You’re about to hop on a plane to fly across the world. You’ve heard countless missionary stories, decided to take the plunge—and now you’re ready for your own stories.
But what on earth do you pack for a missions trip?
Being a missionary who averages three countries a year, I’ve learned packing the hard way. Yes, the hard way. Like when you’re five hours into your layover and your shoulders feel like they’re going to drop off. Or you’re awake in the middle of the night in an island village during a power outage, wondering why on earth you ignored the advice to bring an old-fashioned flashlight.
To sum up what I’ve learned? Only bring what you can personally carry or wheel around. If you can't carry it, don't pack it. Suitcases are fine, but for our Discipleship Training Schools and missions trips, we often recommend backpacks (60-80L) as some outreach locations may need them.
So, you’ve got your bag organised. But what do you need to put in it?
15 Things to Pack for Your DTS & Missions Trip
- Bedding: A sleeping bag/bed sheet (pillow provided in NZ) and pillow case for outreach (travel pillow recommended)
- Towel & Facecloth
- Coat or Jacket - waterproof/resistant is recommended
- Walking/Active Shoes
- Warm Socks or House Slippers - to keep those feet warm!
- Water Bottle
- Travel Mug - optional, if you like hot drinks
- Dressy/Smart Clothes - guys bring a pair of trousers and a button-up shirt, girls bring at least one knee length skirt/dresses
- Modest Bathing Suit - one piece for girls and no speedos for the guys
- Overnight Backpack
- Journal or Notebook - optional, to take notes in classes
- Head Lamp/Flashlight - optional, but recommended
- Camera - optional
- Power Adapter - New Zealand’s electricity runs at 230/240 volts. We have slanted 2 or 3 pin plugs, which are the same as Australia and some parts of Asia. You can buy adapters easily once you arrive.
But one last thing before you stuff your bag full. What you pack, most specifically your clothes, are more than a fashion statement.
On your DTS you will meet and live with people from many different cultural backgrounds. What is considered appropriate in one cultural context may be not so great (or even inappropriate) in another. So for this reason we want to be above reproach and honour each other in how we dress.
In many outreach locations, this is a MUST in order to respect various cultures and have an effective missions trip. To many people you’ll meet, your clothes are a values statement, not just a fashion statement. Honouring others in this way is often the door to showing them the deeper values of the kingdom.
Finally, don’t forget that you’re about to embark on the adventure of lifetime.
Your bag isn’t just going to be stuffed with souvenirs when you return—but countless stories.
This time, they’re not going to be stories you read online—they will be ones you experienced for yourself.
Other posts in our Packing for Missions Trips & DTS series:
Interested in packing for your own DTS, but want to hear more before you apply? Find out about our courses here: