BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
PASSPORT: A valid Passport is required to leave the USA. It should be valid for a minimum of 6 months after your return date. If you do not have a passport, apply for one immediately; it normally takes four to six weeks to be issued. A copy of the photo page of your passport should be sent to our office 30 days prior to departure. You may scan and send it as an email attachment. Retain a copy of your passport page to keep with you while traveling put in a separate location from the original.
Fees: New $135, Renew-$110. (Add $60 for expedited –rush-service). You can pay by Checks or Charge Card. Application can be obtained online or at your nearest passport office, courthouse, or post office. You will need a certified birth certificate (with raised seal and file number), proof of present ID such as a driver’s license, and 2 duplicate non-glossy photographs measuring 2" x 2” taken within six months of application. For forms, information, or if you have already applied for a U.S. passport, check the status of your application online at http://travel.state.gov
o National Passport Information Center: 1-877- 487-2778
o Customer Service Representatives are available Monday-Friday, 8 AM. to 8 PM, Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.
o Automated Information available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have a travel emergency, please call to speak with a customer service representative. Do not e-mail.
o Urgent and Rush Passport Services. Some agencies make it possible for you to obtaining a passport in days. About $200. www.visaexpress.net
CITIZENS AND VISAS: U.S. and Canadian citizens DO NOT need a visa for Israel. Non-US citizens must contact the Israel Consulate or call us to find out other nation’s status.
VACCINATIONS: None are required for Israel, but you may wish to contact your personal physician for their advice.
ROOMMATES: We will try to match you with a roommate; we cannot guarantee one will be available.
Therefore, you should try to find a roommate and notify us of your selection as soon as possible. If no roommate can be found, you may need to pay for the single room supplement charge.
FINAL PAYMENT: Final payment for the trip is due 60 days prior to departure. Call our office to discuss optional arrangements.
CANCELLATIONS: Call our office immediately, and then submit your cancellation in writing. Refer to our office for terms and conditions regarding cancellation fees. You may be charged the single room supplement if your cancellation forces your roommate into a single room.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: Contact Travel Guard at 1-800- 826-4919 or www.travelguard.com. Order travel insurance by phone or website at least 2 weeks before departure. Your Credit Card company may also offer it with your membership and annual dues. Call you credit card company to alert them you will be out of the country and making purchases from overseas before you depart.
AIRLINE USED: We negotiate with all airlines to Israel and select the one to best accommodate the group’s itinerary and budget. At times there may be two or three options. We can advise your best route.
FLIGHT INFORMATION: International flight information will be confirmed by 30 days prior to departure; and your final itinerary package mailed to you approximately 2 weeks prior to departure. Please ask for our advice if you need domestic flights. We want to make sure your schedules will work for you.
PURCHASING YOUR OWN INTERNATIONAL TICKETS: Remember, airport / hotel / airport transportation transfers may not be provided to passengers who have purchased their own international flights. If you are a & Land Only & passenger, you will meet the group at the first hotel and leave the group at the last hotel unless you can arrange your flights to meet with ours. You can also meet us at the airport if your flights arrive earlier and depart later than the groups. You may be responsible for making your own travel arrangements to/from the international airports and our hotels.
CHANGES IN AIRLINE SCHEDULE AND/OR EXPENSES: All flight times are subject to change by the airlines without advance notice. We are not responsible for changes and/or delays in airline schedules, nor the expenses associated with such changes. Purchase flight & travel insurance.
NOTE: Due to increased security at the airports we recommend arriving at least 2 hours prior to departure for domestic flights. Arrive at the departure airport at least 3 hours prior to departure for international flights.
MISSING OR CANCELLED FLIGHTS: Contact our office immediately so we can inform our other offices. The airline's responsibility is to get you to your destination as quickly as possible. Be sure to call our agency with your new arrival information so we can meet you at the arrival airport or assist you with the changes if possible.
BRING YOUR BIBLE – God’s Word will “”come alive” in as never before.
PASSPORT - keep your passport in your purse or a secure pocket where it cannot be seen; never pack your passport in your suitcase; be sure it is signed and valid for six months after your return. Leave a copy of the inside information and photo page at home, one in your suitcase and your original passport with you or in a secure place.
AIRLINE TICKETS – You have been issued an E-Ticket or an electronic ticket (paperless). Please keep a copy of the Record Locator Number Code with you in order to make the check -in process easier. This Confirmation Code enables family at home to also keep track of you through the airlines. Bring all the documents we send you with you on the tour. Put luggage tags on and inside your bag with your contact information. Apply Blue Painter’s tape around your suitcases and bags to identify it as our group’s.
MONEY and CREDIT CARDS – Bring U.S. currency in small denominations. Do not bring $50 bills or larger. The average person spends about $400. on a 12 Day tour in Israel. Major credit cards, such as Visa or Master Card, are excellent to have in case of an emergency and for buying more expensive items. They provide a good exchange rate and receipt. Always ask for the carbon if used, along with your customer copy. Please notify you bank or Credit Card agency of your schedule BEFORE you depart overseas and that you OK charges from the country you will be visiting on the dates. Otherwise, their security may not authorize a foreign charge unless you had previously alerted them that you will be making purchases out of the country.
NAME BADGE - Wear your name badge every day, beginning with the day you depart; your name badge helps identify you as a part of the group at airports, hotels, sites, etc. and adds to your security. COMMON SENSE PRECAUATIONS ON FLIGHTS: Wear comfortable clothing on the flight. Dress casually; wear loose fitting clothes. Bring a jacket or coat on the plane & inflatable neck pillow. Drink plenty of fluids while traveling. Stand up and stretch several times during long flights. To help circulation, take a couple of aspirin a day before on the day of the flight. Wear firm compression support hose to prevent swelling of feet and poor circulation (economy class syndrome).
TYPE OF CLOTHING TO PACK: Layer clothing as the mornings and evenings may be cool. In the late fall and early spring, bring a coat, raincoat, a small umbrella, gloves and a hat to protect you from both the rain and sun. For touring, wear clothing that can be layered. It is appropriate to have at least the upper arms covered (T-Shirt length), and pants and skirts to at least the knee. At some sites entrance is denied to persons wearing shorts or sleeveless tops. Sturdy, comfortable shoes are essential! Have one dressy outfit, a sports coat & tie, however it is not required for most tours. Bring a swimsuit, cover-up and water shoes for river, lake, ocean, beach and pools. The overseas flight can be cool, bring a coat on the plane to keep warm.
PRESCRIPTION MEDICINES: Bring Cold and Flu Medicines just in case. Pack your medicine in the original bottle and some in your carry-on bag. Bring an extra week’s supply, your doctor’s phone number, and a copy of the generic names for each. If you have medications, which need to be refrigerated, you must inform our office prior to departure so we can make the appropriate arrangements with the airlines and hotels. Let us know if you need to use a breathing device at night on the plane and in the hotels.
TIPS FOR JET LAG: Get ample rest before departure, and drink plenty of water and fluids. It is helpful to take a sleeping aid during the overseas night flight and in adjusting to the new schedules. Over the counter items such at Nytol or Tylenol PM works well for most people. Melatonin can be used to help regulate sleep. Vitamins and Airborn tablets help strengthen immunity. 5Hour Energy keeps you alert and help you adjust to the change of time by reducing fatigue.
COMFORTABLE WALKING SHOES – At least one pair of good walking shoes or sandals is essential for comfort and stability as we walk in His steps. You may include a more formal pair of shoes for dinners at the hotel. High heels not recommended for women. Bring sandals and water shoes for the pool, beach, and Jordan River baptism.
CAMERA and FILM – Bring camera, extra lithium batteries, your charger and memory cards. Include a couple of disposable flash cameras or use your cell phone photo app. Put your phone on Airplane Mode.
ELECTRIC CONVERTER and ADAPTER PLUGS - Israel’s voltage is 220. Converters and outlet adapters can be purchased from Radio Shack, AAA Travel, luggage stores and department stores. Look at your items which will use electricity. Some shavers, camera battery chargers, etc., already have dual converters. They may use either 110 or 220 volts. One adapter is all that you may need. It will have 2 round prongs that the hotel will have outlets to accommodate. Note: bathroom outlets are of lower power and meant for shavers, not curling irons. Adapter plugs are usually all that’s needed for computer cords and battery chargers. The hotels have hairdryers.
UMBRELLA/SUN HAT/SUN GLASSES – Be prepared either way.
LUGGAGE – Include a closeable canvas bag inside your suitcase in case you need extra luggage for items you have purchased.
LUGGAGE TAGS - Attach our Luggage Tags to your large bag (50 lbs. limit, 1 suitcase can be checked in for overseas for free. There are charges for additional check-in luggage), and to your carry-on bag. Place 1-2 inch Blue Painter’s Tape around your suitcases to help identify our group’s luggage. Encircle each piece with the tape in a manner that allows access to all compartments. NOTE: You can also use your OWN name tags inside and outside your suitcases NON-U.S. CITIZENS - Please remember to bring any necessary documentation (i.e., green card, immigration papers, a visa, etc.) for your departure from the U.S. and return. These must be requested months prior to departure. Call our office for assistance.
HOW MUCH MONEY TO BRING: Most everything has been included in your tour cost with the exception for personal donations to an organization or ministry, lunches, extra drinks and shopping. Lunches are about $15 per day. An additional love offering will be collected for our guide and the bus driver if you would like to add to the amount already included in your registration price of the tour. There will be a Thank You Card for you to sign at the conclusion of your time together.
TYPE OF CURRENCY USED:
NIS: New Israeli Shekels in Israel, but US currency is widely accepted. The exchange rate is approximately with $1.00 equaling about 4 shekels, or 1 Shekel is about 25 cents.
EXCHANGING MONEY: You can use U.S. currency for small purchases and credit cards for larger ones. Bring mostly $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills. Bring a lot of smaller bills, NO coins. (Some hosts have found that by packing money in bundles of 15 $1’s with 2 $5, each bundle being $25, they could easily keep a needed amount on their person each day and never have to exchange money. Hotels may exchange money, but will charge a fee or give you change in shekels. Please ask your guide.
TRAVELERS’ CHECKS AND CREDIT CARDS: We do not recommend the use of traveler’s checks as you may experience difficulty using and/or cashing them. In addition, banks usually charge a handling fee when cashing travelers’ checks. Major credit cards are recommended for purchases.
UPON ARRIVAL AT THE AIRPORT: After passport control our representative just inside the Baggage Claim area, will meet you. Take a cart and collect your luggage from your flight’s conveyer. Luggage carts in Israel are free. Stay with the group and follow instructions from our representative of where to meet in the terminal, usually back by the Welcome To Israel sign and information counter.
LOST OR DAMAGED LUGGAGE: File a claim at the airport BEFORE you leave the Baggage Claim area. It will be the airline's responsibility to get lost luggage to you, or compensate you for damaged luggage. We will do our best to follow-up with the airline, but the responsibility ultimately rests with the airline. We strongly suggest you pack at least one change of clothes and have essentials in your carry-on bag. Please keep your luggage stubs with your documents at check-in so your suitcase can be traced.
DIFFERENT TIME ZONES: Israel is 7 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard time, 10 hours from the West Coast, 12 hours from Hawaii.
ATM MACHINES: ATMs are available at local banks. The money you receive will be in the local currency. We will stop occasionally at an ATM but inform your guide when you may need one.
CHANGES IN SIGHTSEEING ITINERARY: We reserve the right to alter the sightseeing itinerary to accommodate changes in local conditions and/or circumstances. You will be notified of any changes that are made to this itinerary prior to departing the U.S. if possible and an equal substitute will be made.
AIRPORT AND HOTEL TRANSFER TIME: The transfer/transportation time that it takes to get to our hotel or back to the airport varies. From Ben Gurion Airport its 30 minutes to Tel Aviv, 60 minutes to Jerusalem and 2 hours to the Tiberias.
HOTELS: Hotel rooms are First Class, 4 to 5 star. Each room will have a private bath, TV, and phone. Most hotels have hair dryers, Internet and wireless spots either in their lobby, business center or rooms. There may a fee to register for Internet use. Most battery chargers and computer cords need only a plug adapter. (Two round prongs – Middle East)
MEALS: The famous, all you can eat, Israeli buffet breakfast and dinners are included daily. Lunches can be purchased where we stop at a local restaurant during our itinerary. Lunches are on your own except for our St. Peter’s Fish Lunch in the Galilee. Coffee or teas are served at breakfast and most dinners. Special beverages, such as sodas or coffees, will have a supplemental charge of about $3.00.
SIGHTSEEING DAY: Usually, you will depart the hotel between 8:00-9:00 AM and return in the afternoon around 5:00-6:00 PM. Your guide will announce the sightseeing schedule and a wake-up call for each day’s itinerary. Generally it’s a 6:30 wake-up call and 7:00 AM breakfast.
BUSES: The deluxe touring motor coaches are air conditioned, and will accommodate approximately 50 passengers. Transportation will be provided to comfortably seat each group size.
RESTROOMS: In Israel the buses do not have restrooms, but sufficient stops will be made for the comfort of our passengers throughout the day. Bring small packages of tissues in case there is not in the restroom.
SHOPPING ON TOUR: Time will be allotted for shopping. We will visit a variety of stores and souvenir shops. We are not responsible for your dissatisfaction with any items purchased, but some stores offer guarantees. We will let you know the best locations to purchase distinctive items from Israel or the country we are in. There are gift shops in our hotels and at the airport terminal on the way home. U.S. CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: A returning US resident is allowed $800 in purchases duty free. Gifts may be mailed to the US duty free, but are limited to $100 per person/per day.
TAX-FREE SHOPPING OR VALUE ADDED TAX = V.A.T.V.A.T. (Value Added Tax) is a sales tax that is charged for most goods in Israel. This amount is part of the price - not added on at the cash register. VAT in Israel is at least 18%. It is possible for you to claim back most of this tax at the airport just before leaving the country. The best way to do this is to see if the retailer you are buying from is affiliated with “Tax Free” shopping: VAT. If so, they will give you the instructions for your refund. Generally, all you have to do is collect a completed form from the store, which lists your purchases of $110.00 or more. You MUST have the form stamped by customs just prior to check in at the airport VAT Desk when you leave the country. You will then receive your cash refund inside the Tel Aviv airport terminal after your return flight check in. Look for the TAX FREE SHOPPING symbol at stores and the V.A.T. (Value Added Tax) Refund Counter inside the airport terminal before getting to your gate.
LOVE OFFERING AND SUPPLIES FOR MINISTRIES IN ISRAEL: Love offerings will be received for some of the various people, ministries and organizations we connect with on tour. We will send you a list of requests before hand and names of those we can bless.
OTHER SUGGESTIONS: Prepaid gratuities have been collected for the following persons: guide, driver, hotel dining room staff, bell man/porters, housekeeping. You will not need to tip for standard services as all tips will be distributed by our agency. If you request any special services from the hotel staff, additional gratuities would be appropriate.
WEATHER: While there is no way to predict the weather, we can offer the following averages: Spring-70 degrees; Summer-85 degrees; Fall-70 degrees; and Winter-55 degrees. The desert regions will be at least 10 degrees warmer.
LIMITED MOBILITY: Due to the lack of handicapped accessible facilities, persons needing wheelchairs or ambulatory assistance will find travel on this program difficult or impossible. Many sites will be inaccessible. Yet, it is still possible to participate as able and by bringing a personal attendant. The bus driver, guides or other passengers cannot assist. Canes that convert to a seat are great when we stop and gather to listen to our guide. Passengers will have individual transistors and headsets to hear when we are on location and walking through sites. You many bring your own ear buds.
LOST ITEMS: Leave valuables, including items of sentimental value, at home. Double-check your belongings before leaving the plane, hotels and buses. We cannot assume responsibility for lost items. Put your name and a contact number on your items. You can include our agency information too.
PREPAID PHONE-CARDS: Prepaid phone cards can be purchased at most hotel gift shops. If you have a cell phone, check with your local provider for International Service. LAPTOPS, iPads and SMART
PHONES: You can bring your own laptop or use the public computer in the lobbies of most hotels in Israel. Most hotels and buses have wireless access– either complimentary or for a small fee. Bring a two pronged adapter plug (for the Middle East) to put on the end of your electrical cord, so it will fit into the sockets in Israel. Purchase one beforehand at a travel store for about $5. Check with your hotels to see their individual policies for Internet. Some have individual room access and others allow you to have your laptop in their lobby or designated areas for wireless connection. The wiring is 220, and for most computer appliances, you do not need a converter, only an adapter attached for your items to work.
LECTURES, RELIGIOUS SERVICES AND MEETINGS: Refer to your specific tour itinerary for this information. Guest speakers will be scheduled by the hosts and these meetings are usually optionalwww.passportexpress.com .
FREE TIME: Each day is quite full with sightseeing, but you can notify your guide and hosts if you wish to miss a day of touring (itinerary permitting).
REMEMBER THESE ITEMS: Passport, your travel documents, including Record Locator for your e-ticket and Frequent Flyer Airline Membership Number for flight points, sunglasses, sun-hat, rain gear, your camera and toiletry items. Bring cash and credit card, another form of I.D. than your passport and any medication needed for the trip. Bring your own cold and flu medicine in case you start to feel sick to have something available right away. Bring your Bible, notebook, and a small satchel for purchases and items to carry on the bus.
1. Be on time and be prepared to rotate seats on bus.
2. Settle personal charges the night before checking out of hotel.
3. Notify your tour host or guide if you will not be on the bus for sightseeing
4. Remember, you are a guest in another country. Customs and food will be different than at home.