Getting ready to travel with us?
It’s October 2020 now and the Mission Partners for Christ trip to Benin is coming up in February 2021–about five months away. You may have already begun to prepare by getting your vaccinations and passport updated. But if you have not yet, or this is your first trip or even if you haven’t gone on a trip in a long time, you will need certain things as you are getting ready to travel.
Updating Your Passports
As always when traveling out of the country, we each need to have updated passports so that everyone will be able to secure the right visas and show proper identification for authorities in the countries we travel through or enter. Passports are usually good for a specific period of time, so you will want to find your passport if you already have one and check the expiration date. It needs to be valid for at least six months beyond the intended dates of your trip. The Benin trip is from February 27 to March 8, so your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months after the return date of your trip.
Many countries have their own 6-month rules and you could be denied entry to a country we pass through if your passport is not good for at least 6 months after March 8. If you were over 16 when it was first issued, it was good for only 5 years, so it’s important to check the date, because it’s easy to forget when you have not used it in a while. Some travel experts even suggest that if your passport expires within a year (12 months), to go ahead and start the renewal process.
Starting the Process as Soon as Possible
Due to delays this year in the government agencies that issue passports, you will need to allow for more time to pass to receive your updated passport, as passport agencies complete applications from spring and summer of this year. Many people are reporting that there is about a 10-week wait. With this uncertain wait time, it is worth your while to go ahead and mail in your passport now if you want to be sure it’s updated in time for the upcoming trip.
You will also want to get your yellow fever vaccination and any other vaccinations recommended by your doctor. This is not a vaccination available at all doctor’s offices, so now is the best time to begin calling and finding the closest location where you can be vaccinated. You can find your closest location here at this CDC-hosted page.
Getting Ready Now Will Give You Peace of Mind
As with any trip overseas, getting ready to travel as early in advance as possible gives you more peace of mind because you know all your papers are in order, your vaccinations are taken care of, and anything else needed within a certain time frame is completed. You will have more time to pray, share the news with your family and friends, and do anything else you would like to do before going on the trip.
Are you curious about Mission Partners for Christ or our upcoming trip to Benin? We’d love to answer your questions about how to get involved in serving with care too. Click here to submit your question via our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!