What to pack for a mission trip can be a conundrum, especially for first-timers. There’s no single list of items that will cover all types of missionary trips for all people. Females will have packing requirements different to males. Your age may be a factor. Location and time of year also come into play. To paraphrase a famous saying, “You can pack for all missionary trips some of the time, and some missionary trips all of the time, but you can’t pack for all missionary trips all of the time.”
However, there are some essentials that should definitely go into your bags. Having helped thousands of people plan and execute their missionary trips, Up and Away reps are in a unique position. We can help you ensure you’ve got what you need without being overladen like a pack mule. As a start point, here are the eleven essentials that experience tells us you need to pack as part of your missionary trip preparation.
1. Memories of home and those you love
Take a photo album and perhaps a letter or two as your treasured mementos from home. These will help ward off troubling homesickness as well as provide perfect prompts to start conversations as you build new relationships.
Keep your keepsakes small and easily manageable. Printed photos are better than digital: they can be transported anywhere and won’t fail with a fading battery.
2. Choose your bible well
Of course, you’ll be taking a bible, but what bible will be best?
Again, size is important – not so small as to be inconsequential, and not so big as to take up essential space in your missionary trip luggage.
Consider, too, the merits of a dual language bible. Being able to follow a service in the foreign language will mark you out as having respect for the people at your destination.
3. A journal
You’ll want to record names, places, foods, and experiences. Sometimes an iPad would be the wrong thing to fire up. The written word on paper fires the memory, and you can transfer your notes to digital format later.
Your journal can help to focus your mind on the task at hand, learn from mistakes and celebrate successes. It will help you as you write letters back home, and be a key prompt when relating your experiences upon your return.
4. A foreign language phrasebook
Communication is the key to success, and what better way to show people your love and respect for them than by the ability to use a few simple phrases in their own language. You may take a few language classes before you fly, but for those times when you need a phrase on the ground and on the move, a phrase book
that includes cultural pointers can’t be beaten.
5. Travel pillow, sleep sack, and earplugs
Getting a god night’s sleep is a key factor to your missionary trip success. Sleep will help you to stay energized and focused. Bedding is not always clean where missions take you. A lightweight sleep sack and small memory foam pillow will help you get a good night’s sleep wherever you lay you head.
You’ll also find night noises to be disconcerting. Different traffic and different animals. Calls to prayers from mosques, and steam train snoring from your roommates. Most missionary travelers tell us that earplugs have been their saviors.
6. Wet wipes
There may be times when you need to clean up and a shower isn’t available. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer will help you to stay clean while eating on the go, too.
It may be that where you’re traveling is a little more remote than you’re used to. A decent deodorant is one of the items that many discover is hard to find. Take yours with you.
8. iPad or laptop
Whether you use an iPad, laptop or tablet, make sure you take it with you on your missionary trip. You’ll have your contact lists, music, maps, books, bible, photos, and other apps and tools available at the flick of a switch. This may prove to be the most essential piece of equipment – together with a multi plug adapter, of course.
9. Medication and vitamins
Be sure to take any medication that you need, as well as vitamin supplements and immune system boosters. You may come into contact with viruses and disease in the atmosphere and on surfaces that you touch. God has called upon you. Staying healthy as you complete his work is essential.
Don’t rely on being able to walk around the corner to your nearest ATM. Credit and debit cards may not be accepted where your mission takes you – cash is still king in many parts of the world. Use a money belt and spread your cash between different pockets (even hide some in your sock for emergency use).
11. Water bottle
You’ll need to stay hydrated on your trip. Climate change, altitude and travel can play havoc with your body. Water is essential in the battle against illness. A water bottle that is clean, hygienic, and doesn’t leak will prove its worth time and again.
You’ve got an important job to do when you make a missionary trip. Without the right equipment and tools, the success of your trip could be short-lived. Pack the above essentials in your kit bag and you’ll make sure that your mind, body and spirit is fully prepared to meet all challenges you’re about to face head on.
Contact us today and we’ll be pleased to help with advice on the specific items that you’ll need for your destination, including medication requirements, the best clothing to take, and, of course, how to get there with the least fuss and at the best cost.