The short answer is Yes! Every year between 3 and 4 million tourists vacation in Israel – and apart from those who fall in love with Israel and stay – they all go home again safe and sound. The planes of 90+ airlines wouldn’t fly to Israel if it weren’t safe, so you can rest assured. You will be safe.
We take every precaution and do whatever is necessary to assure the safety of the group. We are fully committed to making your experience in Israel both a safe one and a positive one. We travel with some of the top tour guides in Israel. We continually monitor the situation in Israel and if ever we believed we could not provide an experience that is both safe and celebratory, we would postpone the trip. Rest assured that you are in good hands and we are extremely confident in our travels through the Holy Land.
Tipping of the tour guide, bus driver, porters and hotel wait staff is covered in the tour package. However, if you go out to local cafe’s and restaurants you will want to tip similar to 10-15% of bill. That is not covered in your tour package.
Please note, we will recommend at the end of the tour a love offering for the tour guide and bus driver to bless them and the land of Israel. It does help them and truly bless them.
Tap water in Israel is safe and delicious. You’ll also find bottle water everywhere. Some areas of Israel are very dry and hot, therefore it’s important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
We strongly recommend travel insurance to all travelers, if you are interested in purchasing insurance we recommend you call Gate1 Travel to find out about their insurance offered. Click here to learn more about Arch Insurance for our Israel trip or contact our travel agent directly for more details; Ryan Forster 800-682-3333 ext. 1369.
1. Like almost everywhere in the world, casual is the “rule” for everyday sightseeing. Bring good walking shoes or sneakers and a couple “layers” for cool nights air.
2. Please bring casual business dress outfit for the time of visiting the Knesset.
3. Don’t forget your swimsuit for the Dead Sea, Jordan Baptismal site (if you want to get baptized) and Hezekiah’s Tunnel as well as plastic shoes or aqausox. All locations have changing facilities.
The Shekel; it’s abbreviated as NIS (New Israeli Shekel). We advice for you to check the exchange rate prior and or during your trip. At present it is around 3.4/3.6 shekels per USD. Click here for the current conversion rate
You can also use your ATM card to obtain Shekels at ATM’s throughout Israel. You can also use American Express, MasterCard and Visa cards at most Israeli hotels, restaurants and stores.
We suggest that you do phone your credit card company before you travel to give them the dates and locations of your travel so they will be alerted and not freeze your card due to suspicious activity.
Tel Aviv to Jerusalem 37 miles, 50 minutes
Tel Aviv to Masada 63 miles, 90 minutes
Tel Aviv to Galilee/Tiberias 81 miles, 100 minutes
Tel Aviv to Haifa 90 miles, 70 minutes
Jerusalem to Tiberias 109 miles, 120 minutes
Jerusalem to Masada 56 miles, 90 minutes
Most hotels in Israel offer Wi-Fi for guests for free and or customary price. Many cafes and restaurants provide complementary Wi-Fi service. Tel Aviv offers a citywide free Wi-Fi network which provides more then 80 free Internet “hot spots” across the city.
For cellular phones if you have an international plan, your cell phone may work in Israel, please check with your local provider. American cell-phones that work overseas will work in Israel too. Israel is 6 or 7 hours ahead of the East Coast of the USA depending on the season. The country code to dial to Israel is + 972.
We recommend 1 suitcase & 1 personal bag per traveler.
American citizens need a passport valid at least 6 months after their departure. You will not need a visa entering Israel if you are an American citizen. If you have a different nationality or have a passport from a different nation, please visit the Israeli embassy website by clicking here to see if you are required to have a visa to enter Israel.
Very Important: Your passport must be valid for six months after the date of your scheduled return from Israel or they will not let you enter the country.
Israel is an ultra-modern country with the world’s highest number of doctors per capita, and a health and hospital system that is the envy of the world. No vaccinations are required to visit Israel (unless you have recently been in an area where there have been epidemics of yellow fever, cholera or ebola). You can buy most standard over-the-counter equivalent of North American drugs in Israel. You can also bring supplies of your standard prescription drugs with you. (If you need to bring syringes and vials of medicine – bring along a letter from your doctor attesting to your needs, just in case.) If you need to see a doctor in Israel, check with your hotel concierge. Travel insurance (including medical coverage) is always recommended for all foreign travel.)
Tour guides make an effort to balance the tour schedule and free time for shopping in certain areas. There is specific allotted time for shopping in Jerusalem, Dead Sea area, Jericho and Bethlehem. Many nights are free as well and you’ll have the opportunity to explore and shop local markets on your own as you please.
If you plan to get back your VAT money, please read this carefully. If you have questions, ask your tour guide while in Israel.
Purchases can be made in Israeli Shekels, U.S. dollars or Euros. Tourists who have purchased items with a value exceeding $100 (including VAT) in stores that are registered with the Ministry of Tourism or in stores participating in the VAT-refund plan are entitled to a refund of VAT when they leave the country.
Stores that offer VAT refund service have a special sign.
To receive VAT refund, ensure that you get and keep a receipt with a list of all the items you have purchased and details of the purchaser. The receipt and purchases must be put into a sealed bag.
Tourists must then go to the “Change Place” at Ben Gurion airport or other exit port. If you wish to send the items that you purchased with your luggage, you must declare the purchase at the security check, and present your passport, flight ticket, purchases and receipts at the counter. The attendant will open the bag, examine the contents, sign the receipt, and refund the VAT in any currency minus a commission. The VAT refund can also be sent to your address abroad for an additional charge.
There is no VAT refund for the following items: food, drinks, tobacco products, electrical appliances, cameras, film or other photography equipment.
Additional information about VAT refunds is available here.
Hebrew and Arabic are the Israeli official languages, however many, many people also speak English. You’ll even find many street signs written in English so if all you know in Hebrew is “Shalom” for hello & goodbye, don’t be afraid to travel to Israel. You’ll get along just fine.
For cell phones & tablets you need a plug tip adapter. Smart devices (android, iPhones, Kindles, iPads) can convert between 110v/220v by themselves and do not need a full power converter, only the plug-tip adapter. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit. (Please note, most converter kits cannot handle the watt pull for a dryer.)
Sometimes. But it is for your safety. On check-in for your flights you may be asked a variety of questions during a security interview. Some of the questions may seem un-PC, intrusive, irrelevant or repetitive. Just answer truthfully, tell the security you are on a tour, have your tour information with you just in case, go with the flow and don’t lose your cool. Remember, the questions are designed to protect you and your fellow passengers. When you leave Israel, the departure process is identical to that outlined above for all airlines.