A very special thanks to Corporate Travel for providing the great tips below.
A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred destination that allows us to encounter God in a new and palpable way. We try to bring that spirit into each of our tours by including time for prayer, choosing destinations that are of significance to the faith, and by engaging in a new culture and experience that allows us to break out of our routine and “comfort zone” to facilitate a connection with God. While each destination offers its own unique contribution to elevating the senses and enlivening the heart whether by the beauty of a cathedral or the savoring of the regional cuisine, a pilgrimage can also offer challenges such as early mornings, restrooms that are not up to American standards, and long bus rides. Many tell us that the most rewarding experience of a pilgrimage is often making the loving sacrifice of allowing the discomforts that may be associated with travel to purify the heart and taking the opportunity to let the newness of the culture and destination speak of creation and the Creator. We pray you have a wonderful pilgrimage!
A few tips to help you prepare for your pilgrimage.
Begin today by praying for your pilgrimage. Pray that God will open your heart to receive all that He has to offer you on this journey. Pray for your sisters in Christ who will be traveling with you. Pray for those who will be journeying with you from home. And pray for those who will be leading you on this Jubilee Year pilgrimage. In a special way, ask the saint who we will visit on our pilgrimage to intercede for us, that we may experience the graces needed to help us become like them.
A valid U.S. Passport is required of all passengers. It must be valid for 6 months following the return date of the trip. Also, it is suggested that you make a copy of the information page to keep in your carry-on luggage the entire trip and leave a copy at home with a relative or friend. Your Passport must be signed. Carry your passport on you or lock it in the safe in your room during your tour, whichever you are most comfortable with.
Checked baggage is limited to one bag per person. There can be no exceptions. Your one checked bag is limited to 50 pounds and 62 inches (length + width + height) or excess charges will be collected by the airline at the airport. You may also bring a small carry-on bag that will fit under an airline seat and on the small parcel racks of the motor coach, which average about 8 inches high by 18 inches deep. It is best if your carry-on bag is soft sided as the parcel racks on the motor coaches are small. Do not lock baggage you intend to check in at the airport, unless you have a TSA lock, which can be purchased at major department stores.
BAGGAGE restrictions for carry-on bags (subject to change)
Travelers are allowed to transport only small amounts of liquids, gels, lotions, aerosols or similar items on their person or in their carry-on luggage. All liquids, gels and aerosols (including hairspray, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, etc.) must be in 3.4 ounce (100ml) or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. All liquids, gels and aerosols (including hairspray, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, etc.) must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are NOT allowed. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening.
All luggage is subject to inspection by U.S. Customs officials. You are allowed a duty-free exemption of $800 (U.S.) per person. It is recommended that you keep your sales receipts handy for declaring your purchases upon returning to the U.S. Visit www.customs.ustreas.gov website for specific questions.
Prescription medicine with a name that matches the name on the passenger’s ticket and essential non-prescription medicines are allowed in your carry-on luggage. Additionally, liquids or gels (including juice) for diabetic passengers to address their medical condition, in reasonable quantities, are allowed. These items must be presented for inspection at the security checkpoint. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU PLACE IN YOUR CARRY-ON ALL ESSENTIAL MEDICATIONS. DO NOT PACK YOUR ESSENTIAL MEDICATIONS INTO YOUR CHECKED LUGGAGE. It is suggested that you keep medications, vitamins, and supplements in their original containers for a smooth check through. For more information please visit: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/3-1-1-carry-ons
Optional “Travel Guard” insurance is available. This is to help protect your travel investment in the event of unforeseeable circumstances. One very important coverage is International Medical Insurance. Check with your insurance company to see if you are covered while out of the country. If you decide to buy coverage, contact Corporate Travel at 1-800-727-1999 Ext. 181.
communication with home
Phones: Check with your local long-distance company before you leave the U.S. to find out how to make the call from the US. Calling cards are available from many retailers but you will need to verify that it works when calling from outside the US. Cellular phones can also be used but require advance setup before departure from the US. Please call your cell phone carrier for more information as rates and availability differ per carrier and data charges can be quite high. Internet Access: There may be internet access available at the hotel (WiFi or Direct Connect) usually for a fee. If you need internet access abroad, you can contact the hotel once you receive your final documents to verify the type of service they offer, and what their fees are. Some hotels offer free WiFi in designated areas. There are also internet cafés and coffee shops that allow you to connect for a small fee or patronage.
tips to avoid jet-lag
Exhaustion and difficulty concentrating are the most common results of jet-lag. Other symptoms include headaches, nausea and fatigue. The following are useful tips in combating jet-lag:
• Hydrate! Reports suggest at least 1 liter of water before you depart, 1 liter while you are on the plane and 1 liter on the day you land.
• Sleep as much as you can on the plane. When you land, avoid doing what your body is telling you to do, which is go to sleep. Stay awake through the day if possible (allowing a 1 hour “cat-nap” if absolutely necessary).
• The first day is the most difficult, but if you can stay awake during the day, you will rest well that first night and the subsequent nights.
• Be sure to take in adequate nutrition before, during and after the flight. Drink plenty of water and snack on fruit, protein, and energy bars when possible.
• Avoid alcohol on the plane as it further dehydrates you and can make you lethargic when you do awaken.
WHILE In italy
Here are a few tips to help you once you are in Italy:
Dress is mainly casual, although you will want to dress respectfully for all church visits. You are not permitted to enter most churches in Europe if you are wearing shorts above the knees or a sleeveless shirt. Coat and ties are not required. However, you may want to pack more formal attire in case you choose an upscale restaurant for dinner. Light or medium weight clothing with a jacket is recommended with comfortable walking shoes or sneakers. Bring an umbrella and raincoat.
The weather in Rome, Italy in November, can be as hard to predict as the bus strikes, but on average temperature starts off at around 68 degrees and gradually go down to 54-57 degrees as the month progresses. There are 10 hours of sunshine each day and a bit of rainfall is likely, so this is the perfect time to pack that cute matching raincoat and umbrella. If you have the rain boots that really bring the outfit together, you may want to pack them too. The days are spectacular as the Tiber is outlined in autumn colors. Evenings tend to cool, so dressing in layers is always a good option. But, don't worry. Should you get a wee bit chilly walking to and from dinner, there are plenty of lovely (and fashionable) scarves for sale!
The Trip Planner http://www.wunderground.com/tripplan- ner/index.asp helps you plan for your upcoming trip. Simply type in the city and country of your destination and press enter. You can then select your month of travel. The Trip Planner will search the historical database for the weather condi- tions during those dates in past years. The results will help you decide how hot, cold, wet, or windy it will be!
The language of Italy is Italian. English is spoken at hotels and in some shops and restaurants. If you have an Italian phrase translation book, bring it along. Local people enjoy it if you try to speak their language.
The currency throughout the trip is the “Euro.” Due to currency fluctuations, the exchange rate is subject to frequent change. As of October 2015, it costs $1.15 U.S. to buy (1) euro.
Banks and ATM machines are the best currency exchange. There are ATMs located at banks available 24 hours per day. There is no need to bring cash if your ATM card works abroad. Most do work; check with your bank before leaving home.
All banks, and most restaurants and shops accept a wide range of international credit cards. Your credit card is the most convenient means of payment to avoid carrying cash. However, note that most credit card companies add a 2% currency exchange transaction fee. Check with your credit card company for their policy. IMPORTANT: Be sure to notify your credit card company that you will be out of the country.
Restrooms can usually be found in large department stores, museums and other places of interest to visitors. Leave a small tip (.50 euro) for the attendant.
Europe’s voltage is 240/250 volts and the United States voltage is 120 volts; therefore, you will need a converter and an adapter plug if you plan to use any electrical device. Some electrical devices already have the converter built in (some cell phone, ipads, computers, CPAP machines etc). Check your device to be sure. Most stores that carry travel goods carry them.
It is best to bring your own hairdryers, as some hotels have them and some do not. If you need a hair dryer, dual-powered travel hairdryers (accommodates both 110-220 current) are recommended. You can phone your hotel to verify if a hair dryer is available when that information is confirmed in your final travel documents.
Pasta, the national staple, comes in a variety of sizes and shapes, and risotto or rice dishes are also popular. The classic Margharita pizza is made with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Prosciutto, a dark, spicy ham is a favorite appetizer, while, antipasto (the Italian hors d’oeuvre) is often a meal in itself. Tempting desserts range from fresh fruit to gelati (ice-cream). Regional wines can be excellent and a good value, and the meal’s end is properly celebrated by drinking one or more cups of aromatic espresso coffee.
Italy is 7 hours ahead of Central Time.
It is important to understand the local custom regarding time. The day starts later in Italy, and ends later. Dinner is usually served late, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Often, there is an afternoon siesta (nap) to rest-up for the late evening hours. Many stores close at siesta time from about 1 to 4 p.m.
Baggage handling to your room has been prepaid. No need to tip the porters. Meals: Tips for all group meals have already been paid. Hotels and restaurants include a service fee in their bills, but waiters look for an additional small tip up to 10 percent. Taxi drivers expect 10 percent of the fare.
Service: In Europe it is customary to tip the tour escort (4) Euros per day and the driver (3) Euros per day. Local guides usually expect (1) Euro for half day tours and (2) Euros for full day tours.
Hotel Porters: Baggage handling to your room has been prepaid. No need to tip the porters.
prayer for pilgrims
All-powerful God, you always show mercy toward those who love you and you are never far away for those who seek you. Remain with your servants on this holy pilgrimage and guide their way in accord with your will. Shelter them with your protection by day, give them the light of your grace by night, and, as their companion on the journey, bring them to their destination in safety.
– “Blessing of Pilgrims.”