Fequently Asked Questions -- FAQs

 

Please make sure your have a valid, current United States Passport. Do not wait until the last minute to apply for a passport. Click here to visit a government web site that may be helpful in this mater.

Internet service and WiFi is available in most of the places you will visit. However, the service is often unstable and irregular. There are locations -- usually associated with cafes -- that provide internet service. The pilgrimage staff will provide direction to help in this area.

What is a sample day like -- with specific times for awakening, breakfast, bus loading, sites, meals, return to hotel etc. 
USUALLY, BREAKFAST IS AT 8 DEPENDING ON THE DAY. 
PRANZO (LUNCH) IS AT 1 PM.
SIESTA FROM 2 - 4 AND
CENA DINNER IS AT 7:30 PM. 
DURING THE DAY, DEPENDING ON THE SCHEDULE, YOU MAY HAVE A CLASS, MAYBE VISIT A SHRINE, OR HAVE A PRAYER SERVICE. 
THE SCHEDULE WILL BE PROVIDED TO EACH PILGRIM BEFORE THEY LEAVE HOME..

Will the hotels we stay in have hair dryers/irons for use or do travelers need to take them? 
CASA PAPA GIOVANNI IN ASSISI HAS HAIR DRYERS IN ROOMS.  IT IS A PROBLEM WITH CONVERTERS FOR HAIR DRYERS WITH FUSES BLOWING OUT.

Will the standard "Italy" converters work for small appliances in our hotels? 

YES, BUT ONE NEEDS TO BE CAREFUL.  SOME AMERICAN CONVERTERS DO NOT WORK WELL.  CONVERTERS CHANGE FROM 220 VOLTAGE (ITALY) TO 110 VOLTAGE (USA) SO THAT AMERICAN APLLICANCES CAN WORK.  THERE ARE ADAPTERS – THESE ARE PLUGS THAT YOU PLUG YOUR TYPICAL AMERICAN PLUG -  TWO PRONGED PLUG  INTO SO THAT YOU CAN PLUG YOUR AMERICAN PLUG INTO THE ITALIAN PLUG (THICKER TWO PRONGED PLUGS) INTO THE SOCKET.  MOST ELECTRIC RAZORS ARE DUAL VOLTAGE AND YOU JUST NEED AN ADAPTER AND NOT A CONVERTER.  HAIR DRYERS ARE ANOTHER THING.  THEY COULD BE PROBLEMATIC.  YOU JUST HAVE TO BE CAREFUL.

Do you need multiple Italian converters? 
ONLY THE 220/110 CONVERTERS CAN BE USED.  MOST TRAVEL STORES HAVE THE CONVERTER (USUALLY WITH AN ADAPTER AS WELL).

Do small appliances require a converter and an adapter?
RAZORS, LATOPS, SOME RADIOS AND CLOCKS USE THE 220 VOLTAGE AND YOU JUST NEED THE ADAPTOR.  FOR OTHERS, YOU WOULD NEED BOTH A CONVERTER AND AN ADAPTOR.

Do US cell phones work in Italy? 
THERE ARE SOME US CELL PHONES THAT WORK IN ITALY BUT THE ROAMING CHARGES ARE VERY HIGH.  YOUR PHONE MAY HAVE TO BE "UNLOCKED" SO IT WILL WORK IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY. CHECK WITH YOUR PHONE SERVICE PROVIDER AT LEAST TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE PILGRIMAGE. WE TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO USE PHONE CARDS THAT CAN BE USED TO MAKE CALLS TO THE US.  ALSO, ON YOUR SCHEDULE, THERE IS A PHONE NUMBER FOR ALL THE PLACES YOU WILL BE

Are there phones in rooms? 
IN ASSISI, THERE IS A PHONE IN THE ROOM BUT WE DON'T RECOMMEND USING THEM BECAUSE OF THE EXPENSE.

What about Italian pickpockets -- how do we keep things safe -- what is suggested? 
THERE ARE PICKPOCKETS IN ANY LARGE CITY (MORE SO ROME THAN ASSISI).  BE CAREFUL, BE STREET SMART, ONLY CARRY A PHOTOCOPY OF YOUR PASSPORT AND ONLY ENOUGH MONEY YOU WILL NEED WHEN YOU ARE WALKING AROUND OR IN THE CITIES.  DON'T CARRY JEWELRY OR A LOT OF CREDIT CARDS ON YOU AS YOU WALK AROUND THE CITIES.  WHEN YOU GET TO YOUR ROOM, LOCK UP YOUR PASSPORT/AIRLINE TICKET (IF NOT ELECTRONIC), VALUABLES, IN A SUITCASE THAT CAN BE LOCKED.  THERE IS NO NEED TO TAKE ALONG EXPENSIVE JEWELRY.  THE MORE YOU TAKE WITH YOU ON THE STREETS, THE EASIER IT IS TO LOSE

What type of security are in the hotels we will be staying in at night?
OUR PLACES OF LODGING ARE VERY GOOD AND WE TRUST THE PEOPLE VERY MUCH. HOWEVER, YOU SHOULD NEVER LEAVE CASH OR RINGS OR ANYTHING VALUABLE ON THE DESK OR BED.   YOU DON'T WANT TO TEMPT ANYONE.

If someone gets sick on our trip, do you have local contacts to help with doctor, hospital or dental needs? 

YES, WE HAVE LOCAL CONTACTS FOR DOCTORS, DENTISTS AND HOSPITALS IN THE CITIES WE WILL VISIT.  PLEASE TAKE ENOUGH MEDICATION WITH YOU. ALSO, THERE IS ALWAYS A SLIGHT CHANCE THAT YOUR LUGGAGE MAY GET TEMPORARILY DELAYED, SO TAKE ENOUGH MEDICATION WITH YOU ON YOUR PERSON WHEN YOU BOARD THE PLANES.  MEDICAL CARE IN ITALY IS VERY SOPHISTICATED.

Do you recommend use of traveler's cheques, credit cards or ATMs as a Source of cash while traveling? 
ATMS ARE GOOD BUT MAKE SURE YOUR PIN WILL WORK IN FOREIGN ATM MACHINES.  TRAVELER CHECKS ARE OKAY.  WE WILL PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES TO EXCHANGE DOLLARS AND TRAVELER CHECKS INTO EUROS.  MAKE SURE TO BRING ENOUGH MONEY FOR GIFTS, ETC.  CREDIT CARDS MAY NOT ALWAYS BE ACCEPTED ESPECIALLY IN PLACES WHERE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR SMALL GIFTS OR GELATO.

If someone is unable to make it to a specific site due to back, hip/knee, or breathing issues, what will we do? 

PLEASE TALK TO THE STAFF TO INFORM THEM OF THE SITUATION.  PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED TO BE HEALTHY ENOUGH TO DO THE WALKING, STAIRS, ETC.  BUT IF THERE IS A PROBLEM, LET THE STAFF KNOW AND THEY WILL DO WHAT THEY CAN.  WE EXPECT PEOPLE TO BE HEALTHY AND ABLE TO DO PILGRIMAGE.

While we can anticipate packing for wearing "layers" in clothing, what is the coldest weather we need to anticipate -- in other words, how heavy of a coat will be needed? 
THE WEATHER CAN BE VERY COLD, PARTICULARLY IN ASSISI (WHICH IS ON THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN) WHERE NONE OF THE CHURCHES ARE HEATED. I WOULD SUGGEST LAYERS, LONG SLEEVED SHIRTS, SWEATERS AND COATS. SCARVES AND GLOVES WOULD BE NECESSARY AS WELL, THOUGH TEMPS IN THE DAYTIME CAN BE MILD. NOT A BAD IDEA TO BRING ALONG AN UMBRELLA EITHER. OUR PROGRAM SPANS THE NEW YEAR AND WE USUALLY VISIT THE PIAZZA TO BRING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH THE LOCAL ASSISIANS; IT'S USUALLY QUITE COLD AT THAT HOUR OF THE NIGHT. ROME TEMPERATURES HAVE USUALLY BEEN WARMER, SOMETIMES INTO THE 60'S. SO, THE LAYERING PRINCIPLE IS MOST USEFUL HERE.

Are there ATMs readily available in areas of Assisi and Rome that we will travel through?
YES, THERE WILL BE MANY ATMS IN ROME AND SOME IN ASSISI

Will there be beverages for sale on the bus that we use for touring?
ON THE BUS TRIP TO ROME AND ASSISI, THERE WILL BE A TIME WHEN THE BUS WILL STOP FOR A BATHROOM BREAK AND PILGRIMS WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO GET SOME WATER, ETC.  OTHERWISE, THERE ARE NO SERVICES ON THE BUSES THEMSELVES.  YOU CAN ALWAYS BUY SOME WATER AND CARRY IT AROUND WITH YOU.

Do we need to plan to tip bus drivers, tour guides, hotel staff?
NO, ALL GRATUITIES ARE TAKEN CARE OF.  YOU WILL ONLY NEED MONEY FOR MEALS THAT ARE TAKEN ON FREE TIMES, FOR BATHROOM BREAKS, FOR SOUVENIRS AND PERSONAL ITEMS.

Do we need to accumulate small change for use in "restroom entry", especially women's bathrooms? 
YES, THERE IS USUALLY A COIN CHARGE FOR BATHROOM USE.  THE STAFF WILL EXPLAIN THIS.

How much of each day will we be walking?  If we can walk 5 miles a day before we go, is that sufficient "walking training?" 
5 MILES A DAY IS MORE THAN ENOUGH.  THERE WILL BE TIMES THAT TAXIS WILL BE USED, SOME TIME TO USE THE LOCAL BUS SERVICE.  THERE ARE STEPS TO CLIMB THOUGH AND SMALL HILLS.  IT IS NOT A MARATHON BUT IT IS CERTAINLY NOT GOOD FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS A HARD TIME WALKING

What is the duty free limit for bringing souvenirs back to US.
$800

What type of shoes do you recommend for touring -- tennis shoes or . . .
SNEAKERS ARE NOT PRETTY BUT ARE PROBABLY THE MOST COMFORTABLE.  HIKING SHOES ALTHOUGH RATHER HEAVY ARE OKAY.

Do the desk personnel in both our hotels speak English? 
IN ROME, THE PEOPLE AT THE FRONT DESK SPEAK ENGLISH.  IN ASSISI, IF THERE ARE ANY QUESTIONS, JUST ASK THE STAFF

Who will people work with if they want to have an extended stay, either before or after the pilgrimage?
TALK TO SR. LINDA AT THE OFFICE IF YOU WANT TO EXTEND YOUR TRAVEL.  SHE WILL HELP YOU