Whether it’s your first missionary trip or your hundredth, your success starts before you arrive at your destination. You may get details of your ideal mission trip from your local church, or by approaching organizations that can help match your strengths and needs with where God needs you.
Having decided where your service is needed, you need to get planning. The sooner you prepare, the more effective your missionary trip will be. Planning includes taking care of all the essentials and answering questions that include what you need to pack and whether using a travel agent or booking tickets yourself would be the best course of action.
Take care of the essentials when planning a missionary trip
The first thing to make sure you’ve got is your passport. You won’t be going anywhere without one. A great tip here is to make sure that you’ve got plenty of time before your passport expires, and this includes while you’re abroad. It’s a costly exercise to get your passport renewed when you’re already on foreign soil.
If you need to renew your passport, do it as early as possible – it can take several weeks to be processed.
With your passport in place, the next step is to book your flights.
Using a travel agent vs booking yourself
It’s tempting to make the flight arrangements yourself. Using a flight comparison site, you could search for the cheapest flight to your destination. This becomes a little more difficult if your journey requires one or more stop-overs or transfers. With some work, you’ll be able to figure out the cheapest way to fly from your departure airport to your destination.
But here’s the catch: never rely on the comparison sites to show you the absolute best price. You will probably find that by going to the airline direct you will be able shave hundreds, or even thousands off the comparison site price. Its more work, but definitely worth it. Someone we know booked like this for two people (multiple flights on a four week return) and saved almost $3,000 on the comparison website price of £4,800.
If you use a travel agent to book the flights for you, you’ll save all the time, emails, and phone calls it takes to get the absolute best price. And you’ll probably find that the best price is even cheaper than you can get when you phone the airlines direct. Travel agents know how the system works, have direct numbers on which to call airlines, and can access the services of airline consolidators (like Up and Away) – and those tickets are often the cheapest on the whole market (no wonder they’re kept super-secret).
After the flights are booked, what next?
Once you’ve booked your flights, you know you’ll soon be on your way. If you need a vaccination, now is the time to book your jabs. Visit your doctor, and make sure that you haven’t already been vaccinated against the viruses that are dominant at your destination. Remember that vaccination often causes a little illness, so get your vaccines out of the way early, too – that way you’ll have a more relaxed, enjoyable flight.
Be prepared for your return
A lot of people forget to prepare for their return. They come back and find their home is flooded, or their power has been cut off. Here are some tips to make sure a similar fate doesn’t ruin your missionary trip:
- Make sure you have enough money in your account to cover your bills while you’re away
- Put utility and other regular payments on direct debit
- Turn off the water supply (and electric, if possible)
- Make sure your mail box is emptied regularly so that it appears that you’re home
- Let your credit card provider and bank know that you will be abroad
- Leave your home tidy: there’s nothing worse than coming home to a sink full of dishes or a bin that wasn’t emptied four weeks earlier
The more you save the easier fundraising will be
A key part of preparing for a missionary trip is raising funds to pay for it. The less your missionary trip costs, the easier it will be to raise those funds. The less time you need to spend on planning, the more time you’ll have to devote to fundraising.
By using a travel agency instead of booking yourself, you’ll save time and money. You’ll be assured of making the right booking (it’s not your fingers on the keyboard), and won’t have the hassle of being put on hold while the ticket price changes. You’ll be able to concentrate on making your missionary trip a success, as the travel agent takes the strain of getting you the best flights at the best price.
Let us help you to make your missionary trip the vacation of a lifetime. Contact us today, and discover the ‘above and beyond’ service our clients love.