Travel logistics

Several weeks before the trip, prepare an itinerary for your trip and give it to your team members. Make sure team members understand that things could change and they need to be flexible.

Your itinerary should include:
  • Flight information: include airline, flight number, departure and arrival times
  • Notes about luggage allowance: a general rule of thumb is one piece checked in (50 lbs. maximum) and one carried on. Contact your travel agent or airline to confirm weight and size restrictions on luggage, as well as security restrictions.
  • Expected plans for each day (prepare your team for unexpected changes)
  • Lodging and contact information (if available)
  • Time zone differences
  • Notes about exchanging money
  • Last minute packing instructions (necessary bedding, etc.)
If team members do not have current passports, have them begin the application process immediately. If they currently have passports, have them check the expiration date. Some countries require passports to be valid six months after your return to the U.S. If a passport will expire within six months after your anticipated return, have it renewed as soon as possible.

Passport applications and information can be found at Applicants usually receive passports in the mail within 30 days. We recommend that you carry photocopies of each team member’s passport with you, in the event the passport is lost or stolen. Keep the photocopies in a different location than the passports!

Entry visas
In most cases, trips of a few weeks do not require entry visas. However, it would be wise to check with your travel agent, or do research on the internet to be certain. You can locate embassies and visa requirements on websites such as or

Travel and packing tips
Be sure to check with the airline to find out the luggage allowances and packing restrictions. It is important for the team to know these limits well of ahead of time so they can pack accordingly.

Using information from the airline as a guide, make specific luggage requirements for your team members. Be specific about the number, size, and weight of the bags (1 check-in, 1 carry-on). Encourage everyone to pack lightly! Emphasize that they must be able to carry whatever they bring in one load, by themselves, for up to half a mile. Encourage your team members to plan ahead so they can share items as much as possible. Leave sentimental items at home.

Review the packing list in the team member handouts. Check with your on-site coordinator about additional items your group may need to bring. Have one team member bring a basic first-aid kit (Band-aids, Neosporin ointment, Pepto-Bismol tablets, antacid tablets). Remember to pack mosquito repellent (with DEET) and sunscreen.

Remind team members to empty their wallets. Take a driver’s license, health insurance card, and just enough cash for the trip. As the leader, take some “just in case” items, such as your AAA card, a long-distance calling card, extra cash, and a credit card or an ATM card. Team members should not carry a lot of credit cards. Leave Social Security cards at home.

Designate one or two team members to oversee the luggage. They should know how many bags the group as a whole is taking and make sure that all bags are loaded. They can also help you keep track of group items that people are assigned to bring. Consider tying a colored ribbon/yarn on the handle of each of the team's suitcases to make them easy to identify at baggage claim.

Each team member should take a driver’s license, student ID card, or another form of identification that includes a photograph, as well as a passport if leaving the U.S. As the leader, you should carry medical release forms and insurance information for all the team members.

Parental consent form
If any team members are under age 18 and are not being accompanied on the trip by a parent or guardian, we strongly encourage you to have them complete a parental consent form and have it notarized. On occasion, we have encountered some difficulties in having minors cross international borders without the presence of a parent or guardian. You may not experience this, but we encourage you to have notarized forms with you in the event you are questioned at immigration.

A parental consent form should be signed by the team member and both parents or guardians in the presence of a notary public and carried with the team member when traveling.

Media tips
Before taking photos, check with your hosts about any taboos regarding photography. If you are in a sensitive location where Christians face persecution or discrimination, showing their picture even in the United States could have serious results.

Be sensitive to the timing of your picture taking. Don’t disturb worship services, especially prayer meetings. In some areas, photographing or videotaping a worship service in strictly prohibited. Try to always ask local people before taking a close-up picture of them.

You might want to consider designating one person on your team as the team photographer, responsible to take some photos to later share with the team. Other team members could still take cameras, but this helps in not drawing unnecessary attention.