Beyond Passports and Packing Lists: The Pre-Trip Scramble You NEED to Master

Laptop with map, camera and passport on table

Mission trips are incredible opportunities for personal growth, cultural exchange, and making a real difference in the world. But let's be honest, the pre-trip phase can feel like an organizational whirlwind! Between tracking down participant requirements, sifting through applications, and ensuring everyone's prepped for the journey, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. 

Fear not, fellow trip leaders! Here's your guide to navigating the pre-trip scramble and ensuring a smooth and successful mission experience for everyone: 

From Applications to Acceptance: Building Your Dream Team 

  • Application All-Stars: Design an application that gathers essential details and assesses a participant's suitability for the trip. Look for qualities like flexibility, cultural sensitivity, spiritual discipline, and a strong commitment to serving others. 
  • Reference Rendezvous: Reach out to references for a well-rounded picture of each applicant. This helps identify potential team players and ensures everyone's on board with the trip's goals. 
  • Matching Mania: Find the perfect fit! Match participants' skills and interests with the specific needs of the trip and the local community. 

Paperwork Powerhouse: Keeping Everyone Organized 

  • Requirement Roundup: Compile a comprehensive list of trip-specific requirements. This might include passport information, background checks, medical clearances, and any necessary vaccinations. Leverage online tools like Go Method to streamline document collection and management. 
  • Legal Liaisons: Ensure all participants have reviewed and signed any required legal documents like waivers and NDAs. Electronic signature tools can expedite this process. 
  • Passport Power: Collect clear digital copies of all participant passports well in advance. This ensures a smooth travel experience and allows for any necessary visa applications. 

Beyond the Checklist: Preparing Hearts and Minds 

  • Pre-Trip Meetings: Schedule regular team meetings to foster camaraderie, answer questions, and build excitement. Use these gatherings to discuss cultural expectations, responsible travel practices, and the importance of cultural sensitivity. 
  • Spiritual Spark: Incorporate pre-trip devotional sessions or activities to help participants connect with the spiritual purpose of the mission trip. This fosters a sense of shared purpose and sets the stage for a transformative experience. 


Remember: A well-prepared team is a happy team (and a leader's dream!). By implementing these strategies, you can minimize pre-trip stress, ensure a smooth onboarding process, and get everyone mentally and spiritually prepared for the incredible journey ahead. Now, go forth and make a difference! 

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