Travel checklist for short-term mission trips
What things regarding a mission team's trip have to be done and when do they have
to be done?
Before you go: Mission trip hints
Planning ahead is essential for short-term missions travelers. Use this handy
timeline from Gwen Kuebler of MTS Travel when planning your ministry trip.
Up to 9 months ahead:
- Reserve air travel.
- Contact the mission office to find out when and where you should arrive and
- Call your missionary travel agency for the best airfare. Investigate group discounts.
- Make air reservations.
- Notify the mission field office of your arrival and departure plans, especially if someone is
- Apply for passports.
- After you submit your application, photos and identification documents, passport
issuance usually takes four to six weeks.
- Keep two photos of yourself and a photocopy of your passport information page separate
from your passport in case it's lost or stolen. (See the U.S. State Department's web page for
passport application forms, instructions and fee schedules or call your missionary travel agency
office.) [ State Department web
- Check visa information. Ask your travel agent about visa requirements of your destination
country. Get needed forms.
- Seek low-cost accommodations.
- Have your travel agent reserve budget lodging for your group through the airline or through
his or her sources.
- Check immunization suggestions and requirements.
- Call or contact the Center for Disease Control (404-332-4559) to find out which
immunizations are necessary. [ CDC web
- Consult the nearest International Travel Clinic for medical advice and services.
- Receive needed immunizations. Allow time between vaccinations if multiple shots are
needed and especially if you need them as proof for obtaining visas.
- Ask if updated immunizations for diphtheria/tetanus, polio or measles/mumps/rubella are
advised. Depending on where you are going, typhoid fever or gamma globulin (for Hepatitis A)
vaccinations may also be recommended. Also ask about anti-malarial medication. If necessary,
have all immunizations listed on a card from the World Health
Up to 6 months ahead:
- Begin the visa application process. Submit signed passports, required photos, completed
visa applications and WHO cards as requested.
- Purchase insurance.
- Have workers check their current medical policies for overseas coverage. Make sure the
policies provide evacuation services to come home due to illness or injury
- Suggest that workers buy supplementary travel accident and sickness insurance including
evacuation services. If their policies don't cover these, your missionary travel agency may be
able to suggest reliable carriers.
Up to 3 months ahead:
- Research baggage regulations.
- Ask your travel agent or airline. They can tell you the maximum free allowance per person
and the fee for excess bags.
- Remind group members of any items excluded from import into your destination
- Buy airline tickets.
- Your travel agent can tell you when your tickets must be issued to retain the lowest fare.
(Unless your fare is an "instant purchase," you should have reserved your tickets prior to this, up
to one year or nine months ahead.)
Up to 2 weeks ahead:
- Arrange transportation to the airport.
- Make sure each worker has
- Airline ticket
- Passport with visas
- Vaccinations and WHO Card (if needed)
- Anti-malarial medication (if needed)
- Supplemental insurance
- Notify Nazarene Field Office or the site Work & Witness coordinator of your arrival.
- Make sure someone from the mission field office will meet you and ask them what to do if
no one is at the airport!
- Obtain the address and phone number of your home country's embassies or consulates in
your country or countries of travel.
3 days ahead
- Call the airline(s) to confirm your flights.
- Be sure to also do this 3 days prior to your scheduled return flights.
On departure day:
- Check that every group member has the necessary documents
- Passport with visas
- WHO Card (if needed)
- Airline ticket
- Tag Your Luggage. Use tags of the same bright color to identify your group's bags. Some
travel agencies provide these for you.
- To reduce confusion, have two or three people handle all baggage.
Well, that's your "to do" list. Make sure you check off each item on time.
-- Howard Culbertson,
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