Orange candle for Sukkot

How to Observe Sukkot While Traveling 

It can be very hard to have all of your family member’s schedules aligned enough to take a family trip. There is always something going on.  But, when there is a holiday, and your family needs to take work off anyway, you have the perfect opportunity to get away together!  As long as you understand the rules of your destination and how to maneuver things in order to protect the rules of the Holiday, you are in the clear!

Finding an Eruv

To begin, you have to find out if there is an “eruv” in the new land you that will be traveling to if you travel over a Shabbat.  An Eruv is somewhat of a loophole. On Shabbat, you are not allowed to carry anything in public, so by creating some sort of “wall” (in most cases, an Eruv is made from a cable/rope), the public property can technically turn into private property. If your hotel is not fully closed and has walls open to show off their beautiful view, then the second you leave your hotel room, you no longer are within an Eruv. You need to find out if the town has an Eruv, that way you can go picnic on the beach!

Pre-Arrange Your Access

Another issue that now pops up in newer hotels is the use of electronic keys to access your hotel room and common spaces in the hotel.  If you wanted to leave your room for a stroll on the sand, how do you get back into your room?  One solution can be to pre-arrange with the hotel’s management a set time at which they can help you enter your hotel room or other areas of need within the property.  However, this can become quite restrictive and cut off flexibility when making your plans while on vacation. Another solution is to slyly ask the concierge to help you enter the room since you are celebrating the Sabbath. Usually, they will understand what you are saying. However, you must be careful not to ask a Jewish employee because it is not permissible to have a fellow Jew break Shabbat for you.  Sometimes, issues with elevators are resolved when the hotel has a “Shabbat Elevator.”  These are elevated pre-programmed to stop at every floor without the need to touch any buttons. The same goes for continuously moving escalators (as long as you, personally, did not turn them on).

Electronic Candles

To bring in the Holiday or Shabbat, ladies of the family will light candles. Yet, hotels will usually not allow open fire in their rooms.  This can be very hazardous to you and other guests in the hotel.  Because of this issue, Rabbis have allowed the use of electronic lights as a replacement while on the trip. Some electronic Shabbat lights are even programmed to flicker like it is a real flame, so the meaning of lighting can still be felt.

Finding Kosher Food

If kosher food and wine are hard to come by, then you can make Kiddush on any juice or alcohol. You might also consider looking for a nearby Chabad.  Always welcoming Chabad synagogues are often found in distant locations, and they love to help visitors with meals!  If that is not an option, you can bring your own food or find what you can in the grocery store. Preparing food for Shabbat cannot be done during Shabbat, so remember to cook and warm your food beforehand.


If you have to catch a plane immediately following the Holiday or on Saturday night, you may run into an issue with checking out of your hotel room.  Usually, check-out times are at noon or 1 pm on the day of your departure.  Shabbat, however, never ends that early. So, plan to spend Saturday night at the hotel, and if that’s not an option, make sure you’ve pre-arranged an automatic check-out and have scouted out a place to store your bags after Shabbat is over.


Traveling over a Shabbat and Holidays is possible.  You just need to know the rules and do a little preparation! Contact us at Leisure Time Tours today to learn more about our Portofino, Italy hotel and program for Sukkot.


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