Planning Mission Trips

People make many mistakes when traveling outside the United States because they do not research the country and customs of the country where they plan to travel. An activity that you might freely do in the United States might be illegal to do in another country.

 Tips to Help When Traveling to Other Countries

  • Do your research. Search the internet or guidebooks for the country you plan to visit. You can also check with the official foreign website ( This site will give you travel and safety tips when traveling to a particular country.
  • Respect the place and the people that you visit.  You might think that there is nothing wrong with posing in front of a heathen statue, but someone else might think that you are terrible for doing such a thing.
  • Write down the phone number for United States’ Embassy and put it in a safe and available place in case of an emergency.
  • Never carry anyone’s bag for him, no matter what he tells you. Drug smuggling in Singapore and many other countries is punishable by the death penalty. (It was a terrorist, who convinced a young Irish girl, to carry  the suitcase with the bomb in it onto PAN flight 103, Lockerbie, Scotland. That flight killed 270 people. Of course, the young woman did not know what was in the suitcase.)
  • Be aware of different laws about carrying items out of the country. It is illegal to carry a likeness of Buddha in Thailand.
  • Always dress modestly. Some countries dress in not that important, but in other countries such as in the Maldives or Abu Dhabi, immodest dress could result in imprisonment.
  • Kissing or other forms of public affection in many Middle Eastern countries could result in imprisonment.
  • Become aware of certain strict laws of the country. Example: In Singapore, there are heavy fines for littering and failing to flush a public toilet after using it.
  • If you are traveling to Muslim countries during Ramadan, be careful where you eat. In some countries, it is illegal to eat outside homes or restaurants during this time.
  • Do not pack too many clothes. When traveling in Great Britain, you will need to ride in small taxis and on trains. Pack light and wrinkle resistant clothes. It is easier to wash clothes out every night than to burden yourself down with too many bags.
  • Since most credit card companies do not charge large fees and do the proper exchange rates, always try to use your credit card to purchase most items.
  • Check health standards for the country you plan to visit.  Before visiting some countries, you will need to take shots for malaria and other diseases before you leave.
  • Be careful about being too friendly with men. In some countries, just smiling or speaking to men suggests that you are a promiscuous woman.
  • Avoid talking about how great the United States is in comparison to the country that you are visiting.
  • Avoid talking or laughing loud.
  • Do not push ahead of others in lines. (Usually Europeans are more polite than Americans)Learn some basic phrases in the language of the country you plan to visit. (Yes, no, please, thank-you, hello, goodbye, good morning, good evening, goodnight, nice, beautiful, wonderful)
  • Some hotels do not have bathroom in each room. Look for WC. This is the universal sign for water closet or toilet.
  • Give gifts—Europeans and Latinos love to receive gifts for any reason.