If you already have chosen an organization to arrange your trip, we strongly encourage you to go over our Top 10 Questions list with them, and to include as many of the Six Elements for faithful pilgrimage as possible. If you have not yet chosen a organization, do know that some are deeply involved in helping you discern the kind of trip you want to make, its purpose and the kinds of places and people you want to visit. Others rely on the congregation to have a clear sense of these things beforehand. We find that the former approach is far preferable if your group of travellers does not already include people who are deeply experienced in travel to this region. A growing list of such organizations is among the resources below.
Network members share their favorite tour groups/travel organizations
Itineraries and details from real trips that Presbyterians have already taken or are upcoming.
How your trip can maximize benefits to the local economy
"Making mission trips matter," a cover story from Presbyterians Today magazine, includes tips for successful mission trips.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has detailed Travel Tips, including sample itineraries.
The Rev. Dr. Betty Jane Bailey created Holyland Resources for anyone considering taking or leading an authentic pilgrimage
Tour Groups and Travel Organizations
This is a growing list of organizations that members of our network have used and liked. To learn more, follow links to the groups listed below (in alphabetical order).
- Alternative Tourism Group (recommended by Walt Davis, 415-847-3897. He's in the Presbytery of San Francisco.)
- Group Travel Directors (recommended by Peter Mann, 612-839-6990. He's in the Presbytery of Minnesota Valley.)
- Wi'am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center's Citizens Diplomacy Project (recommended by Sarah Humphrey, 770-722-5682. She's in the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta.)
- A Peacemaking Pilgrimage 2009 (six New Jersey Presbyteries)
- Pilgrimage of Discovery: Diverse Voices for Peace in the Holy Land 2009 (Presbytery of Detroit)
- Presbytery of Greater Atlanta Trip to Israel and Palestine, 2009
- PC(USA) 2006 Travel/Study Seminar
Maximizing Benefit to the Local Economy
Key issues here include the choice of tour organizers and local tour guides; hotels and restaurants; tour busses; and patterns of shopping, specially for wonderful local crafts products. Incorporating home stays in your visit can provide direct help to your hosts while providing wonderful insights into local culture and living patterns. Your intentional choices in each of these dimensions can dramatically increase the extent to which your trip will provide economic benefits to those most in need. Sensitive tour organizers will be taking these considerations into account in their planning; those considering going on a trip can encourage tour organizers to give them prominence in their trip planning.