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11 Packing Tips from a Pro-Traveler (AKA YWAMer)

Nov 9, 2016 8:01:06 PM

11 Packing Tips from the Pro-Travelers at YWAM Salem

Are you preparing to go on a missions trip? Are you packing for your YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS)? At YWAM Salem, we have the privilege of sending outreach teams to different nations every three months with our DTS programs. Inspired by our frequent travels, we have a few packing tips we’d like to share with you!

1. Lightweight Compression Stuff Sack

Our YWAM DTS outreaches last 11 weeks. You only have so much room and can bring only so many clothes. Stuff sacks provide a convenient way to compress your clothes so they can fit in a smaller space in your pack. We recommend getting several sizes for different purposes. One 21-liter for clothes, one 11 liter for undergarments/smaller clothing items, and one 21-liter for your dirty clothes. You may be changing locations every few weeks so stuff sacks will help keep your pack organized.

2. Duffel Bag Backpack > Backpacking backpack

We recommend duffel bags over backpacking backpacks. Duffel bags are significantly cheaper than backpacking backpacks because they don’t have the fancy padding and straps one would need for long treks in the wilderness. The majority of DTS outreaches will not include extensive trekking, and therefore you can save a lot of money by purchasing a duffel bag. We recommend the Helly Hansen duffel which comes in a 50 liter or 70 liter size, plenty of space for a DTS outreach. This bag comes with backpack straps for easy transport and is made of durable, waterproof material.

 3. Fabric Softener Sheets, keep your stuff smelling fresh

As you pack your clothes in your compression sack, make sure you include a couple dryer sheets. It’s a great way to keep your bag and clothes smelling fresh. And trust us by week 6 on outreach, you’re going to be thankful you did!

4. Bring games

There’s nothing better than sipping a coca cola and having a laugh while playing games with your team after a long day of ministry on your DTS outreach. Our favorite travel friendly games are monopoly deal (card game), banana grams, uno, and skipbo. You'll be everybody's favorite team member.

5. Quick dry fabrics

Performance fabrics like Merino wool are breathable, moisture-wicking and quick-drying. Our top two quick dry purchases: 1) Underwear 2) Towels.

6. But first, Coffee

Okay, technically it's sixth and certainly not a make it or break it item. However, as a true coffee-loving Oregonian, Nescafe instant coffee just doesn’t always cut it on outreach. We recommend bringing your own beans, travel grinder, and portable pour over or aeropress.

7. Baby wipes. Even if you aren't a baby.

Although "cleanliness is next to Godliness" is not an actual verse in the Bible, you can never have too many baby wipes! Don’t miss out on the fun of a "baby wipe shower" or the peace of clean hands before dinner.

8. Bring notecards for important addresses

It can be difficult to explain a direction or address when you don’t speak the language of your taxi driver. Make sure to carry a notecard with your address written in the native language. That way you can just point, and end up where you need to be! Another great tip is taking screenshots of the location on your phone so you can pull it up if you don't have cell service. 

9. Buy souvenirs at the end of your trip, not the beginning

I know, it’s tempting. You’ve just arrived to a new country and there are lots of cool things you could purchase for your friends and supporters back home. However, we have found that usually the souvenirs are fairly similar in each location. It’s wisest to make your purchases nearer to the end out outreach so you don’t have to carry more in your pack as you travel to various locations within the country.

10. Bring cash, in new $50 bills

Always bring some extra cash on your outreach. Although your housing and meals are covered (if doing a DTS), you may want to purchase snacks and souvenirs. Exchange rates are often better when you use 50 and 100 dollar bills. We recommend 50 dollar increments so you don’t come home with unused foreign currency. Also make sure you get the newest, cleanest bills you can. Unfortunately if bills are too old and weathered, they may not be accepted by currency exchanges and banks in other countries.

11. Bring Stickers

You’ll most likely be working with kids on your outreach and kids love stickers! Bring lots of kid-friendly stickers. It’s a very fun, portable, and cost effective gift for all the children you come in contact with.

So pack your bags and let your journey in missions begin! Don't have a trip planned any time soon?Travel is good for you! Take a gap year with YWAM.


Interested in Jesus, adventure, and growing in your faith?

Do a Discipleship Training School, YWAM’s flagship missionary training course. It's a great gap year option. It's also perfect for anyone looking to step out of the ordinary and grow in your faith.

How does it work?

First, you’ll spend 3 months getting to know God amongst a vibrant Christian community and the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Then you’ll embark on a life-changing 2-month overseas missions trip, focused on making God known. A new DTS starts every September, January, April, and June! Submit your info below to learn more. 

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