ABOUT THE MONEY
We are frequently asked, “How much money should I bring with me?” This is an impossible question to answer as each person is different. The type of lunches you buy, how much you spend on mementos or how much you buy to bring home, etc. must all be factored into your decision. Remember, you can always spend less, or bring money home!
We recommend carrying enough money for your first day or two (plus 40 or 50 singles if in Israel or Mexico). You don’t want to end up with excessive local currency. It is not necessary to change American dollars into foreign currency until your arrival in the country you are visiting. There are many places within the country (e.g.: airports, banks, exchange centers, hotels, etc.) that are authorized to do this. Your tour escort can direct you to the most convenient locations that offer the best exchange rates.
It is also practical and cost effective to withdraw local currency using your ATM/Debit card during your trip. ATMs are readily available in most of the destinations we service, and are very similar to those in USA. Most offer English as a language option. Credit Cards also offer a good rate of exchange and is a viable option. Take a couple of different credit cards (VISA or MasterCard are best) just in case one type is rejected. NOTE: We recommend that you notify your credit card company that you will be out of the country and may be using your card while away. U.S. Traveler’s Checks, American Express, and Discover are NOT widely accepted. Note: NEVER give money to beggars! No exceptions!
Should there be an emergency at home while you are traveling, leave family members with a copy of your hotel information (provided in your final travel packet). You can direct them to contact Pentecost Tours, Inc. (weekdays 9 AM – 5 PM E.S.T.) Our email and fax machine give us instant communication with our overseas operators. The cost of the fax will be invoiced to the person requesting assistance. Pentecost Tours, Inc. may, at its discretion, waive the cost.
Voltage: The voltage overseas is generally 220v-50 cycle AC (the U.S. and Mexico is 110v-60 cycle). Most newer model plug-in devices (electric razor, hair dryer, curling iron, digital camera chargers, etc.) are designed to switch either automatically or manually between 110 and 220v (this info is labeled on each device). If your appliance is newer and can switch between voltage levels, adjust the currency switch to the local setting, plug it into an adapter (available at Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, AAA stores, etc), then plug the adapter into the wall. The adapter has prongs suitable for outlets in the country you are visiting.
Note: Older models that have only the 110 voltage require the use of a 1500-watt converter which modifies the current to that of the country you are visiting. You will plug your older appliance into the converter then the adapter before you insert it into the outlet.
Laundry/Cleaning/Pressing Services: Same-day service is offered in many hotels providing that you leave the items to be cleaned, laundered, or pressed before 8 AM. Items will be returned before dinner.
Barber/Beauty Shops: Competent barbers and beauticians are available in or near the hotels we use on our tours. See the hotel check-in desk for information or locations.
Medicine: If you require special medications, carry them on with you (in their original prescription containers). Airlines do not limit liquid medication or the size of the container. We strongly advise that you bring written authorization from your pharmacist/physician. Keep in mind, not all brands of medicine are available overseas. Illness can be caused by overindulging in tree or vine-ripened fruits, or by drinking too much water containing salt or minerals to which you are not accustomed. You may want to pack a diarrhea remedy in the bag you check.
EYEGLASSES: Carry an extra pair. Sunglasses are highly recommended.
PHYSICIANS: Should a serious illness or injury occur, medical service by well-trained doctors and well-equipped hospitals is available almost everywhere we go. Confirm with your insurance company exactly what overseas hospitalization and medical coverage you have. Note: most insurances do not cover overseas travel so trip insurance is important.
MOTION SICKNESS (Air, Boat or Bus): If you have ever experienced any discomfort with motion sickness, there are inexpensive wrist bands you can purchase in the pharmacy department of your local stores. They help prevent nausea and don’t cause drowsiness.
ILLNESS: Should a serious illness or injury occur, medical service by well-trained doctors and well-equipped hospitals is available almost everywhere we go. Confirm with your insurance company exactly what overseas hospitalization and medical coverage you have. Pentecost Tours, Inc. or its overseas representatives will make phone calls, send cables and assist in every possible way in accordance with instructions; however, the tour members shall be responsible to pay all costs incurred. Keep detailed records of all costs and your receipts for insurance purposes. Should the ill person find it necessary to leave the tour and return to the U.S. independently, he or she will bear the supplemental transportation.
Film for most cameras is available overseas; however, it is expensive. We recommend you purchase an adequate supply of fresh film (or memory cards) and an extra camera battery before leaving. Test the camera/flash before leaving. Please respect any locations/sights that may request limited or no photography.
Pack clothes that are comfortable and require little or no ironing. Since days are often warm and nights are cool, we recommend light pieces to layer for warmth. Shorts, tank shirts and short skirts are not recommended because you may be denied access to many of the holy sites. We suggest that you pack one change of clothing in your carry-on bag.
Each pilgirm is permitted to bring one suitcase to be checked and one carry on bag. Porterage for all Pentecost Tours, Inc. pilgrimages is priced for one piece per person. You may have to move your own luggage during the tour, so be sure it is not too heavy!
The airline has the following checked bag size requirements: No piece may exceed 62 inches (length + width + height), nor 50 pounds in weight on transatlantic flights. Care must be taken here, however, as some flights between overseas cities allows only 44 pounds total combined weight per person. The one carry-on piece may not exceed a linear dimension of 45 inches, and must be able to fit under the seat or in the overhead compartment. A briefcase, camera bag, or large handbag may be considered a carry-on by the airlines. Be sure all bags are clearly identified with baggage tags securely attached inside and outside showing your name, address, and tour group. Your final travel documents will include luggage tags which should be attached to your bag for group identification.
ITEMS TO BE SURE TO PACK
- Your passport with applicable visas stamped inside.
- Xerox copies of your passport (picture page) to keep in your carry-on bag.
- Airline tickets and photo identification.
- Tour brochure and travel insurance brochure.
- Your own battery alarm clock. Be sure to install fresh batteries.
- Over-the-counter and prescription medications in original containers.
- Sunglasses and/or eyeglasses.
- Sweater or light jacket.
- Camera, camera batteries, and lots of film.
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Bath soap, shampoo, mouthwash, bandaids, etc.
- Washcloths (most foreign countries do not supply them).
- Liquid or powder laundry soap.
- Rain gear (poncho or umbrella).
- Pack an empty duffle bag in your suitcase. You can use it to bring home your purchases.
MISCELLANEOUS BUT IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Disembarkation Cards: Disembarkation cards will be distributed by flight attendants just before landing in each country. You may need to refer to your hotel information so keep it handy.
Non U.S. Hotels: Hotels outside the U.S. are different and may charge you for in-room coffee maker use, hotel lock boxes, attempted calls/successful connections to the U.S. We recommend public phones to make calls. Check with hotel before using these services.
Dining Customs: U.S. dining customs are different than they are abroad. Keep in mind that continental waiters are trained to take away dishes when utensils rest parallel on a plate. If you haven’t finished your food, simply cross the knife and fork on your plate as that is the best signal that you are pausing. This will assure your plate is not taken before you are through.
Tips for Men: Men should carry their billfolds or wallets in a pocket (buttoned shut). If your pockets don’t button closed then use a safety pin to pin the pocket closed. Either option will help you to avoid having your wallet stolen. NEVER give money to beggars. No exceptions! When shopping, bargain with vendors for the best price. Remember exchanges/returns are impossible.
Tips for Women: Women are advised to use a purse with a shoulder strap (carried securely under the arm). Fanny packs (pouch in front) are also recommended. NEVER give money to beggars. No exceptions! When shopping, bargain with vendors for the best price. Remember exchanges/returns are impossible.
Follow the Leader: Your Escort/Host will provide instructions (departure times, meal times, meeting times, etc.). Stay close, hear explanations, then take photographs or enjoy conversations.
Going Home Through Customs: As you near your gateway city, your flight attendant will distribute official customs declaration forms. You must declare all articles purchased abroad and in your possesion if they exceed $800 per person. Visit www.customs.ustreas.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation for amounts as it varies per country. Click on Pleasure and Vacation Travel for U.S. Residents. Click on Know Before You Go. Click on Duty-free exemptions.