Introduction

On most occasions you will make your own travel arrangements but where better opportunity exists for group discounts, an ACBM representative may arrange bookings.


Know who you are visiting

Familiarise yourself with the names of brothers and sisters, their circumstances and history. Make yourself aware and appreciate what constitutes acceptable speech and conduct in the culture you will be entering.

It is strongly recommended that, in your preparation, you access as much information as possible about your destination e.g. use Lonely Planet or similar publications, or the internet.


Passports and Visas

If you do not have a passport arrange for one immediately. A new passport requires time and the faster you want it the more expensive it will be. Your nearest AUSTRALIA POST office should be able to provide you with all the advice you need.

In New Zealand, passport application forms are available from travel agents or online at http://www.dia.govt.nz.

Be guided by the ACBM as to the need for visas, restrictions and other requirements.

Your contact brother will help.


Bookings

Book as soon as you can after approval by the Regional Committee. This way you are more likely to travel when you want to and you may be able to take advantage of cheaper fares.


Insurance

Travel insurance is required. Disasters, small and large, can befall even the best prepared traveller.

The ACBM has arranged a blanket cover for all fieldworkers which covers general travel requirements, including medical, some pre-existing illnesses, loss of baggage (including electronic equipments), cancellation etc. Full details can be obtained through your Regional Committee Secretary or by contacting the ACBM National Secretary or Insurance Officer. Please note, a small excess applies to all claims.

The Fieldworker Application form, attached to this Guide, must be completed in full and all questions answered. Although a medical certificate is not required, you are encouraged to have a discussion with your doctor regarding your trip, general health and precautions (incl. immunizations etc) you need to take.

The policy covers pre-existing illnesses if required medication is taken as prescribed. However, any visit to a doctor for an illness or accident within 30 days prior to departure must have a written clearance from the doctor. The ACBM is also to be notified immediately. Should you require any information on what is classified as a pre-existing illness please contact the ACBM Insurance Officer (see page 25).


Cash and access to cash

For all round flexibility you would be advised to take a Travel/Money Card (for example the Travelex Cash Passport) to access funds from an ATM, a widely accepted Credit Card, a small amount of your destination’s currency and, possibly, some Travellers’ Cheques if you are travelling to remote areas. Check with your bank, as ATMs are not always readily available, particularly in remote areas. In
some locations, only US Dollar Travellers’ Cheques are accepted. Check with the Area Team Secretary as to what the local requirements are.

Also depending on the area, Debit and Credit Cards are other ways to obtain cash. Don’t forget, you will need your passport to cash Travellers’ Cheques or obtain a Credit Card cash advance over the counter. You should allow time in your itinerary to obtain a cash advance as banks in non-tourist locations are notoriously slow. Be warned, Credit Card cash advance fees can be significant. Debit Card withdrawal fees are less punishing.

small amount of local currency can be handy, especially if the Airport moneychanger is closed, to cover immediate costs, such as taxi fares. You should be able to arrange for foreign currency at your local bank with a few days’ notice. US dollars are a useful standby but, if you want to exchange them for the local currency, many banks will only accept US banknotes that are in good condition, i.e. not crumpled or torn, with no additional ink markings.

Both VISA and MasterCard Credit Cards can be used throughout Asia/Pacific, with VISA considered the most popular. Don’t depend on them too much as it is normally large hotels, city shops and restaurants, and airlines that accept them. Once you get away from the cities their use becomes limited.


Luggage

You should attempt to keep your luggage to a minimum and the following configuration is recommended:

  • One good size strong piece of luggage to carry virtually all you need and any additional ACBM material. It needs to be robust enough to withstand malevolent airport baggage handlers and bumpy taxi rides and should be padlocked. Make sure you label your baggage inside and out. A good idea is to put a clear identifier on your bag (e.g. a red ribbon) as many bags look the same. Carry your Bible in your hand luggage, along with wallet, passport and electronic equipment.
  • A day pack that you can fit into your luggage. Rather than hump your luggage all over Asia you may be able to keep your bag in safe storage and do day trips or the occasional one-nighter using the contents of your daypack.
  • Cabin luggage for the flight should be locked and labelled and should contain essentials such as your Bible, medications and fragile items but nothing sharp or it will be confiscated at Customs.
  • A money belt or similar device, usually kept on the traveller’s body, which contains valuable documents and cash. Keep your Travellers’ Cheque records in another location because the records are very helpful for the reimbursement of lost or stolen cheques.

What to pack

Pack in line with the conditions of your destination. Find out from previous fieldworkers and your contact brother the climate range at your destination at the time you plan to travel, and pack accordingly. Some things you should pack that you may not have thought of include:

  • Diary and/or note book to record daily experiences and keep track of finances;
  • A small calculator for currency changes and financial record keeping;
  • Traveller’s alarm clock;
  • A small torch;
  • A power converter if you use an electric shaver;
  • A spare pair of glasses in case of loss or breakage; and
  • A double sheet or sheet bag – many locations including low to mid priced accommodation have an aversion to sheets and will normally give you an acrylic blanket as a sleeping aid. These are of little value in tropical locations whereas a sheet is more comfortable and can help to keep mosquitos at bay.

Other things to remember

Leave photocopies of your passport, tickets, itinerary, other travel documents, and details of your credit cards with family or friends you can easily contact in an emergency, and retain a similar photocopy at the place where you are staying in the fieldwork country. Take phone numbers of people you may need to contact and the emergency medical assistance number supplied by the ACBM or your travel insurer.


When you arrive

You could be tired, disoriented and easily distracted by the newness of your experience. Hopefully, you will be travelling with other, maybe more experienced fieldworkers, and you could even be met at the Airport by local brethren.

If not, you should have been thoroughly briefed about what to do and you would know that you keep your belongings with you at all times and you. Do not accept offers of help from strangers to mind your bags or take you to a taxi.

DO NOT under any circumstances agree to take items through Customs or onto the plane for another traveller.
 

Page Last Updated: September, 2013