The church has a rich tradition of her people making sacred journeys and as a spiritual leader you know that the benefits of a pilgrimage include reaffirming faith, inspiring devotions and fostering a sense of community among parishioners. What you may not know, however, is how easy it is to lead a pilgrimage when you go with Unitours, the world leader in Catholic pilgrimages. Unitours’ 50 years of expertise assures you of a smooth trip from your first contact to the day your group returns.
Unitours provides you with an all-inclusive journey, which your parishioners will never forget.
“I have priest friends that ask me about you’ve been on pilgrimage, and I said “yes” and they said well we’d liked to go and several of my priest friends have gone, and I said “well, give Unitours a call and they’ll set it up for you and what you want and what you want to do and Unitours was very accommodating to them and they’ve had tremendously successful pilgrimages.”
The church has a rich tradition of her people making sacred journeys and as a spiritual leader you know that the benefits of a pilgrimage include reaffirming faith, inspiring devotions and fostering a sense of community among parishioners. What you may not know, however, is how easy it is to lead a pilgrimage when you go with Unitours, the world leader in Christian travel. Unitours 50 years of expertise assures you of a smooth trip from your first contact to the day your group returns.
“If you wanted to promote a pilgrimage, to go head contact Unitours and they’ll walk you through the steps. They have already things that they can insert your photographs into their flyers, give the details, change the details, the destination and they really make it easy to advertise and to get the word out.”
We make all the arrangements, round trip air arranged from your home city, we choose centrally located quality hotels that will fit in your budget. Unitours provides fully escorted travel in deluxe air conditioned motor coaches for one low price, Unitours provides you with an all inclusive journey, which your parishioners will never forget.
“When people come back and they begin to integrate the pilgrimage experience into their lives, their lives change, as any tremendously deep experience would, so I think that there’s an enthusiasm there, that you integrate into yourself and it just comes out in a natural sort of way, so I don’t do this like as a job, it really is a spiritual journey.”
For 50 years Unitours has arranged Pilgrimages that fit a group’s spiritual and temporal need, as well as their budget. We offer the destinations and tours you want, including the holy land, Jordan, Egypt, Italy, France, Germany and many more.
“Unitours gives us the opportunity to pick and choose the sites that we want to go to. And there’s one of the things that I tell the pilgrims I said “just participate, don’t anticipate, don’t worry about where we’re going and this we’ve already figured it out and if we stand with the group, the group is all going together, so you don’t have to worry about, what’s the next thing ? What’s the next thing?”
To learn more about any of our programs or to get a quick proposal for our custom design pilgrimage call us at 1-800-777-7432 or visit us at Unitours.com.
“Hi I am Bob Faucett, vice president of Unitours. We are so delighted that you are considering joining us and one of our Catholic Pilgrimages to Europe and the Middle East. Back in 1977, when I made my own first pilgrimage, I had a myriad of questions about the company, about what to expect, those types of things. We’ve made this video in the hopes that we can answer some of the same questions that you might have about Europe. First let me tell you a little bit about Unitours. We’re established in 1957, we are specialist in international group travel. We are not conventional travel agent; all we do is specialize groups overseas and our bread and butter what we do most is Catholic Pilgrimages. We are members of ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents), we are members of the local Better Business Bureau in Westchester County in New York, where head quarters is located. We are founding members of United States Tour Operators Association and we are still affiliate members today. The focus on Unitours type of services, we provide a high quality tour, we don’t like the idea of bargain basement kinds of tour, it’s just not the type of thing we do, our word & our reputation have made us so well known in the business, our attention to detail, we like to cross every T and dot every I, we have a great system put together to make sure that we communicate with everybody involved in the pilgrimage and we do that extremely well. We would like to run balanced itineraries, meaning itineraries that have a balance of the spiritual as well as the secular sites. When you are in a city like Paris or Rome, surely we want to see the spiritual site associated, but you also want to see the secular sites the Eiffel tower or the Coliseum or places like that as well, so we may try to have balance itineraries, we just try to have fun on pilgrimages as well, we think that the pilgrimages can be run on a balance basis. We have professional knowledgeable tour managers. These are people who escort your group, they meet you at the airport, they travel with you every day, they sleep in the same hotel as you at night, they take care of your group and they take you back to the airport at the end, these are people I can almost guarantee that you going to fall in love with after your 10 days or 15 days with them, they are wonderful, wonderful people that have worked with us for years."
We have a professional knowledgeable staff at our headquarters in Port Chester, New York, people who attend to the invoicing and to itineraries and can answer any questions that you might have as well. Why do people go on pilgrimages? Ton of reasons that people go on various pilgrimages, but I think that main thing that people go on is to build their own faith, it’s a faith journey and they want to make a pilgrimage to build it on their own faith, they might go on a pilgrimage to study scriptures, certainly if you are going to the holy land, it is the best place in the world to study scriptures, because the scriptures just come live over there, but you might want to study some church history, some of the background of saints that have gone before us and who are important in our faith journey as well, so that’s another reason that we go on. Some people go on pilgrimages for healing, it might be a spiritual healing, it might be a physical healing, one of the beauties of being in the business that we are in is that we have seen many, many healing take place at various sites that we take pilgrimage throughout the year. A Lot of our organizers are priest who run pilgrimages, they go with the idea of helping to build community. It is one of the things I love to say, love to see is that when a pilgrimage takes place, church happens. You experience a faith experience that you share with other people who are travelling with you and it’s just organic, it just happens.
You make new friends, you might also go to safely see the world with people that you know, you love, you respect and you feel safe travelling with. What do you expect on a Unitours pilgrimage? On a Unitours pilgrimage you can expect that you are going to travel in schedule air, you’re not going to be on charter flights or any that kind of thing, we use carriers that know us, that we know as well. You’re going to have quality centrally located hotels, these are places that will meet American standards, places that we know, that we have travel to, that we have sent other pilgrims to and that we are comfortable sending American travelers to them as well. You are going to have that tour manager as I mentioned before who is going to live with your group and escort your group be on the bus every single day with you, you’re going to have modern air conditioned motor coaches that will be available everyday that you’ll travel on. You’re going to have local guides in some cities and countries, especially in Europe, we engage local guides who come on, who are experts in their particular cities, this is certainly true in some of the larger cities. These local guides also know us and we know them and they travel with Unitours Catholic
Pilgrimages group as well, these are people who are also available, they are included as well. You are going to have a buffet breakfast at your hotel every day; usually you’re going to have a hot component with it as well. Mostly your dinners are going to be included that are dinner at your hotels. Look at your brochure it makes it crystal clear, whether your meals each day are included or whether they are on your own, we like to have this clear, but mostly of your dinners are going to be included at your hotel in the evening. Most of our groups have mass scheduled each day and we schedule a private mass so that the priest who is the spiritual leader of your group will be the celebrant to share that mass with you and your fellow pilgrims and we make all those arrangement to make sure that you’re there as well. What are the cost elements that go into the pilgrimage, how does it work? One thing, the price of your tour is going to include your air fare, usually from your home city you need to look at the brochure to see exactly where that tour originates, the air is included, the hotels are included, as I mentioned before, your meals that are specified on the brochure, they are included as well, the motor coach, the entrance fees that to get in, we don’t have you having to pay to get in to the various sites, that all will be taken care for you and usually you get on a faster basis, because we have a group reservation in many of the places. One of the elements that may or may not be included in the price of your tour is the ever changing air taxes and fuel surcharges that airlines are imposing today, on some tours our host would have us include them in the price, other ones they exclude them and they would be added to your final bill, the brochure would make it crystal clear whether that’s included in your price or not. It is also a moving target according to the price of oil and whether the fuel surcharges goes up and down, that’s a moving target. What is not included as well is usually tips to the tour managers, the guides, the step on guides, the drivers, the bus driver, your dining room staff, those are not included, but typically we are going to invoice those for you and we will give those funds to your tour leaders who will disperse them as you travel, so that you not having to pass the hat and dig into your pocket every time somebody steps onto your bus or not. The one thing that is optional is your travel insurance, it’s up to you whether you buy that or not, we will add it to the invoice, of your final invoice, but it’s up to you, you can either accept it and pay that invoice or you can just cross it off, the invoice and pay the lesser amount, it’s totally up to you and its optional.
People also often ask about the physical elements of the pilgrimages. Probably the most common questions we get is, how much walking is involved. The answer is, yes there is walking, we are delighted that some of the shrines are at places where we can drive the motor coach up to the front door, you get off the coach and your are instantly into the shrine and that’s a nice experience. But that’s not always the case, sometimes the shrine is a bit of aways from where we are allowed to park, this is happening in some of the European cities, where they are trying to eliminate some of the congestion around some of the sites, I’m thinking particularly of St. Peters, now we can take you to St. Peters, but we have to drop you off about 3 quarters of a mile at a bus parking lot in order for you to hike the rest of the way to St. Peters. Now if you have a walking problem, your tour manager might suggest to you, listen why not a couple of you share a cab, go down to St. Peters and then meet us when we arrive, it’s up to you, but we will try to work with you. There may be some sites that you don’t see that are simply too strenuous, but our tour manager will try to know your abilities and might make a recommendations to you, so we’re sensitive to it, but you should be mindful that if you have a disability, it could be an issue. One of the things is that we get questions is about wheel chairs, wheel chaired bound people are more than welcome on our trip. We have two rules for it, one is that you bring your own foldable wheel chair, bring it on the trip, because it is difficult to rent them, if you are going to from country to country, it is difficult to rent them period. So bring your own wheel chair and other thing we insist on is that you bring a companion who is going to be responsible for your care while you travel, that person needs to be someone who is going to push your wheel chair when you are touring and also who is going to take your wheel chair and put it underneath the coach and take it out from underneath the coach. It’s simply in the matter that the tour manager and the driver might be looking after up to50 other people; they don’t have the ability to give you the attention that you’re going to need. So those who are wheelchair bound you do need to bring a companion who is going to take care of you. We hope that this information has been helpful to you. We hope it answers many of your questions, we’re sure you don’t. If there are other questions you might have, you are invited to ask your host, if you are looking at a particular pilgrimage ask your tour host, whoever is running that tour, if there’s a travel agent involved ask the travel agent, we try to answer as many questions as we can. You need to call our offices at Port Chester, New York at the number on the screen right now. You are welcome to do that, our staff would be happy to answer your other questions. If you are looking for a pilgrimage and you are not sure about which pilgrimage you’re going to go on, you can go to the website of Unitours which you get it on the screen over here, go there and go to the section for individual travelers and then click on search and you’ll be able to see the pilgrimages that we have, that are upcoming, that have invited other people to join and you might be able to join that pilgrimage as well. We thank you for watching, we hope this was helpful to you and we hope that whenever you make your next pilgrimage that will be the tremendous experience for you and be a life changing one for you as well.
Thank you for watching.