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Travel with Friends tour in Holy Land

Travel that strengthens the faith, encourages the spirit

Story by
postedJanuary 30, 2024
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The place where someone is born and raised traditionally holds special meaning for that person. In the case of Louie Dajani, founder and CEO of Travel With Friends, the significance was amplified by the fact that his hometown, Jerusalem, holds special meaning not only for him, but also for millions of people of faith around the globe.

Decades ago, Dajani began turning that love for his hometown into a career, first as a tour guide and eventually as a tour operator welcoming groups to this prominent faith destination. He started the company to meet a need, according to Mia Story, executive assistant at Travel With Friends and the primary NTA contact for the company.

“He wanted to serve others and offer a platform for all-inclusive, efficient group travel that would take the pressure off clients to plan, organize, and make hard decisions related to their trips,” she says.

For over 30 years, Travel With Friends, now based in Little Rock, Arkansas, has done exactly that: working to meeting the needs of those who want to deepen their faith through travel. But as Story explains, their travelers aren’t just clients, they’re also friends.

“We have worked hard to embody our core value of being a friend and serving others in all that we do,” she says. “Like any good friend, we’re here to help! Our travelers can relax knowing that our experienced agents handle every aspect of their trip: flights, lodging, ground transportation, activities, tours, and more.”

Of course, with the company’s origin in Jerusalem, its flagship tour is focused on the Holy Land. During this tour, Story says they bring unique experiences and opportunities to their clients.

Travel with Friends tour group in the Holy Land
Travel With Friends tour group in Israel

“For years, we have helped bring scripture to life for our travelers by allowing them to walk where Jesus walked, standing where He stood, touching waters that He touched, and seeing the land where His miracles were performed,” Story says. “These experiences help the traveler gain a deeper appreciation for what they know to be true. We believe that reimagining scripture through the eyes of the culture in which it is written strengthens the faith and encourages the spirit. It contextualizes the history of faith in an unforgettable way.”

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Though the tour of the Holy Land is its most popular itinerary, Travel With Friends offers other faith-based tours, such as a “Footsteps of Paul” tour of Greece and Turkey, which focuses on Paul’s travels as he wrote much of the New Testament. The company also offers tours that feature lesser-known faith sites, such as its “Seven Churches of Revelation” tour in Turkey, which explores each church that is mentioned in the last book of the Bible; and its “England Methodist Heritage” tour, which highlights sites that are unique to the Methodist faith. The company also has new itineraries planned for 2024 and beyond, including river and sea cruises, as well as new tours of other countries throughout Europe.

Though it offers fixed-date tours to the public and works with tour operators, Travel With Friends is willing and able to customize experiences for pre-formed groups as well.

“We have the ability to plan tours that meet the needs of any congregation, student group, mission trip, book study group, or even a group of traveling friends,” says Story, adding that flexibility is key. “Our standard itineraries are built by our experts on the ground in every location we offer, which allows travelers to truly relax and enjoy their vacations. That said, we know our travelers are the experts on what sites will and won’t work for them, and we offer completely flexible itineraries to meet a group’s every need.”

Travel With Friends, also a member of Faith Travel Association, sees a promising future for the faith travel market.

“We believe the market is as resilient as the people who make it,” Story says. “There will always be a demand for people to experience the stories and sites of their religion in real life. When people are passionate about something, they want to deepen their faith and understanding of it. Just as faith has stood the test of time, so will the market for faith-based tours.”

For more information about Travel With Friends, reach out to Mia Story at 501.379.9226 or mia@travelwithfriends.com, or visit their website at www.travelwithfriends.com.

Todd Probus is NTA’s director of member solutions and education, and he oversees the Faith Travel Association (more information here: ntaonline.com/faith-travel-association).

Photos provided by Travel With Friends