Packing for an overseas mission trip is much different than packing for an extravagant tour across Europe.

You must think about the conditions of the area you are visiting and realize that you can’t purchase supplies when you arrive, so it’s necessary to bring everything along! Plus, your purpose in attending a medical mission’s trip is to volunteer your time. Therefore, you aren’t left with much time to shop for what you forgot back home. You will be working rain or shine, hot or cold, so you must be prepared for all circumstances. Travel to a third-world country can be comparable to camping, so think like a camper, and you’ll be golden!

Also, it’s common to leave much of what you bring behind.

The communities you will work with need those items much more than you do, so pack items you don’t mind letting go and maybe a little extra to give as gifts!

Here is a comprehensive list of what to pack for your medical mission’s trip:

Bring On You

This part of the list includes the most important things you need to carry attached to you — the things you absolutely don’t want to lose or forget. This can be kept in a small purse or a pouch attached to your belt or waist. Attaching these things to you ensures they will not get lost!

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Photo ID
  • Currency/Debit card
  • Trip itinerary
  • Flight tickets
  • Hotel confirmation
  • Immunization records
  • Cell-phone
  • List of important phone numbers

Bring In Carry-On

Checked baggage always has a chance of getting lost or being riffled through upon arrival. I remember going overseas and having the crew at the baggage claim go through my checked luggage only to poke holes in ALL of my instant oatmeal packets. Every piece of clothing was covered in powdery oats. To avoid this issue, keep any “explosive” items like food and toiletries in your carry-on.

  • Backup copies of important documents
  • Solar power charger
  • Laptop and charger
  • Camera
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • One change of clothes
  • Toiletry kit (make sure all toiletries meet TSA size requirements)
  • Sunglasses
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Insect repellant
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Journal and pen
  • Malaria pills
  • Other important personal medications
  • Travel Converter/Adapter

Bring In Suitcase

There’s no telling what your journey will be like once you land. You may have an easy drive to your destination or may have to carry your luggage a long distance. Make sure to pack your supplies in easy to transport luggage with TSA approved luggage tags. This will make luggage transportation a breeze and decrease the chances of your luggage disappearing.

  • Water purifier/tablets
  • Snacks (non-perishable)
  • Daypack with waterproof cover
  • Mosquito net
  • Ziploc bags
  • Bilingual dictionary
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Rainboots
  • Raincoat
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Flip flops
  • Gloves (both for warmth and for medical purposes)
  • Sun hat/ visor/ bandana
  • Base/mid/top layers
  • Pants or long skirts
  • Short/long sleeve shirts
  • Scrubs
  • Medical supplies (specific for trip)
  • Gifts for families and children (stickers, toiletry items, crayons, etc.)

Though it looks like a long list, each item listed is important and should be considered when you’re packing for your next mission trip!

Showing up prepared will take the focus off your own needs and put the focus on those you are there to serve.


See you in the mission field!

Sheri Postma, RN
Founder & CEO
Mission Partners for Christ