WHEN AND WHERE DOES THE PILGRIMAGE BEGIN AND END?
All PilgrimQuests pilgrimages begin and end at a hotel convenient to the sacred sites we will visit. You are responsible for your transportation to the departure point. Of course, your pilgrimage actually begins once you start thinking about your goals for the pilgrimage, looking at resources, and making your travel plans. Your pilgrimage is begun in a very physical way when you leave your home and close the door behind you.
WHEN SHOULD I BOOK MY PLANE TICKET?
You can book your plane ticket as soon as you are confident about your departure and return dates. In the case of international travel, many will prefer to arrive a day or two early to cope with jet lag and do some touring before or after the pilgrimage. Airline ticket prices are fluid responding daily to supply and demand. For the last two years the New York Times Travel section has recommended purchasing overseas tickets about six months in advance. Domestic ticket prices are more variable, but you will generally get the lowest prices prior to 90 days before departure. NOTE: In the world of COVID-19 airlines are eager for business and offering to sell tickets with no penalty for cancellation -- just straight credit for future travel. Pricing that covers cover social distancing will rise.
HOW SHOULD I BOOK MY PLANE TICKET?
Use whatever vendor you prefer: a search engine such as Orbitz or Travelocity, a specific airline website such as United or British Airways, or a travel agent. PilgrimQuests is not a travel agency and cannot book flights for you, but we can answer questions about your travel plans.
PILGRIMQUESTS REQUIRES THAT I HAVE TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL. WHY IS THIS?
Travel insurance is always a good idea especially with international travel, PilgrimQuest's insurance carrier requires that you have travel insurance that includes emergency medical evacuation back home if needed. Most plans do include this though there is wide variation in the amount of coverage. Here are two websites that can help you select the right travel insurance for your needs.
WHEN SHOULD I PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE?
Purchase travel insurance after you have made your arrangements for travel from your home to your destination and back. We suggest you do this at least 3 months before departure if at all possible. AAA, AIG, Travelex and other insurers have a range of offerings that pilgrims have used. Some of you may already have medical insurance coverage that includes medical evacuation. After you have made this purchase or affirmed coverage, please send us either the declarations page of the policy (usually the firsts page or two) if it is emailed to you, or scan and print the declarations page (policy name, number, phone contact) and send it electronically or by mail.
SHOULD I PURCHASE CANCELLATION INSURANCE?
Cancellation insurance is an option in many travel insurance packages, and will cover your PilgrimQuests costs in case of various unforeseen events (that vary by the package.) If you cancel your travel with PilgrimQuests for any reason, there are no refunds unless your space is resold (minus a $250 service fee). It is worth noting that about 10% of all of our pilgrims who have paid at least 50% of the PilgrimQuests cost, end up cancelling, always for a medical issue, either theirs or a spouse's. None of them had purchased cancellation insurance. All but one received a refund as the space was successfully resold.
IN THE COVID-19 WORLD there is an increased interest in cancellation insurance. No policy specifically covers cancellation due to a pandemic. There is, however, "cancellation for any reason." This coverage can be added on to some policies and will be an additional 25-50%. You can invoke this cancellation at any time and receive an industry standard 75% return on your costs. Shop around and read the fine print carefully. PilgrimQuests is investigating obtaining this kind of coverage for our pilgrimage groups.
WHAT ARE "INTEREST GROUPS"?
Some of our pilgrimages (Iona, for example) have interest groups. Those who wish to do so, may use an hour or so of free time each day to gather in interest groups. Here are some opportunities that may be available:
1. Music - vocal, instrumental; no performance experience necessary
2. Art - drawing, painting
4. Writing - fiction, non-fiction, memoir, poetry
5. Dream Groups - The Haden Institute has established an excellent procedure for exploring your dreams.
6. Perhaps you are more of a reader, listener, or viewer and would like to visit one or more groups.
7. One may also choose to go for a walk, chat with others about one's experience, meditate, or take a nap.
Please send an email to email@example.com and let us know of your preferences, if any. These choices are not binding. You can do as you wish on any given day.
HOW MUCH PARTICIPATION IS REQUIRED AT THE VARIOUS EVENTS ON A PILGRIMAGE?
We will say this repeatedly: there are no requirements for attendance except initial orientation meetings. Then you are on your own to make your own pilgrimage.