THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PREPARING FOR YOUR MISSION:
PACKING: What To Bring & Where To Find It
*Under the “MISSION” tab you can find Advice, Common Fears & Worries, What to Expect (in the MTC & the Mission Field), My Mission, How to Prepare, Specific Mission Info, Thoughts on What a Mission Really Is, & FAQ
— Below: My Advice & Where to Ask Questions —
BAGS: All are links to messenger bags. Some missions allow backpacks, so you could call your mission office to ask or just wait until you’re in the field.
Amazon (anti-theft), Deseret Book, Ebags, The Kater Shop, Missionary Bag, Missionary Mall, Mountain Smith, Ogio (50% missionary discount), Otiwaa, Pacsafe, SheTraveled, Target, Timbuk2, Travelon, Zion Bags
BEDDING: There are a lot of questions about bedding. Do you need sheets in the MTC? In the field? Here’s what I know: In the Mexico MTC bedding is provided & I would suspect it’s the same for most MTCs, so if you’re worried, call.
In my mission bedding was provided. However, it’s a good idea to take at least one pair of sheets. I took some that we thought would help with bugs & the cold. For those of you going to a cold mission you may want to look into a lightweight sleeping bag or a sheet sleep sack. If you don’t have room in your suitcase & don’t think you’ll need it, you can hold off, especially if you’re serving Stateside. You can always buy it in the field.
If your mission doesn’t supply bedding (but I’m pretty sure most do), you’ll need:
- 2 flat twin sheets
- 2 fitted sheets
- 2 pillow cases
- Blanket or Comforter
- Small travel pillow
CLOTHES & ACCESSORIES: Missionary Dress & Grooming Standards
* Always bring more than you think you’ll need. You’ll get sick of your choices so fast & it’s always better to be safe than sorry if something tears or gets lost.
- 8-12 shirts
- 8-12 skirts
- 2-4 dresses
- 5-7 cardigans
- 1-2 blazers
Choies, Down East, Jen Clothing, The Kater Shop, Latter-Day Sister Missionary, Mikarose, Missionay Mall, ModestPop (discount), OldNavy, Piper&Scoot, ROOLEE, SheTraveled, The Sister Shop, Sorella Bella
- 3-4 pairs of slacks or maxi skirts *Only if your mission complies with new dress suggestions. Although some missions are on the list, not all participate, so call your mission & check. Blair, Chadwicks, Dillards, Kohls, Limited
- 2-3 workout outfits: You’re going to want some looser workout clothes. No yoga pants & nothing skin tight. Champion, Kohls (Tek Gear), LandsEnd, Lucy, LuLuLemon
- 1-2 pair of t-shirt & jeans for P-day & Service activities
- 2-4 pair of pajamas/sweats
- 1 robe
- Temple suitcase & clothes *only if your mission has a temple & that temple does not rent out clothes -call to check
Cold Missions: If you’re serving in a cold mission take lots & lots of tights. Trust me, you’ll want them. Take some thick skirts, sweaters, long sleeve shirts, & jackets to keep you warm & layer. You may want to consider taking some small hand warmers that skiers use, a rice bag (one you can heat up & stick in your bed before you go to sleep), & you’ll probably need some of the items below.
- Coat and/or Rain Jacket: Al’s Sporting Goods, Burlington Coat Factory, Columbia, LLBean, Nordstrom Rack, REI
- 4-5 sweaters and heavier cardigans
- Winter Hat
- 2-3 Scarves
- Ear-muffs or running head band
- 3 Cotton leggings or Fleece lined tights
- 3 Wool socks or boot socks (or both)
- Boots (links found under shoes)
- 1-2 pair of cold gear or under armour
Replace some standard skirts with ones that will repel snow and rain, & replace some t-shirts with hoodies or sweatshirts.
Hot Missions: Be careful about the fabrics you choose. This includes skirts, blouses, & garments. Don’t take pieces that require layering. You’ll want to throw on some simple tees & go to work, so choose loose & casual for the most part. I suggest flowy (A-line) skirts, lots of hair ties, & close toed sandal-like shoes. I’d look into one of those handheld fans.
- 12-14 pairs of garments (your call packet will say 8-10, but I reccommend more) Mesh or Carinessa are favorites in hot & humid missions, but go with whatever you like.
- 4-6 white or nude bras
- 3-4 sports bras
- 2-3 slips (neutral colors) –if you’re in a biking mission you may want to look here for Biking Slips
- Spandex shorts for biking missionaries
- 2-3 undershirts or halftees
- 1-2 pair of thermal garments (for cold missions)
ACCESSORIES: Think conservative. Chances are you’re only going to wear jewelry (excluding a watch which is found below) on special occasions, so you’re only going to want a few simple pieces.
- 4-5 necklaces Jewelry: Charming Charlie, Down East, Forever 21
- 4-6 pairs of earrings
- CTR ring or other
- Alarm Clock (without radio capabilities)
- Converters (if serving foreign)
- Camera – You’re going to want a regular point & shoot digital camera. You can find some good options on Amazon.
- 2 flash drives to backup pictures
- Extra SD card
Advice: I wouldn’t invest too much in a camera because it could be broken or stolen. You’re also going to want to be careful where you email on P-day because some computers will erase your memory cards. Don’t forget to bring a flash drive to put your pictures on, but most of all, write in a journal! You will never get those feelings & experiences back so you’ll want to have everything written down.
MUSIC: You’ll need to look into your specific mission rules on music. Some allow a variety & others a smaller selection. You can do that by calling your mission office or emailing, found here.
- IPod, MP3, or USB with music – Careful of the capabilities
- IPod charger
- Speaker – Remember, no headphones
- Sheet music for any instrument you play
Suggestions: Brian Daw (LDS Hymns & Songs…), BYU Men’s Chorus, Cherie Call, David Tolk, EFY albums (2015, 2014, 2013, etc.), Jason Tonioli (Piano Hymns), Jenny Phillips (We Believe), Micheal Ethington, MoTab (Called To Serve & Come Thou Fount…), Nashville Tribute Band (The Work: To The Missionaries), Paul Cardall (Songs of Praise & He Is Risen), Rob Gardner (The Missionary Hymn Project), Stephen Sharp Nelson (Tender Mercies), Vocal Point (Lead Thou Me On)
LUGGAGE & PACKING: Personally, I recommend taking two large peices & one small piece. Whether the small piece is a duffel bag or a carry on, it doesn’t matter all that much, as long as you can carry all of your luggage yourself. You’ll need to be able to for transfers, so practice before you leave home.
- 2 suitcases (62 dimensional inches, 50 lbs max)
- 1 carry-on suitcase (45 dimensional inches, weight varies, but I believe the max is 60-70 Ibs), or a duffel bag (good for exchanges in the field)
- Luggage Tags (Deseret Book has some cute sister missionary ones)
- Passport holder (waist) -Check with your mission, they may keep your passport in the office & it may not be necessary.
- Money: Your Call Packet will say to take $200 or the equivalent in the currency you’ll be using. Don’t overlook this. It’s a ‘just in case’ fund for luggage problems & things gone wrong & if you don’t use it on the way there you’ll be grateful to have it in the field when you need new shoes. –Take a few extra dollars in your native currency as well.
- Storage/Vacuum Bags
- A smaller bag for service & Zone activities
PACKING: Pack for the MTC in one suitcase & the field in another so you don’t have to unpack both. In your carry on pack some garments, study materials, an extra outfit, & toiletries/things to get you by for a few days if there’s a problem with your luggage.
The first day is go go go! They toss you right into everything so you don’t go back to your room until it’s time for bed, so take anything your want to have during the day in your bag.
Documents to have closeby upon arrival & throughout stay: I suggest a folder in the front pocket of your carry on or tucked in your messenger bag.
- Photo ID
- Immunizations Record
- Passport (unless already at MTC)
- Visa (if needed, & unless already at MTC)
- Health Insurance Information
- Temple recommend
- Four-generation pedigree chart
- Copy of Patriarchal blessing
- Copy of mission call
What to take in your messenger bag:
- Preach My Gospel
- Picture of Christ
- Pen or pencil
- Hand sanitizer
- Advil or IB Profin
- Mints (I don’t think chewing gum is allowed)
- Wallet with $20.00 to purchase any surprise necessities upon arrival
- Snacks – for breaks
- Water Bottle – If you’re going to a mission that requires a filtered water bottle they will provide you with one as you leave the MTC, but you’ll want to take a reusable one as well. Most any water bottle will do, but if you’re looking for something a little more durable here are some options: Contigo, DSG, REI, Tervis
SHOES & SOCKS:
- 2-3 pairs of proselyting shoes (sturdy, comfortable, & waterproof if needed)
- 1 pair of tennis shoes for exercise & service
- 1 pair of flip flops or shower shoes
- Rain boots, if needed: Bogs, Hunter, REI
- 1-3 pairs of Sunday shoes
- Crocs waterproof shoes/flats for hot, humid, wet missions
- Shoe inserts
- Slippers or comfy shoes to wear in the apartment
- 6-8 pairs of ped or peekaboo socks
- 5 pairs of regular socksBernie Mev, Born, Clarks, Cobb Hill, Cole Haan, Crocs, Dansko, Dexflex, Earth, ECCO, Flats, Keens, Hotter, Hush Puppies, Naot, Nordstrom, Sketchers, Sperry, Taos, Tieks, Tom’s, The Walking Company, Zappos,
- Scriptures (in your native language – they’ll give you some in your mission language at the MTC)
- Preach My Gospel (I suggest the small one)
- The Missionary Library: All of which can be found at Deseret Book.
- Small Hymbook
- Journal (also cute ones here)
- Scripture case/bag
- Basic Office Supplies
- Tabs for marking scriptures
- Sticky Notes
- 2 Notebooks, one large (or a study journal) & one pocket size (language study or spiritual thoughts
- 3×5 notecards
- Accordion file for letters, talks, etc.
- 2 micro-fiber bath towels / 2 regular towels (I suggest micro-fiber)
- 1 hand towel
- 1-2 wash cloths
- Feminine supplies
- Handheld/Small mirror
- Toiletry / Make up bag
- Face wash
- Make up (I suggest an quick, light routine for everyday)
- Eye shadow
- Makeup brushes
- *Whatever you use
- Chap stick / Lip Gloss
- Toothbrush (with holder/cap)
- Retainer & case
- Soap (in container) / body wash
- Body Lotion
- Hair spray
- Hair brush, comb/pick
- Hair ties
- Bobby pins
- Appliances (Blow dryer, Curling iron, Straightener) – NuMe is my go-to for hair care & they are always having sales. I’m serious, every week is another that takes a huge chunk out of the price. So, if you watch for a great sale you can get some high quality products for a really good price.
- Hair style book (if desired) – You can find quick & easy hairstyles here & here.
- Nail Clippers
- Nail polish (if desired)
- Nail polish remover & pads or cotton balls
- Small Sewing Kit
- Small Scissors
- Laundry Bag
- Lint roller
- Gallon zip lock bags, sandwich baggies, a few garbage bags (I wish I had these on my mission, so don’t skip these)
- Clothes hangers (debatable whether or not you’ll need them -I didn’t)
- Small Flashlight
- Gorilla Glue
- Command strips/putty to hang up pictues & such
- Air fresheners -More important than you may think
- Bug repellant
- First Aid Kit / Personal Pharmacy
- Prescription medications
- Vitamins / Supplements
- Ibuprofen / Advil
- Pepto-Bismol / Anti-acid
- Cold medicine (Dayquil)
- Cough drops
- Aloe vera
- Antifungal cream
- Anti-itch cream
- Antibiotic ointment
If Needed Or Desired:
- 2 sets of glasses (cases & cloth to clean)
- Tide TO GO pens
- Workout book
- Recipe book
- Crystal Light or Propel packets
- Sun hat
- Decorations (some pictures & quotes to tape up)
- Dryer sheets to keep bugs away
- Essential Oils -The peppermint did wonders for headaches & I loved having the starter pack.
- Address book
ADVICE: TIPS, TRICKS, & EXTRAS
- Watch the Prepare to Serve RM videos that cover clothing needs for your specific mission.
- Label your clothes, at the very least your garments, or you may end up without them. If a member does your laundry you’ll throw it all in a bag & 4 sisters all wearing about the same size garments in the same texture gets confusing if it’s not labeled. Embroider or use a fabric marker on the tag, but it might fade so take one with you. Always on the tags.
- There should be a store in the MTC, so if you dont want to take a bunch of toiletries you can buy most everything there. Just take enough for the first week or two until you can go to the store. –You don’t need to take laundry detergent, they sell it in the store.
- Bring more than you think you’ll need. That applies to everything: Skirts, Blouses, Workout clothes, P-day clothes, etc.
- If you have a favorite hoodie or pair of sweats, bring them. You’ll be gone for a long time & we underestimate the power of slipping on your favorite ‘feel good’ clothes. Make room in your suitcase for something you love.
- You’re going to want a good mix of nice & more casual pieces. You’ll definitely want to dress up for conferences & interviews, but don’t forget to take some simple pieces as well. A lot of sisters in my mission wore some casual tees almost daily & it was a lot more comfortable.
- Take photos of the Prophet, your baptism, the Apostles, Jesus Christ, your family & friends. Trust me, you’ll want them.
QUESTIONS: If you have more questions about a mission you can leave a comment, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Sister Missionary Facebook page “Many Are Called, But Few Are Sisters”.
MORE: For more study tips & ideas, clothes, talks, quotes, etc., feel free to visit my Pinterest account. I have a board or two dedicated to missionaries.