7 Things NOT to pack for your mission trip
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7 Things NOT to pack for your mission trip

7 Things NOT to pack for your mission trip

You’ve bought your plane ticket, raised all your support, and had your team meetings. So much planning has gone into preparing for your trip up to this point, and it's hard to believe that you'll be leaving soon! All that’s left to do: pack.

You probably have a good idea of what to pack (especially if you follow our Packing 101 guide), but what about those few things that you aren’t sure about? Here is a list of some things not to pack for your mission trip.

1) Birth Certificate and Social Security Card

You may be tempted to pack these “just in case.” Resist the urge! Your passport and license will be all you need to travel internationally. And if something ever happens to your passport, a photocopy of your passport will be the most useful, not your birth certificate or social security card.

Not to mention, if you lose your birth certificate or social security card, getting them replaced is a real hassle.

2) Books

You don’t need 6 books and 3 magazines to keep you busy on your mission trip. Yes, reading material is great for the plane ride and down time, but just choose one. You won’t have as much time (or brain power) to read as you think. Carrying several books just weighs down the carry-on that you have to lug through an airport or two.

3) Your entire beauty routine

This one is mainly for the ladies: You don't need your entire beauty routine. It’s okay to pack some makeup and hair brushes, but you won’t need everything. There won’t be any fancy dinners to dress up for, and you're not taking yearbook pictures.

You'll be spending a lot of time working and playing with kids outside. You'll be sweating and getting dirty. Embrace it, don't spend your mission trip trying to cover it up with makeup!

4) Jewelry

You won’t need to wear much (if any) jewelry on your mission trip. Not only can jewelry get lost or stolen, but it can also make you stand out in the community that you're visiting.

Sometimes we don't realize just how much jewelry we wear. Diamond rings, fancy earrings, big watches, pearl necklaces, etc. It all adds up and can send the wrong message to the community that you're serving. You don't want to "stand out" in the community for the wrong reasons, or make anyone feel uncomfortable. For this reason, avoid wearing a lot of jewelry.

The key to avoid overpacking is not to let the What If situations get the best of you!

5) Gadgets

You don’t need every gadget you use on a daily basis. Phones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches... the list goes on. Leave what you can at home. The goal is to get away from your normal life to dive into serving Christ by connecting with others. This is hard to do if you are on your iPod or computer the whole time.

Plus, if your gadgets require a data plan or wifi, they won’t be too useful anyway (international data plans are expensive, and wifi is not as widespread in developing nations).

6) Fancy clothes

Don't pack fancy clothes, high heels, or any clothing you don’t want to get dirty. It's hard to do construction in high heels or your new skin-tight designer jeans. Whether you're playing with kids in an orphanage or doing construction, you'll want your clothing to be conservative and comfortable.

Note: One exception to this rule would be if you're attending a church service in the community that you're visiting. Ask your trip leader if you need to bring any special, “fancier” clothing for a local church service during your trip.

7) Too many clothes (t-shirts & hoodies)

If you're going on a week long mission trip, you don't need to pack 20 t-shirts. Decide while you're packing what you'll wear on each day, and avoid the, “I'll just pack all of them and decide when I get there,” mindset.

Avoid overpacking on hoodies, too. Hoodies are bulky and take up a bunch of space in your suitcase. If you're traveling to a colder climate, pack only the cold weather clothing that you need. Avoid the temptation to pack 4 hoodies and 3 jackets, “just in case.” You'll never wear them all.

The key

The key to avoid overpacking is not to let the “what if” situations get the best of you. What if I need my birth certificate? What if I get bored on the plane? What if it gets really cold? Pack for the big what-ifs, and don't sweat the small ones. (Easier typed than done, but you can do it.)

Written by CJ & Teri