for the checked bag. In your suitcase you obviously will need lots of room for clothes. Even if you are traveling to sunny Belize or Mexico, don’t forget to bring a jacket and raingear. Weather is fickle and unpredictable. If you are properly prepared, you will be able to keep on with your work regardless of the elements. Bring swimwear too, even if you do not usually swim. When you’re traveling to the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico, you will regret not taking a dip in the ocean!

As well as clothing, you will need room for supplies. Possibly you will the option of bringing two suitcases. This is ideal for you can have clothing in one and supplies in the other. If all you have is one, just be a smart packer and don’t be afraid to sit on your stuffed bag to close it. When it comes to supplies, you will need the necessary tools, such as a hammer or drill, if you plan on doing any construction work. If not, essentials such as a sewing kit, a first aid kit, duct tape, an emergency blanket, and a pocket knife are always smart things to bring. Oh, and don’t forget water purification tablets. Those have saved lives many times before!

Depending on your destination there are other items you will have to bring besides the ones I’ve mentioned here. Talk to your team leader and, if at all possible, to missionaries in the area that you are traveling to.

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