Here are 8 safety tips for those traveling to serve on a mission trip
Tuesday, July 25th, 2023
1. Educate yourself on the area you will be traveling. If it’s a mission across town but to an area you’ve never been, map it out ahead of time. Ask others who previously have served in that area about relevant details such as where to park and areas or routes to avoid.
For an international trip, look at crime, disease and potentially unstable political situations. One helpful resource for travel advisory information is the U.S. Department of State website at travel.state.gov.
2. Be aware of the different cultures of where you may be serving. Always be considerate of the different customs in the local culture. Be careful to avoid language, phrases, jokes or gestures that could be considered offensive to residents of the country you are visiting.
This is also important if you are traveling to areas in your city or state that have a predominant local culture.
3. Stick to the plan. Stay on the schedule, and stick to the itinerary. Do not accept rides or invitations to go anywhere without prior discussions with mission team leadership. If you do have to go somewhere for an emergency or other situation, make sure you have given someone the exact details. This is for your safety as well as the safety of the group.
4. Be aware. Particularly when traveling internationally, be on the lookout for pickpockets, and keep your valuables secure at all times. If you carry a purse or bag, wear the strap across your chest or under a layer of clothing so it will be more difficult to steal.
When serving locally, do not leave valuables in your car. If you must, make sure the items are secure in the trunk before you arrive at your destination.
5. Dress modestly, with minimal jewelry. Also, don’t bring anything on a service trip you don’t want to lose. You don’t want to attract attention of those looking for an opportunity to steal from you or the group.
6. Keep information secure. Have copies of your ID and passport in a separate place so you have them as a back-up.
This also includes having detailed information about where you will be staying. Do not disclose your room number or address, and do not open your door for unexpected visitors or deliveries. Wherever you stay, check doors and windows to ensure they are locked. Make sure you know where the exits are.
7. Avoid unnecessary risks. Do not venture out alone in unfamiliar areas, especially at night. Avoid any volatile areas or events. If you are confronted by someone, do not attempt to fight back unless you are defending yourself. Instead, give up your money or anything of value and try to get out of the situation.
8. Ask questions. Wherever you are serving, you will have contacts at the local church or group who will be helping to facilitate the trip. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about safety concerns or other information that may be relevant to the area in which you will be working.
Planning ahead for safety doesn’t mean you have to live in fear of going somewhere new or having new experiences. if planned carefully and thoughtfully, a mission trip can be both rewarding and safe.
Importantly, don’t forget to plan ahead with your Safe Gatherings approval if you are coming up for renewal. Leave enough time to make sure you are approved to serve.