“The Ultimate Mission Trip Packing Guide.” – tips and tricks from Praying Pelican Missions missionaries on how to be best prepared for your mission trip and how to take the pressure off of packing your suitcase for a new culture, climate and lifestyle. Our heart is to remove the anxiety and focus from timeless questions like: “How much is too much?” and give you a few tips that we’ve learned throughout the years. Ultimately, we pray that these posts would be a resource for you as you prepare for your trip. We want to provide you with a few tools that can help you as you prepare for your trip of a lifetime.
Sleep. Something we all need yet sometimes we don’t get enough of. When we were little we used to fight it when we were told to go to bed or take naps but when we get older we understand it’s true value. I love sleep. I love taking naps. Sometimes I dream about taking naps or going to bed. The dictionary defines sleep as ” the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored,” or you could use the word rest. We all need sleep and a time to restore our bodies each day to continue to do what we need to do. God showed us it was important in Genesis 2:2-3, ” By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” We need rest, God
So, if you are going on a mission trip the question becomes, “How can I get the best possible sleep while i’m there?” Have no fear, that’s why I’m here! I’ll do my best in the following paragraphs to give you tips that I have learned and/or heard in order to give you the best night of sleep you can while you are out in the field.
First up, the mattress. There are so many different things you can use. It all depends on how you like it. Some like an air mattress that’s 10 feet high while other people like almost non-existent pads of foam on the ground. I, however, have begun to use my handy dandy always faithful Eno Hammock. It’s lightweight, doesn’t complain too much and provides an awesome night of sleep, the only downside to having an Eno is that it is sometimes hard to find a place to hang it up, so I recommend making sure there is sufficient places to hang up your hammock before you commit to only bringing it. In most teams that I encounter everyone brings a simple air mattress and they bring 1 or 2 pumps to share among everyone. If you don’t have room for an air mattress or want to pack as light as possible there is also the option of bringing a sleeping pad which is surprisingly very comfortable as well.
Secondly, the covering. Do you bring sheets? Do you not bring sheets? A towel maybe? This also depends solely on your sleeping patterns. If you are traveling somewhere hot then I wouldn’t necessarily pack a down comforter but I would bring at least a sheet. I usually bring a bottom and a top sheet if only for the sole reason that under the bottom sheet I throw a couple dryer sheets. Did you know they keep mosquitoes away while you are sleeping so you don’t have to douse yourself in bug spray before you climb into bed? Well, they do so I would suggest bringing both a bottom and a top sheet to keep you nice and comfy and mosquito free during your trip. And in addition to the pillow case that you will probably through on your pillow, I’d bring an extra one of those as well and make it double as a laundry bag!
Last but not least, the accessories. There are several things that I find personally useful to have near me while I am sleeping.
- Mosquito Net: I personally do not use one of these but I do know that some people appreciate having something that keeps every bug known to man on the outside of wherever they are sleeping. I have seen them come in all sorts of shapes and sizes from big ole tents to ones they just throw over top of them.
- Ear Plugs: There are usually noises galore whether it’s dogs barking, people yelling, your neighbor snoring or a random bug that takes up residence right next to where you are sleeping. Ear plugs are essential. Trust me.
- Flashlight (or other lightsource): also essential. Nothing is more ridiculous then waking up in the middle of the night having to go to the bathroom which is outside to the left and 5 houses down (maybe a bit of an exaggeration but i’m sticking to it!) and not having a flashlight or some way for you to see where you are going to get there.
- Water Bottle: This is another thing that I highly recommend you have by your bedside. When you are on a mission trip in another country, especially a hot one, we always encourage that you drink lots of water and so I always keep a bottle by my bed and try to drink half of it before I get out of bed to ensure I am getting hydrated before I even start my day.
- Eye Mask: Some people find this to be a useful item to have. Whether it’s because you don’t want the sun shining in your face early in the morning or because they need complete darkness while they sleep.
- Personal Fan: I highly recommend this! Whether its a small two D battery fan or my personal favorite 8 D battery fan (I know, I know but I make other sacrifices so this baby can fit in) I tell everyone who is floor sleeping to think about bringing one or sharing one with a friend. You aren’t always promised a fan and it can make all the difference in the world.
- Dryer Sheets: These are important. I not only put a few under my sheet before I put it on the bed but I also stick a few in my pillowcase and sometimes just leave a few near my bed to make sure those mosquitoes know they aren’t welcome near me.
I hope that these little tidbits, although not much, have given you some idea on you can pack and think about your sleeping arrangement while you are somewhere other than your bed at home. We want you to be super comfy while you serve and be able to get all the rest you need as we know that God is going to use you in BIG BIG ways.
Check Out The Other Posts In Our Packing Series: