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Planning Your Own Service Trip Checklist:

2-3 Months before you plan to leave:

  • Present the idea to the executive board of your group.

  • Think about funding: how much funding will you need, what ways you could attain it, how much funding your school could give your group, and what the deadline for applying for this is?

  • Take an informal survey of who in your group would be interested in attending.

  • Choose a group that will help you plan the trip logistically and set you up with an agency or choose your own volunteering agency in the area you are going to and plan your housing and transportation yourselves.

  • Communicate with other groups on your campus or other SSA-affiliates to see if they would like to do a joint trip. (In our case, Cru helped us logistically and as a group for us to go with.)

  • If you are going to cooperate with another campus group, plan another small event with them so both groups can get to know each other before the big trip.

  • If your school requires a faculty advisor for travel, recruit one.

  • Begin to work out exact dates and hotel reservations.

  • Once things are more formalized, pass around information sheets and pass around a non-binding sign up sheet.

  • Create a facebook or google group to get everyone organized.

4-6 Weeks before you plan to leave:

  • Finalize who plans to attend. If there are still spots open, try to recruit more people.

  • Either create deadlines for signing up or find out what they are for the group you coordinate with.

  • Make hotel/hostel reservations, if you have not already.

  • Determine what the best method of transportation is for the location you are going to.

  • If you did not receive full funding from your school, explore local groups, SSA grants, and fund raising.

  • Determine how meals will be paid for/distributed. You may want to bring individualized lunches to the work site or have someone go out and buy it for the group.

2 Weeks before you leave:

  • Finalize financial decisions for your group and make deadlines for payments.

  • If you plan to get reimbursed, determine who or what credit card you can use.

  • Plan fun, diverse events for the evenings.

  • Determine meeting times and places for departure and return.

The day before you leave:

  • Print out driving directions for drivers or boarding passes if flying. Consider getting a map of the city for drivers to use at night, too.

  • Ensure you have everyone's phone number who is going, and that they have yours in case there is a mishap the day you leave.

During the trip:

  • Take lots of pictures!

  • Diversify the groups in cars, hotel rooms, and work sites, so everyone gets to know each other.

After the trip:

  • Collect any receipts, credit card statements, or proofs of attendance you may need for reimbursement.

  • Present the experience to everyone else at your next meeting.

  • Plan a reunion event to bring everyone together, reminisce, and look at pictures.

  • Assign someone to do a write-up for your website, newsletter, and SSA's newsletter the eMpirical.

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