Travelling Archives | Mission Direct

How much spending money should I bring?

This is difficult to answer and depends on your personal circumstances and preferences.  The only things you really need additional cash for are buying souvenirs, certain drinks and for giving away.

At the end of your trip, we will provide you with a form that helps you consider if you wish to make any additional donations to any of the partners you have met on your journey.  Often volunteers are moved by one thing or another and want to contribute in a sensitive way, facilitated by our staff.  You may want to have some cash for this or simply make a pledge to give it or raise it on your return.

Where will we stay in country?

It is important to us that you get a good night’s sleep as the schedule, at times, can be busy. We look for good quality, clean and appropriate accommodation.  Depending on which country you visit, it can vary from a modern hotel with facilities, to a basic guest house. On occasions there may be no running or hot water and you may find showers are just a bucket of warm water and a jug! At times there may be limited electricity too.  If the standard of accommodation is important to you, you may wish to discuss which trips would be suitable for you with our volunteer managers on 01582 720056.

When in transit, we try to put married couples together but it may not be possible for a night or two. Where possible we will also try and accommodate children (18 and under) with parents, where requested.

Can I opt out of prayer times, church visits or other Christian activities during the trip?

Mission Direct is a Christian charity and there are some elements of the trips which incorporate this. However, we are committed to ensuring that are trips are accessible and fully inclusive of anyone and everyone, from differing faiths to those who don’t follow a faith.

As a team, we meet each morning to discuss the day, and as part of this we pray as well as before meals and at other times during the day. We are often asked to attend the community’s church services as guest too. These are an integral part of building relationships, as well as an important part of the trip and although you do not have to be a Christian yourself to join a team, we do ask you to join us as a part of the team, be open minded and tolerant of these practices. We will not embarrass you or ask you to pray out loud, as we are sensitive to the fact that everyone is in a different place on their personal spiritual journey. 

Non-Christians who have come with us are often surprised how inclusive and enjoyable these experiences are, often quite different from what they expected. If you are bringing a complete non-faith team, we can create bespoke options which remove some of the faith-based practices. Please contact us.

Can I make personal visits to friends, family, sponsored children or plan my own visits during the trip?

You are joining a team. We want work together, laugh together, cry together, pray together and stay together. If you are missing from the team, the team is missing you and you are missing the team’s experiences. Therefore we ask you not to make arrangements for personal visits and meetings during the trip. However we are happy to change your personal flight so that you can make use of your time in the country to visit friends, family, sponsored children or personal visits outside the trip dates.

Do I need a visa?

It depends on the country. We sort the cost of visas and departure taxes within the contribution and will advise what is needed for each country.  Mission Direct will apply for your visa if required. For Sierra Leone we will advise you in good time and will need your passport in advance.

Are families, single parents, and children encouraged to come?

The oldest person to join a Mission Direct trip so far has been in his late 80’s and there are many volunteers in their 70’s.

Age is not necessarily a limiting factor, although there are some issues you may want to consider. The pace of the journey is not slow, and tropical, humid heat can be a factor in some countries. Please call the Mission Direct office for specific information on climate or accommodation if you are unsure.

Everybody is encouraged to contribute at their own pace; in consultation with your in-country staff it may be appropriate to opt out of a particularactivity to rest, and there are always less physically taxing activities available.

The youngest child to have come on a Mission Direct trip is 7 years old. Please do call to discuss the suitability of a destination for younger children, as we love families to come. If you are over 80 please check with us about health insurance.

Are any locations dangerous?

No. We undertake clear health and safety risk assessments. We would never take you if we believed there was any foreseeable danger and we regularly check with the Foreign Office for the latest travel advice. Please contact us if you have any concerns at any time leading up to the trip or contact your volunteer manager.

What vaccinations do I need? What medications should I bring?

Vaccination requirements vary from country to country and as each person is different, and may face varying health issues, we will not provide specific advice. We strongly recommend that you seek the advice from your doctor or health clinic as soon as possible. Some doctors offer injections free when they hear what you are doing, others charge.

Yellow fever vaccination is a legal requirement for some countries and your yellow fever certificate may have to be shown to the immigration officials to gain entry. It is also vital that you take anti-malaria advice from your doctor and where appropriate, bring the prophylaxis with you.

Am I covered for Medical Expenses/Travel Insurance?

Absolutely – The cost is included in your contributions. We have insurance settled for those under 80. If you are older please discuss with one of our volunteer managers. To read full details, you can download a full copy of the policy here.

We use or as requirements do change for each country

Why don’t I just give money and not waste it on going?

Volunteers travelling with us to join these communities is at the heart of our vision and mission. Thousands of volunteers have been transformed through their volunteering – and this can be your story too. Local people do not want your money, or charity, they want relationship and support in what they are already doing to defeat their circumstances. Over and over again, they tell us that what means the most to them is the fact that our volunteers give up their time to come and help them – to come into their communities and live among them, when many people in their own country wouldn’t.

At Mission Direct we have faced the issue of mission tourism head on and believe passionately that going is vital. Our model of operating addresses many of such people’s concerns.

This is a really important question and has a number of perspectives:

  • The fact of the matter is that the money would almost definitely not be raised if you were not going in person. Friends are far, far, more likely to give to a project that you are involved in.
  • As well as transforming the local community, this trip is likely to transform your outlook. By seeing the effects of poverty first hand – and seeing it alleviated – your attitude towards poverty and materialism is likely to be transformed along with your long-term giving. This, in turn will impact the wider cause as your passion and testimony will be infectious.
  • Often the biggest contribution you make on a trip is a completely unplanned act of kindness or generosity; there are countless stories of these on our trips; from a woman who bought a wheelchair for a housebound girl, sponsorship of children to go to school, to another who ended up singing in Spanish to a dying woman.
  • Mission Direct trips are all about direct relationship. Time and again locals tell the teams ‘we can’t believe that you came in person to help us.’ We can assure you that you too will be glad that you made the effort.

If you want to discuss this further, please ring us on 01582 720056.

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