Air: Team leaders are responsible for deciding how to book your air transportation. We have a partnership with Sailair Travel, a local travel agency. You may also choose to purchase tickets on your own. There are benefits to booking through Sailair Travel; it allows you to pay for your airfare over time as opposed to in its entirety up front. Often, the tickets are at a discounted rate from what can be found when searching individually. Work with your Missions Program point of contact several months in advance to obtain quotes from Sailair. These quotes contain important dates: deadline for paying a deposit to reserve your tickets, when names must be added to each ticket, and when the total balance is due. Hold tickets by paying a deposit on them (comes out of each team member’s $150 deposit). Full names and dates of birth must be added at a later date. Your Missions Program point of contact will communicate with Sailair and remind you of upcoming deadlines. As we receive invoices from Sailar, we’ll share with you how much is owed, review your account balance, and discuss other upcoming expenses in order to determine how much to pay at a given time. You will receive your tickets 1-2 weeks prior to your trip. Hold onto them until you get to the airport, then distribute to the team.
Ground: If necessary, secure ground transportation in advance. Some hosts provide this at a flat rate; other trips may require you to find and book on your own. Your Missions Program point of contact can help you find the best option. If team leaders are driving, be sure to review traffic laws for your location before your trip.
Discuss housing with your host; they will often have recommendations for the most affordable, convenient, and accommodating hotels/housing. Book months in advance for better rates and more options. Condense as much as possible for cost effectiveness (it is ok to sleep 2 people per double bed). If provided by host, find out cost and be sure to include it as part of your pre-trip budget.
If going out of the United States, carry larger bills with you for a more effective exchange rate. Keep all funds in a safe/secure location. If team members are allotted a daily or trip-long stipend, distribute after reaching your location. If using a trip-long stipend, share the amount allotted per day with team for personal tracking/monitoring purposes.
Maintain consistent communication with your host, at least weekly or bi-weekly if possible. Have one team leader do this (typically primary) in order to avoid confusion. Set trip dates and develop a plan/schedule with your host that fits within their vision and purpose; these trips are not solely based on our own thoughts and opinions. We’re going there to come alongside and provide support to the work already being done. Be sure to share pertinent information (flight itinerary, trip plans, team size, etc) with your host and inform them of any changes that may arise throughout the pre-trip process.
Team members will become both mentally and physically exhausted, so taking time to relax and enjoy God’s beauty in a different place in the world can rejuvenate and inspire your team. A free day is a great mid-trip activity to re-energize your team, for the final stretch or even at the end of a trip as a healthy beginning to transitioning home and experiencing culture shock. Hosts will be able to provide several nearby, popular options. Recommendations: sightseeing, relaxation (beach, park, etc), fun (athletic event, performance, etc).
Team meetings should be efficient and effective. Team members should be engaged in the meetings; have interactive time, not just team leaders talking at team members. Go into each meeting with a detailed agenda; don’t make it up on the fly. If you don’t have things to work on or talk about, don’t meet. Team meetings serve as an ideal time for spiritual preparation and team building activities; they don’t have to be just for discussing details and logistics. Have some meetings that are specifically devoted to team building and spiritual preparation: get together off campus for a meal, go serve together somewhere in the Nashville community, etc. If meeting on a weekly basis, try to keep meetings to one hour or less. Expect all team members to be in attendance. Make meetings a priority; set a limit for number of absences. Have team members hold other team members accountable for being there. Schedule all of your pre-trip meetings early on so team members can plan accordingly. Remember to reserve the missions center well in advance for your meetings; you can book your whole semester’s meeting times all at once. Email Julie Woodroof or click here to do so.
Always provide your team with an updated packing list. Every year you will have some new team members who do not know what your trip will be like. Include everything down to the smallest detail (# of clothing items, specific toiletries, amount of spending money, Bible, etc). The more thorough it is, the fewer last minute questions you will be asked by your team members.