Religious Trip Planning Timeline: 24-12 Months Prior
Once the idea to travel has spread through the organization, someone has to take charge and make arrangements for the trip. This period of time after the decision to travel has been made will be filled with deadlines, questions and sign-up sheets.
Be prepared to answer a plethora of questions. Some of the most common ones include:
- Does the hotel we are staying at have Internet access?
- Can three people share a room?
- What about my connecting flight?
- What time is the midnight buffet?
To keep things organized, your groups should have a main contact person responsible for fielding inquiries from travelers and keep them informed. He or she will need all the necessary information on the travel logistics and should have easy access to the assigned staff member in the tour operator’s office.
The clergyman or group leader does not have to be your main contact, but should be in attendance during pre-trip meetings and share the spiritual goal of the trip. Their job is to ensure travelers receive spiritual materials for the trip like a reading list or study notes.
The 24-18 Month Window Prior to Travel
This is the time to discuss the purpose of the trip to members of your organization and the community. Address if the trip will be strictly for fellowship, or if there will be a spiritual or fundraising element to the trip.
Keep in mind that the combination of purpose in one trip can is a good way to build a more specific tour later on. Your church’s trips can all continue to be focused around a combination of purpose.
During this period, start finding out where people want to go. The best way is to take a poll of your group members and list the top places you think the group and yourself would enjoy. Let them decide among the choices, or write in their own selection. From this poll you can also create a wish list or five-year plan of travel programs with the destinations already in hand.
Contact tour operators and ask about the time frame required for the trip you want to plan. Do you homework to find the best travel partner to work with. Many providers specialize in certain areas, so look for the one that can help you the most for your dollar.
One Year Prior to Travel
This is the time to start finalizing decisions. Make the choices on what type of trip this will be, where your destination is, when it will take place and which travel provider you will be working with.
You should be finalizing the itinerary by now as well. This includes visits to church missionaries, special church visits, seeing historic sites or connecting with former members who moved to the area you’re traveling too.
Due to airline schedules and other factors, a final price may not be available until this time. But once you have a final price, you can start creating brochures to promote your trip and inform those interested in participating. When promoting, utilize newsletters, websites, postcards, local newspapers, church bulletins, email blasts, social media and anything else you can think of to get the word out to the community about your trip. Promotions will help you build a group and get committed members excited for the trip.
Now is also the time to select a travel insurance company. This cost will be included in the trip price, so make sure you get your money’s worth.
A faith-based trip takes a lot of careful planning, so to stay organized, start early while utilizing a well planned time line. These are the first steps towards making a dream trip a reality. Happy Planning!
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