PLAN FOR SAFE FOREIGN MISSION TRIPS
Preparing for foreign travel can be a daunting task, and it may be even more overwhelming to plan a trip for a large group as part of a religious or nonprofit organization.
Use these tips to make sure you have all your bases covered in terms of safety before taking off. Though no one likes to think about it, you should always be prepared for the worst possible scenario while traveling.
- Make sure everyone in your group has the proper, location-specific immunizations.
- Determine beforehand whether the local water at your destination is safe to drink, and plan accordingly.
- Know the locations of the nearest hospital and the closest U.S. Embassy or consulate. Communicate this to the group’s family members in case of emergency.
- Visit the U.S. State Department website (www.state.gov) before leaving to learn about pertinent safety conditions at your destination and take any necessary action.
- Keep organized records of important documents for each participant. Depending on your group and its purpose, this may include signed medical release forms and liability waivers.
- Evaluate your insurance coverage and make sure each traveler does as well, especially if they are volunteers not covered by a group policy. Consider foreign liability insurance, foreign medical insurance and trip cancellation insurance.
- If you are traveling to an unfamiliar area, do not assume it will have any of the supplies you need. Pack a first aid kit that includes bandages, antibiotics, antiseptics and standard over-the-counter medications.
- Ensure each participant has copies of his or her passport, credit cards, driver’s license and other important documents stored in a safe, secure location where they are readily available in case of emergency. A set of copies should be left at home with a family member or friend. Ensure each participant also has copies with them for the trip, and that they are stored away from their passport, credit cards, driver’s license and other important documents.