From the moment I stepped off the plane and arrived in my mission, I already couldn’t wait to bring my family back to visit. There were so many places I wanted them to see and people they needed to meet. No matter where you served, your mission was a life-changing experience. I have never met a missionary who doesn’t want to someday. If you’re planning a trip back, never fear. I have all the tips you need!
P.S. No matter where you go or what you do, please keep it COVID-19 friendly!
Planning the actual travel can often be the most difficult part of getting back to your mission. Plane tickets can be expensive, driving can be time-consuming, and picking the dates for your trip gets really tricky.
If you choose to travel by plane, my first tip is to check flights first. I found a great article with a list of 14 websites that can help you see the cheapest flights possible. Many of them allow you to see trends that help narrow down what time of year would be best for you to fly!
There are also a lot of Instagram accounts/websites that let you know when a sudden price drop happens. I live in Utah and love @flightsfromhome. Do some research and find someone who posts about your local airport.
If you’ll be getting back to your mission via car, I suggest picking dates first. Don’t stress yourself out with an extremely strict schedule. You never know what stops you’ll have to make or how the road conditions will be. Stay flexible and enjoy your journey! My husband and I have driven across the country to visit our mission and planned plenty of stops for us to see sights and stretch our legs.
P.S. Don’t forget other options like a train or boat! These may be less common, but they get the job done, too.
You have a few options when it comes to lodging in your mission. Hotels are an easy and obvious choice, but often expensive. When my husband and I travel, we absolutely love staying in Airbnb’s! They are often cheaper and are a fun way to vacation. If you like camping, check out Hipcamp. It’s like Airbnb, but for campers!
The most cost-effective choice is to stay with the people whom you met while serving your mission. If you go this route, social media is going to be your best friend. We had no idea who would be willing to house us (or if they even remembered us). We put a few posts on Facebook and Instagram and our problems were solved!
I was honestly surprised at the love we felt from those we served. So many people opened their homes to us, fed us, and even went out of their way to find us a place if they were unable to let us stay. Plus, the locals often know the hidden gems of the area and can help you have a better trip.
Making Your Schedule
Once those basics are taken care of, you can really start planning the specifics of your schedule. I suggest giving yourself plenty of time in each area. We were definitely excited to see some of the tourist attractions that we had been unable to visit while missionaries. Make time for those as well as lots of time for visiting with old friends.
Having a vehicle to drive around yourself makes things the easiest (most of the time), but public transportation is helpful, too. It really depends on where you served! When it comes to this part of the planning, you probably already know what’s best.
One helpful tip is to make two lists: people and places. Write down everyone you’d like to visit with and every attraction/place you want to see. Getting everything down on paper can help you organize your thoughts and create the best itinerary possible.
Right before heading to our mission, we visited with our mission president. He told us to really focus on the people. Many of our friends had stopped going to church, and we knew it was important for them to know that we loved them no matter what. We loved the opportunity to be in their home as friends, not missionaries. Simply being with them brought the Spirit and reminded them of the covenants they once made.
You will never feel like you have enough time when back in your mission. There is always more to see and do. Let the Spirit guide your planning! Heavenly Father knows where you are needed, even when you’re not wearing the nametag anymore. You’d be surprised where He wants to you go!
Last, but certainly not least, have fun. Enjoy yourself! Going back to such a sacred, special place is an incredible experience. Take lots of pictures and soak up every moment. I hope you have the best time ever!
Where did you serve your mission? Let us know in the comments below!