Checklist & Timeline for Mission Trip Leaders
Useful Travel Checklist & Timeline for Mission Trip Leaders
UP TO 10 MONTHS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE:
Reserve your mission travel airfare.
- Contact your host/church/mission office to find out when and where you should arrive and depart. Ask specifically for a flexible date range – +/- 1 or 2 days is most helpful when trying to arrange group airfare. Many mission destinations are remote from the airport so ask if certain times of day are better or worse than others.
- Call your missionary travel agency for the best airfare. If 10 or more participants are expected, go with a group contract now for approximately $100-150 deposit per person. Ask the travel professional about options and individual missionary ticket discounts if less than 10 passengers.
- Make air reservations – whether purchase in full with names now or just reserving a block of space with estimated number or participants.
- Notify the mission field office of your arrival and departure plans, especially if someone is meeting you!
Apply for passports:
- After you submit your application, photos and identification documents, passport issuance usually takes minimum of four to six weeks rushed.
- Be sure all existing passports are valid for at least 6 months after return of planned travel. Many countries now require this so don’t be caught off guard.
- 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 site for passport application forms, instructions and fee schedules or call your missionary travel agency office – 888-849-8850.)
Check visa information:
- Ask your country hosts or missionary travel agency about visa requirements of your destination country. Get needed forms. State Department web site
Seek low-cost accommodations:
- Will the host provide lodging for you? Have your Christian travel agent reserve budget lodging for your group through their many sources.
Check immunization suggestions and requirements.
- Call or contact the Centers for Disease Control (404-332-4559) to find out which immunizations are necessary.
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 Organization.
Check for other useful travel advice and links to popular Travel Resources.
UP TO 6 MONTHS AHEAD:
Begin visa application process for confirmed team members.
Submit signed passports, required photos, completed visa applications and WHO card as requested.
Purchase individual or group travel insurance through your travel agent.
- Have workers check their current medical policies for overseas coverage. Many US policies do not offer international 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, plus 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:
Plan and research baggage regulations for the airline you are flying.
Go to the airline website directly (usually under baggage/luggage link). Ask the airline or your missions travel agent. They can tell you the maximum free allowance per person and fee for excess bags.
If purchasing as individual tickets, a few mission travel agencies still have exclusive contracts with some airlines for extra free luggage. Ask your travel professional for details.
Remind your travelers of any items excluded from import into your destination country.
Buy airline tickets ideally no later than 3 months prior to departure.
Your missionary travel agency 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 ten months ahead.)
UP TO 2 WEEKS AHEAD:
Arrange airport transportation. Church bus, family/friends or other transportation may be arranged.
Make sure each passenger has in their possession (or group leader has all if preferred):
- Airline e-ticket confirmation
- Passport with visas
- Vaccinations and WHO Card (if needed)
- Anti-malarial medication (if needed)
- Supplemental travel insurance
Confirm with your country hosts or field office of your arrival.
Obtain the address and phone number of the U.S. Embassies or Consulates in your country or countries of travel. These are available from the U.S. Department of State
3 DAYS AHEAD:
Check website or call the airline(s) to confirm your flights, times, gates, etc.
Be sure to do this 2-3 days prior to your return flights also.
ON DEPARTURE DAY:
Review documentation with group members
- Passport with visas & immunization cards (if needed)
- Airline e-ticket confirmations
- Tag Your Luggage. Use similar or brightly colored tags to identify your group.
Consider two or three people to handle checked luggage to reduce confusion. Check in, board, fly & serve!
For more information and for a free, no-obligation fare quote for your next mission trip contact us: