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What is The Society for Biblical Studies (SBS)?

SBS is a non-profit, tax exempt (IRC 501c3) organization and a publicly supported foundation (IRC 170 b 1 A vi). It is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. SBS is an educational organization. It is ecumenical, interfaith, and dedicated to contextual, experiential study of the Bible and the mission of the Church. Our classrooms are… Continue Reading →

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Who is The Society for Biblical Studies?

SBS is a community of people working at the grass roots level to make a difference in the world. Our ecumenical Board of Directors consists of men and women, clergy and laity. Our interfaith faculty includes men and women from the United States, England, Greece, Turkey, Denmark, Israel and Palestine. Most importantly, SBS is the… Continue Reading →

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How are SBS programs different?

SBS is not a travel agency. It is an educational institution. We aim to insulate our travelers from the corrosive effects of commercial sightseeing. All travel arrangements we make serve our mission objectives. All SBS programs are custom designed in consultation with an SBS faculty member to meet a group leader’s specifications. Programs vary in… Continue Reading →

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How do I register for a program?

You may have been introduced to a particular program by a friend, your pastor or the group leader. After you have become familiar with the program syllabus, which includes dates, objectives, the daily itinerary and suggested reading, you[VS1] can fill out the registration form, available from your group leader, our web site or from our… Continue Reading →

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What is included in the price of the program?

Each program is different, so you should read the program conditions in the registration material carefully. Check with your group leader or call us if you have any questions. However, unless otherwise specified, the full price will include round trip airfare from the gateway city, i.e., the city from which you depart on your international… Continue Reading →

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What is not included in the price of the program?

Unless otherwise specified, the price will not include domestic travel to or from your gateway airport. Optional costs such as single room supplements (voluntary or forced). A forced single room supplement occurs when we cannot pair you with a traveler of the same gender. When this occurs, the forced single supplement is applied to the… Continue Reading →

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Can I book my own air travel?

If you prefer to make your own air travel arrangements, you can opt for a “ground only” package. Your ground only price would include all ground transportation from the moment you meet your group at the first hotel to the moment the group departs from the last hotel in the journey. Air arrangements and transfers… Continue Reading →

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Can I depart or return on a different date?

You can alter your own departure and return dates to accommodate personal travel interests on either end of your journey. When you register, check the option to alter your travel dates and indicate your preferred dates. You will be invoiced an administrative fee of $150. Such changes might also involve an airfare differential. Any costs… Continue Reading →

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Can I receive periodic statements from S.B.S?

Yes. You can receive monthly statements from our office but we will charge you an additional administration fee ($100) for this service, unless it is already included in the price of the program. Of course, you can call the office at any time to get an update on your account or ask any question, without… Continue Reading →

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Can I pay with a credit card?

Yes. SBS accepts Visa and Mastercard payments. However, all our posted prices reflect a 3.9% discount for payment by check. Thus, if you elect to pay with a credit card, a reversal of that discount will appear on your invoice.

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What about visas and passports?

You are responsible for having a valid US passport or, if you are not a US citizen, proper travel documents. Your passport must be valid for six months after your return to the US or country to which you are headed at the end of your program. An airline may prevent you from boarding a… Continue Reading →

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Is there much walking during a program?

All programs involve some walking. Each program is different and the amount of walking varies but, in general, ours are not athletic programs. Usually, the walking involved is not demanding. However, some programs include outdoor hikes. If yours does and you are not up to it, or for any reason you cannot be with the… Continue Reading →

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What if I have special requirements?

Persons needing wheelchairs or ambulatory assistance will find travel to archaeological sites difficult, because sites are not accessible. Please inform SBS when you register if you have any special physical requirements. Also, if you have any dietary restrictions or medical needs, please let us know when you register and inform your SBS faculty person when… Continue Reading →

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Do I need any vaccinations?

The only vaccination or inoculation that is required for travel to any country to which we travel at this time is the covid-19 vaccination. At this time, you cannot travel anywhere outside the United States without proof that you are fully vaccinated against covid-19. However, you should check frequently for updates and with your own… Continue Reading →

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What about luggage?

You are allowed one suitcase and one carry-on bag. This is because luggage space on buses is often limited. Keep your carry-on light and small. Your carry-on must fit under the seat or in the overhead compartment of the plane. Make sure your luggage is labeled with your name, address and phone number! S.B.S will… Continue Reading →

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What should I pack?

Dress for comfort, not fashion. No matter how hard you try, you won’t “blend,” so don’t worry. Comfortable walking shoes are your most important item. Next comes rain gear, depending on the time of year and the places you will be visiting. In winter, rain gear is imperative and you should plan to dress in… Continue Reading →

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What about travel insurance?

SBS strongly recommends you consider the purchase of travel insurance to cover any losses that you might incur due to insurable travel delay, cancellation, trip interruption, flight schedule changes, illness, accident, etc. You can purchase travel insurance through SBS or shop for your own. Anyone who would like SBS to purchase travel insurance for them… Continue Reading →

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What if I do not purchase travel insurance?

Travel insurance is optional and you should consider the pros and cons carefully. In doing so, you should be aware that all travel involves inconveniences. Travel insurance does not cover you for these. Travel also involves unpredictable changes in circumstances that sometimes require schedule and itinerary changes and additional costs associated with these. For example,… Continue Reading →

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Will there be time for shopping?

In our collective experience, we have yet to meet a group of travelers that does not want to shop a little. Some like to shop a lot. There are a number of ways to satisfy this interest and if it is requested, our staff can help make shopping arrangements. You can always shop on your… Continue Reading →

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What will the weather be like?

It depends on the season and the region you will be visiting. For average temperatures and weather conditions where and when you will be traveling, you can consult any weather web site. Winter weather in the Mediterranean region can be unpredictable. Our advice is: Be prepared! During the course of your journey, conditions will change… Continue Reading →

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What out of pocket expenses should I anticipate?

The program price includes most expenses associated with the program. Please see the “program conditions” of the registration form for a detailed list of which expenses are or are not included. We will review the salient details of this information upon arrival. In general, purely personal and discretionary expenses are not included. Any foreign visa… Continue Reading →

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Is the electrical current different?

The countries of Europe and the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East operate on a 220 volt electrical system. This means that electrical devices designed for use in the US will not work without the appropriate conversion devices. Trying to use electrical devices without a transformer and/or converter will result in damage to your device. Even… Continue Reading →

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Can I drink the water?

In European countries tap water is fine to drink. In the Middle East, circumstances vary. In Israel/Palestine and Jordan, tap water is fine to drink. Other places require caution. Our staff will give you specific guidelines for the countries in which you travel. However, as added “insurance” practice, many people like to purchase bottle water…. Continue Reading →

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Will there be internet access?

There will be times when you will not have internet access, but, generally, wifi is widely available, including on some buses.

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Will I be able to make phone calls?

We recommend that you download WhatsApp to your mobile device which will enable you to have wifi calls with anyone else who is also on WhatsApp. You will be able to call and be called from your hotels. We will supply you with phone numbers for your hotels prior to your departure.

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What about money?

US currency will be accepted in many places you will be traveling. US currency is accepted almost everywhere in the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and many other places. Some countries, such as European countries, require you to use local currency. Our recommendation is that you bring US cash, but rely on your debit card… Continue Reading →

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Will I be able to participate in service projects?

Quite a few of our programs include service opportunities or offer them as options. If so, there may be additional charges for transportation and materials, when the project calls for these. We recommend that you plan on donating $50 per person to the mission site where you will be working to cover these expenses. The… Continue Reading →

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What should I expect at the hotels during the journey?

Hotels vary from place to place and program to program. For guidance on the type of hotels in your journey, consult your group leader or call us. The program price is based on double occupancy hotel rooms. Single occupancy is usually available at a supplemental cost that varies depending on the country, the hotel and… Continue Reading →

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What airlines does SBS use and can I cancel my ticket?

Reservations are non-refundable once ticketed. The program price is based on travel in jet economy class aboard IATAN and ARC carriers only. Flight times are subject to change by the airlines. SBS is not responsible for such changes or delays and cannot reimburse expenses resulting from them. SBS does not recommend the purchase of budget… Continue Reading →

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What if I do not live near my gateway airport?

Some international airlines offer feeder services from US cities that connect with the international flights. These are called add-ons. Sometimes we arrange domestic air feeder service for the entire group. Sometimes it is an individual request. The additional charges vary. Group leaders are given the cost of domestic add-ons, if available. Anyone who would like… Continue Reading →

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What if I need to cancel?

SBS will make every effort to recuperate program payments in the event of cancellation. However, our ability to do so is sometimes limited. 100% of cancellation fees are covered by the optional travel insurance if the premium has been paid and the reason for cancellation is insurable. The following cancellation penalties will apply: from the… Continue Reading →

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