Friday, June 24, 2011

Choosing the right sleeping bag

Want the perfect sleeping bag for WYD for only $12.50?

Many pilgrims will be getting their luggage bag ready for their WYD pilgrimage, but perhaps the most important bag to pack is the sleeping bag.  You don't want to participate in the overnight vigil at WYD without one.  But how do you find the right sleeping bag to take on pilgrimage?  Here are a few things to look out for:

  1. How small is it? whilst you will have to take a sleeping bag with you to Spain, you may only need it for one or two nights if you will be sleeping in a Uni residence during WYD week.  So you are looking for an option that won't take up that much room in your luggage for the rest of the trip.
  2. How cheap is it? it would be great to invest in a sleeping bag that rolls up as small as your hand but many pilgrims are on a tight budget.  Look for the smallest sleeping bag in your price range.  You might find that a children's sleeping bag is cheaper because you can pick them up in any major retailer rather than having to go to a camping store.
  3. How warm is it?  Most of the days in Spain will hit 40 degrees so getting a sleeping bag rated for -5 degrees is overkill.  Look for a bag that goes down to 10 or 15 degrees which will save on insulation which will save you size and money.  Don't forget the overnight sleep out will get cooler but it is no Mount Everest.
And the winner is  ..... the Compass 101 made by Wild Country
This is not an endorsed sponsorship, just a recommendation from a fellow pilgrim.
I picked up a Compass 101 from Rays Outdoors for only $12.50 here are the details
  • 180cm x 75cm
  • Rated to 10 degrees
  • Polyester shell and poly cotton lining for added comfort
  • 100gsm fill weight.
As you can see from the photo at the top of the post it doesn't take up that much room in a bag and at $12.50 it definitely fits into the budget.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Who you goin' call?"

It seems that everyone carries a mobile phone with them when they go about their daily life.  Yet most of us would realise that whilst we are on a World Youth Day pilgrimage, it is not our "normal" routine.  So do you need a mobile phone on pilgrimage?  It used to be one of the joys of overseas travel that you would detach from your life back home, be out of contact for a few weeks.  The old travel saying used to be "no news is good news".  Now people get worried if they don't hear from you every few days so what should you do.  The answer lies in the question:
"who are you goin' call?"

  1. In case of emergencies - if you are going to take a phone only in case of an emergency, then a simple phone is all you need if you even need one.  If it is only for emergency then you can almost do without a phone because you use the phone of your group leader. If you want the security of your own phone you can buy a simple unlocked phone in Australia and buy a SIM from a shop in Spain.  
  2. Keeping in contact with the group - if you are taking a phone to keep in contact with your pilgrimage group and you need to call a lot, then you should think about the SIM with the lowest call costs.  You might also need a reliable system that you know works.  Travelsim is one provider that has a lower call cost that International roaming and you can set it up before you go.
  3. Calling home - if you want to keep in contact with home a mobile phone may not be the best option.  A phone home card can be linked to your home phone account and gives you calls from any public phone in Spain.  Skype is another cheap way to keep in contact with people back home.  Facebook is another cheap way to stay in contact with people back home but read this previous post to find out more.  Just stick clear of hotel phones as these can be very expensive.
  4. Don't want to call anyone - Mary Mackillop travelled to Europe without a mobile phone; so can you.  Whilst it sounds funny to phrase it like this, if you don't want to call anyone you don't need a mobile phone.  We can solve problems without having a phone so if you want teh freedom of being "offline" then don't bring a phone.  If you do take this option inform people that you are not contactable so they don't get worried.
Whilst we have become very reliant on phones back home, try going without your phone for the pilgrimage.  There is a freedom on pilgrimage when you focus on the group, not the incoming call.

If you do think you need a phone try Travel Sim combined with an unlocked phone, both of which you can get from any post office.

Last bit of advice - don't use your iPhone or smartphone.  The debt from the data charges will take months to pay off when you get back home.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gifts from Harvest Pilgrimages

Each pilgrim will receive a travel wallet from Harvest Pilgrimages.  This is a great way to keep all your travel documents organised.  The wallet has a space for your passport, your etickets and your boarding pass.  It has a pen holder which is great for filling out forms whilst travelling, you need to provide your own pen.  The entire wallet is closed with a zipper so that you won't loose any documents if you drop the wallet.
Each pilgrim will receive their etickets and a Pilgrim Itinerary.  These documents will go into your travel wallet.  The etickets will outline your flights for the entire pilgrimage, you will need these to receive your boarding pass at the airport.  Your itinerary will outline the daily activities as well as listing the accommodation each night.
Each Pilgrim will receive two bag tags, one for your suitcase and one for your day pack.  As you will see from the image the tag will stand out on the luggage carousel at any airport.  It will also help you identify other pilgrims by the tag on their day pack.
Each pilgrimage group will receive a Harvest WYD tours flag.  This will enable you to find your pilgrimage group in the busy streets of the cities we will visit.  Each pilgrimage group will encounter other tours and groups of pilgrims, so it is helpful to follow the flag through the crowd rather that trying to hold hands with every pilgrim.

These are great gifts from Harvest that will help you have a better pilgrimage experience.