It’s important to divide the American church’s mission trips into types.
The most common sort of mission trip is a one-week youth group trip to a third-world country to paint a school or gut an old house. Parents, elders, and preachers have no illusions about how much “missionary” work is actually getting done by spending thousands of dollars to fly teenagers halfway around the world for a couple of days. They support these trips for the kids because it’s viewed as a way to build their character by exposing them to the baseline poverty of human existence. Effectively, it’s the same argument as “stop complaining, kids in China would love to have it this good”. What these wise old heads don’t understand is that this institution is being used by political identitarians to support Maoist Third-Worldism because the impressionable young girls and children of immigrants sent abroad return home devoted to the “Invite the World” project. This sort of mission trip is parodied in this video:
As a rule, you should never try to deceive people into virtue because it produces these ridiculous systems built from hacking around unintended consequences, and Satan is the great social engineer of unintended consequences.
More often than not, nowadays, a “mission trip” will be a low-effort, moralizing veneer over a crowd-funded, one-week vacation to some fantasy destination like Rome. This is more common in what I’ll call “striver” churches, like Episcopalians, (increasingly) Methodists, and megachurches catering to an upper middle class demographic. The congregants of striver churches are more comfortable with the hypocrisy of using charity funds to put an “international experience” section on their kids’ resumes and university applications. This sort of mission trip is parodied in this video:
And then, of course, there are real missions trips. These are characterized by length (generally more than 8 months and often years), devotion (the missionary self-identifies as a missionary, not “person trying out a mission to see what it’s like”), and tangential projects to overcome unexpected hurdles (like the need to invent a written form of some indigenous language, so the Bible can be translated).