The information shared in this section is standard information for individuals with US citizenship believed to be accurate at the time of publication. However, it is your responsibility to meet the necessary requirements for your personal circumstances.
If you do not have US citizenship, it is your responsibility to ensure that your passport, US visa, and any additional visas necessary for the country in which the trip is being conducted meet the requirements for your country of citizenship. Please ensure you possess all the documents necessary to re-enter the US after the trip.
Specifics that are pertinent to your FCA International mission trip will be sent to you directly from your Trip Leader as you prepare for your trip. These details may override the general guidelines provided here. Please contact your Trip Leader via email if you have questions or need assistance with meeting international travel requirements.
You must have a valid passport in order to go on an FCA Missions Trip. The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of return. Please make sure that you sign your passport exactly as your name appears on the passport. We suggest that you give a photocopy of the front page of your passport to a family member/close friend for emergency purposes and that you have a copy in each piece of luggage that you take with you. Having a copy of your passport available will aid in replacing your passport in the event that it is lost or stolen during your travels.
If you do not have a passport, apply today! Obtaining a passport may take ten weeks or longer. Waiting until you have all your trip funds will not allow you to receive your passport in time. Passport application and renewal forms can be downloaded on the internet at www.travel.state.gov.
Please check with the Center for Disease Control (CDC Travelers' Health) or your local health department/doctor for the required immunizations for the country you plan to visit during your outreach. It is up to the discretion of you and your doctor to decide whether you should receive these immunizations. Be sure to consult with your personal doctor/family physician for their recommendations. Because you will not be living like a tourist all the time, you will have a greater potential of being exposed to many things that the average tourist would not be exposed to. This is why you need to receive the correct immunizations.
When scheduling immunizations, please be aware that:
- Immunizations are costly and some must be given within specified time frames and in multiple doses.
- All of the immunizations can have side effects, such as soreness, flu-like symptoms, and general malaise. Consequently, obtain immunizations early in the preparation phase and during a time period when potential side effects will be at a lesser inconvenience should they occur.
- Travel immunizations may not be covered by your health insurance, and not all family physician offices administer travel immunizations; immunizations can be obtained at your local health department.
Short Term International Travel Insurance
FCA requires all Mission Trip participants to have short-term international medical insurance. Short-term policies are a cost effective way to insure your trip and avoid huge financial burdens should illness or injury occur.
This insurance must include coverage for medical and evacuation/transportation expense for the duration of the trip. The expense for this insurance is usually not included in the cost of the trip and is the responsibility of each individual participant. Many FCA Trip Leaders use the Patriot plan from International Medical Group (IMG). Please feel free to visit Iamglobal.com and request a quote.
Emergency Medical and Evacuation Insurance is designed to provide short-term travel insurance, supplementing your existing insurance when traveling outside the US. Plans typically include sickness and accident medical protection, traveler’s assistance, accidental death and dismemberment, medical evacuation, and repatriation of remains.
Staying Healthy Overseas
No one plans to get sick on a short-term mission, but experience tells us that it happens quite often. With the proper precautions before and during travel, you can keep yourself healthy. During the preparation phase leading into your trip, proper rest, exercise, and diet will have a crucial impact on your health and energy level while in your destination country.
Make sure that you have a sufficient supply of prescription medication for the length of your travel and a few days extra in case of travel delays. Leave all medications in their original containers to avoid arousing suspicion with customs inspectors.
When you arrive overseas, you will receive specific instructions from your Trip Leader and/or Host about what foods and beverages to avoid. Be aware that if tap water is not safe, you will need bottled water, even for brushing teeth. Hot beverages, bottled water, and bottled soft-drinks are usually safe. Keep your mouth closed when you shower. Avoid raw vegetables, fruits with thick coverings/skins that need to be peeled are always safer than fruits without coverings/skins. Consider how the food was prepared and how long the food has been out at room temperature before eating. Don’t be paranoid, but do use common sense and follow the advice of your Trip Leader and Host.
It cannot be stressed enough that washing your hands frequently and drinking plenty of fluids are two of the simplest ways to stay healthy. Please note that eating times and food portions may not be what you are used to as an American. It will be helpful to pack snacks. Be sure to notify your Trip Leader of any allergies or medical conditions that might require consideration while in-country.
The following is a list of health items that participants have found helpful or wished they had:
- Imodium AD
- Cough medicine/cold tablets
- Pepto-Bismol tablets
- Mosquito repellent
- Anti-itch cream or spray
- Antibiotic cream