General Travel Tips
- Don’t forget your passport! You must have a valid signed passport in order to travel outside your home country with AYC. To obtain a passport, you will need a certified birth certificate and a passport photo. Don’t forget your passport!
- Check with your domestic airline to find out about their luggage policy/costs. Calculate the luggage fees that you will be charged. If applicable, you will be responsible for these fees. Please bring cash or a credit card to cover the cost. See our FAQs for more information about luggage fees.
- Remember that your one carry-on bag must fit in an overhead compartment or under the seat. It should not exceed 45 linear inches (length + width + height) or weigh more than 40 lbs/18 kgs. Do not bring a garment bag as your carry-on.
- Clothing and hair styles should be conservative and modest in style. Remember that you are representing the youth of the United Pentecostal Church International in North America. Casual attire will be acceptable for the outreach and sightseeing activities during the day. Normal church wear will be appropriate for the services; however, you may wish to leave your very nice clothes at home. This tour will not be a “dress parade.” The men may wear a suit or sport coat to services. If extremely hot, you may be able to take the coat off during service. Do not pack more than two suits or sport coats. Remember, especially for the ladies, to be selective and travel light. You can plan to wear an outfit more than once. In some of the countries, the ladies may be required to wear their hair up. Please be prepared for this. We will provide you with any specific information on dress/apparel that we receive from the missionary
- Never keep all of your identification information in one place (i.e. passport, driver’s license, social security card). If all of this information is lost or stolen, it will be difficult to give proof of identification to any government official, especially with recent heightened security.
- It is suggested that you pack some good reading material, your iPod, iPad, and/or compact travel games for the long flights and waiting periods that go with overseas travel.
- You may desire to purchase a travel transformer with various adapters for your electric hair dryer, etc. These can be purchased at some electronics stores and shops specializing in luggage and travel needs.
- Have luggage tags on the outside and the inside of all luggage (carry-on included).
- Retain all claim checks for luggage.
- Due to long flights, it’s a good idea to pack a light snack in your carry-on luggage.
- Be sure to check carry on requirements. TSA will not allow you to carry on certain liquids. Check requirements here
It’s important to pack smart and efficient for your AYC trip. The biggest mistake you can make is packing too much or too little. Below is a starter list of essentials for your trip. Your AYC chaperone will email you with additional essentials you may need based on your travel destination.
Additional items for men:
Additional items for women:
AYC International Flight Luggage Guidelines
Here is the AYC baggage policy:
- For all domestic flights you will need to pay luggage fees. Check with your airline for applicable rates.
- For all international flights you are responsible for luggage fees. Follow these guidelines:
1 checked bag – up to 50 lbs/62 linear inches.
1 carry-on bag no larger than 45 linear inches for the overhead bin.
1 personal item that can be stored under the seat in front of you.
If you bring more than what is allowed, you will be charged excess baggage fees which can be $200 or more roundtrip.
- All global trips depart from a major U.S. international airport. It is up to you to arrange your own travel to/from the departure city. In making your travel plans, you need to be at the designated airport at least 4-5 hours before our scheduled departure time.
- It is also best not to make your return flight time too close to our scheduled return time due to the delays which sometimes plague international air travel. We recommend a 4-5 hour time break between our return to the U.S. and the connecting flight to your home city.
- Shortly before your trip you will receive a copy of your international ticket
The following are words of advice from real AYCers…
The Essentials, oh the Essentials.
Pack at least 2 outfits and hygiene essentials in your carry-on. There is a low possibility your luggage may get misplaced during travel. You will get your luggage back; however it may take a day or two. Just be prepared. If you are going to a third world country- pack travel toilet paper!
Fashion or Not? That is the question.
There will be a lot of walking, so bring shoes that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty. Comfort is more important than appearance—make sure you pack shoes and clothes you are comfortable in. More often than not, the people are just thrilled that you are there and don’t pay attention to what you are wearing. Suggestion: Ladies leave the heels at home.
Photos are priceless.
Bring a good camera with plenty of memory, and take lots of pictures. You want to cherish these memories, and a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures show the true experience of your trip, and even if you take a thousand, months later you’ll wish you would have taken more.
Keep a journal. It will be hard remember all of the details of your trip once you leave. Your trip journal will allow you to relive the whole experience when reading it later. This will be one of your greatest keepsakes from your trip. At the end of the journey, you can have everyone sign it. You will have great memories to cherish and the majority of them will be in your journal.
Cash is King!
Bring cash to use as spending money. You will have opportunities to exchange your money on your trip, and it’s best to bring small bills to exchange. You can bring credit/debit cards, however to get the best deals, Cash is King.
Pack snacks in your checked luggage. Your food is included in your trip cost; however you may need a little something to hold you over. Remember to stay hydrated. It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re walking all over. Buy bottled water every chance you get.
Fly It Right!
Try to get a domestic flight on an airline that is a partner with the international airline so you can check your bags straight through to your final destination. This saves you from having to go through security a second time. Also: Choose luggage where you run out of space before it is overweight—usually the medium size works best. Most airlines have restrictions on weight for checked bags and charge you if your bags are overweight. You will also be responsible for carrying your luggage from place to place. These are two great reasons to aim for smaller, lighter luggage.
Beauty Sleep Indeed!
Don’t stay up the night before leaving for your trip. We know the excitement is thrilling, but sleep is scarce! Once you arrive at your destination- you hit the ground running. Sleep as much as possible on the plane.
Conquer Jet Lag!
Traveling over time zones is brutal, it will throw off your internal clock. What you eat and drink may help you conquer! Drink plenty of water, 100% fruit juice, or herbal tea before, during, and after your flight. Stay away from salty food, caffeine, sugary foods, and heavy–high fat snacks. Eat snacks that are protein-rich. Nuts, peanut or almond butter with whole-grain bread, crackers, cheese, yogurt, and protein bars are good suggestions to pack.
From One Friend to Another….
|Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to let loose and experience your trip to the fullest! The “free” moments will be some of your best memories.|
|Don’t decide to hate the native food before trying it. Foreign food is different, but most of it is surprisingly good. When are you going to get a chance to try it again? The food might not be what you’re used to, but try new things! You may even find a new favorite food.|
|Research the culture before going. Look into the country, customs, accommodations, culture and cuisine. Leave the “America is the best” thought on the plane. Remember, you are the visitor.|
|Familiarize yourself with some of the language. Learn some key phrases. Most of the residents are thrilled when you try to speak their language—no success required.|
|Always smile! You never know the situation someone you encounter might be facing. Smiling shows hope, and sometimes that’s all someone is looking for.|
|Use your manners. “Please” and “thank you” can go a long way for someone. It’s a confidence builder for the person receiving it and shows your Godly character.|
|You’re going to become extremely attached to the people and the country. It will be hard to leave. Prepare yourself for the time of your life; however be prepared to leave part of yourself on foreign soil.|
|Meet as many people in your group as possible the first day you meet up with the group. You’ll be spending a lot of time together and will form many meaningful connections. Enjoy the friendships made; they are long-lasting.|
|Spiritual warfare happens on the mission field. Prepare to pray through some obstacles. Just remember… Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4|
|Be flexible. We are human, and if change happens or someone offends you, just roll with it. You will make it a more pleasant trip for you and everyone else.|
|When evangelizing, have no inhibitions. Work on overcoming being nervous, shy, or scared. You’re thousands of miles from home and will never see these people again, but your efforts can have an eternal impact on their lives. Don’t be discouraged when someone brushes you off during outreach. It’s happened to all of us. Shake it off, smile, and keep going. Keep calm and evangelize on.|
|Know that you are a part of something great, and that you are making a difference by being a part of AYC. It will change your life, but it will also change the country, city, and people you visit forever. So do not be discouraged if you do not immediately see the results you were hoping for because they are there, regardless. You will never know your true impact until Heaven. Sometimes the greatest success story of AYC is what you challenged yourself to be a part of to impact and change yourself.|
|You can still make a difference once you return home from an AYC trip. Whether it’s branching out in your ministry at your local church, or giving to foreign missions, Sheaves for Christ, and our many other offerings throughout the year. Realize that through giving you can still impact the place and people your have come to love through AYC.|