TRAVEL TIPS FOR ISRAEL
Passport and Visa
Make sure your Passport is up to date and will not expire six months past the last day of your tour. Your Passport should always be with you. Print a copy of your Passport to put inside your carry-on for safekeeping (this is very important in case your Passport is lost). Also, when you go through security, you will receive an Israeli Visa (a small piece of blue paper with your picture)—keep this inside your Passport for the duration of your travel.
Keep money in a safe place, not all in the same place. Most Israeli vendors accept Master Card and Visa. Many prefer credit/debit cards over cash. However, cash is still welcomed. Moneychangers are available at various locations, including the airport and many hotels. Many shops accept U.S. dollars, but most prefer shekels. We advise that you change $100 at the airport, which you can do at baggage claim. Traveler checks are not recommended.
Zion’s Bridge Travelers are allowed one carry-on, one personal item, and one check-on, which is included in your ticket price. It will be your responsibility to pay for any extra luggage overage. Keep in mind that you can purchase items you may forget. The lighter your load, the better. Packing at least 10 pounds underweight is advisable to allow for purchased items while in Israel to carry home. This is the guideline for most airlines:
·Carry on size – 22 X9X14
- Check on weight – 50 lbs., size – 62 in (circumference total)
- One personal item that can fit underneath the seat
The water in Israel is safe to drink. (I prefer bottled water.) Keeping hydrated is necessary to keep you healthy and feeling at your best. Our custom is to have the bus driver provide bottled water for $1.00.
Yes, there are bathrooms at every stop! Heads up: some WCs (wash closets) are out of toilet paper so keep a tissue pack on hand. Some charge a few shekels.
Lunch is on your own. If you want to experience the local food, plan on around $15 to $20 per person. Be prepared to leave a 15% tip (lunch and lunch tips are not included in your tour price, except for St. Peter’s Fish lunch). Feel free to take along a simple snack instead. Breakfast and dinner are included in the tour price and will be served at the hotel. Keep in mind that soft drinks are per bottle ($3 to $4) with no free refills. Coffee and tea are usually complimentary with your hotel meals. Tap water is clean and at no charge.
How to Dress
Dress comfortably. Jeans, knee shorts, or athletic wear are acceptable (not leggings or tight shorts). Dress modestly, as many of the areas we visit are religious. Many Christian churches require you to cover your arms and legs. You can take along a scarf to tie around your waist or wear across your shoulders.
Jerusalem can fluctuate 30 degrees on the same day, especially during spring and fall, so layer your clothing. The rainy season could begin in November and extend through the first part of April. A small umbrella or rain gear to cover your head will help keep you somewhat dry. January and February rains can be heavy, with wind gusts that make it impossible to stay dry without a full rain jacket and boots. The Galilee and the Dead Sea are warmer than Jerusalem, on some days, as much as 20 degrees.
Two pairs of comfortable shoes are a must with the recommendation to alternate every other day. This would not be the time to break in a new pair of shoes. Flip-flops are discouraged for walking days. We highly recommend that the shoes have good traction as well as support. In the Old City, the stones are very worn. In the summer, they are dusty and slippery; in winter wet and slippery.
Every place we go requires a lot of walking with steps, rugged terrain, hills, uneven pavement, and loose rocks. You will average 3 miles a day. It is physically challenging. If you require walking support, this trip is not recommended. There will be a lot of riding on some days so if you are prone to motion sickness, please be prepared with medication and understand that the front seats are reserved for the tour guide and host. All first-time visitors are surprised at the physical requirements. Prepare ahead of time with lots of exercise.
You will need an adapter for your electronics. An adapter will be required for your iPhone and other items that convert automatically from 110V to 220V. Hairdryers, curling irons, etc., will probably need a voltage converter that can handle high wattage (1500 to 2000 watts for around $30 on Amazon). Some devices, such as travel blow-dryers, have a voltage converter built in. Check all your devices. If they can handle up to 110 to 220 volts, you will only need an adapter to accommodate Israel’s type of sockets. (Most hotels provide hairdryers in the room, although not very good) Irons are available upon request or there will be an “ironing” room for you to use.
Most cell providers have international rates. Contact your carrier to understand your options. For example, Verizon (U.S.) offers a global unlimited plan for $10 per day or a per minute/text/data rate. Another option is to purchase an Israeli sim card online. Wi-Fi is available in the rooms and the motor coach, but it is not always at the desired speed.
Medical and Travel Insurance
Contact your provider to let them know you will be out of the country.
Please note that Medicare and other government insurance do not provide coverage in Israel unless you have a supplemental policy. So, please, check with your agent so that you will know for sure. You can purchase a travel plan that includes emergency medical (Faith Ventures is a good choice).
Travel Insurance is a good idea these days. Trip cancellation can be purchased from Faith Ventures at reasonable rates.
Regarding medical coverage, medical care in Israel is excellent, but remember that full payment is required upon services rendered. Should you need care, your insurance will need to specify that you are covered while in Israel, including any Covid-related issues. Faith Ventures/Brotherhood is highly recommended and is the most reasonably priced I’ve found. Go to their website for more details: faithventures.com.
Special note: Don’t leave the group and wander on your own without special permission. You will be given a card with our cell numbers and the hotel address. Should you accidentally get lost, call us for instructions. It may be that you’ll need to hire a taxi and show them the address of the hotel. Your safety is important. We have always found Israel to be safe, but we need you to be attentive, alert, and listen to instructions.
zionsbridge.org – 770.853.8613