1-480-626-1266 info@johnpaultours.com

You have great questions!

We are willing to bet you will find some answers here…

How much walking is there?
During most of our pilgrimages one can expect to walk up to a few miles daily. For this reason we suggest you prepare yourself by walking daily at least two weeks prior to your trip. To alleviate the physical stresses associated with jet lag, drink plenty of water and try not to go to sleep until after 9 pm local time upon your arrival at your international destination. More information regarding jet lag can be found here.
Security and TSA
TSA regulations are available at https://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information . To get through security easily, have your boarding pass and Passport ready. You will be required to remove your shoes, belts, hats, jackets and watches. Your electronic devices will need to be removed from your bags and screened separately. Airport security across the globe has strict guidelines regarding liquids carried on board the aircraft. Only small travel sized liquid containers in a small quart sized Ziploc type of plastic bag are allowed. Don’t bring anything sharp like razors and knives in your carry-on luggage. If you want to bring with you or purchase and return with liquids such as bottles of refreshments, lotions etc., pack them in your checked bag. Before you buy something in the airport beyond a security checkpoint ask your Tour Escort if you will be connecting in an airport with additional security later on as if so, you will not be able to pass with purchased liquids even if they are in a TSA approved sealed bag. You must review the above TSA site with current information as the above is not inclusive and simply offers highlights and suggestions.
Documents
You will receive your final documents including airline tickets, hotel information, updated itinerary and contact information while abroad, in a welcome packet within the three weeks prior to departure. An extra copy of your hotel information is included to be left with your family or friends so they can contact you directly at the hotel if needed. If you find a problem with your documents, please contact us immediately. Please make two copies of your passport; one to be left with family/friends, and the other to bring with you in addition to the actual passport. Most destinations we visit do not require a Visa for US passport holders. Please visit the US Dept. of State website for further information.
Flights
We use a variety of air carriers. Many offer special airline miles which can be accrued toward award flights and other rewards. If you would like to participate in their programs, upon receipt of your tickets, please contact the airline directly and give them your reward account number. This can be done online if you have an account, by phone or in the airport at the check-in desk for your airline. Keep your boarding pass as proof of travel in case your miles are not credited you can contact the airline upon your return to be credited.
Missed Flights
Should you miss your flight due to your being late, you must work with the airline directly to arrive at your final destination as soon as possible. Once you have a boarding pass confirmed please contact us to advise of the changes so if possible someone can meet you at the airport upon arrival. Remember however we will do what we can to help you in this situation, any costs associated with your missing a flight by your tardiness or negligence will be borne by you (see Terms and Conditions). The carriers with whom we book airfare bear certain responsibility and duties to you, their customer. Generally, once you have begun your air travel, the carrier has certain responsibilities to bring you to your final destination listed in your flight details. For further information, please consult with the respective airlines with whom you are ticketed.
Meeting Places
Upon arrival at your final airport you will meet your Tour Escort. After retrieving your bags, passing through passport control, customs and security, the group will meet the Tour Escort in the airport. Whenever the group is out and about together the Tour Escort/ Guides will advise you of meeting places in case someone gets lost, or decides to skip a certain segment of the pilgrimage (after consulting with the Escort please!). All of our activities can be considered optional, meaning if you don’t want to or cannot participate in a certain excursion or event you may opt out. We do not always factor significant time for shopping and other recreation because we focus on the pilgrimage, spiritual time together and sightseeing. Most of our itineraries do plan certain times free so please take advantage of them for yourself. Our guides will offer suggestions for lunch for example, and most will follow it but remember you don’t have to and may explore other options as desired. Please remember we travel as a group. If you would like to separate yourself at any time advise your guides and escort so we can tell you when and where to meet. On occasion individuals will detach from the group at certain times and the rest of the group ends up waiting. Please try not to be that person as we have specific times we need to arrive at our hotels, restaurants and chapels. Being late can cause significant problems and we could even miss the attraction or meal altogether because of one or two people.
Safety
The places we visit are considered safe for tourists. If the US Department of State issues a formal travel warning advising against US tourist travel to a destination in our program we will attempt to make necessary changes to best suit the group. Please familiarize yourself with our Terms and Conditions to avoid confusion and anxiety if something of this unlikely situation were to occur. Remember, we are here to help you, and to give you the best possible service. We will
do everything in our ability to maintain our positive relationship with you as our customer. Remember still, as there are places one would not walk alone at night for example in Detroit or Los Angeles, maintain common sense of safety and security and do not travel with large amounts of cash, high value jewelry etc. If there is an area you should stay away from for any particular reason, your guide and escort will make it known to you. Remember the laws, protections and customs we enjoy in the US may not apply or be similar everywhere we go. Stay with the group, listen to your guide and escort, do not bring unnecessary attention to yourself and you will return from your pilgrimage telling your friends and family that every scare and exaggeration we see in our US media is so far from the truth regarding safety and security for tourists. This is especially true in places like Mexico and the Middle East!
Travel Protection Plans

We strongly suggest you purchase travel protection and have an established relationship with Travel Insured Intl.  Although we recommend Travel Insured Intl. you may choose any reputable travel insurance company you like. When booking with John Paul Pilgrimages and Tours, you must note upon your registration form if you have elected to purchase or declined travel insurance. Insurance inclusions and options are many, such as Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical Expense, Pre-existing Medical Coverage (you are eligible for Pre-existing Medical Conditions coverage if you purchase the policy between 21 and 30 days after your initial trip deposit), Trip Cancellation/Interruption protection due to Sickness (includes family), Pre-existing Medical Conditions, Injury (includes family), Death (includes family), Bankruptcy/Default, Medical Evacuation, Medical or Legal Assistance, ID /Credit Recovery Assistance and more. Some groups will have special travel protection options offered with their registration, if so you may review those options as printed with your registration forms.

Currency
The places we visit use different than US currencies. Please familiarize yourself with the currencies of the locales in your itinerary. You may get current exchange rates here. Although not required, we recommend you bring with you at least one credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Please consult your financial institution for further information. Generally, though not in all destinations, the exchange rate and conversion fee is best in the city of your destination, outside of tourist centers. Ask your guide and escort for advice regarding the best place to exchange your cash.
Tips

Gratuities are not always included in the tour cost. Depending on the particular tour, an amount of approximately $8-$12 per person per day will be collected Day 1 to cover certain entrance fees, local guide gratuity, driver gratuity, restaurant and hotel staff gratuity etc. What is collected on Day 1 is not kept as a gratuity by your Escort, Organizer or Spiritual Director. We ask that you tip your Escort at your discretion and recommend $5 per day. We have provided envelopes with your final documents for your convenience. Your Organizer and/or Spiritual Director spend a significant amount of time and energy planning your pilgrimage, keeping things in order, and creating a memorable experience for you. You are encouraged to let them know if they were successful in this endeavor, and if you like you may offer them a donation or gratuity.

Hotels
The hotels with whom we contract vary. Most groups are arranged with the US equivalent to first class 3.5- 4 star accommodations. This ensures cleanliness, friendly, professional and respectful staff, private baths in each room etc. Some of our groups choose a more luxurious approach to their lodging and specifically request five star accommodations. Your itinerary and registration form will specify the type or rating of hotel which will be used. In your final documents you will receive the names and contact information for your booked hotels. Our student groups, youth groups and some others are framed around a smaller budget and request accommodations with a two or three star US equivalent. Similarly we ensure safe, secure and clean lodging, but at times with more than two occupants to a room, dorm style bathrooms etc. Should you have any questions, please consult with your Organizer/ Spiritual Director, or Contact us and we will be more than happy to help you. The hotels we use generally have irons and hair dryers available for your use. You may contact us or the hotels directly to confirm this when you receive your final documents should these or any other lodging amenities be a concern. Mini-bar, room service, laundry service, pay television, and other similar hotel services are not included in your tour price and we ask customers who may incur such charges please take care of their respective bill prior to check out of that hotel.
Meals and Drinks

MEALS Meals are provided as indicated on your registration and itinerary, breakfast (B), lunch (L), and dinner (D). Most itineraries have all breakfasts and dinners included. Some include lunches as well. Local cuisine plays an important factor in experiencing the culture of the places we visit. Breakfast is almost always buffet style at the hotel. Dinners are either at the hotel, served or buffet, or at a local private restaurant. Sometimes meals and their locations must be substituted. Some people prefer to eat dinner at the hotel so they can come and go as they please, others prefer going out for a different flavor. We try to mix it up a bit to accommodate the group. Those with special diets, allergies and other medical dietary restrictions must advise JPPT upon registration, AND their Escort upon Day 1. While we will do everything we can to accommodate your specific needs, please understand it is not always possible, and although we may have special meals confirmed from restaurants and airlines, they may still manage to fail on their part when it comes to meal time. Neither JPPT nor its Escorts, Guides and employees can be held responsible for meal related problems.

DRINKS Drinks are not always included with meals. Water is available at meals, but alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and others are generally not included. This is customary in locales we visit. With breakfast you can usually expect coffee, tea, and juice. Some of your dinners or lunches will include beverages, further some with beer or wine. Your Escort will advise of these special occasions.

Transportation
Transportation included in your package price is listed in the registration form and itinerary. Most itineraries use air and coach bus transportation. Some include ferry boat, gondola, public trolley and other forms of transportation. Some of our student or youth groups operating on a constrained budget chose to use train systems as well. Generally we do not use taxi services due to their inconvenience while travelling with a large group. If however you would like to travel by taxi during free time, or if walking becomes difficult and a taxi is available please remember to be diligent in choosing the company. Ask your Tour Escort, Guides, tourist information desk or other official for ad
vise in finding the local accredited service, with meters and the best rates.
How to Pack

Pack light, as it is always easier to travel this way. Review the weather for our destinations and always bring an extra layer such as a jacket or sweater as weather can change unpredictably. Expect to walk most days and bring comfortable footwear as well as something appropriate to wear in church. Many churches do not allow open toe footwear, exposed shoulders, shorts, etc. Women should bring a shawl or other clothing to cover their shoulders which can be kept with them every day should we visit a place where bare shoulders are not allowed. Please pack keys, cell phones, chargers, money, passport, tickets, itineraries, medications (enough for the entire trip plus a few days, in their original packaging with prescription), glasses and any other essential items in your carry on should your checked bag get lost or be delayed, during both flights to and from home.

ELECTRONICS We recommend bringing a small camera, spare memory cards, batteries and a charger. Electricity voltages are standardized as 110v or 220v. In the US we use a two or three flat pronged plug with 110v. In Europe, the power is 220v, in Mexico it is 110v. Different countries have different prong styles. Many electronic devices such as phone/camera chargers, shavers, and others can accept both 110v and 220v but do not have user adjustable plugs. Please check your device information tag, manual or contact the manufacturer to determine if it can be used with different voltages. If so, you may purchase an adaptor to plug into the wall outlet which allows you to use the flat blade style plug. They are available in most US electronics stores for under $20. If the device does not accept 220v, you may purchase a convertor which will transform the electricity to 220v. These are more expensive, heavier, and harder to find. The hotels we use generally have irons and hair dryers available for your use. You may contact us or the hotels directly to confirm this when you receive your final documents should this be a concern.

CLOTHING We recommend packing enough clothing to last as many days of the trip plus one or two. Layering rather than bringing several sweaters, jackets and coats etc will help minimize the amount of clothing you bring. Remember a jacket, and to bring comfortable clothes which are appropriate to wear to mass. Don’t forget toiletries and medications. Try not to bring big bottles of shampoo, soap etc., rather small travel sized containers. For more specific packing lists, we suggest looking here. We strongly suggest bringing a bible, prayer book and journal.

Luggage
You are allowed one checked bag, one carry-on bag and a personal item when traveling by air. Please review the above TSA webpage for size information, and the airline with which you are ticketed for their rules. If you are a status member with the airline with which you are ticketed, in some cases you may be allowed an additional checked bag free of charge. This is up to you to determine with the air carrier upon receipt of your ticket. Nonetheless, we still strongly encourage you to travel light, with only one checked bag, to ensure enough room in our coach busses and to minimize strain on you while travelling. We have arranged with many of our contracted hotels a luggage porter service. Not all hotels offer this service. This being so, packing light makes it easier on the occasion we must carry our own bags.

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