Let’s face it. Packing for your mission trip can get really overwhelming REALLY fast. Carry-on, personal item, checked bag. Some people don’t even know what these types of bags are, let alone which items should be packed in which bag. At Mission Discovery, we are here to guide you every step of the way – including the important stuff like which bag to put your underwear in. So, that’s why we’ve developed a series of posts advising how to pack for your mission trip. This first post is about checked luggage.



Check Your Luggage Allowance

If you are flying, this is a VERY important first step. You can’t begin to pack for your mission trip until you know how many of each bag the airline allows you to bring. If you don’t follow airline luggage guidelines you may end up having to toss some of your items or pay an extra fine. There are few things more awkward than getting to the airport and finding out that your bag is overweight – YIKES. 


Luggage allowances are typically limited by three standards: weight, dimensions, and bag type. Some airlines differ in what they allow you to carry onto the plane, so it is always best to check with the specific airline you are flying with. Here are some of the most common airline luggage restrictions: 







What is a Checked Bag?

While you bring personal items and carry-on bags onto the plane with you, a checked bag is a bag that you do not carry on the plane yourself. Someone from the airline staff will load your checked baggage onto the airplane for you. The checked bag will be stored in a compartment underneath the airplane. You will not have access to this bag during your flight.


A checked bag is larger than the other bag types – hence why checked bags cannot be stored with passengers. Typically, a checked bag can be up to 50 pounds – but remember to check your specific airline regulations! 


Deciding if You Need a Checked Bag for Your Mission Trip

Some airlines will include a checked bag in your ticket price, other airlines will not. Most airlines will give you the option to pay extra to check luggage for your mission trip. 


If your airline allows you to bring a checked bag for your mission trip, that’s absolutely wonderful! However, don’t feel like you have to bring one. Checked luggage is great if you have a lot of items you need/want to bring with you on your mission trip. However, there is also convenience that comes from not checking a bag on your mission trip.


If you have quick flight connection times or if you just don’t want to carry around an extra bag, opting to not take a checked bag on your mission trip is a great option. Evaluate how many items you will bring on your mission trip and then decide if you need to check a bag.


Choosing the Right Checked Bag for Your Mission Trip

If you do decide to check a bag for your mission trip, we recommend you choose a bag with four wheels so that you can travel throughout the airport easily. You definitely do not want to begin your mission trip by lugging around 50 pounds while traveling from airport to airport. Suitcases with four wheels will make your transportation much easier and save your energy for the mission field


What Not to Put in Your Checked Bag

Keep in mind that any delicate or valuable items you pack should NOT be put in your checked bag. Usually, everything will run smoothly and you will get your checked bag right on time and in tip-top shape once you arrive at your mission trip destination. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes checked luggage gets lost or delayed in transport, and sometimes delicate items can be broken or damaged. Odds are, neither of these things will happen, but it is better to be safe than sorry. 


With that being said, it is also very important to NOT put your original copies of identification or any important paperwork in your checked luggage. You will need these documents not only throughout your mission trip but also in the airport. If you put your passport in your checked bag, you may not be able to board the plane. 


If there are any items you absolutely NEED for your mission trip (such as clothing), it is best to have these items also in your carry-on or personal item. It’s okay to pack duplicates in your suitcase if you want to have just-in-case extras, but it is always best to put your main necessities in your carry-on or personal item. 


What to Put in Your Checked Bag

While we already covered that it is necessary to have your important paperwork or IDs with you in your carry-on or personal item, it’s never a bad idea to make copies of these documents and put them in your checked bag. Then, if your personal item or carry-on gets misplaced or stolen, you have backup copies of all your important documents. 


One plus side of having a checked bag is that you can pack in it as many liquids as you want to bring on your mission trip. In later posts, we will discuss the limitations airlines typically have for bringing liquids onto the plane. However, there are no limitations for liquids in your checked bag. So if you want to bring a full-sized bottle of shampoo, sunscreen, or bug spray on your mission trip – put these items in your checked bag. 


Another plus side of having a checked bag is the ability to bring extra items or gifts for the locals you are visiting on your mission trip. If your airline allows you to bring a checked bag, we recommend reaching out to any missionaries living in the country you are visiting and asking them what items they miss from the United States. You can then purchase these items and hand-deliver them to the missionaries on your mission trip. 


Other extra items you can pack for your mission trip include gifts for the children you will meet such as candy, balloons, bubbles, or school supplies. Those going on a medical mission trip can also pack medical supplies such as Tylenol, antibiotics, or first aid supplies. 


If you are going on a mission trip with Mission Discovery and you have extra luggage space, please contact us at [email protected], and we would love to advise you about what extra items would be beneficial to bring on your mission trip. 


Have a Great Trip!

We hope this post has helped you feel more equipped when it comes to understanding how to pack a checked bag for your mission trip. Thinking ahead and understanding how luggage works will make your trip go much smoother and leave you better prepared to serve on the mission field.