Survey Trip Prep
Updated: Jan 12
In this article, I would like to list some of the things that we did or should have done, to prep for our survey trip. Some things may be more specific to the region in Spain where we were but overall, I hope this is a help to a missionary wife planning to visit an unfamiliar land.
1. Check Documents:
This may seem like a no brainer but unfortunately, we did have an issue. Our first survey trip was very short notice and we took it only one year after we were married This meant that my passport was still in my maiden name. It cost a pretty penny, but we were able to send it out and get it back within two weeks.
Short Testimony: After receiving the revised passport, we made our way from home, Pensacola, down to Miami (we would fly from Miami International Airport) . Our flight was booked on Tuesday so we left the Friday before so we could spend some time with family. Sunday morning arrived and we discovered that we left our passports at home in Pensacola. We considered having a friend overnight them but they would arrive too late. We considered driving back for them, which would be a 20 hr or more drive. This seemed to be the only option, but the Lord works in mysterious ways. It just so happened that my mother, who lived in Miami, was visiting a friend in north Florida only a couple hours from Pensacola. She would be leaving Monday morning and would arrive in Miami Monday night. A friend met her an hour outside of Pensacola and delivered the passports to her, which she then hand delivered to us in Miami. This little document caused us so many problems, and yet the Lord worked them all out.
Visa (If the country requires it)
Household affairs (Bills, pets, etc.)
Let your bank know you’re going out of town, so they don’t block your card.
Exchange rates tend to be better in a foreign country than in an airport or in the states. We found that ATMs have the best rates. Avoid exchange offices, at the time, we should have only lost 20% on the dollar but at an exchange office, we lost 30%.
I made photocopies of all our records and gave it to my mother-in-law (I’d be lost without her). Copies included:
Credit Card/Debit Card Copies (only the ones we took)
If you’re going to a third world country, you may want to ask a doctor if there are any vaccines or medicines you may need to take or if there are any recent outbreaks of anything. The Ebola virus was spreading like crazy on our first survey trip. We didn’t get any shots and the Lord protected us. However, if you’re going somewhere where Malaria is prevalent, you may want to look into a temporary medicine that helps with that. These are the things we researched and/or brought with us:
Local Disease Shots
Melatonin (Naturally resets sleep cycle from jetlag)
Motion sickness medicine (for flights)
When Traveling with Kids:
My daughter was just under two years old when we took our second survey trip to Spain. We weren’t in a third world country so, we didn’t think her health would be affected. Four days into our trip, she came down with a fever. It got as high as 103 degrees and lasted for an entire week. Long story short, I think it was just an attack on her immune system being in a new environment. The Lord worked it out where a pharmacy was literally below our apartment and with some broken Spanish, my husband was able to get some Ibuprofen to help with the symptoms.
Know the location of the nearest hospital
Child’s Pediatrician’s number and office hours
Listed below is a link to a website that will give you health and document information for various countries:
Be wise as a serpent… Some general guidelines:
Don’t drink the water - Whether it's from the tap or a crystal river, don’t drink it. Getting dysentery or picking up a parasite is not worth a moment of feeling like a pioneer.
Wear shoes - Whether in the water or out of the water. The locals may be just fine, but they grew up around whatever bacteria and parasites are in the area. Plus, this one is a little bit more personal. My dad, a missionary to Cuba, cut his foot while walking in a river there. He ended up getting Lymphedema. Long story short, he had it for the rest of his life. It would flare up whenever he came back from a third world country and, he would be sick for weeks with an intense fever. Just take the necessary precautions and wear shoes.
Better yet don’t swim - Again, parasites…
Don’t boil/cook with the water
I know as a missionary there’s only so much you can do to separate yourself from the people. But mostly in third world countries, try to avoid ingesting the water even if it's been boiled. Again, I’ve seen some bad cases of dysentery just from eating chicken cooked with the water. If you must eat it, just pray a little extra over it.
If you know the specific location you’re going to, you may be able to look up a water report for the area to see if you can drink it.