How to Plan Transportation for Your Mission Trip

By Beth Crocker, Mission Trip Advisor

Does the thought of a long 8 hour road trip already make your head spin and leave you feeling exhausted? Maybe thinking about transportation for a mission trip puts you in a panic before you can even select your trip location! It sure is a lot of responsibility on your shoulders when thinking about safe driving, where to stop, when to stop, and more.

Believe it or not, for many students the drive to and from the mission trip is a highlight! On the way to the mission site a long drive gives an opportunity for students to get to know each other. On the way back home a long drive is the perfect place for your kids to reminisce over inside jokes that emerged on the trip, share testimonies, discuss ways to live differently, look at pictures, etc. Travel may be the most exhausting part of your trip, but it may also be more rewarding than you could ever imagine as it gives time and space for your students to keep connecting after the trip is over.

Thinking through transportation can actually be a helpful starting step in choosing your mission trip! Determine how far you are willing to travel with your group and this will help narrow down the options for trip locations. Are you hoping to keep your trip close to home and within a one day drive? Or maybe you are open to a longer road trip and taking a couple days to get there. Does a flying sound more appealing to you? Asking yourself these questions is an excellent place to get started.

 

Here are 3 key things to consider when exploring transportation for your mission trip:

 

Your team will need to provide your own transportation for everyday of the trip.

You will be responsible for driving your students to and from worksites everyday. You do not need a different vehicle for every work crew, but instead can plan on dropping off and picking up team members at the different locations. Some groups appreciate having a vehicle for each work crew for the comfort of having a vehicle available in case of emergency. For other groups it might not be feasible to have that many vehicles. Think about your budget and what will make your leaders most comfortable on the trip.

Split Up the Drive

If your mission trip is over 8 hours away, you may want to look into splitting the drive up into two days. In this case you’ll need somewhere to crash en route! Consider how many miles you would like to put in the first day and look at the map to pinpoint a big city for your mid-way stopping point. Once you have identified the town, it’s time to do a little research and find a friendly place to stay! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Contact local churches from your denomination. Reach out to share about your mission, explain your needs, and see if they would be able to open their doors for your group to crash on the floor! Most likely they won’t charge you, but you could leave a generous donation as a thank you.
  2. Contact a YMCA and ask about renting their facility for the night.
  3. Network! Talk with friends, co-workers, student parents, and others to see if anyone happens to have a connection in the area. If you are a smaller group, maybe there are friends in town with a big house they would be excited to open up to you! Or maybe through some networking you could get connected to another church happy to help.
  4. Talk with Next Step about it. We have many church partners through years of mission trips. We just may have someone to connect you with!

Look into flying across the country!

Some groups choose to put in the leg work to fundraise more money in order to fly to their trip destination. If your team is passionate about serving across the country or somewhere further away, consider booking flights and then renting vehicles when you land. Next Step can help talk through finding the nearest airport and any tips for getting to the site. When looking for group flights, set aside some time for some good old fashioned research! We recommend working with a travel agent, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look at group rates yourself. Try using a travel search engine or pick an airline and look up the flight options. This might be a quick way to determine if flying would even be a feasible cost for your team.

 

 

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