Pilgrimages are long steeped in ancient tradition. Travelling along The Way to St James in France, on the road to Mecca or towards the holy Mount Kailash in Tibet, is how millions of travellers every year choose to discover more about the world and themselves. Whether you are embarking on a pilgrimage for religious, spiritual or just experiential reasons, it’s important to make sure you are prepared and protected for your trip. We’ve put together our top tips to keep you safe on your next journey.
Be in the know
Before travelling anywhere, it is essential to do your research to find out about the place you are visiting. A pilgrimage, even if the road is well-travelled, is no exception. Pilgrimages can take you to a country or place that is very different to where you live, so understanding the laws and customs there is paramount to ensure you enjoy your journey safely. To enter the country, you may require a visa, proof of vaccinations or other travel documentation – which is always best to be prepared for. We recommend speaking to your travel consultant and asking thorough questions about what will be required for you to complete the journey before you depart.
Trust your instincts and remain alert
While the majority of people who will join you on a pilgrimage are there for the right reasons, large events of any kind can attract petty criminality—and travellers stand out as easy targets for theft or scams. To avoid any hassles, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Pack valuables securely, avoid overt displays of affluence and be smart about where you keep your important travel documents.
As part of your pilgrimage you may feel the need to disconnect from the world at times, and to truly experience a place in the moment this can be just the thing. But it’s still important to remain connected with family, friends and the wider world in case of an emergency. Make sure to keep your phone charged, find out how you can access the internet before you leave and save important numbers such as our Travel Assistance team – just in case.
A pilgrimage provides the opportunity to step out of the non-stop busyness of our lives, and seek a time of quiet and reflection. And while thousands of people may have taken a similar journey before you, it’s important to be smart about your adventure and be prepared to keep yourself happy and safe.