Taking a Pilgrim Staff on Group Travel

When un-experienced groups go on tour they can often find it hard to stay together in a large crowd (of course, if you organise your tour with Educational Tours Abroad you will never be stranded). Sometimes people can begin to panic if they are lost in a crush. Nothing is worse than losing someone, when the tour is on a tight time schedule and transport is held up. One of the better ways to stay connected when the space gets crowded is to have a trusty pilgrims staff at the ready. These days you can buy a collapsible staff that can be stored in pieces. It can be tucked into a bag or a backpack, and only brought out when needed.

Gustave Courbet

The Meeting (“Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet”), 1854,Fabre Museum, Montpellier

You may well ask how a pilgrim staff could keep you together? Surely you are not going to buy one with a crook and shepherd the crew along with the hook? What you need to do is carry a bright scarf or bandana, and when someone gets lost text them your general direction and whereabouts. Tie or sit the bright fabric onto the pilgrim’s staff, and hoist it high up in the air above the heads of the crowd. Having been texted the general direction to look in, the lost person will know exactly which direction to head. This trick works every time, especially if the person holding the staff stays still, and allows the others to walk towards him or her.


Pilgrim staffs were invented in the olden days, and they were used to support weary travellers. They were often also used when travellers tied a bag with their belongings on to them, and slung them over their shoulder. One can also imagine that pilgrims may have used them as a weapon, when attacked on a long and lonely isolated road.

Now they have a new use – to keep your travel group connected! Especially school groups can find ways to make the pilgrim staff a souvenier of the trip. Paint it before you leave and display it when you get home.  Each student can create a pattern on the stick and sign it to say, “I was there and I survived”.

We’re here to help and we have tons of ideas. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 02 9281 2741 or complete the form below.

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