How to prepare for your Pilgrimage
Thank you for your desire and readiness to visit these places of grace and prayer. May the Almighty God, through the intercession of our Heavenly Mother, reward you for all the efforts you undertake to come!
206 Tours would like your Spiritual Journey to be as pleasant and helpful as possible. It is important to note that 206 Tours pilgrimages are packed full of spiritual activities and sightseeing. We do not include much free time for recreation, such as shopping. This is because our desire is to offer you the most comprehensive pilgrimage possible. However, all tours/activities are optional, and if you feel you are unable to keep up with the pace of the tour, manage the terrain, or would like free time for your own interests, you are welcome to refrain from participating in any aspects of the program you desire (of course, no refund can be issued for any aspects of the tour which you choose not to participate in). Simple advise the tour escort the night before of your alternate plans not to join the next day in the group activities. The amount of walking is significant, and the terrain varies greatly throughout our tours. You will encounter hills, mountains, unpaved streets, cobblestone streets, etc. Please prayerfully consider whether or not you are up to such physical activities prior to registering. For this reason, we would like to offer you some recommendations, and we ask you sincerely to read them carefully.
A couple of weeks before your pilgrimage, one should begin preparing physically as well as spiritually:
- If not accustomed to physical activity begin walking “briskly” 1-2 times a day; build up to 2-3 miles with no discomfort.
- If possible attend daily Mass or attempt to spend quiet time in church during lunch or after work.
- Pray for Jesus and His Blessed Mother to open your heart and mind to be responsive to new perspectives, ideas, their words laid on your heart, etc.
- Begin praying the rosary daily (Learn How to Pray the Rosary ) or at least the Apostle’s Creed, 7 Our Father’s, 7 Hail Mary’s & 7 Glory Be’s as Our Lady has requested; this takes about 5-7 minutes.
General Info About Your Documents, Flights, Arrival & Travel
Please visit www.tsa.gov for the most up to date travel restrictions
New security procedures
All liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller. All liquids, gels, and aerosols 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. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items. Visit the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) for complete details.
Inbound International Flights:
You may carry duty-free liquids in secure, tamper-evident bags, more than 3.4 oz or 100 ml in your carry-on bag if:
- The duty-free liquids were purchased internationally and you are traveling to the United States with a connecting flight.
- The liquids are packed in a transparent, secure, tamper-evident bag by the retailer and do not show signs of tampering when presented to TSA for screening.
- The original receipt for the liquids is present and the purchase was made within 48 hours.
*Liquids more than 3.4 oz or 100 ml not in a secure, tamper-evident bag must be packed in checked baggage.
Electronic Airline Ticket
Your ticket is an electronic ticket (“e-ticket”).
When checking into the airport, provide your passport and your e-ticket confirmation to provide to the check-in agent or Kiosk.
Passports and Visas
Passports and Visas: All U.S. citizens must travel with a valid passport to enter France. Your passport MUST be valid at least 3 months upon your scheduled return date to the USA. If you have not yet obtained your passport, or just noticed that it will not be valid months after your return, URGENTLY contact your local passport office and apply for an expedited passport/-or passport renewal.
A visa is not required for U.S. citizens for entry into France.
For those who hold a passport from a foreign country, please be advised that it is the passenger’s responsibility to reconfirm if any visas are required. Below please find embassy information on the country you will be visiting.
Many airlines are in special agreements, to share aircrafts in order to ensure the best routing for their passengers. While your ticket may indicate that you are flying with one carrier (i.e. United), you may find that you are actually seated in a plane belonging to another carrier (i.e. Lufthansa). Carefully review your airline itinerary to determine which airline is operating your departure flight to ensure check-in for your flight at the correct carrier. When your flight is operated by another carrier your itinerary will state “Flight Operated by (name Airline).
Please use the following recommendation for check-in prior to your scheduled departure time. Check-in at least:
- 2 hours prior to Domestic flight
- 3 hours prior to International flight
You must personally check in your own luggage at the airline counter. Advise the check-in agent of your final destination to ensure that your luggage will be checked all the way through. This will eliminate you having to claim your luggage and have to recheck in once again during a possible flight connection (s).
SCREENING & SECURITY VISITING LOURDES
Lourdes is a place of prayer, and peace, that welcomes pilgrims and visitors from all over the world. Security is a priority in accommodating everyone, as well as the Shrine itself, especially with the number of visitors continuing to increase each year. For that reason, the Sanctuary has decided to implement the following measures, to reaffirm their current rules of operation.
Sanctuary Hours: (no longer 24 Hours)
Gates will close at 12:30P
Saint Michael’s Gate: 6:00A – 12:30P
Saint Joseph’s Gate: 5:00A – 12:30P
Below please find a brief “walk through” of what your check-in experience at Tel Aviv Airport is like, so you are informed and prepared. You may notice, throughout your time at the Sanctuary, uniformed and un-uniformed security personnel. Once you arrive at the Sanctuary, there will be a screening process for all. We will arrange for you to arrive at the entrance well in advance.
– Carry Bags are prohibited. Glass bottles, Knives, Scissors, sharp objects etc are strictly prohibited. Pilgrims carrying the following will be denied entry – so please leave them in your rooms.
– Plastic Bottles and Containers will be checked.
– Wheelchairs / Blue Carriages: Special access and attention will be granted upon arrival.
“See Something – Say Something”. Let us work together for the safety of our fellow pilgrims, and to ensure the continuation of Our Lady’s blessings, healings, and prayers to all!
The Airlines determine the minimum connection time required to transfer from one gate to another. We are subject to the availability of the airlines carrier we work with and must ensure that all participants have reservations to arrive / departure similar times for the group transfers to/from the airport.
Airlines now require that we provide electronic tickets (a.k.a. “e-tickets”) in place of paper tickets. At check-in, you should be ready to provide your flight itinerary which was provided with your final documents and passport to the agent. The airline agent will then check you in for your flight, check your luggage, and provide you with a boarding pass for your flights. In the very rare occurrence where an e-ticket cannot be issued, you will receive your tickets in a paper form. Please note that paper tickets must be present in order to check-in, and or board the plane.
Flight Delays & Arrival Transfers
If you missed your flight, forgot your passport or if you are re-routed you most likely will miss your group transfer from the airport to your hotel. How to proceed in such circumstances?
- You may take a taxi at your own expense to your hotel.
- You may contact the emergency number in this booklet to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.
You may contact the emergency number in this booklet to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.
You may consult with your health care provider before traveling. For the latest overseas travel health information contact: The Center for Disease Control call 1-877-394-8747 or visit www.cdc.gov. For medical information contact: The U.S. Public Health service 1-301-443-2403. In order to prevent “Montezuma’s Revenge”, avoid tap water, including ice cubes. Your stomach may still become upset due to the change in diet. Bring anti-diarrhea medicine just in case.
No inoculations are necessary for travel to France from the US.
Arrival Procedure (In France)
When you get off the plane you will go through customs and proceed to the baggage claim area to pick up your luggage. Exit the baggage claim area into the arrival hall, where you will be greeted by a 206 Tours representative displaying a sign which reads “206 Tours.” You will be transferred to your hotel where you will check-in and have time to refresh before meeting the rest of your group later in the day. Remember to look for the “206 Tours“ sign!
If your plane arrives late, or you are re-routed you will probably miss the group transfer which is included in your package. In such circumstances you will need to pay for a taxi or private transfer to take you to your hotel. This cost will be at your own expense, and you may submit a claim to the airlines for reimbursement upon your return and/or to your travel insurance. For most destinations taking a taxi from the airport to your hotel is the easiest and least expensive course of action. However, for some destinations even a taxi can be very expensive due to the distance you are traveling. If you prefer to have a private transfer arranged for you in lieu of taking a taxi, you will need to contact 206 Tours to advise us of your flight delay and new arrival time at least 4 hours prior to your new arrival time. In this case will do all possible to arrange for a private transfer to meet you upon your arrival, however, you will be responsible to remit payment to your driver upon drop off at your destination. If you arrive at your destination, and are unable to locate your driver or a taxi, please call your local emergency contact (listed in your Final Instruction Booklet) so that they may dispatch a transfer for you. Please remember to save your receipts. We strongly recommend the purchase of Traveler’s Insurance for this reason (www.206tours.com/insurance).
If your luggage is missing proceed to your airline carrier’s baggage office in the airport terminal to complete a missing luggage form, which will include a description of your luggage. Please make sure to save all the paperwork and tracking information given to you by the Airlines. Upon locating your baggage, the airlines will bring your luggage to your hotel. It is important that you provide them with the correct address and dates that you will be at your hotels. You may also provide the emergency number listed in this booklet. If your baggage is delayed for over 24 hours you may submit a claim to the insurance company upon your return to the US (only applicable for passengers that purchased TravelEx insurance through 206 Tours).
How to Overcome Jet Lag
Travel through a time zone may take its toll on your physical and mental well-being. “Jet Lag” is the phrase used to describe the condition when an individual’s internal body clock is out of sync with the actual time in the region to which you have traveled. It is important to try to adjust your internal body clock to receive the most out of your tour. Here are some tips on how to adjust your body to local time.
On the day of the departure/arrival
- Get out of bed earlier than usual on the day of departure
- Drink a lot of water to compensate for the dehydration on long flights
- Shortly after your evening meal on your flight, set your watch to the local time
- Try to rest and/or sleep as soon as possible on your flight
- Try to go to bed around 10:00 PM the night of arrival
Bringing Liquids in your Carry-on Bags
For additional information or clarification please visit: www.faa.gov
3 – 1 – 1 Liquids Rule for your Carry-on Ba
- Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes must be:
- 3.4 OZ bottle or less
- 1 Quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag
- 1 Bag per passenger screened on its own
Be prepared; each time the TSA must search a carry-on to locate liquids it slows down the line. Practicing 3 – 1 – 1 will ensure a sufficient checkpoint experience.
Remember, you can put liquids of any size in your checked baggage.
Important to note about the 3-1-1 Rule…
Larger containers that are partially-full are not allowed, Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top, such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed.
Larger fluids permitted, reasonable quantities exceeding 3 OZ are allowed of the following:
- Baby formula, breast milk, and juice for infants and toddlers
- All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including eye drops and saline solution for medical purposes
- Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition (a doctor’s note is required)
- Items used to augment the body for medical/cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras containing gels, or other liquids
- Gels or frozen liquids needed to cool medically related items, such as medicines, used by persons with disabilities or medical conditions
Declare the above items for inspection at the checkpoint. TSA officers may need to open them for additional screening. Any liquid, gel or aerosol, such as coffee or soda, purchased in the secure area beyond the security checkpoint is allowed aboard your plane. If you have a layover and are re-screened at your connecting airport, the above rules will be applied
For additional information or clarification please visit: www.faa.gov
Personal Items Carry-on Checked All Make-up – You are allowed to carry any liquid/gel/cream makeup item provided that the container is up to 3 oz., as per the 3-1-1 rule. *mascara, chapstick, lip gloss, etc are all considered liquids. Yes Yes Safety Razors – includes disposable razors Yes Yes Saline solution – You are allowed to carry up to 3 oz., as per the 3-1-1 rule. Volumes greater must be declared to the Security Officer. Yes Yes Tweezers & Scissors – plastic or metal with blunt tips or metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches in length. Yes Yes Shampoos & Conditioners – must be in 3 oz. or smaller container inside your 1 qt Ziploc bag Yes Yes Toothpaste – 3 oz. or smaller container inside your 1 qt Ziploc bag Yes Yes Umbrellas– allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed. Yes Yes Walking Canes – allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed. Yes Yes Electronics Carry-on Checked Camcorders & Camera Equipment – the checked baggage screening equipment will damage undeveloped film in camera equipment. We recommend that you pack undeveloped film in your carry-on baggage. Yes Yes Laptop Computers, Mobile Phones, Pagers, PDA Yes Yes Food & Drinks Carry-on Checked Beverages – from home or purchased before reaching the security checkpoint in containers LARGER than 3 oz. No Yes Beverages – from home or purchased before reaching the security checkpoint in a 3 oz. or smaller container and in your quart-size bag Yes Yes Beverages – purchased after security screening Yes Yes Medications, baby formula/food, breast milk, & juice – allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3 oz and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint Yes Yes Canned or jarred goods – such as soup, sauces, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables and jellies (3 oz. or smaller container) Yes Yes Cheese – in pressurized containers (3 oz. or smaller container) Yes Yes Duty-free alcohol and other items (some restrictions apply) Yes Yes
Currency & Money
The The Euro is the currency of France., though the US dollar is widely accepted. For most current exchange rates please visit www.xe.com.
Make sure to bring along a credit card for convenience and security. Visa or MasterCard are the best options. American Express is not accepted in many stores. Please be aware that Discover Card is not accepted in almost all European countries. If you would like to carry cash, we recommend that you exchange USD at your local bank prior to departure in order to obtain the best exchange rate. It is also practical and cost-effective to withdraw local currency using your ATM/Debit card during your trip. Be advised that exchanging money at airports, your hotel or local change booths will result in fees that are extremely high.
Credit cards offer a reasonable exchange rate and can be canceled should it be lost. Visa or MasterCard are the best option and accepted in many stores. It is also practical and cost-effective to withdraw local currency using your ATM/Debit card during your trip. ATMs are very similar to those in the USA. Most offer English as a language option. It is recommended that you contact your local bank and credit card companies before departing on your trip to advise them of your itinerary. We recommend that you refrain from exchanging money at the hotel as the fees are high.
**It is recommended to contact your local bank/credit card companies prior to your departure to inform them of your travels abroad to avoid your company blocking your account due to an international transaction **
How much money should I bring with me?
The amount differs per person. We recommend that the minimum spending money to bring with you/budget for, in addition to the suggested tips, is the equivalent of $30.00 per person per day.
Keep in mind:
- No lunches are included, the type of lunch you prefer may make a big difference (restaurant vs. cafe).
- Souvenirs – Are you planning on purchasing mementos for yourself or loved ones?
Remember, you can always spend less, or bring money home!
Credit Cards & ATM Machines (In France)
ATM machines can be found just about everywhere in Europe and are accessible 24 hrs a day; most offer English as a language option. Be sure to find out your daily withdrawal limit before you depart.
Keep in mind: Many banks impose a fee when a card is used at a different bank’s ATM , this fee may be higher for international transactions (up to $5 or more). For international withdrawal fees please check with your bank prior to departure.
Additionally , the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee.
U.S. Customs (In France)
U.S. citizens who have been in Europe for more than two days may return to the US with up to $800 worth of merchandise duty-free. For those who wish to bring more home, a flat rate of 3% duty is levied on the next $1,000 worth of purchases. It’s a good idea to retain the receipts from your purchases should they be requested by a Customs Inspector upon your return to the US. For details visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel
Value Added Tax (VAT) Refund (In France)
Value Added Tax (VAT) is a form of indirect tax applied to the value added at each stage of production (primary, manufacturing, wholesale and retail). This tax is much like the sales tax in the US. Tourists who purchase goods worth 400 Euro or more are entitled to a discount of at least 5% on the purchase price plus a VAT refund. There is 22% value added tax on most goods and services. At retail stores, this tax is already included in the price. Upon making a purchase of 175 Euro or more at a gift store that has an agreement with VAT authorities, you should fill out a form at the store and have it stamped there. You will be eligible, upon presenting the form and the item, for a 20% refund at the airport prior to departure. Do not pack these gift items in your luggage, but should be kept in your hand luggage. Tourist services, such as hotel accommodations and meals taken in hotels, paid with foreign currency are exempt from VAT tax.
VAT refunds, if applicable, may sometimes take up to three (3) months to process. If you pay with local currency, there will be no VAT refund. In order to acquire a VAT refund, the following procedure must be followed:
• Look for the “tax refund” sticker on the business door or publication
• Ask for a VAT refund invoice from the sales clerk.
• At the airport VAT desk, show the original receipt, the VAT tax form, and the goods you have purchased.
• At the end of the procedure, you will receive a check drawn in your favor which may be cashed that same day
• On each purchase exceeding $200 (including VAT), the VAT will be refunded upon presentation of the invoice at the port of departure
Tips are an important part of earnings for your guides and bus drivers. Although you should tip according to your discretion and satisfaction, we recommend that you bring the money and place in tip envelopes (included in your final documents package) as follows:
Tour Escort in France – EUR 8 per person per day
Bus Driver in France – EUR 4 per person per day
Spiritual Director/ Your Priest - Gift or donation to the Spiritual Director is at your own discretion.
Restaurants, hotel staff, luggage handler and bell boy tips are included in your package price. No additional tips should be given.
Luggage & What to Pack
Your pilgrimage includes one (1) piece of checked luggage, and one (1) carry-on. International air carriers are becoming stricter about the size and weight of baggage and carry-on luggage. please limit the size of your hand luggage to 17x14x8 in. (43x36x20 cm) for easy storage on the motor coach. Porterage for one suitcase on tour is included in the tour price. The checked piece of luggage should have dimensions not exceeding 62 inches in overall (62inches: length+width+height) and weight not exceeding 50 lbs (23 kg).
WHAT IS CARRY ON LUGGAGE?
The Carry-On bag lets you access your belongings in-flight, and must be able to fit in an overhead bin. Airlines are strict about size of carry-on luggage, and if overweight, can be subject to unpleasant fees.
Tip: We recommend you utilize your 206 Tours Bag, which meets the measurements. It will also make it easier for Guides/Drivers to spot you in the Arrival’s Hall
Carry all documents and money on your person but not all in the same place to limit the inconvenience in case of loss; do not keep money, important documents, medicines or jewelry in your suitcase; We recommend a money belt worn inside your clothes, while touring. On departure from your hotel, remember to double check that you have your money belt with you, and that you have collected any items left in the hotel safe. Please, at all times, be as vigilant as you would be in any major city, especially in crowded places. Never leave your hand luggage unattended or out of sight in public areas, including airports, hotel lobbies or dining rooms. Be sure to keep ALL medications in your carry-on bag during your trip in case your suit case should be lost. Keep a separate list of important numbers, i.e. passport, traveler’s checks, and credit cards, in your luggage, together with photocopies of relevant pages of your passport/visas. Keep a separate copy i.e. passport, flight schedule, credit cards, in your luggage, The same common-sense rules of safety and security apply here as to anywhere else. Avoid excessive displays of jewelry or cash (only carry sufficient for daily needs). Room Safes may be used at your own discretion. Make certain that any valuables are insured against theft. Avoid exploration on your own of unfamiliar streets or areas Be cautious if people approach you begging.
The more secure your personal items are, the better! TSA suggests you lock your luggage before you embark, and when you are flying home. In order to ensure the safe transportation of travelers, TSA screens all checked, and carry-on, baggage before it is permitted to be brought onboard. You can purchase locks for your bags, however, if they are “screened”, you run the risk of them being cut open and no longer usable. However, there are TSA Recognized Locks – which allow TSA officials to use tools for opening and re-locking your baggage. Below are recommended brands:
Safe Skies: www.safeskieslocks.com
Travel Sentry: www.travelsentry.org
for Checked Bags
Length + Width + Height = 158cm./62in.
Economy Class: 1 piece at 23kg. / 50lbs.
Business Class: 2 pieces at 32kg. / 70lbs. each
for Carry-on Bags
Length + Width + Height: 106cm./42in.
Weight: 1 piece at 8 kg./17 lbs.
Additionally you are permitted one personal item to carry onto the plane such as; a purse, laptop, briefcase, etc.
Please note that traveler’s insurance is STRONGLY recommended for all 206 Tours pilgrims. Be advised that traveler’s insurance can not be purchased after you have paid in full for your trip.For those who have purchasedTravelers Insurance through 206 Tours a pamphlet will be included in your final documents. Please refer to this brochure for specific stipulations or questions. For more information you can also visit www.206tours.com/insurance.
One (1) piece of luggage handling at the hotel is included in your trip cost. The porters will do their best to bring your luggage to you in a timely fashion upon checking into the hotel. At times there may be short delay due to the size of the group arriving. To make it easier for porters to identify your luggage make sure your luggage tag is clearly visible. If you prefer to bring your own luggage into the hotel please wait near the bus as the driver and porters unload the luggage for you to identify your baggage and bring it with you to your room.
Important Items & Valuables
Carry your passport, Final Instruction booklet and money on you. It is best not to have all items in the same place to limit the inconvenience in case of loss. DO NOT keep money, important documents, medicines or jewelry in your suitcase. Please leave valuable jewelry at home. We recommend a “neck safe” worn inside your clothes while touring. At all times please be as vigilant as you would in any major city, especially in crowded places. Never leave your bag unattended or out of sight in public areas, including airports, hotel lobbies, or dining rooms.
The attire during the course of your journey is conservative and comfortable. Ensure to cover your shoulders, chest and your legs at least two inches below your knee’s for entrance at religious sites (which will be visited daily.) and to respect local customs. It is not necessary for women to cover your head or face. There is no need for formal attire for men or woman at any time during the course of the tour. Comfort and adaptability are the most important factors in determining what to pack. Be sure to pack at least one change of clothes, socks and undergarments in your carry-on luggage in case your baggage is delayed or lost!
During your flight you will want to wear loose-fitting clothes and pack a pair of slippers or socks to wear for the flight. Make sure your shoes are lace-up or flexible, as your feet may swell due to the flight.
Be sure to have at least one or two good pairs of walking shoes, such as sneakers or hiking boots. If new, make sure you walk in them for a couple of weeks to break them in. It is not practical to wear any footwear with high or narrow heels, as the roads may not be paved or are uneven due to cobblestone.
It is recommended that you bring a light weight jacket for the mornings and evenings in case the temperatures are unseasonably cold.
Recommended Clothing to pack (In France)
For Winter, Early Spring, and Late Fall: be sure to back a warm jacket, a hat, scarf and gloves. Just in case.
For Summer, Late Spring, and Late Summer: Bring a sunhat and plenty loose-fitting clothing. Don’t forget a lightweight sweater for the evenings as some places may be a little cooler than others.
A note about summer attire; shorts (or mini skirts) and bare shoulders are considered inappropriate at some religious sites. For men, shorts that can be transformed by zippers into trousers may be convenient.
Bring an all-weather coat, just in case. We strongly recommend that women bring a shall or sarong which can be placed conveniently in their day bag, so that they may drape their shoulders, or tie around their waists in the more religious sites.
Mid-summer advice: Wear a sunhat and loose-fitting clothing, drink at least one liter (one quart) of mineral water a day if you can (carry a small bottle in your hand luggage); avoid eating too much ice-cream and reduce the amount of ice in drinks. A small battery-operated fan may be useful in warm weather.
General Clothing for Men:
Jeans, casual slacks, short and/or long sleeve shirts, socks, undergarments, and light jacket or coat.
General Clothing for Women:
Jeans, long skirts, casual dresses, casual slacks, short and/or long sleeve, socks, stockings, undergarments, and a light jacket or sweater is suggested.
Other Suggested Items to Bring
- Travel Bible and Journal
- Portable alarm clock
- Dramamine (for motion sickness)
- Aspirin/Advil, etc.
- Laxative and Imodium
- Pepto Bismol (tablets)
- Allergy/cold medicine; tablets
- Deodorant (travel size)
- Soap bar (travel size) and washcloth
- Shampoo and Conditioner (travel size)
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste (travel size)
- Lotion/Moisturizing cream (travel size)
- Feminine Items
- Handi-wipes: for freshening up during the day
- Travel pack size Kleenex
- Digital Camera, Charger, Extra Battery & carrying case
- Adapter and converter if you are bringing any electronic devices
- Grocery size plastic bags: 1-2 for dirty clothes
- Travel size poncho (in the camping section of Walmart)
- Inflatable head & neck rest, eye mask, foam earplugs (for flight)
- Nail file and/or nail clippers
- Pen (bring with you on the plane to complete customs forms)
Some people find that taking themselves off caffeine and taking compounds high in anti-oxidants to be helpful in combating jet lag. You can also take Jet-stress or Cell Guard which are herbal complexes designed to combat jet lag. Ginger can be helpful in motion sickness. Melatonin helps to allow you to sleep on the plane. These items can be found at most health food stores.
Transportation is by private motor coach:
The duration of driving time between cities/countries can range extensively depending on your itinerary. Some days may include only short transfers on the bus from your hotel to a restaurant, or similar. Other days you may drive a couple of hours to travel from one city to another. There are some days/itineraries which may include up to 8 hours of driving in one day. During travel days with extensive driving, the coach will stop for bathroom/stretch (approximately every 2 to 3 hours) breaks as well as a lunch stop.
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Lourdes Low 32 34 37 41 48 54 57 57 52 46 37 34 High 48 50 57 59 66 73 73 75 72 64 54 48 Paris Low 37 37 42 45 52 57 60 60 55 50 42 38 High 45 47 54 60 67 73 77 77 70 61 51 46
About Europe & Travel Abroad
The official language of France is French.
Useful French Phrases
Hotels Accommodations (In France)
Hotel rooms may be smaller than you are used to based on American standards. All rooms are comfortably appointed with a private bathroom. Mini-bar items and access to paid TV channels are at your own expense. King size beds are rare in Europe, therefore couples should anticipate queen size beds in most hotels. Travelers sharing a room will have two twin beds in their hotel rooms. Many hotels use key cards to operate the room’s lighting system and/or the elevator. All hotels offer a hair dryer in the bathroom. Most hotels provide toiletries (shampoo, soap, lotion), if needed bring a supply of conditioner with you. It is not customary for hotels to provide wash cloths.
Adapters, Converters, & Electricity
When traveling abroad, you will need to bring an Adapter in order to plug into the outlets. The voltage used is 220 volts AC, single phase 50 cycles (the U.S. uses 110/120 volts). The best option is bringing a Universal Travel Adapter with Dual USB Ports (that way, you can utilize a number of outlets at one time. Example – being able to charge your cellphone while using your laptop etc.)
Adapters we recommend:
Converters are used to convert the 220 volts to 110 volts. All of our Hotels have Hair Dryers, so you would only need if you were bringing a Curling Iron/Hair Straightener (which are not necessary on a pilgrimage). If you have a Laptop – check with the Manufacturer. Almost all laptops over the last seven (7) years already have a converter built-in. Converter kits that include the entire range of plugs can be purchased at better electrical supply stores. Stores such as Walmart, K-Mart, Target also have them for purchase. Buying electrical devices in foreign places is not recommended unless you are sure that the current they use is compatible with the current at home. It will likely cost you more than the original price to have an appliance converted.
Weights & Measures
The metric system is used exclusively. A kilometer is a bit over 1/2 mile (.62 miles). A kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.
Hotel telephones are available and offer convenience, however they tend to cost substantially more than using your cell phone provided that you have a plan.
When you bring your cellular phone, make sure to contact your wireless phone provider and inform them that you will be traveling overseas. Most providers offer an “international plan” that you may sign up for. This will allow you to make calls to the United States” while you are out of the country using your wireless phone. Please check with your provider for exact rates in the countries where you’ll be traveling. Be extra cautious using your data while abroad. If your cell phone has a data plan, be sure to turn data roaming “OFF” while on the plane to avoid potentially high fees. The rates for data are far more expensive than for roaming voice calls and text messages.
Calling from France to the USA
To make a direct international call, first dial “00” and then dial the country code (1 for the US and Canada, just like at home), then the local area code and telephone number.
Calling from the USA to France
If your family wishes to call you during the pilgrimage from within the US, you must first dial 011, then then the country code (33) in France which is then followed by the local area code and telephone number.
Please be advised that most hotels do offer WIFI service, however, they may charge a small fee.
Known as WC are available at most tourist locations. Be prepared with tissues in your pocket at all times. Be aware that some public toilets have and attendant, who may ask for a small “user fee.”
Terrain (In France)
Many streets in Europe are narrow, and due to strict traffic regulations the buses are not always permitted to drop groups off directly in front for their destination. Many areas are pedestrian only and have cobblestones. Please be prepared to walk ! High-heeled shoes are not suitable for cobblestone streets, instead rubber-soled walking shoes are recommended. Europe is based on a myriad of old buildings. There are split-levels and uneven surfaces everywhere; please watch your step! Due to the structure of old buildings, access to some establishments may not be convenient for wheelchair use and facilities for the disabled in general may be limited.
If using a digital camera, we recommend you bring an extra memory card (just in case). Be sure to also bring extra batteries for your camera.
Taxis (In France)
Be wary of any person approaching you offering unofficial taxi services. If you do not have an airport transfer included and you need transportation, make your way to the official taxi desk or to the regular taxi line outside the terminal. Chose a vehicle with a meter or taxi sign. If there is no meter, we recommend you pre-negotiate and agree on the fare, before you get into the cab.
Local Customs / Social Conventions
A different way of life in some countries may take you by surprise, but if you travel with an open mind and respect local customs, you should find it easy to adapt to and enjoy your new surroundings. Standards of living may not be quite what you are used to, but there are compensations – a closer sense of reality and an authentic feeling of locale. Due to cultural differences, you may not be greeted quite as cheerfully as back home; smiling is generally reserved for intimate friends. Be especially wary of people presenting themselves as “instant friends” and never accept food or drink from strangers.
While most local tap water will not hurt you, due to differences in mineral and micro-biotic levels, we recommend that you avoid consuming local tap water, as it may upset your stomach.
Shopping (In France)
Stores are open daily Monday to Saturday.
Some observe a “siesta” from 1pm to 4pm, re-opening until 7pm.
Some malls close later in the day and are open Saturdays after sundown.
Ask your tour escort where you are able to purchase regional specialty products which the countries/cities in your itinerary are known for. Small, light items that you can easily carry home make splendid and festive gifts. Don’t forget to buy something nice for yourself too. Whenever traveling abroad, be aware of your personal belongings when shopping in crowded areas. If you purchase a video or DVD, please check very carefully that it is compatible with your home viewing system. Sales tax or VAT (value added tax) is already included on price tags.
Business Hours: Throughout the year, apart from Festivals, businesses are open at the following hours:
Offices: Mondays to Fridays: 08:30am – 1:00pm and 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Banks: Mondays to Fridays: 08:30am – 1:30pm and 2:45pm – 4:15pm
Stores: Mondays to Saturday: 09:00am – 6:30pm
"What If" & Commonly Asked Questions
What should I do if my flight is canceled or delayed?
If your flight is canceled or delayed it is imperative that you work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights or protection. Please note that once your tickets have been issued or you have check-in for your flights, 206 Tours can no longer make any changes to your flight itinerary. This can ONLY be done by the airlines. In such case be persistent with the agent, however, keep in mind that the situation is not the airline agent’s fault. Try your best to remain courteous to them, as you may find that you receive more assistance this way. The airlines are not required to offer reimbursement for personal expense or overnights when delays/cancellations occur due to weather. If you find that you have no luck with the airline personnel, please contact your emergency number and we shall do all in our power to assist you.
What should I do if I miss my flight due to late arrival at the airport?
If you should miss your flight, due to your own late arrival at your departure airport, it is imperative that you work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights. You may incur additional costs to exchange your airline ticket (minimum of $300 per person). Once your alternate arrangements have been confirmed you may contact the emergency number in this booklet to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.
What happens if I miss my group transfer upon arrival?
If your plane arrives late, or you are re-routed you will most likely miss your group transfer which is included in your package. You may take a taxi at your own expense to your hotel or you may contact the emergency number in this booklet to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.
What happens if I have a problem or complaint during my trip?
If you have any problems, concerns, or complaints during your trip, please communicate them IMMEDIATELY to your tour escort. Your tour guide is at your disposal to assist you with all your needs including issues with your hotel room, meals, etc. Remember, there is very little that can be done to undo a problem once you have returned home if the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction by your tour escort, then please contact our office.
What should I do if I want to change my flights?
We promise to do all within our power to assist you with new flight requests or upgrades. Please feel free to contact us but do be prepared to incur some additional fees.
- Airline delays: www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/plaintext.html
- Airline seating: www.seatguru.com
- Airline tracker: www.flightarrivals.com
- Calendar and holidays: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar
- Calling codes: www.countrycallingcodes.com
- Country facts: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook
- Currency converter: www.xe.com
- Customs (USA)www.cbp.gov/
- Department of Homeland security: www.dhs.gov
- Driving directions: www.maporama.com; www.maps.google.com
- Emergency/Disaster information: www.redcross.org
- FAA Air traffic Control: www.faa.gov
- Flight delay info: www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp
- Flight tracker: www.flightview.com
- Foreign Language Basics: www.fodors.com/language/
- Frequent flyer programs: www.webflyer.com
- Global Entry: https: //goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/main/goes
- Health (travel health info): www.cdc.gov; www.who.int; www.tripprep.com
- Internet access/hotspots: www.wi-fihotspotlist.com; www.wififreespot.com
- Language translation: www.translate.google.com
- Last minute travel preparation: www.dontforgetyourtoothbrush.com
- Official Franciscan Website: www.custodia.org
- Passports and visas: www.projectvisa.com
- Physical disabilities travelwww.access-able.com
- Time around the world: www.time.gov
- Transportation Security Admin: www.tsa.gov
- Travel planning: www.worldtravelguide.net
- ravel planning (religious sites): www.sacred-destinations.com
- US State Dept. Travel Warnings: http://travel.state.gov
- Weather around the world: www.weather.com
- World Health Organization: www.who.int/eha/disasters