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Group Travel 101

Safety in Mission Travel

By: Liz Patterson

Has the concept of mission travel intrigued you and caught your heart? Are you planning a trip to a foreign country and eagerly preparing? Before you leave the country, however, there are some very important things you should be aware of.

Often we get so caught up in the beautiful idea of mission travel that we forget the hard reality of how dangerous it can be. Though we are working for the best cause in the world, it does not automatically ensure our safety. There are many tips for security that can be applied to any traveler in a foreign place, not just a mission worker.

First of all, keep a tenacious eye on your luggage, and carry-on as much of your supplies as you can. Check only what is absolutely necessary. Though, as missionaries and spreaders of God’s love, it sometimes goes against our nature to be suspicious, I assure you that you are not being cynical, only realistic. Luggage, especially that of American tourists, is a tempting target for thieves. So don’t let your luggage out of your sight until you check it with the airport personnel. Also, stories of suitcases being lost for weeks and weeks are all too common. Make sure you have a change of clothes and other necessities in your carry-on bag with you just in case your checked bags end up taking a long detour!

Another precaution is to never flash your cash in public. Keep your money and passport in a secure pack under your shirt or a money belt. Take out only what is needed for a purchase. Pickpockets are unfortunately very common and prey on unsuspecting tourists. Watch out for obvious ‘mishaps’ like someone pointedly bumping into you or spilling a drink on you. Pickpockets often use just such a distraction.

Perhaps the greatest advice you can apply is to just be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for unusual or out-of-place things. Notice if someone is staring overtly at you. Keep an eye on your supplies, bags, vehicle, or anything of value that you bring. But most of all, keep an eye out for your fellow team members. If everyone is looking out for each other, you will be bound to prevent most costly mistakes and misfortunes.

These are all excellent and crucial tips for being safe on your mission trip. If you apply them it will spare you a great deal of hassle and risk. However, do not take this to an extreme and feel that you are invincible if you’re cautious. Pray for your trip, your team members, and your safety. With God to protect you and look out for you, nothing will happen to you that He has not allowed. So trust God and go boldly on your mission trip. Just remember these four universal safety tips: watch your luggage, carry-on your crucial supplies, never flash cash, and be aware of your surroundings. Be safe, be confident, and be successful!

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