It is recommended that you consult your family doctor or a clinic that specializes in travel medicine to determine what immunizations you will need. The Center for Disease Control has a list of shots they recommend on their website. Make sure you consult with your physician in time to complete any immunizations at least 4 to 6 weeks before departure. You will need to bring your International Vaccination Record (yellow card) with you when you travel. Malaria is also a serious problem in many parts of the world. If this is the case for the area in which you will be serving, make sure you get a prescription for an antimalarial and take it as directed. It only takes one bite from the wrong mosquito!

Your Support Team

One of the most important things you can do as you prepare for a mission trip is to build a support team around you. While many people might think this is just about raising funds, it is much, much more. It's an opportunity to go deeper and think of this as building a team that will work alongside of you--praying for you and encouraging you every step of the way. From the moment you begin your preparations until the end of your journey, the idea is to involve others in your mission experience.

Prayer partners are one of the most important components of any mission trip. They provide home-base support and intercession for those going on mission. Enlist your prayer team early and keep them informed of your team's plans and prayer needs.

Passport Information

If you do not have a passport, begin the process of securing one as soon as possible. It normally takes six to ten weeks from the time you first submit an application until the passport arrives. If you already have a passport, make sure it will be valid for at least six months after the date of your travel.

An application for a passport can be obtained from the US Post Office or the Clerk of Court's Office. For the latest passport information visit the U.S. State Department website. You can take the application home to complete it and return it to the Post Office or Clerk of Court's Office. DO NOT SIGN THE PASSPORT APPLICATION UNTIL YOU ARE STANDING IN THE PRESENCE OF THE PERSON WHO WILL RECEIVE IT. There is a government regulation that requires you to sign the application in the presence of the Post Office or Clerk's Office personnel. 

You will need to have special photos taken for your passport. Locally, Walgreens Photo Center does this. Request at least four copies. This will give you enough to apply for the passport (2) and have two more to take with you on your journey. If you lose your passport, or if it is stolen,  you will have pictures in hand and that will shorten the process of obtaining a new passport. 

Before you travel, make copies of the front page of your passport to be carried with you in a location other than where you carry your passport (in your checked luggage). Also leave a copy with your family. Having a copy of your passport that shows the date of issue and your passport number will expedite replacement if it gets lost or stolen.