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Mission Trip Planning Checklist

Planning a mission trip is complex because it involves recruiting, fundraising, compliance with another country’s entry laws, travel and lodging arrangements, activities, health care considerations, supplies, communication and more. Much can be gained from the experience of others and this is especially true when planning a church mission trip or specifically a youth mission trip. Using a checklist based on the experience of other mission trips can make the difference between a successful trip and an unsuccessful one. Below is a sample mission trip planning checklist based on past experience:

One Year in Advance

  • Create a planning committee, designating a primary and secondary team leader
  • Determine location of mission trip
  • Establish a mission statement for the trip
  • Contact a missionary or point of contact
  • Announce trip to congregation
  • Create website or bulletin board
  • Schedule trip information meeting
  • Set deadline for applications
  • Develop and implement a fundraising plan and ensure money is collected correctly
  • Inform team members they will be required to sign a release form prior to traveling
  • Research the country (e.g. culture, health concerns, safety issues, religious background, dress code, gifts, etc.)

Six Months in Advance

  • Team members apply for passports
  • Team leader applies for visas through the destination country
  • Purchase airfare and flight insurance
  • Investigate potential travel and health risks (CDC, WHO, US Dept/State)
  • Arrange accommodations
  • Call other ministries to gather information about travel conditions, items to bring, potential health concerns, etc.
  • Research communication options (e.g. mobile phone/data service)
  • Identify alternative options for communications with church and families at home for emergencies and prayer updates (phone, texting, social media updates).
  • Work with a locally licensed attorney to develop a liability/image release and medical information/treatment authorization form for team members to sign
  • Develop team rules
  • Coordinate translators
  • Make an itinerary for the trip
  • If minors are traveling without parents/guardians, develop a supervision policy and screen adults as necessary
  • Assess fundraising plan and adjust as necessary
  • Organize and provide required training sessions regarding rules, country/culture, ministry activities. Include fellowship opportunities. (ongoing)
  • Update congregation

Three Months in Advance

  • Develop travel tips, packing lists, and prohibited items list. Give to team members.
  • Research baggage restrictions
  • Register the mission trip with the U.S. Department of State
  • Investigate potential travel and health risks (CDC, WHO, US Dept/State)
  • Team leader researches health insurance plans for the team
  • Get vaccinations
  • Arrange travel in country
  • Contact ministry’s local health department for additional information on destination country risks and necessary vaccinations
  • Organize and provide required training sessions regarding rules, country/culture, ministry activities. Include fellowship opportunities.
  • Plan for post trip follow up/debriefing meeting
  • Update congregation

One Month in Advance

  • Create and practice a phone/communication tree
  • Collect signed and notarized release forms
  • Investigate potential travel and health risks (CDC, WHO, US Dept/State)
  • Purchase travel health insurance policies for team members
  • Fill prescriptions
  • Begin collecting items to pack
  • Organize and provide required training sessions regarding rules, country/culture, ministry activities. Include fellowship opportunities.
  • Plan for post trip follow up/debriefing meeting
  • Update congregation

Suggested Packing List (does not include all)

  • Bible
  • Bug spray with DEET
  • Church contact information
  • Closed toed shoes
  • Copies of immunization records
  • Copies of liability/image release and medical information/treatment authorization forms
  • Copies of passports
  • Electrical converters
  • Embassy information
  • First aid kit
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Inexpensive watch, sunglasses, etc.
  • Insurance cards
  • Long sleeve shirts and pants (if traveling to an area with mosquitos, ticks, etc.)
  • Money in small currencies
  • Mosquito netting
  • Poncho
  • Skirts (if necessary per the host country’s cultural expectation)
  • Water bottle

One Week in Advance

  • Investigate potential travel and health risks (CDC, WHO, US Dept/State)
  • Conduct a team meeting

One Month After

  • Post trip follow up/debriefing meeting
  • Witness about trip to congregation
  • Write and send thank you notes for hosts, donors, etc.

Notice that this checklist includes buying a travel health insurance policy to cover each team member while on the trip. Experienced mission trip planners prefer Good Neighbor Insurance because they offer great plans at affordable prices, deliver excellent service, and some of their staff have lived overseas. Mission trip planners want each team member to focus on their ministry knowing they have a comprehensive insurance plan at an affordable price, and they will receive excellent service. See our recommended plans below.

Recommended Plans

IMG Outreach International Short-Term Mission Trip Insurance

Global health insurance coverage at great price for comparable benefits

  • Short-term missionary insurance coverage per day up to 24 months
  • Includes medical insurance, medical evacuation, return of mortal remains, political evacuation, emergency reunion, terrorism coverage, and other benefits
  • If overseas ten months, may purchase two months of home country coverage in the USA
  • Coverage renewable for up to two years. May purchase additional policy after two years.
Apply Online

GeoBlue Voyager Mission Trip Insurance

The best short-term missionary insurance plan for those with pre-existing conditions or traveling to “hot spots” – for a few days up to six months.

  • Includes medical insurance, medical evacuation, return of mortal remains
  • Injuries and illnesses due to terrorism are covered to the policy limit
  • Must have U.S. domestic insurance or Medicare Part A to be covered on this travel insurance plan
  • Covers pre-existing health conditions
  • If you do not have U.S. insurance, you are eligible for the Voyager Essential which also covers injuries due to terrorism
Apply Online

Atlas International Short-Term Missionary Travel Insurance

International travel health insurance coverage per day up to 12 months and RENEWABLE

  • Includes medical cover, medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, emergency reunion
  • This international travel insurance policy is for vacations, mission trips, cruises, overseas
  • Available for up to one year and then may re-apply
  • No Home Country Coverage
  • Owned by Tokio Marine and reinsurer is Lloyd’s of London
  • Includes AD&D, Personal Liability and Crisis management (Upgradable)
  • For under age 70, coverage for sudden and unexpected onset of pre-existing conditions, is to the policy limit selected (chronic conditions, such as diabetes, not covered)
Apply Online

Don't see the plan for you?

Request a custom quote today and our specialists will get back to you with the right plan for your needs.

If you have questions about any of the missionary health insurance plans, please contact Good Neighbor Insurance at 866-636-9100 or contact us by email.

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