What We Won’t Leave the Country Without

We've already given you our list of 11 Essentials for your Mission Trip Packing List and the 6 Things to NOT Bring. Here, our seasoned YWAM staff plug their must-have items.


8. Nalgene Water Bottle

A durable water bottle is a must, and while there are lots of options out there, the most common one you'll see is the tried-and-true, nearly-indestructible Nalgene. Grab an unusual color so you won't get yours mixed up with someone else's.


7. Chaco Sandals

They ford raging rivers, they climb mountains, they pair with jeans or those long, culturally-appropriate skirts (although the fashion police may beg to differ) – lots of our YWAM staff swear by their Chacos. They're comfortable and they last for years – but be sure to try on a pair before you invest: not everyone loves the way they feel.


6. Protein

"I always travel with a bag of almonds. They are easy to carry, you can eat one at a time or a whole handful and they are full of protein."
- Andy, YWAM Louisville's Director & Resident Frequent Flier

"Two words: bacon jerky."
- Ben, YWAM Missionary & Carnivore


5. Lonely Planet Guidebook

Many places you will travel to will not have reliable phone or internet connections. Whether you're navigating public transportation or national history, the Lonely Planet guidebooks are invaluable resources – our team leaders always have one in their backpacks. Lonely Planet phrasebooks are great, too, but be forewarned – they usually have a section with phrases for, er, "romancing" the locals that we feel compelled to tear out and throw away.


4. Coffee Gear

"I'll eat whatever I'm served, I'll wash my hair in a bucket, but don't make me settle for a lousy cup of coffee. My hand grinder and Aeropress mean a fresh americano every morning – provided I don't run out of coffee beans!"
- Libby, YWAM Missionary & Shameless Coffee Snob

Other staff travel with a small French press or Starbucks VIA packets.


3. A Good Journal

"I always bring my journal (sometimes two) and plenty of pens. It's not that I record what has happened each day, but it's my favorite way to process and express what is going on around me. "
- Molly, YWAM Missionary & Creative Expression Expert

"In my heart there is an eagerness to hear from the Lord, especially in new ways on outreach. I want to be able to remember all the details!"
- Anna, YWAM Missionary & Lifelong Learner

medic kit

2. Adventure Medical Kit

"Bumps and nicks are part of travel, especially with a family.  Never knowing how far I am from medical care, this little kit serves its purpose."
- Rob, YWAM Mission Trip Coordinator, Adventurer, & Dad


1. Nail Polish

...or whatever little extra takes the edge off of roughing it. Chocolate. A nice scarf that coordinates with most of your clothes. Single-use face mask packets. You'll be surprised by how much you'll appreciate the opportunity to treat yourself.

Do you have a must-have item that you always make room for? Let us know!

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