Download Guidelines and Itinerary
Here are some important guidelines to remember for your trip:
- The tour itinerary can be very rigorous and includes extensive walking, climbing stairs, and at times, uneven terrain. It is important to consider these aspects of the tour if you have limitations that would make it difficult to engage in these activities. Due to space limitations, wheelchairs and walkers cannot be taken aboard motor coaches. Individuals with heart disease, chronic illness, physical handicap, advanced pregnancy, or mental illness should not participate in this rigorous travel program.
- Touring as a group: Each bus will have an Israeli guide and driver as well as Aglow leaders serving as bus captains. It is very important to follow their instructions and stay with your group. It can cause everyone to wait if the guides or bus captains must look for someone who is not with the group.
- Appropriate attire: When touring, please plan to wear pants or skirts that come below the knees. Blouses or shirts should keep the shoulders covered because many of the places we visit are considered “religious sites” by both orthodox Jewish and Christian groups. Bare shoulders and knees are considered inappropriate attire. There are a few times whentank tops and shorts are acceptable, for example, when we visit the Dead Sea and Masada on Monday, April 24.
- Sun screen and a hat are a must as it can be very warm and dry in the desert and in many parts of Israel.
- Bring one “wrap” – a light sweater or sweatshirt. The buses are air-conditioned and can get chilly, so having something to wrap around you is helpful.
- Bring comfortable walking shoes – sandals, sneakers…shoes that are not new. There is extensive walking over cobblestones, rough surfaces, up and down steps, and over curbs. Your shoes should be sturdy and comfortable.
- Bring water shoes – for the Dead Sea and the Jordan River. The Dead Sea has a rough gravel shoreline in some places. It also has “medicinal mud” - very black and very sticky! Make sure your shoes are securely fastened to your feet or you might lose them in the mud. People have great fun giving themselves and each other facials with the mud and then taking photos. There are showers on the beach to rinse the mud off and private showers in locker room areas to shower fully. The Dead Sea is extremely salty, so you will want to be careful not to get the water in your eyes. Also, you might want to refrain from shaving if you plan to experience the water – irritated skin can be painful. Again, sun screen and a hat are important.
- Bring your swimming suit. You will have several opportunities to use one – in the Dead Sea if you decide to go swimming (actually floating) and in the Mediterranean Sea. There are swimming pools at several of the hotels. Also, if you wish to be baptized (or rededicated) in the Jordan River, a towel and white baptismal gown is supplied for those getting baptized. However, the gown material is very thin and is transparent when wet. Plan to wear your bathing suit at that time. There are showers in the changing rooms at the Jordan River.
- Gifts for soldiers: A visit to the soldiers guarding Israel’s northern border is scheduled for Sunday, April 23rd. Please plan to bring gifts of toiletries, such as shaving cream, deodorant, toothpaste, and disposable razors, in small travel sizes and quantities. They would also enjoy candies, cookies, and pretzels or snack-type foods (avoid things not listed). The gifts will be collected before arrival and given to the soldiers’ officers to be distributed amongst them.
- Cash for tips: Plan to bring $85 USD for tip money for your guides and drivers. Tips are expected and are not included in the price of the tour. On our Aglow tour, we collect $85 (USD only), from each traveler at the beginning of the trip. After the funds are collected, they are then equally divided between the guides and drivers. As a point of information, it is customary to tip a guide approximately $10 USD per day when on an international tour and an additional amount if you have a guide and a driver. Tips for your hotel room cleaning staff are included in your trip price. You do not need to tip extra unless you experience an especially helpful staff person.
- Exchanging money: You may want to exchange a small amount of US dollars or euros for shekels at the airport or the hotel. However, dollars and euros are readily accepted in many Israeli stores and restaurants. Your change will be given to you in shekels. We don’t recommend buying a large amount of shekels. The US dollar and the euro are roughly equivalent: $1USD = €1 (euro). Current exchange rate for shekels: $1 = a little less than 4 shekels.
- Credit/debit cards: If you plan to use your credit/debit card in Israel, it is wise to notify the credit card company before you leave home so they will honor purchases made while in Israel. If you plan to access an ATM, give your bank the same information about your plans to travel to Israel.
- Cash: In addition to tip money, plan to bring enough cash to cover lunches. (Many places where we may eat lunch don’t take credit cards.) Paying in dollars, euros, or shekels is fine. Plan an average of $7-$12 per lunch. Some lunches might be as low as $5. Others may be more expensive, such as the Saint Peter’s fish in Tiberius. We try to offer you a variety of choices whenever possible. Soft drinks are always extra and are expensive in Israel.
- Water: Because it is very hot and dry in Israel, dehydration is a VERY REAL concern. Dehydration can cause many physical problems ranging from mild to serious: dizziness or lightheadedness, headache, fever, lethargy, confusion, drop in blood pressure. So it is very important to stay hydrated. We suggest you bring a supply of $1 bills or €1 coins to purchase bottled water on the bus. A supply is kept in a cooler at the front of the bus and costs $1 per bottle. You can also fill an empty water bottle at the hotel each morning if you wish, because the tap water at the hotel is fine to drink. Just remember to drink lots of water!
- Carry-on items: Be sure to carry at least one change of clothes and all your necessary medicines in your carry-on bag. Occasionally, your luggage may not arrive in Israel when you do so having a change of clothes can be helpful.
- Electronic devices: New regulations prohibit electronic devices larger than a smart phone in your carry-on. We sent an email containing that information recently, so please refer to that communication. Also, remember to bring chargers and appropriate adapters for your smart phones, cameras, and other devices. We suggest turning off your data plan as international roaming fees can get very expensive. Most hotels have internet – some have Wi-Fi, some are free, some have daily fees for use. Our hotel in Jerusalem has free Wi-Fi. Ask at the reception desk for the code to log in. If your devices require batteries, bring extra with you as they are very expensive in Israel.