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Fifteen Great Mission Trip Packing Tips

1. Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are found at sporting good stores, Amazon, Ikea, and other places. With a standard 4 pack (2 large cubes, 2 small cubes), you can place shorts/pants in one cube, shirts in another cube, undergarments in a small cube and misc (swimsuit, sweatshirt) in another small cube. You can also use gallon ziplocks, mesh bags or drawstring nylon bags to DIY packing cubes!

2. Sunglasses in a Water Bottle

What are the first two things you need when you arrive at your destination? Shades and hydration. Keep your glasses protected in your carry on when you travel by popping them in your water bottle! 

3. Shower Products Unite!

Sleeping at a church or community center? That means you’ll be sharing bathrooms with your buddies. Rather than every person bringing a little bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash; team up! Bring a few big bottles and just leave them in the shower for the next person.

4. Pillowcase Trick

For those who don’t have to worry about a sore neck upon waking, consider leaving your travel pillow at home. Wear a sweatshirt in the airport, fold it up at your destination and put it in a pillowcase to use during trips. At the end of the trip, stuff all your dirty clothes into the pillowcase for traveling home.

5. LTB - Lightweight Travel Blanket

This can be a variety of things; a pillow for sleeping, cape for VBS skits, light-canceling window covering. Or, you know, a blanket for when it’s chilly on the plane.

6. Air Mattress Tips

If you are sleeping on the floor of a church or community center on an air mattress, nominate a few people on the team to bring an air pump (just make sure it can plug in rather than only relying on battery power for all those mattresses!)

7. Get the Gear!

Quick dry towels. These are amazing. Small, yet powerful! Cotton sleep sacks rather than sheets will save you space. Zip off pants are an awesome two for one deal. There are some neat products out there. If you want to save on the investment, ask a friend or family member who is travel or camping savvy to see if they have some of these items already!

8. Wet Wipes

Short on time but heavy on smell? Whip out a few of these, give yourself a rundown, and you’ll be fresh and ready in no time. Just remember - they don’t take the place of a shower! 

9. Carry On Must Haves

A change of clothes, toothbrush, and deodorant are a must in your carry-on. On the off chance something happens to your luggage, you’ll be thankful to have these and the folks around you will be thankful too!

10. Ziplock Bag Outfits

If you’re exceptionally organized, you can pack each day’s outfit in a different ziplock bag. It keeps your fresh clothes away from the funky ones and simplifies your morning routine.


Wear shorts a few days in a row. Don’t bring your normal hair products (i.e hair dryer and straightener) or makeup. Leave non-essentials at home and don’t overthink what you need on the ground. Lay all your clothes you want to pack on your bed and purposefully cut down by a quarter.

12. Film Canisters

Hello, 1995? You wanted your film canister back? These are the perfect storage units for smaller items that need to be secure and easily accessible. You can store vitamins, ear plugs, or anything small in them.

13. Nominate a Photographer

Rather than have everyone bring a camera that will take up space and time as you’re scrambling to bring it out for each photo op, consider nominating someone to be the official team photographer. You’ll have more time to focus on enjoying the trip and jumping into ministry and it’s a great excuse to gather after the trip for a team photo viewing party.

14. Leave it Behind

If you feel led, consider bringing clothes, an air mattress, sheets, etc that you would feel comfortable donating to the church after the trip (and that are in excellent condition). We can leave donations with the pastor and you’ll create a little room for any souvenirs you wish to bring home.

15. Know Yourself

Regular packing lists tend to consider every situation possible. If you see a hat on the packing list but never wear hats? Don’t bring it! Cut out things that you know you just won’t use, even if others do.

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