Archived Story

Religious excursions educational

Published 12:44am Sunday, April 20, 2014

Today Easter Sunday is one of the holiest days of Christianity. It is a day of rebirth, celebration and rejoicing! It is a time for family, friends and fellowship. It is also a time to talk the opportunity to visit your faith’s sacred and revered sites.

There are travel companies that specialize in religious travel. They create itineraries that trace the history and development of the world’s great religions.

Many of these firms focus on the lands that bordered the Sea of Faith AKA the Mediterranean Sea. Plenty scholars feel that this region is the cradle of western civilization where its religions and cultures started.

In response, escorted travel companies have introduced specific itineraries that focus on the Holy Land, biblical sites, Catholic cathedrals and Italian shrines. Globus, a pioneer in escorted travel since 1928, has emerged a leader in worldwide faith-based travel as well.

The company established a religious travel division in 2004. It has steadily increased its religious vacation offerings and now boasts dozens of departure dates throughout the year.

In 2007, Globus unveiled the findings of an extensive study about the U.S. market for international religious vacations. Here are just a few highlights from the Globus Religious Travel Study, conducted by Menlo Consulting Group, Inc.:

One-third of all international travelers are likely to take a religious vacation in the future.

One in 10 international pleasure travelers have already been abroad on a faith-based vacation.

More than 40 percent of all American international pleasure travelers have at least some desire to get in touch with their religious heritage while traveling.

Half of all religious travelers are Protestant, and one-quarter are Roman Catholic. More than two-thirds of religious travelers say they are active in their church, temple or synagogue.

Israel tops the list (35 percent) of countries that travelers have already visited on a faith-driven trip, followed by Italy (12 percent) and Greece (11 percent).

Israel is the most cited (54 percent) desirable destination for religious trips. Italy (41 percent) is also a top contender of desirable destinations, along with England (28 percent).

Faith-based tours aren’t all religion, all of the time. On a one- to two-week itinerary, you can expect several sightseeing visits to spiritual sites, accompanied by expert commentary from your tour director or local guides.

But you’ll also enjoy traditional sightseeing, as well, such as a tour of Cairo’s Great Pyramids, a scenic Rhine River cruise or a drive around Ireland’s Ring of Kerry.

While on an escorted Irish Spree tour a few years back I had a chat with the tour director about the makeup of my group and he said a surprise for us. He had an unplanned stop that would spiritually link Ironton Ohio with the Republic of Ireland.

We stopped at the ruins of a monastery in Glendalough, or the Glen of two Lakes, is one of the most important sites of monastic ruins in Ireland. It is also known as the city of the seven Churches. Before being appointed Archbishop of Dublin Laurence O’Toole was the Abbot of Glendalough. He later became Ireland’s first canonized saint and has an Ironton Catholic church named in his memory.

You’ll also enjoy plenty of free time for exploration on your own. Stops for shopping at popular markets may be included, and you’ll probably enjoy at least one festive dinner with entertainment on your tour. Carefully review the day-by-day itinerary, as well as What’s Included, so you’ll know exactly what to expect each day of your tour.

Often on tours catering to Catholic denominations, it’s not unusual to find a priest among your fellow travelers. Time can be carved out for short daily Masses.

Otherwise, your tour director will know what times Masses are held at the various churches and shrines you’ll visit.

On tours catering to Jewish travelers, activities are curtailed during the Sabbath from sundown on Friday evening through sundown on Saturday.

At mealtime, care is taken to offer at least one dish that does not mix meat and milk; pork and shellfish are generally not served.

Naturally, other travelers on your faith-based trip likely have similar spiritual interests. That can lead to many interesting conversations over group meals, during sightseeing visits and while you’re traveling together by motor coach.

Many travelers cite the fellowship and new friends they make on religious trips as one of the highlights of their vacation.

Steps of Paul Cruises, a Greek based cruise tour operator, has put together some unique Christian Voyages aiming to make it possible, easy and affordable to all Christians to come and navigate with us at the same places Apostle Paul lived and preached. Most of their voyages operate on board chartered cruises and as a Christian Travel Ministry their aim is to offer a special travel product only for Christians. For many, traveling abroad is a spiritual experience visiting magnificent cathedrals, ancient temples and other historic religious sites can have a profound effect on anyone that encounters them. Increasingly, though, Americans are planning international vacations specifically designed to explore their religion and deepen their faith.

There are plenty of religious itineraries available for just about any interest and/or budget. When you’re ready to start planning your personal pilgrimage please talk with local travel consultant. Remember that they’re your friend, your neighbor and fellow community member. Shopping local keeps the money in town and benefits everyone in your city.

Have a happy Easter!

 

Got travel? E-mail Steve Call at the travelprofessor@gmail.com or dial 740.550.9540.

can lead to many interesting conversations over group meals, during sightseeing visits and while you’re traveling together by motor coach.

Many travelers cite the fellowship and new friends they make on religious trips as one of the highlights of their vacation.

Steps of Paul Cruises, a Greek-based cruise tour operator, has put together some unique Christian voyages aiming to make it possible, easy and affordable to all Christians to come and navigate with us at the same places Apostle Paul lived and preached. Most of their voyages operate on board-chartered cruises and as a Christian Travel Ministry their aim is to offer a special travel product only for Christians. For many, traveling abroad is a spiritual experience visiting magnificent cathedrals, ancient temples and other historic religious sites can have a profound effect on anyone that encounters them. Increasingly though, Americans are planning international vacations specifically designed to explore their religion and deepen their faith.

There are plenty of religious itineraries available for just about any interest and/or budget.

When you’re ready to start planning your personal pilgrimage please talk with a local travel consultant. Remember that they’re your friend, your neighbor and fellow community member. Shopping local keeps the money in town and benefits everyone in your city.

Have a happy Easter!

 

Got travel? E-mail Steve Call at the travelprofessor@gmail.com or dial 740.550.9540.

 

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