A pilgrimage differs from a tour in several important ways. It is a personal invitation from God, comprised of His offer and dependent upon the pilgrim’s acceptance. God’s call may vary but the purpose remains consistent: It is an individual summons to know God more fully. A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey to which the pilgrim joyfully responds “yes” to God’s invitation.
Although in previous centuries many trials were intrinsic to a pilgrimage, the modern pilgrim has an abundance of affordable travel options, yet the purpose remains unchanged. It is a journey to a holy, sacred place to usher the pilgrim into the presence of God.
The pilgrim must embark on this journey with joyful anticipation, being willing temporarily to separate himself or herself from the world and to offer himself or herself in humble service to another. A successful pilgrimage involves a commitment to leave behind one’s problems and to focus instead on seeking to learn more about our heavenly Father, making one’s heart full of desire for special graces, praises, petitions, and thanksgiving, returning home transformed, renewed and restored by the abundant blessings received.
A pilgrimage is a time of prayer and to witness the miraculous signposts God has left for our return to Him. Ask God to bless you with a heart that will be receptive to the treasure chest of graces He desires to shower upon your pilgrimage. The success of your spiritual journey will depend upon your openness, faith, flexibility, and love.
Each traveler will need a valid passport book. You can check if you need a visa here. Passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of departure. KEEP YOUR PASSPORT WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES. You will need it when you check-in at your home airport. Make a copy of your passport. Be prepared in the event that you lose your passport. Keep a copy of your passport in a safe location. Leave a copy of your passport at home with your emergency contact.
When you check-in at your originating U.S. airport, your bag will be checked all the way to final destination. On the return, baggage will be checked only until the first US airport, you will need to go through customs again and re check your bags to your home airport. You can check one bag of your belongings. The bag should be kept under 50 pounds to avoid additional charges by the airlines. You will be provided one luggage tag for easier identification at baggage claim.
A SMALL backpack is also recommended. It is more practical than a purse and comes in handy. The backpack will be your personal item; you are allowed one carry-on as well.
You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. For the most up-to-date information, check out the TSA’s website here.
Dress should be comfortable but appropriate for the many sacred places we will be visiting. Dress up clothing is not needed. Ideally, men and women should wear long pants-no shorts. Women may prefer to wear skirts or dresses, but it’s not necessary. Jeans, slacks, and nice jogging pants are acceptable. We recommend tops should have sleeves and should not be revealing. The weather can be unpredictable. Dressing in layers is suggested. Typically, a short-sleeved shirt or blouse is adequate during the day. But you should have long sleeved shirts and a jacket/coat for cooler days and evenings. If you tend to get cold easily, you may want to take a lightweight scarf. Wear warm clothes. Tennis shoes or walking shoes are a must. Break them in well in advance of the trip. You may want to take an inexpensive pair of flip flops for walking around your room or for use in the bath areas.
The first thing to consider is which electrical appliances you really need to bring. Given the complexities of safely using your electrical appliances overseas, your best bet is to just leave them at home altogether — you probably don’t really need them, and they’re often more trouble than they’re worth when traveling. Most hotels offer hair dryers and irons so you don’t have to bring your own, and you can easily use manual razors and toothbrushes instead of their electric counterparts. If you plan on staying in one country for a while, you might want to buy a hair dryer or electric razor there. Battery-operated appliances are another option if you’re willing to bring plenty of replacements.
Your best bet may be to buy travel-size dual-voltage appliances that can run on both 110-volt and 220-volt currents. Make sure the switch is on the proper voltage for the country you are in before using the appliance. You will also need to carry adapter plugs with you to fit the outlets in the countries you’re visiting. However, if you’re bringing something you just can’t live without — like a cell phone or laptop, for instance — read on for tips on what equipment you’ll need to make your appliance work safely overseas.
Most American-made electrical appliances work at 110 volts. While Japan, most of North America, and parts of South America and the Caribbean use voltage between 100 and 125, the vast majority of the world, including Europe and Israel, uses 220 – 240 volts. Be sure to check the label and/or owner’s manual on your appliance before buying a converter, as it might be designed to work at both 110/120 and 220/240 volts — many new gadgets are, particularly ones that are designed to travel such as laptops and cell phones. If this is the case, you’ll probably only need a plug adapter. If your appliance only operates at 110 volts, you’ll need to buy a voltage converter. Small electronics, razors and non-heating appliances will need a 50-watt converter. Heating appliances such as dryers, irons, coffee makers and other high-powered electrical appliances need a 1600-watt converter. You can also purchase combination converters for both types. Check the label on your electrical appliance to find its wattage.
To further complicate matters, some electronics are designed for 60-cycles-per-second electricity and cannot tolerate the 50-cycles-per-second electricity found in many countries. Most modern appliances will work on both frequencies but check your label or owner’s manual to be sure; otherwise, you run the risk of blowing a fuse in your hotel or burning out your appliance even if you have the right voltage converter. Be aware that clocks and appliances that rely on timers may not keep time correctly when operating at 50 hertz. Even if two countries operate on the same voltage, their outlets might not take the same shape of plug — and that’s where an adapter comes in. An adapter will allow you only to plug your appliance into another type of outlet — not change the electrical voltage. Travel stores often sell convenient and inexpensive kits with five different-sized adapters that will work with nearly any outlet in the world. Note that these often won’t work for appliances that need to be grounded, which will require a more expensive grounding adapter.
Converters and sets of adapter plugs are available at most travel/luggage stores and at electronic stores like Best Buy and RadioShack. A set of adapter plugs will cost around $15 – $20, and in some stores, you can buy an individual adapter for just a few dollars.
For travel to the Holy Land, do not exchange money here in the United States. Take dollar bills as they will come in handy for tipping and small purchase items. American dollars are accepted everywhere, and you get more for your money when you exchange in Europe.
We highly recommend that you contact your credit card company and your bank before your departure to let them know that you will be out of the country and that you may exceed your normal spending patterns. For Europe, we encourage you to get euros before travel. Shop around to see where you can get the best rate.
There are no immunizations that are required for U.S. or Canadian visitors to most countries we visit, only that you are up to date on routine vaccinations. The CDC does list some recommended vaccinations based on your personal needs. We recommend that you bring any medications you take regularly to last the whole trip. For CDC’s exact recommendations, click here.