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Managing your faith-based group: Calm travel fears by emphasizing safety

Everyone remembers the travel uncertainties after 9/11. Travel fears still exist in with many when traveling internationally, especially to places that seem exotic or have appeared negatively on the news.

However, before you write off a trip to Jerusalem or some other overseas local with your faith-based travel group, do some research and discover how safe the area is for traveling groups. Often it is ignorance that keeps people from traveling to some locations, instead of a true safety hazard.

So how do you convince travelers to try more exotic locations if they have security fears?

Set the example
The best way to convince your religious travelers to head overseas is to speak confidently about the trip’s safety. If you assure them security won’t be an issue, it will make them feel more comfortable. Your confidence can be contagious among possibly nervous travelers.

The only way you can successfully assure your travelers of their safety is to honestly believe it yourself. So step one is to research the potential place to learn how safe the trip is for groups.

Talk with trusted tour operators, local tourism staff members or even visit the country before your group so you can give a firsthand account of its safety. Do your homework so you can ensure your group’s safety before trying to recruit people to go.

An encouraging attitude from the church officials you work with will also help your case. Educate other members of the church staff on the safety of the trip, because their support can be paramount. They can also act as promoters of your trip alongside you.

Always choose insurance
If you’ve been in the travel industry for very long, you know that no matter where you take a group, something can go wrong. For peace of mind for when something bad happens overseas, it is important to encourage all of your group members to purchase good insurance.

Tour operators and independent insurance companies can have great insurance programs. Research to find out how much is covered, so there are no surprises.

Find a program that allows your group members to cancel for any reason before the trip. That way they can feel confident when they purchase the ticket that they are financially secure.

Insurance can also alleviate other travel fears, since if a situation arises that a group member needs to return home, or gets ill, insurance programs can help orchestrate the flight home or the trip to the hospital.

Always encourage your religious travelers to purchase insurance even if they are hesitant to do so. It is especially important on international trips, since you never know if something like an erupting Icelandic volcano may disrupt your flight schedule or a sudden sickness may warrant medical attention.

Benefits outweigh costs

Remind your potential travelers of the benefits of traveling to experience different cultures. There may be a little more inconvenience associated with international travel, but the memories you make are irreplaceable.

Imagine the emotional joy of visiting a religious site like the Biblical Jerusalem. Yes, there might be some risk involved in any travel adventure, but with the proper research and safety precautions, it can truly be an once-in-a-lifetime experience.