Below is a helpful timeline as you prepare for travel to MAGIS and World Youth Day. Scroll down for further information about travel.
||Apply for or renew your passport, if needed. This will allow you to receive your passport in time for registration.
||Spiritual preparation (more information to come)
||Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor to get up-to-date on your vaccines and prescription medicines you may need.
||Check the packing list for items you might need to buy or borrow.
||Exchange a small amount of money into Polish currency, the Zloty. Check with your local bank. (You can also do this in the airport upon arrival).
United States citizens will need a valid passport that must remain valid through at least February 1, 2017 to travel to Poland. Your passport will also require at least two blank pages for entry stamps.
No visa is required for U.S. citizens traveling into the European Union (EU), of which Poland and the countries where some experiments will take place (Lithuania, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic) are members.
MAGIS begins in Lódz, in central Poland. Unless otherwise notified, all groups will be responsible for their own travel arrangements to Lódz for the beginning of MAGIS, as well as their return travel from Kraków to the United States after the end of World Youth Day.
From your arrival in Lódz to departure from Kraków, all other transportation will be organized by the MAGIS and World Youth Day central committees.
Currency and Money
Meals, lodging, and transportation are all included in the registration fee for MAGIS and World Youth Day, so you will only need money for personal spending/souvenirs.
Keep in mind that many pilgrims from other Jesuit institutions around the world who might be in attendance may not have the financial resources that we, as North Americans, typically have. As such, we recommend that you only bring a little money for small gifts to bring to family and friends back home, and, of course, for yourself. Remember that simplicity is a core value of this experience and is key for all MAGIS participants.
The currency in Poland is the Polish zloty (zl or PLN). Click here
for the current exchange rate.
Health during MAGIS and World Youth Day
While Poland is a largely developed nation with many of the same creature comforts that we have in the United States, there are some points you should consider during your preparations.
1. Vaccinations: The Center for Disease Control recommends that you are up-to-date on routine vaccinations. These vaccines include:
a. measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine
b. diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) vaccine
c. varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
d. polio vaccine
Additionally, if pilgrims to Poland have not already received vaccination for Hepatitis A and B, these are necessary additions.
2. Drinking water: The suitability of the drinking water will vary by location. As you will be in different locations through MAGIS (including experiment locations) and World Youth Day it will be important to pay attention to the information you receive about local drinking water.
3. Over-the-counter medication: You are advised to bring some over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medicines, as difference in water systems and diet may upset digestive systems. There may be small pharmacies in and around our various locations, but they may not carry the types of medicine that you are accustomed to, and package directions may not be printed in English. Consult the packing list to see what types of medication may be helpful to bring.
Security during MAGIS and World Youth Day
While Poland generally has a low crime rate, it is still important to be vigilant and remain aware of your surroundings when traveling in a foreign country.
General advice from the U.S. State Department:
“You should change money only at banks or legitimate exchange kiosks (Kantor). A legitimate offer to change money by an unknown person on the street is extremely rare and would almost certainly be a scam. Automated teller machines (ATMs) are widely available throughout major cities in Poland. Most Polish ATMs offer instructions in multiple languages and allow access to U.S. bank accounts.
“Please ensure the security of your passport while traveling to prevent incidents of pick-pocketing or theft. Keep a copy of your passport bio data/photo page (and any pages with valid visas) in a safe place separate from the passport itself; this can help you when applying for a new passport if yours is lost or stolen.”
July weather will generally be in the 70s and 80s, with nighttime lows sometimes dipping into the 50s. Dress accordingly.
A few MAGIS t-shirts and other branded articles of clothing will be provided for pilgrims, so leave extra room to pack them in your bags once you begin the program.
Packing for MAGIS and World Youth Day:
“Arriving at a large village situated a short distance from Montserrat, he determined to procure a garment to wear on his journey to Jerusalem. He therefore bought a piece of sackcloth, poorly woven, and filled with prickly wooden fibres. Of this he made a garment that reached to his feet. He bought, also, a pair of shoes of coarse stuff that is often used in making brooms. He provided himself also with a pilgrim’s staff and a gourd to drink from. All these he tied to his saddle.”
— Autobiography of St. Ignatius
Obviously, no one expects you to pack as lightly as St. Ignatius did, but here are a few suggestions to consider:
Important note: Many experiments, as well as the World Youth Day events, will require walking or traveling. You should be able to carry everything you bring on your back, so be sure to pack lightly. DO NOT pack more than one quarter your weight, or 35lbs max.
• Passport: make 3 copies of the picture page for your parents, chaperones, and the organizers.
• Light wind breaker jacket: Kraków can get into the 50s at night in July.
• Long sleeve shirt
• Poncho or rain jacket: lightweight and pocket size only!
• Pants: 1 pair
• Shorts: (3) — for guys, can double as swimsuit
• Bathing Suit
• Sleepwear: something like shorts and t-shirt
• T-shirts: (3)
• Socks: 3 pairs; one pair should be thin to be worn under another pair for long hikes
• Towel: quick-drying preferred
• Walking shoes/Hiking boots: Take time to break these in BEFORE you go to Poland.
• Undergarments: 3-5. You will be washing these
• Travel-size toiletries: including soap, deodorant(!), blister care
• Sleeping bag: ultra-lightweight and small, or suitable lightweight blanket or fleece for one night outside.
• Pillow: small or inflatable, or use clothing in pillowcase
• Large camping/hiking backpack: to carry everything in this list
• Sleeping bag: should be ultra-lightweight and small. Otherwise bring a suitable lightweight blanket or fleece for one night outside.
• Lightweight camping mattress: for sleeping on floors and the ground.
• Dish detergent or camper’s laundry detergent: (can find in REI or EMS stores) 3 oz. bottle for hand washing clothes in shower.
• Radio: handheld and cheap -- very important for translation of talks at World Youth Day.
• Prescription Medications: bring enough for 22 days
• Ibuprofen, or any preferred pain reliever
• Rosary: not your grandmother’s priceless pearl rosary. Something functional, cheap, and durable
• Sunscreen, sunglasses
• Water bottle
• Bug repellant
• Hat/Baseball Cap: to keep hot sun off your head and ears
• Camera: preferably not one that is valuable.
• Cell Phone: globally unlocked for a Polish SIM card or with an international plan for keeping in contact locally (finding groups, venue changes, etc.). You might check with your service provider about international coverage. More information will be provided about obtaining a SIM card from a Polish provider.
• Earplugs/eye mask: the vigil can get noisy!
• Money belt or around-the-neck-carry-case: goes under the shirt for valuables such as credit cards, passport, cash
• Travel alarm clock
• Small gifts: like pins, keychains, hats, or t-shirts to exchange with other pilgrims; [anything designating USA or hometown is best]
• Wet Ones/Wipes: for water-free bathing, one package or more. Nothing like a shower in a zip lock!
What not to bring:
• Excessive clothing
• Expensive electronic equipment
• Expensive jewelry
• Heavy or bulky sleeping bags
• Anything irreplaceable or that you might be upset to lose
Remember, while no one asks you to bring only a staff and some sack-cloth, you should still be packing lightly — one quarter of your weight or 35 pounds at most. You will be carrying this stuff around with you while walking for a substantial period of time, so the simpler the better.