Prepare for your Church Trip

Preparing for a trip to another country can be overwhelming! Compassion has taken sponsors on trips for more than 25 years, so we are equipped to help. We strive to provide as much information as possible as you embark on your journey. Once you register for a trip, you will get detailed information on that country and what adventures your trip will hold!

Registering for a Trip

We’re here to help walk you through the registration process. Below you will find a detailed timeline explaining when you should register, and what happens after you do!

“The things that scare you or you have concerns about, those are just road blocks that God will always cover once you allow Him to work in your heart through a missions trip. Just like there's no way to describe your love for another person, there's no way to describe the love God will imprint on your heart through a missions experience.”

— Colombia trip traveler

Health and Safety

Depending on your destination, our tours range from moderate to demanding in difficulty due to the impoverished conditions. Our trips can include long international flights, time changes, high altitudes, lengthy transportation on bumpy roads, walking on uneven terrain, extensive days, and possible physical activities. Because we understand each traveler is different, we collect medical and health information for each registrant ahead of time so we can be aware of any limitations and needs you may have. Past or current medical conditions may require a signed physician release form. While we understand this can be a burden, your safety and health is our main concern while traveling with us.

A sponsor smiles with a child
Packing List

Please bring what you need to be comfortable. But remember, the lighter you pack, the easier the trip will be for you. Although everyone’s needs vary, here is a list to help get you started.

“Don’t be scared! It is so worth the investment. After spending the day helping at the center in crazy heat and humidity, my 13 year old said it was better than any vacation we’ve ever taken as a family.”

— Colombia trip traveler

What to Expect

Perhaps you’re thinking about traveling with Compassion for the first time, but you’re not sure what to expect. We want to make sure you and your church will witness and participate in the great ministry God is doing through Compassion International’s church partners in each country where we work. We have great information to help you discover what our trips are like. Below you will find more details about what you might experience on a church trip: visiting a Compassion center, home visits, meeting your sponsored child (“Fun Day”), worship service and a service ministry opportunity. Each trip is unique and filled with discovery, so we want you to understand what is involved, and be ready to join us for this exciting journey!

A group of people smile and wave
“I literally felt like a little kid at Christmas [preparing to meet my sponsored child]! When I got off the bus, tears just flooded my eyes and steamed down my face. I could not believe I was just moments away from meeting this little, precious boy I have grown to love so deeply. I am so glad I wrote and sent pictures to him consistently so we had some sort of relationship to stand on. It's amazing how that built trust and allowed him to love me. When we were walking around on Fun Day, he would constantly look back and smile at me - like he couldn't believe I was really there.”

— Colombia trip traveler

What’s Included

If a trip to a developing country is outside your comfort zone, be assured we will be alongside you every step of the way.

We will guide you through key trip preparation, such as obtaining passports, visas (if necessary) and immunizations. We’ll provide travel tips, a packing list and fun ideas for children’s gifts.

Included in the Trip Price:

  • domestic and international airfare from the designated departure city (unless group decides to purchase their own flights)
  • all in-country hotel costs
  • all in-country transportation costs from buses to in-country flights
  • all in-country meals, non-alcoholic drinks, and tips
  • visits to any tourist attractions
  • limited travel insurance (download a PDF with complete policy information)
  • administration fees

Not included in the Trip Price:

  • travel documents such as passports and visas
  • any required country entry or exit fees
  • immunizations
  • meals while in transit
  • baggage fees
  • additional snacks, mini-bar items, shopping, gifts for your child or souvenirs purchased in-country
  • internet, phone calls or laundry services while traveling
  • transportation to and from the airport if you choose “Land Only” and fly separate from the group

Please note: The Fun Day is a day set aside during each trip for sponsors to connect with their sponsored children. The cost of transportation of the children to the Fun Day activity will be itemized per individual traveler and included on the final invoice, based on the distance the child will have to travel to participate. Please note that we cannot guarantee a child’s participation in Fun Day if they are under the age of 3, as this may put an unnecessary burden on the child and a guardian/parent if lengthy travel is involved.

[Moment that stands out most] when I saw my beautiful sponsored 16 year old girl with a big smile walking into my arms and the first thing she said to me was, “I love you!”

— Colombia trip traveler

Fundraising Information

Travelers are encouraged to engage in fundraising for their mission trip through their local church. There are many ways in which to fundraise for mission trips either individually or through your mission team. Please see our resource page for more ideas.

It is up to the discretion of each individual traveler as to how they will fund their trip. Some teams choose to hold fundraisers collectively from within their church or local community. Others may choose to invite supporters to sponsor them, or a traveler may choose to pay out of pocket for their trip. Below are several examples of support letters that can be used as a template for fundraising.

Cancellation Policy

Compassion understands that a trip may need to be canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. Travelers who cancel a trip may do so at any point in the planning process. Compassion will automatically cancel any reservations made, including accommodations and sponsored child visits. The Compassion Trip Planner may provide permission and instructions for a replacement traveler, if this is a feasible solution. However, within 30 days of the trip, the replacement traveler option will be unavailable. Your Compassion Trip Planner will use his or her discretion to determine the refund amount, based upon each circumstance and the following guidelines:

  • More than four months prior to departure (before registration deadline), a traveler can withdraw from the trip without penalty.
  • Less than four months (after registration deadline) and greater than 30 days (final payment deadline) prior to a trip, all payments are refundable minus the $300 deposit and any funds spent on pre-trip planning.
  • Less than 30 days before a trip, Compassion reserves the right to retain all payments made by an individual traveler. (Within 30 days of a trip, most expenses have been allocated on reservation deposits, trip preparation and shared expenses, such as transportation and hosting.)
  • Airfare refunds are completely determined by the airline under contract. In most cases, the airline will only provide credit toward future travel, minus a cancellation fee.
  • The Compassion Trip Planner will provide all pertinent details about the credit. If cash refunds are offered by the airline, Compassion will provide this amount in full. Compassion does not provide cancellation insurance for trips. If you would like to purchase cancellation insurance, please let your Compassion Trip Planner know.