Finding The Right Mission Trip

Need help finding the right mission trip for your group? You're in the right place!

We know that finding the mission trip to meet your group’s unique needs can be a challenge! We also know that starting the planning process can be overwhelming when you do not know where start. That’s why we created this article to simplify the process for planning your Christ-centered mission trip.

Feel free to scroll through the sections and start where you are at in your planning process. 

Planning your 2023 mission trip

How do I plan my first youth mission trip? Start here…

Before we dig into specific location options for the best summer mission trip, it’s helpful to narrow down your search by exploring the types of mission trips that best fit your group.

Not all mission trips are designed the same because each of our community partners have unique sets of needs that your group can help meet and different types of learning experiences. We base our age specific locations on the guidance of our community partners.

Here are some important things to consider when planning a mission trips for different age groups. 

  • Middle school mission trips are an opportunity to introduce students to what healthy mission trips look like and respectful service. 
  • High school mission trips are designed to take students deeper into respectful service and immerse them in the stories of the community they are serving. 
  • Summer mixed age group mission trips are a combination of experiences for students across middle school and high school. 
  •  YWx custom mission experiences are designed specifically around the vision you have for your group and are available for any age group (including adults.) YWx trips are available year-round!

Each mission trip is incredibly meaningful, and if you plan it right, you’ll be able to build on the momentum as your group serves year after year.

Other factors to consider when choosing a location: 

  • What type of service do you want to do? Do you want your mission trip to include more relational ministry, working with kids, elderly or homeless populations? Do you want your mission trip to include more work projects? Or a mix of both? 
  • Are you looking for a specific type of learning experience? What type of cultural or community experience would be most educational or meaningful for your group? Do you want to serve a population that is similar or different than your own community back home? Is your group mature enough to unpack systemic issues related to poverty, food insecurity, or racial injustice?
Creating a budget for your 2023 mission trip

How do you build a mission trip budget?

Finding the best mission trip for your group also means finding a trip that works for your budget.

Your mission trip includes a lot of factors that can impact your group’s budget. As you’re considering key things about “WHO” your group is (middle school students, high school students, etc.), you’ll start to get an idea of “WHERE” you’re willing to travel and “WHAT” all you’re hoping to include as part of your mission trip. Those things all have a large influence on your mission trip budget.

Here is a quick list of questions that will help you understand more about “WHERE” you want to go and “WHAT” you’re hoping to experience on you mission trip:

  • How far do you want to travel? Consider the logistics and cost of gas or flights, if you will need to rent a van, will travel take more than a day and require a hotel, how often you might need to stop for a meal on the road, etc.
  • Will your group raise money, self-fund, or will your organization cover the cost? If you’re fundraising, we have a free resource for that. Check out our 30 Fundraising Ideas Resource Download

Your mission trip budget planning starts to come into view after you’ve worked through those questions. If you need more help creating your mission trip budget, be sure to download the free Mission Trip Planning Guidebook >>.

Now that you know what kind of trip you’re looking for and what works with your budget, let’s find the best youth mission trip for your group

Trip options for your 2023 mission trip

What is the best mission trip location?

With 32+ locations across the U.S., your group mission trip is closer than you might think. We partner with Large Urban Cities, Small Urban Cities, Small Towns, and Native American Communities across the United States.

Here’s more about each community type:

Large Urban Mission Trips invite groups into fast-paced communities with complex, intertwined stories. Service is diverse in these communities. View all LARGE URBAN MISSION TRIPS >>

Small Urban Mission Trips combine the best of a big city mixed with the charming personality of a small town. Service in small urban communities is often relational, yet diverse. View all SMALL URBAN MISSION TRIPS >>

Small Town Mission Trips give your students an opportunity to step into a community that is rife with resilience and hope. Service volunteers are often desperately needed and welcomed. View all SMALL TOWN MISSION TRIPS >>

Native American Mission Trips are intentionally built to welcome groups into conversations about the rich and difficult history of our indigenous partners. Service in Native American communities is often educational and relational. View all NATIVE AMERICAN MISSION TRIPS >>

Mission trip Resources Downloads

What are helpful youth mission trip planning resources?

Take advantage of our RESOURCE LIBRARY to download guidebooks to help you with all aspects of your mission trip prep. View the entire MISSION TRIP RESOURCE LIBRARY.

Here’s a quick glimpse at a few of the key resources from the library PLUS some additional mission trip support that we offer.

  • The Ultimate Mission Trip Planning Guide is a comprehensive resource that helps you think through all the critical details related to picking the best youth mission trip for your group. Download the Mission Trip Planning Guide HERE >>
  • How to Get More Students to Register For Your Mission Trip is a guide to help you increase youth registration for your mission trip and draw in more adult leaders. Get the guide HERE >>
Respectful service

Each YouthWorks mission trip is based on respectful service. 

Since 1994, YouthWorks has facilitated mission trips through the lens of respectful service.

We believe that God is already at work in individuals, churches and communities, and we use Jesus’ example of servant-leadership to join that work. Throughout our partnership with a community, we listen closely, speak carefully and serve humbly. Respectful service may feel less efficient, but we believe it is more effective and life-giving.

Through our experience facilitating mission trips we have learned a lot of lessons about respectful service—sometimes through mistakes but also through success. Without respectful service as our lens, mission trips can easily create damaging relationships or encourage unjust systems to thrive.

We’ve committed our work to creating mission trips through this lens of respectful service. But we also ask every partner who joins us to do the same. To help with that work, we’ve created this guidebook that leads you through an intentional process to examine why you’re wanting to serve and how you can do it respectfully.


Still need help finding the right trip for your group?   >> Chat with us now and we’ll help you out!

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