Guidelines for your Holy Land Tour

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Tickets
Entry to Israel for US Citizens
Baggage and Carry-ons
Name Tags
Airplane Check-in
Airport Arrival
Clothing
Money
Customs Regulations
Cameras and film
Insurance
The Tour Bus
Food and Water
Shopping
Electricity
Tipping
Precautions
Tour Sequence
Birthdays/Anniversaries
Special Needs
Travel Book

Tickets

Final documents will be sent to you approximately 2-4 weeks before departure. This package will include: airline flight information, name tags, baggage tags, maps, booklet with orientation material, rooming list, hotel list, and land contact information while abroad. Familiarize yourself with this material before your tour.

Entry to Israel for US Citizens (passport, visa, immunizations)

Obtain your passport. Check with your local post office for information on applying for a passport. If you have an existing passport, make sure it has not expired and is valid for at least 6 months after your return to the US. Do not leave your passport at home – it will not do you any good there, and its absence will prevent you from getting on the plane!

Visitors can stay up to three months from date of arrival

Visas are not required to travel to Israel, Rome or Greece.  Visas to Turkey, Egypt and Jordan can be obtained as you enter the country.

Immunization certificate is not required to travel.

Additional information can be found at www.travel.state.gov.

Baggage and Carry-ons

Check your luggage all the way to your destination. Each person can only have one checked piece of luggage  that must be within the airlines weight restrictions to avoid additional fees and one carry-on piece of luggage is allowed in addition to a camera and a purse.  Do not put valuable items in checked luggage (such as jewelry, cameras, etc.)

Please use the group baggage tags you receive with your final documents. This will expedite the handling of the group’s luggage during the tour. We also suggest you place your name and address on the inside of your luggage.

Name Tags

You will receive nametags with your final documents. Please wear them when you arrive for departure so you can be readily identified with the group and you can easily meet others going on the tour.

Airplane Check-in

TSA Airport Security guidelines for carryons are listed below.  Although airport seurity requirements can change without notice, we have provided you witht he current carry-on baggage information and restrictions.  For more information, visit www.tsa.dhs.gov

TSA and our security partners conducted extensive explosives testing since August 10, 2006 and determined that liquids, aerosols and gels, in limited quantities, are safe to bring aboard an aircraft. The one bag limit per traveler limits the total amount each traveler can bring. Consolidating the bottles into one bag and X-raying them separately from the carry-on bag enables security officers to quickly clear the items.

3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure.

Be prepared. Each time TSA searches a carry-on it slows down the line. Practicing 3-1-1 will ensure a faster and easier checkpoint experience.

3-1-1 is for short trips. If in doubt, put your liquids in checked luggage.

Declare larger liquids. Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint.

You may be subjected to thorough questioning by security agents when you check in for your flight to the Middle East. You should be prepared to open your checked luggage and your carry-on for inspection if asked. A security agent will ask you a number of questions about your trip. This is designed by the airlines for your safety. Please cooperate willingly and seriously. Questions may be asked such as:

- Is this your personal luggage?
- Did you personally pack it?
- Did anyone open your luggage after you packed it?
- Have you been given a package to carry for anyone?
- Why are you traveling?
- Do you know anyone in the country (countries) you are visiting?
- Do you know anyone on this tour and how did you hear about the tour?

Remember, due to extra security, check-in will take additional time. Some airlines recommend arriving up to 4 hours before departure. If arranging for a domestic connection, allow for required connecting time before your international departure. Upon your return, allow for Customs procedures in planning your flight home.

Airport Arrival

Upon arrival have your passport and other documents ready and available for the customs agent. You then will collect your luggage, luggage carts are available for your use, and be met by our representative who will assist you through this process and lead you to the bus.

Clothing

Casual, comfortable clothing is recommended on the tour. We also recommend you dress in “layers.” The mornings and evenings can be cold, and mid-day can be much warmer. Comfortable walking shoes or boots are a must for all.  Modest dress is required for men and women when visiting some religious sites. Long pants for the men and skirts or long pants for the women will be required. Sleeveless dresses or shirts are not allowed for religious sites. Your guide will let you know the day before these sites will be visited. We encourage you to travel light – remember you can only have one checked piece of luggage.

We recommend you bring along zip-lock plastic bags. They always seem to come in handy for variety of reasons. A washcloth could also come in handy if the hotel furnishes only towels (the European custom).

Money

US currency is desired and accepted in most of these destinations. You will not need to exchange money unless you would like to. You will find money exchange places in most shipping areas. ATMs are available – be aware, they pay in local currency. Major credit cards are usually accepted for larger purchases. We recommend you take $50-$100 in one-dollar bills. Lunches, snacks, beverages, postcards, and other items are easily purchased with dollars. Five-dollar bills, ten-dollar bills and twenty dollar bills can also be used for small purchases.

Current exchange rates can be found at www.xe.com.

Customs Regulations

U.S. Customs allow every traveler $800 in purchases duty free with the following restrictions:

1. You must be abroad at least 48 hours
2. $800 is based on the fair market value of the country the item was purchased in.
3. The $800 of exemptions will be covered if:
- the items accompany the returning traveler
- the items are acquired on your trip
- the items are for personal, household or gift purposes
- the items are properly recorded with the Customs Service

More information can be found at www.customs.gov.

Cameras and film

Be sure to remember your camera/battery charger and plenty of memory cards for your camera.

Insurance

We strongly advise cancellation insurance, which may grant full refund in case of illness or unforeseen events. For more information, click on the following link:   http://www.travelexinsurance.com

The Tour Bus

We will travel in a beautiful, air-conditioned motor coach bus. We suggest rotating seats once at the beginning of each day, so that everybody gets a fair seating assignment, leaving the first seats for your tour leader. You can leave things during the daytime in perfect safety on the bus. The driver always stays with the bus when we are away from it while on tour. At night, take you things off the bus and into the hotel. Please observe the departure times while on tour. A few minutes late at each site can eliminate an entire visit by the end of the day. Please be courteous to your fellow passengers and be prompt.

Food and Water

Food and water are safe for consumption throughout Israel. Bottled water can be purchased if you desire and is available on the bus as well as at most sites for around $1 or $2. A full Israeli buffet breakfast and dinner will be served at the hotels daily. Lunches are on your own, unless specified on your itinerary. You can plan to spend around $5-6 for a typical Israeli lunch, however in some areas lunches may cost $10-15 such as at the Dead Sea area and in the Northern part of the Galilee.

Shopping

There will be some opportunity for shopping. The amount you spend will depend on what you want and how much money you have. There are vendors everywhere, however, your touring time is limited so please consider others on your tour and observe the bus departure time and each site.

Electricity

American appliances run on 110 amps. In the Middle East and Eurpoe they use 220 current. An adapter and converter are needed for most electrical appliances.

Tipping

Your tour leader will handle gratuities for the tour group. That cost has been included in your tour package. However, should you request personal services apart from the service given to the group (such as hotel room service), tipping would be your responsibility. All service personnel in the tourist industry depend on tips for their income. Those tipped include: tour guide, bus drivers, transfer guides, porters, waiters and waitresses, headwaiters, reception desk personnel, maids, and anyone that performs a service for the group.

Precautions

Whether you carry your passport with you or not is up to your personal discretion. We do advise that you make several copies of the first page of your passport, leave one at home and put one in each piece of luggage.  Security in your hotel rooms is not guaranteed, although we have had no problems over the years. Leave expensive jewelry at home. Don’t leave money, checks, cameras, tape recorders, purses, or things of value in your room unattended. Some hotels are equipped with safes in the rooms for your use.

Tour Sequence

You have received a tour itinerary in the promotional brochure. We make every effort to follow the order given, except on occasion where making change would be helpful. We will however, make every attempt to visit every place listed, even if the sequence is changed. In the event the tour guide feels it would be best to eliminate a site listed due to any unforeseen reason, it would be replaced with another site.

Birthdays/Anniversaries

Please advise us of any special occasion that will occur during tour. We’d like to know what the occasion is and the date.

Special Needs

If you have any special needs, please let us know and we will make every effort to accommodate your request.