A Pilgrimage is a holy journey and for some, a once in a lifetime opportunity. There are different reasons why people embark on a religious journey. It may be that you wish to immerse yourself in a new culture, try something new, and learn more about a specific religion, to embark on a spiritual, reflective journey or simply to support a friend on a new adventure.
We recommend that you pack lightly. Granted this is easier said than done, especially for something like a pilgrimage tour which you may not have previously experienced, visiting a new city or country on holiday we tend to overcompensate when it comes to packing. Here are a few essentials we recommend you pack for your pilgrimage tour.
Camera and memory card
People often contemplate whether or not to take a camera as they see a Pilgrimage as a spiritual journey and therefore more beneficial to take in the environment than take photos of it. However, we feel it is important to have a camera to capture your memories and share them with loved ones at home.
The great thing about a Pilgrimage tour is the infinite variety of things to see and a camera can help you capture those moments, to treasure forever.
It is advisable to pack appropriate comfortable clothes for any Pilgrimage tour. For Women, particularly when visiting religious sites in the Middle East should have shoulders and legs covered. On certain Pilgrimage tours that involve mosques they may require you to cover your arms but if you contact your tour operator prior to this they will advise you on suitable clothing. A perfect option for women is a light shawl; this multifunctional accessory can be used as a wrap, shawl or headscarf.
For men, in most places you will find that shorts are not acceptable. In some synagogues and mosques males may be required to cover their heads but again, your tour operator will confirm this detail. If you visit a Jewish site and they require you to wear a Kippah, this will be provided.
Remember that you will have to carry your rucksack for long periods of time so make sure the clothes you pack are lightweight.
Diary and pens
Not only is a Pilgrimage a physical journey but also a spiritual one. Keeping a diary is a fantastic way to keep track of your adventures and memories. With so much to see, you will be glad of this when the pilgrimage ends and you want to reflect on the spectacular journey you have had.
It is also a great way to keep track of names and contact numbers of any new people you meet and want to keep in contact with. Religious pilgrimages are a great way to meet likeminded people who you can share the experience with.
Pilgrimage tours notoriously involve a lot of walking and therefore sensible footwear is essential. It is advisable to break any new shoes in prior to the Pilgrimage journey.
Although most of the time you will be walking on well-trodden footpaths, it is recommended that you pack sensible shoes suitable for all weather conditions and that are lightweight.
Remember to pack extra socks, just in case!
Also, if you plan to ‘swim’ float in the Dead Sea, it is advisable to wear either jelly shoes or an old pair of trainers that you can dispose of.
Plenty of water
Pilgrimage tours can be exhausting, especially in the warm weather conditions. Due to these conditions and the long walking distances, it is fundamental that you always have a bottle of water with you and stay hydrated. It is essential that you drink plenty of water and this should be bottled.