A tour is different than a vacation.
On a tour the focus is on experiencing the geography, culture or history of a place to expand one’s knowledge of the world.
In times past, it was considered the final step of a complete education of the well-to-do to take the Grand Tour of Europe after college and before beginning a career.
Most of our trips these days are tours. My wife and I love history and we pick places to travel to that are consistent with our interest in history and the world.
With that in mind, here’s a primer on how to pack for a study tour.
1. Journal(s). You need two: a PJ (portable journal) that will fit in your coat pocket and a larger DJ (daily journal). The PJ is for taking notes throughout the day. The DJ is for your longer end-of-day, diary entries. I’ve used Moleskine PJs in the past. These days I’m using Rhodia.
2. Pen(s). Most pens will do, though I prefer Cross because they are small and will clip into a shirt, jacket or backpack, so you always know where they are. I take two, just in case.
3. Camera. I use the camera in my iPhone 4s because I can eliminate the burden of carrying a separate camera. It does just fine. The pic in this post was taken a few minutes ago in the Newark Airport with my iPhone 4s. Everyone’s different, but capturing our tours in pics has never been as important to us as experiencing them.
4. Smart Phone (w/Wikipedia App). Access to Wikipedia is a must on a tour. It means you don’t have to rely on a tour guide for all your information, and you can drill down on your own when learning about a place or period of history associated with it.
5. Bible. A thin one is preferred, or you can rely on a Bible app. Leave the family King James at home, unless you like rotator cuff injuries. For our trip to Israel, I’m going with Logos on the iPhone to have access to language tools, commentaries etc, but I’m also taking a Bible.
6. Book(s). On a tour, there is always travel time from place to place and time to read. I try to take books that are related to the place we are touring. For our trip to Israel, I’m taking a book on Herod the Great.
7. Backpack. All of the foregoing should be able to fit easily into a backpack. You want a light one with lots of pockets because you will be carrying it everywhere and the separate pockets allow you to find what you need much easier.
If you are following me on my tour to Israel on @kingdomtweets, you will probably see most of the stuff listed above in pics I tweet during the tour; and if you continue to follow this blog throughout the tour you will hopefully see the fruits of it. GS