Flights:

We are an International full-service travel agency. After we get your flights all ready for you, please allow us to help you with any special seats or special meal requests. We can request gluten free meals, vegetarian, dairy free, and more. We also make every effort to help our customers with their seat requests. If you have dietary restrictions, please also make sure to bring some snack items for your flights as well as something to read during your flights. An inflatable footrest can be purchased for as little as $30 online, and can be very valuable for a restful flight.

Passports and Visas:

Please don’t forget your passport, and you will need to ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months following the date you are scheduled to depart to come back home from Israel. If your passport is not good 6 months post the end date of your travel, you will be denied boarding and will not be allowed to fly.

Vaccinations:

At the present time, there are no required vaccinations for tourists entering the country. Please always refer to CDC.gov for up to date vaccination information.

Travel Insurance:

We offer a great travel insurance policy for as little as $40. Please ask your tour consultant to help you set this up if you are interested in obtaining travel insurance.

Water:

Bottled water is available for purchase throughout Israel and the tour buses will also have bottled water for purchase during your tour as well. Staying hydrated is very important. If you’re concerned about the water and would like one of our special filtration water bottles that allows you to drink water from practically any source, see the link below…

See Our Survival Fount Water Bottle

Food:

The food in Israel is amazing! You will be served plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Most hotels will serve Kosher foods. This just means that food conforms to Jewish dietary laws, so meat and dairy products are not served during the same meal. In the morning it is customary to have a dairy-based breakfast and in the evenings they serve a meat-based meal with no dairy products to remain Kosher. People who have dietary restrictions will have plenty of choices like gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, etc. Anytime you travel internationally, your body can adjust to certain foods and drinks, and you can feel queasy. We recommend bringing some activated charcoal, which can help if you eat something that makes you feel sick.

Tipping Etiquette:

Everyone is required to bring additional money for customary tips. Tipping tour services and meals is mandatory and customary throughout Israel. We ask our teams to bring $150 USD with them upon arrival, and this is used for tips so that you don’t need to worry about tipping everywhere. Our tour guides will handle this for you. However, if you would like a guide of tipping for your own personal information or needs outside of the tour itself, here is a good guide.

Tipping Guide:

  • Bell boys: $1 per person for handling luggage
  • Dining halls in hotels: $2 per person per day
  • Tour guide: $7 per person per day
  • Bus driver: $5 per person per day
  • At restaurants: 10 – 15%

Packing Preparations:

Casual clothing will be appropriate for most of our tour, with the exception of one nicer outfit for special events on Shabbat. Men and women should pack one nicer outfit for this day, and all other outfits can be more casual and simple.

For men, a mixture of casual pants and shirts is great, and one Shabbat outfit. If one is wearing shorts or a tank top, some of the tour sites can deny entry. Make sure to bring good walking shoes.

For women, a mixture of slacks and casual skirts will do well. Covering the shoulders and knees is mandatory on our tours for some of the Holy sites. You will not be allowed to enter if you do not have knees and shoulders covered. Make sure to bring one outfit for Shabbat, and good walking shoes.

We recommend checking the weather in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Tiberias a few days prior to coming, to help you know how to pack. Temperature has a huge impact on what to pack in terms of clothing. From Nov – April you can expect rain and cooler weather (as in 10 – 25 C/50 – 80 F). If you come during the rainy season, make sure you bring some warmer clothes like a warm jacket and an umbrella. Also a waterproof jacket would be really good to have on hand. If you come between May and Oct you can expect the temperatures to be higher (from 25 – 40 C/80 – 100 C). If you are coming between May and October, please remember your hats and natural sunscreen.

The places where modest clothing is required include the Western Wall and some of Christian sites such as Capernaum and Garden of Gethsemane. It’s always good to carry around a shawl with you if your shoulders are not covered. If one is wearing shorts or a tank top, some of these places will deny entry.

Don’t forget your modest bathing suit with coverage, for a float in the Dead Sea. The salts can wear out the elasticity of your swimming gear, so make sure to bring an old swimsuit covered with a darker type of outer garment (not white) for modesty while swimming. Water shoes are also very good to have because the rocks can be very slippery. You will have more fun if you have water shoes. Don’t get the salt water in your eyes. We learned this from a bad experience of eyes burning for a while after. Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen can be purchased at the site. Also some modest swimming gear can also be purchased at the site, but is costly.

Everyone must have a pair of good, comfortable walking shoes or sandals.

A money belt to be worn under clothing out of sight, is a great idea. There are episodes of pick pocketing near the Mount of Olives and Old City markets in Jerusalem, so having your valuables in a money belt, is a very good idea for tourists. Also keep your passport with your valuables as well, to minimize the risk of theft.

Security at the Airport:

Please note that security is very high at airports. Forbidden items in carry-on luggage or purses include: all liquids (except, you are allowed containers of liquid that are 100 ml (3floz) max.), beverages, gels, creams, lotions, hand sanitizers, etc. in large amounts. All sharp items are forbidden including: nail clippers, pocket knives, scissors, etc. You will be given a small piece of paper from immigration and border security, called an A-17. This piece of paper will act as your visa, and will be required for you to present this at many places while on your visit to Israel. Please do not throw this paper away. It is small and can get lost, so keeping it inside of your passport in a safe area, will be mandatory throughout your time in Israel. You will be asked for this also when you arrive at the airport before leaving Israel as well. Please visit TSA.gov for a list of items that are prohibited in your carry on and checked baggage.

Bank, Currency and Credit Cards:

Israel has a sophisticated banking system. The currency is the SHEKEL. The U.S. dollar and major credit cards (American Express, Diners Club, Visa and MasterCard/Access/Eurocard) are widely accepted throughout Israel. You will have the opportunity to change dollars into shekels at the airport upon arrival. ATM Machines are available as well, throughout Israel, and are simple and user friendly. Check http://www.xe.com for up to date currency exchange rates. You can also download the XE Currency Conversion app on Iphone and Android devices: https://www.xe.com/apps/

Before you leave to come to Israel, please make sure to contact your bank and let them know that you are traveling overseas, and they will be able to help you unlock your credit card to enable use of your debit and credit cards while in Israel. Please remember that fees can apply to international transactions.

Electricity Conversion:

Israel operates on 220 volts, 50 cycles. Make sure that your electric shavers and hair dryers have 220-volt adapters. Luxury hotels have a 110-volt outlet for shavers, etc. in the bathroom.

If you will be using a curling iron, hair blower, iron, shaver, etc. that doesn’t have ‘dual voltage’ on it, you will need a voltage converter as Israeli sockets run on 220 Volts (United States runs on 120). Some appliances have a little screw on them that allows you to switch from 120 to 220. If you will be bringing anything that needs to be plugged in, you must have an adapter in order to use it. These adapters can be purchased online or at Walmart. This is the adapter for the Middle East and is not to be confused with a similar looking adapter for Europe. There will be hair dryers in the rooms. But we always suggest bringing your own just to be safe.

This is a LINK for a good power converter that can be used within Israel. A separate “H” adapter can be purchased for some hotels, but most of them will be using a “C” adapter, which is included. This is one of many available online. You can search to find the best one for your needs.

Cell Phones:

Make sure to call your cell carrier to purchase international coverage before leaving for the tour. ATT has a great package that you pay only a small fee per day to bring your phone to Israel. Verizon also has international coverage plans that will work in Israel. You would just need to set these up in advance before you depart. Also, our bus driver and the tour guides will be carrying a cell phone with them. You can rent a cell phone when you arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport and return it upon departure (advance reservations aren’t necessary). A sim card is approximately 100 shekels. Wifi is usually pretty accessible.

Calling in Israel:

To place a call to Israel from North America, dial 011-972 and then the number in Israel. You can purchase an international calling card in Israel, as it is very expensive to call home from the hotels in Israel. To call out of Israel you will need to dial 014 or 016, unless your phone is all set up to call as normal. We have ATT coverage, and our phones are able to be used as normal to call within Israel to a US number. Sometimes 800 numbers won’t work, and it is recommended to have skype and try to call 800 numbers while connected to the internet. We learned this while trying to call the airline from our cell phone while in Israel. The call didn’t work as the normal calls we were making.

Internet:

You can access the Internet from most hotel Business Centres, or with your own laptop from the comfort of your hotel room. Wireless access is available in Israel. You’ll also find Internet Cafes and public Internet outlets all over Israel. Most hotels offer free wi-fi, and our larger tour busses are also offering wi-fi as well as USB ports for charging your electronic devices.

Language:

Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages of Israel. Rosen School of Hebrew is a great resource, and you can purchase Hebrew classes to be able to better speak the language when you come to Israel. Their website is: https://rosenhebrewschool.com/, and they are accredited and have great customer service. English is the most common second language and appears on road signs.

Time Zone:

There is a seven hours time difference between Israel and Eastern Standard Time. If it is midnight in New York City, it is 7am in Jerusalem. If it is midnight in Los Angeles, it is 10am in Jerusalem. It is recommended to try to get as much rest as possible before arriving, and stay awake until bedtime on your first day after landing. It will be difficult to stay awake that first day, but you will be much better acclimated to the new time zone if you can try to manage keeping awake until bedtime on that first day.

Shopping:

There will be plenty of opportunities throughout the tour to do shopping. Our tour guides will direct you to the best deals and the best times to shop. Many of the shopping items are seen multiple times along the trip, so there will be designated times to stop and shop at the best places for shopping. Please do not use a credit card in the old city of Jerusalem. It is best to try to exchange your money into shekels to avoid international fees on your credit card as much as possible.
Value Added Tax (VAT):

There is 17% value added tax on most goods and services in Israel. At retail stores, this tax is already included in the price. When making a purchase of $50.00 or more at a gift store that has an agreement with the VAT authorities, you may be given a form to fill out, and have it stamped. This is a good idea to fill these forms out and keep them. Upon your departure at the airport, you will be eligible, upon presenting the form, for a 17% refund prior to leaving the country. Tourist services, such as hotel accommodations and meals taken in hotels and paid with foreign currency are exempt from VAT tax. Please keep in mind that you will be asked by the VAT authorities at the airport, to show the items you purchased. Try to pack the bags of your gift items where you will easily be able to take them out and show them to the VAT desk, to receive your tax refund before leaving on your flight home from Israel. This is a special little bonus at the end, and you can receive your tax refund in USD or Shekels, whatever you choose.

Bibles:

Please remember to bring your Bible with you.

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