Aimed at church leaders who plan travel for their congregations, the 2017 Religious Travel Planning Guide brims with suggestions on where to go, plus practical tips on getting organized.
Many religious groups rely on a travel industry partner to handle the logistics of their travel programs, but there may come a time when finding new representation is necessary. The article “Time to Ditch Your Tour Operator for a New One?” lays out seven key factors in determining whether groups should stick with their current tour partner or fly the coop. Reasons to end the relationship range from lack of insurance protection to bad chemistry. Of utmost importance is the tour operator’s willingness to understand your particular needs and customize a package to suit those needs; a cookie-cutter itinerary just won’t do.
As any retreat leader knows, choosing the right retreat center is key to planning a memorable experience for your group. In “Seeking Renewal,” Lori Erickson, a travel writer who specializes in the spiritual realm, spells out criteria for finding a center with the facilities you need. Important things to consider: travel distance, lodging and catering, outdoor recreation opportunities, and indoor spaces for worship and discussion. Do you want a non-denominational retreat center or one affiliated with your national church?
Perhaps your church’s ultimate travel dream is a trip to the Holy Land. The guide’s special Israel section presents the “Ultimate Christian Itinerary,” a seven-day circuit that follows in the footsteps of Jesus. The Bible comes into sharp focus when you visit places like Jerusalem, Nazareth, the River Jordan and the Sea of Galilee.
The article “Germany Celebrates a Big Anniversary” spotlights LutherCountry as the Reformation marks a half millennium. Lutherans and other Protestants will be descending on places where Martin Luther lived and preached, including the church door in Wittenberg where he nailed his 95 Theses.
Groups straying off the beaten path will find rewarding discoveries as described in “11 Overlooked Religious Sights of Europe.” Places include the birthplace of Pope John Paul II in Poland, the Silent Night Chapel in Austria and Amsterdam’s Our Lord in the Attic.
Young people can live out their faith in U.S. work projects featured in “6 Service Trip Opportunities for Youth Groups.” Students can help build a community center in the Navajo Nation, mentor children in Appalachia and provide much-needed services for South Texas families along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Religious Travel Planning Guide is designed to inspire church groups to take trips that will have a lasting impact and deepen the faith of every member who participates.