He who would travel happily must travel light.
--Antoine de St.-Exupéry
International travel is fun, but it can be challenging. Proper preparation is essential. Bags must be strategically packed, everybody knows that. What everybody doesn't know is that the preparation of the mind and soul is equally, if not more important. Hints for the whole person are offered below (with a smile!) to help Bible Land Explorers make the most of their journey.
Solo travel has its advantages. So does group travel. Group travel makes it possible for the individual to spend less time wrestling with logistics and more time enjoying the ride. It is a distinct travel style, however, and one that must be contemplated in advance.
Uneven steps, dirt trails, rocks, and ledges without rails are common in the lands of the Bible. Given these challenges, footwear is the most important clothing choice you must make. It is not the place to go chintzy.
What garments meet the threshold of social responsibility, yet allow for freedom of movement? Here we consider ways to efficiently cloak the trusses of human anatomy.
It has taken me three decades to do it, but I have finally refined the kit of little things that I need for little trips. Some of these essentials go with me daily and reside permanently in my daypack. Others wait for me back at the hotel.
Security is a high priority for governments, for local folk, for tour companies, bus drivers, and teaching guides. While absolute safety can never be guaranteed either at home or abroad, measures may be taken to minimize risk.
Movement on the ground is often facilitated by motor coach. Bus life has its own manners and ethic. Savvy travelers will master these dynamic for the sake of their own comfort as well as for the comfort of others. This is group travel at its best. Embrace it!
We seek places that are comfortable and safe for study- and pilgrimage tour groups. A broad range of hotels/hostels are available to us, each with a distinctive set of services. Knowing something about these places and the services that they offer can make international travel feel less foreign.
"Back in the day," as we are fond of saying . . . Of course, those days are gone. Today a broad range of communication devices keep travelers in touch with home. Sorting between these methods and devices is the contemporary dilemma.
No travel adventure is complete without a photograph to show for it. Preferences for cameras, formats, photo editing and photo sharing technologies are highly personal, yet some basic concepts are always in style.
One of the ways to offset the challenges of foreign travel is to pack strategically. If you have the things you need, not more or less, you will be far more comfortable, more mobile, and better able to direct your focus on the world around you. Here are a few helpful tidbits for packing strategically.
I remember how Kansas boys used to run around half naked in the summer months. The full moon does funny things to the mind that way. Remember that the Middle East is not Kansas anymore.
Westerners love their electronic gadgets. But gadgets have drawbacks. They are heavy, expensive, and not always traveler friendly. They also use electricity. What should I bring?
Someone once said, "There is no such thing as bad weather. Only bad clothes." Packing for every possibility is impossible, but savvy travelers can hedge their bets by knowing what weather is typical for their destination.
Balancing issues of group security (largely in the hands of others) are issues of personal security (largely in your own hands). You may be surprised to learn the identity of your biggest threat! Listen and learn.
While single rooms are available, most travelers prefer to room with a buddy. Friendships old and new are created and enhanced by travel. To choose a good roommate and be a good roommate is a important part of a successful experience.
food & drink
Most of our groups operate on a "room and half-board" program. This means breakfast and dinner are provided at the hotel, while lunch is not. Trying new foods is part of the travel thrill that you do not want to miss. Falafel, shawarma, and hummus are standard fare for Bible land travelers.
for group leaders
Bringing a group of students or congregants on a Holy Land pilgrimage can be an experience of a lifetime. The enthusiasm it generates is reflective. It has the potential to refresh the process of spiritual formation in leaders as well as those they lead.
for Fam trippers
Every January we offer a Fam Trip through the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies."Fam" is short for "Familiarization" and the trip is designed as a sampler to introduce leaders to travel in Israel-Palestine.