Sitting in a Nicaraguan bathroom with no toilet paper. Staring at a dead digital camera on the breathtaking mountains of Slovenia. Standing in your hotel room with no luggage.
These are all semi-worst case scenarios for the unprepared “mission tripper.” I’ve been on eight short-term mission trips, as well as lived on the mission field for five years with my family. In all those years, I’ve accumulated a system for an effective packing list and some tricks to it all… a knack I developed from the many inconvenient instances I mentioned above! Your suitcase may blow-up like Zaboomafoo’s closet when you open it, but it'll be worth it when you have everything you need.
Here's 10 Packing Hacks for
Your Next Mission Trip:
1. Place toilet paper strips in a plastic baggie
Don’t be me three years ago in Nicaragua!
2. Ziploc bag everything
I once had a bottle of hair spray bust in transit. The resident missionary was kind enough to wash all my clothes for me, but the situation could have been avoided by sealing all my bottles in Ziploc baggies.
3. Pack undies and a toothbrush in your backpack
Suitcases get lost… sometimes forever. That’s why you should be prepared with the essentials in your carry-on or backpack.
4. Crisp, small dollar bills are best
Relieve some stress by having your bank give you crisp, small bills before you take off. Other countries can be picky about the quality of bills you try to exchange. They also may get confused by larger bills and exchange them incorrectly, causing you to lose money.
5. Fill your water bottle with items
You’re not allowed to have a full water bottle when you get on the plane, so just go ahead and use the empty space for something you need when you arrive! Before packing it in your suitcase, fill it with hair accessories or jewelry.
6. Invest in a backup battery block
I spent good money for a battery pack that can hold up to three full cell phone charges. It may have been the best money I’ve ever spent!
7. Bring a converter and power strip
Many countries overseas require an outlet converter of some kind, and heaven knows there’s never enough outlets for your cell phone, camera, hairdryer, and straightener!
8. Two words for you: wet wipes
Never underestimate the power of a Wet Ones.
9. Don't forget gifts for missionaries
This is a win-win situation! Not only do your gifts bless the missionaries, but you also now have empty space for your souvenirs on the way home.
10. Roll up clothes and bring wrinkle spray
Save room in your suitcase by rolling your clothes up (wrinkle-resistant technique as it is), and then use Downy travel size wrinkle releaser as necessary on the trip.
There you have it. 10 tricks and tips for your next mission trip! Do you have any packing tips or hacks that you've perfected over the years? Share below!
Meet the Author!
Hannah Hanzel is an opinionated, passionate gal that loves sharing what God is doing in her often busy and complicated life. She strives to show God's glory in working as the Art Director for the Baptist Messenger, serving as a multi-client freelance graphic designer, and communing with CRBC. When she's not working, you can find her sipping coffee in a hammock, watching classic '40s movies, or going on an adventure with friends or family.