When To Say Tefilat HaDerech:
Say Tefilat HaDerech when leaving your “place,” which may be a city, town, village, or even your home if you live in an isolated area. You may only say Tefilat HaDerech if you will go at least 2.8 miles outside the inhabited area.
If you will certainly leave the city limits at some point in your journey, you may say Tefilat HaDerech as soon as you start your journey (when you leave your house or get in your car, etc.).
Example: You may say Tefilat HaDerech when leaving your house for a flight, but the optimal time is when the plane begins to taxi.
City limits for this purpose means the last house before a gap of 2.8 miles, measured horizontally but not vertically.
Say Tefilat HaDerech in a boat that will be going at least 2.8 miles from shore.
How Often: Once a Day/Once a Trip
When riding in a vehicle on a trip, you should say Tefilat HaDerech once each day, as long as:
You have gone–or will go–at least 2.8 miles past any populated area, and
You will be breaking your trip at night.
Note: If you will be living in an RV or other vehicle, only say it once for the entire trip.
If you take a multi-day boat trip, such as a cruise, say it only once during the journey—not each day.
Note: Any time you stay overnight (on land) along the journey, say it again when you resume your travel.
What To Say
You do not need to say other blessings before Tefilat HaDerech. Since the tefilah begins without a blessing, some people like to say an unrelated blessing before it, but the custom is
not to require saying another blessing first.
When saying Tefilat HaDerech, even if you say it for other people traveling with you, always say “titneini” (in the singular) and not “titneinu” (plural).
Note: This is different from most blessings, which are in the plural even when said by just one person for him/herself.
After saying the main blessing of Tefilat HaDerech, some people have the custom to say these phrases (pesukim) three times each:
V’ya’akov halach l’darko…
Hinei anochi sholei’ach lifanecha…
Copyright 2015 Richard B. Aiken. Halacha L’Maaseh appears courtesy of www.practicalhalacha.com Visit their web site for more information.
This material is provided for informational purposes only – not a substitute for the consultation of a competent rabbi.