Holy Land Accessibility & Wheelchair Access Questions - 206 Tours - Catholic Pilgrimages - Spiritual Journeys
Once in a Lifetime - Egypt Nile River Cruise Pilgrimage - June 1 - 10, 2023

Once in a Lifetime - Egypt Nile River Cruise Pilgrimage - June 1 - 10, 2023

Holy Land
Required Walking, Accessibility & Wheelchair Access Questions


Tips for Pilgrims with Limited Mobility on a 206 Tours Pilgrimage

Over the past few decades, we have seen the world make significant improvements towards visitors with limited accessibility, that includes airports, hotels, museum and many restaurants. However the best parts of old cities have preserved their historic buildings and access to those areas are still not as mobile -friendly. Therefore, it’s important to note that in some places there is a lack of accessibility. We are not saying that travelers with physical disabilities cannot have enjoyable pilgrimage, it’s just that they should always be prepared, first and most important to bring a companion that is physically able to assist, and to recognize that 206 Tours Pilgrimages involve significant amount of walking.

Americans going abroad need to be more aware about limitations with accessibility than they are used to at home.The rest of the world has a lot of catching up to do, in comparison to enshrined ADA rules. It’s is still not possible to find ramps for wheelchair access in some old building. While in the US, it's illegal to discriminate based on what kind of mobility device a wheelchair user chooses, in many parts of the world, mobility scooter users have fewer rights, if any, than wheelchair users. Scooter-style wheelchairs are not allowed in some museums and other public facilities.

Some roads were made for horses and carriages, are narrow, cobblestoned, have uneven steps, and at times bus access may not be possible. At times, even a walk from a bus parking lot, may involve several hundred yards of walking. Some walking tours may involve several hours of walking or standing.

206 Tours licensed guides are there, to advise wheelchair bound pilgrim or mobility limited participant, on steps, or steep hills ahead, alternative paths with ramps, or an elevator, if there is such, however, you must rely on own companion to push you around, as the guide must stay and lead the group.

While most of our pilgrims, drivers, guides, and rest of the world are helpful, regardless if you bring your own wheelchair, or if you request from 206 Tours that a wheelchair to be put on the bus, you must bring along physically able companion who will help you.

Our buses do not have lifts. Although hotels do have elevators, some are small and may not have enough space to accommodate American-style electric wheelchair. Before you book check with us, we always list hotels that will be used on your pilgrimages. When wheelchair accessible room is required we will request one, also, when requested, wheelchair assistance at the airport(s) will be reserved.

On some rare occasions, ships, trains, planes may require documentation of disability. Before you travel ask your doctor to give you a letter attesting to your needs, than, contact provider at least 72 hours prior to reconfirm.

While there are certainly some accessibility challenges, most of our pilgrimages do have one or two participants who are in a wheelchair, who, with their companion, do enjoy incredible shrines, magnificent cities, fascinating history, great food and a journey of a lifetime! Pray about it. Consider destination, your own situation, than prayerfully consider inviting a companion who will provide you with assistance throughout the journey.

  • The layout of the Roads, Shrines, and Churches on your pilgrimage

    Israel and Jordan are based on a myriad of old buildings, cobblestone roads, and split-levels/uneven surfaces everywhere. Due to the structure of the old buildings, access to some establishments may not be convenient for wheelchair use, will require the use of stairs, or the facilities for the disabled in general may be limited. Many streets are narrow, and due to strict traffic regulations, they are "Pedestrian Only" and the buses are not permitted.

    We encourage all pilgrims to be able to walk 3 - 4 miles per day, comfortably. Walking each day is not done all at once, as it is broken up throughout the day with Mass, and time on the bus driving from one site to another. However, you will need to walk to/from the Churches/Sites/Museums, as well as the walking that you will do while touring the sites from within.

  • Physicality (how committed to the wheelchair/walker the pilgrim is)

    Walker

    If you have a walker, or are not able to walk long distances at one time etc, rest assured that you will still be able to join our pilgrimages, just let us know at the time of registration so we can make note. Masses and visits to Museums are confirmed for set times, with some sites closing during the day for cleaning, so a pace must be kept. However, that pace is easily kept by most, and still allows time to prayer and reflection. Also, while it is noted that you can expect 2 - 3 miles of walking per day, that is not at one time! It is broken up by being on the bus, Mass, breaks, etc.

    Scooters

    We would not recommend bringing them on the pilgrimage. There is a set limit of space and weight available underneath the bus for each pilgrims checked bag, and nowhere on the bus to fit them. You would also incur additional costs from the Airlines in order to ship it to/from your destination, along with charging the Scooter etc. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact our office anytime.

    Wheelchairs

    Wheelchairs can be requested for pilgrims who need assistance. We regret that we cannot provide individual assistance to any tour participant for walking, dining, while in their room, on flight, getting on and off motor coaches and other vehicles, or other personal needs. A qualified and physically able companion(s) must accompany passengers who need special assistance. It is the Traveler’s responsibility to arrange for such assistance prior to making their reservations. We will make an effort to accommodate disabled passengers by reserving wheelchair assistance at airports and handicap accessible rooms where available. Our tour guides are always willing to help but by law they are not required to push wheelchairs as there is a risk of injury.

    Partial Use of Wheelchair

    Should you need a wheelchair only sometimes, or just in case you feel tired, we can arrange for a wheelchair to be placed on the bus, and available to you should you need it. Just advise us of which options (below) will make your pilgrimage easier.
    *We advise that someone travel with the client to help throughout the day, as well as in the evenings at the Hotel.

    Full Use Wheelchair

    Should a wheelchair be necessary at all times, we can arrange a Private Bus with a lift, that will make it easier for you to go on and off. Please be advised, these busses must be rented, and require an additional expense to the pilgrim, which are often quite costly.

  • Special Request Options

    Private Cab Ride to Sites

    Your guide will let you know about the layout of the walk for each day, such as Hills or areas that are not "Barrier Free". If you choose, we can arrange for a car to pick you up, and drop you off as close as possible to sites (at the clients expense.)

    Hotels

    In the Hotels, we can arrange for you to stay in Handicap Accessible rooms where available. In the event they are not available, we will inquire for rooms on the Main Floor, or, near an elevator. (or on a Main Floor / Near an elevator.)

    Flights

    We can make requests for Handicap seating, or, we can request for Bulk Head seating. We can also arrange for Wheelchair Assistance from the moment you arrive at the Airport, to your Terminal, or all the way to your seat.
    *Note: while we will do everything we can to ensure your request for specific seating

    Sites

    When it comes to the layout and structure of these Holy sites (Monasteries, Churches, and Basilicas), some of them are not "barrier free". For that reason, we will advise you of the sites where there are no elevators,

    These options all depend on the physicality of the pilgrim, or how committed to the wheelchair the pilgrim is. Should the wheelchair be necessary at all times, it would require a special bus with a lift to carry you on and off - those busses must be rented, and require an additional expense to the pilgrim, which are often quite costly. When going to Qumran and the Dead Sea, they are split between dirt and tar road, they also include uneven and long steep hills. For that reason, Private transfers to the sites (with that bus) may be necessary for the duration of your trip, and are at the clients expense.

  • In the event that a client requires more assistance, or rely on the use of a wheelchair

    We suggest searching for a Tour Company whose pilgrimages are designed solely around the needs of the pilgrims. They are more equipped to help, and special provisions are made throughout. As a Group Pilgrimage - those arrangements are more affordable when split amongst all those attending, rather than the sole individual. This will also supply for a more comfortable pilgrimage.
    *206 Tours is NOT affiliated with such Tour Companies – but they are easily “searchable” through Search Engines.


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What to Know Before You Go

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