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Faith Travel 101: Be Prepared

If you think about it, there are a lot of similarities between a Broadway production and a church group trip. Everything has to go flawlessly during the performance, but to ensure the event itself runs smoothly, a ton of pre-work goes into each moment. A Broadway show and a group trip can appear to happen without much effort if done correctly, however every detail has been ironed out in order to produce this effect.

However, while a Broadway play only lasts two hours, a faith-based group trip can last days or weeks with plenty of time for something to go wrong. Managing 40 or more travelers for that length of time requires some serious preparation.

Never assume

At preview parties or in materials handed out to travelers, be sure and include every piece of information your travelers might need. The bigger the trip, the more important this becomes.

For example, if your group is flying somewhere, they may not be well traveled and familiar with FAA’s flight restrictions. Include both the basics, such as what size liquids are allowed through security lines in an airport, as well as typical travel information like what weather to expect and suggested clothing items.

Always give out your cell phone and stress that group members keep this with them, so you will be able to connect with any travelers experiencing mishaps the day of travel. Travel planners often report many issues occur when members don’t read their documents carefully enough and show up at the wrong place or time. So right before the trip, make as clear as possible the where and when.

It’s not only your members who can give you trouble. Be sure and call hotels, attractions and restaurants involved in your trip right before you arrive to make sure they haven’t forgotten you.

Call the hotel to remind them you are on your way, so bellhops aren’t out on an extended break. Or contact the restaurant right before you arrive to let them know your exact arrival time.

No Detail Too Small

Plan out everything down to the minute on your tours. Experienced group leaders know how long it takes one person to make a bathroom stop multiplied by the number of people on the trip and divided by the number of stalls at the rest stop. Then they add in time for chitchat, to make sure no one is being rushed.

This detailed planning allows the trip to flow effortlessly, so you aren’t frantically trying to rush people back on the motorcoach when you didn’t leave enough time for the second rest stop.

Medical issues can occur at any time, so it makes sense to have a plan in case someone falls ill on your trip. Find out from your group any potential health issues, such as hearing aids, handicap issues and special dietary concerns.

Knowing what could happen will allow you to be able to plan for it so you won’t be scrambling. A first aid kit and list of emergency numbers are crucial for any trip.

The final thing to plan ahead of time is your attitude. If something does go wrong, mentally prepare to handle it with a positive attitude and a sense of humor. Group members follow your lead, so if you handle a mishap with humor, they will likely see it that way as well.

After all, the show must go on.