Do I need a Passport to travel to Israel?
Absolutely - and you need to have at LEAST 6 months validity left on your passport from your planned date of DEPARTURE from Israel. U.S. and Canadian citizens do not need a visa to visit Israel - just a valid passport.
Is trip/travel insurance necessary? Where do I buy it?
Trip/travel insurance is critical to protect your investment. For information on trip insurance or a complete quotation on trip cancellation & medical insurance, please click here for Travel Protection Guide
Do I need any vaccinations?
No vaccinations or shots are required for U.S. or Canadian visitors to Israel. (If you have visited a country prior to coming to Israel where cholera, typhoid, or yellow fever is endemic, you will need a vaccination certificate.)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend you get a Hepatitis A vaccine 4-6 weeks prior to travel. You can get Hepatitis A through contaminated food or water anywhere in the world, including Israel.
What about my medications?
Visitors are urged to bring sufficient quantities of any medications that they take regularly, as not all medicines are available. Anyone requiring unexpected medical attention, however, can be assured that the level of medicine practiced in Israel, as well as the facilities available, rank with the very best in Europe or the United States.
Can I use my smart phone in Israel?
A quick call to your phone carrier will help you determine whether your phone is unlocked. If your smartphone is unlocked, then you should have no problem using your smartphone is Israel. All you need is a SIM card rental upon arrival. We can help you rent a SIM card. Just ask Lynn for more details.
Can I rent a cellphone while in Israel?
Yes. Renting a cell phone is very useful and very affordable. Please contact Lynn for details on smartphone rentals.
How do I access the internet during my trip?
Most hotels in Israel have free Wi-Fi available for hotel guests. Many cafes and restaurants offer a complimentary Wi-Fi service. Tel Aviv offers a citywide free Wi-Fi network that provides 80 Internet “hot spots” across the city.
What are the transportation options from the airport?
There will be one bus from the airport, time to be determined based on the arrival schedule of the majority of our participants. Those who wish, can meet the bus, or can arrange transportation on their own. Contact Lynn for further details.
How much do I tip my driver and tour guide?
Tipping is not included in the tour cost. We recommended tipping $8-$12 per person, per day for the tour guide, and $4-$6 per person, per day for your bus driver.
How do I keep my valuables safe?
All hotel rooms have a safe to store your valuable items during your traveling hours. Passports should be kept with you always, so be sure to have a secure place for them in your travel bag.
How do I change dollars to New Israeli Shekels?
Israel’s currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS). The exchange rate to the dollar varies and we recommend an exchange rate app on your iPhone/Android, called "Israel Money" which will give you the exact daily exchange rate. Israeli shops, restaurants, gas stations, and other providers of services accept major credit cards such as Visa/MasterCard/American Express. For cash, Israel regulates ‘change points’ and generally tourists get fair exchange rates at money changers through Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. ATMs are almost everywhere and local currency can be obtained from them. We also recommend using bank front ATMs to withdraw shekels without fees (on the Israel side). Your hotel will also exchange money but their rates can be uncompetitive. Israeli currency can be re-converted in airport or border banks at the end of your stay.
Can I use my credit cards while in Israel?
In Israel, you can use your MasterCard, Visa, or American Express cards just like in the U.S. Be sure to check with your credit card company to be aware of any international transaction fees in advance, which tend to be around 3%. Discover card is not widely accepted in Israel. Most of your purchases, hotel incidentals, and restaurant costs can be made with any major credit card.
How much cash should I take with me?
Walking around with a large amount of cash is not advisable anywhere. Fifty to a hundred dollars in local currency is more than enough to cover small purchases and meals. Change your currency in Israel. You can do it almost everywhere, but taking a little time at the airport upon arrival is always a good idea. Please note: It is not unusual for Israeli ATM’s to run out of cash on Friday and Saturday, the Israeli weekend, so be prepared.
What taxes can I expect to pay in Israel when I am on my own?
The VAT (Value Added Tax) in Israel is 17%. It is already included in most prices in Israel. VAT is waived for tourists at hotels, tour companies, and car rental agencies. Tourists can receive a refund of the VAT paid on purchases when departing the country. A VAT refund form must be obtained from the merchant. The purchase amount including VAT on each invoice must exceed NIS 400. Click here for VAT information.
Will I need an adapter for my electronics in Israel?
You will need a plug converter for phones, laptops, and tablets, and a current adapter plus a plug converter for small appliances. A two-prong European plug converter is acceptable.
What is the weather like in Israel?
During the day, the temperature is a very pleasant 65° to 70°, though it can still be hot in the Dead Sea and Eilat areas. You may experience some rain, though nothing too serious. It can be cooler in the evenings in the north and in Jerusalem - approximately 45°.
What clothes should I bring?
Good walking shoes are a must. Of course, always bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Get used to having a water bottle with you always. Drink often and a lot! From September-April, bring long sleeve shirts, sweaters and a scarf, and a raincoat and an umbrella. It is always best to bring “layers” since day and night temperatures can vary greatly even in the same area. The most “formal” you will have to be is business casual. Israel is a very informal country but religious sites require long pants for men and clothing that covers the shoulders and knees for women. If you are visiting Jewish holy sites, it is recommended that men bring a hat or a “kipah” (yarmulke). Christian sites usually require men to remove their hats.
How many suitcases are allowed per traveler?
We recommend one suitcase & one personal bag per traveler. All hotels have laundry service and you will be too busy touring to carry all that luggage around!
Will our tour include free time?
Tour guides try to balance the tour schedule and free time for shopping in certain areas; however, there will be days when there is very little free time. Most evenings we will have dinner as a group at various restaurants. See the itinerary for more information about this.
I have never been to Israel. Do you recommend this tour for me?
This tour is geared to those who have been to Israel previously and are looking for a more intimate look at the country. That said, everyone is welcome to join us on this tour. If you have never been to Israel before or even if you would like to revisit sites you have seen previously, you may be interested in doing some pre- or post-tour sightseeing. Contact Lynn for more details.
Must I be Jewish to participate in this tour?
Absolutely not. The places we will be visiting on this tour have little to do with religion. An optional visit to the Kotel for Kabbalat Shabbat has value culturally, not just religiously. Other than that, this is a very secular tour and should be of interest to any foodie, not just those who are Jewish.
I keep kosher. Can I still come on this trip?
You will likely be limited in what you are able to eat. Even in Israel, there are different standards of Kashrut. Those who keep stricter standards requiring restaurant owners to display a certificate (called a hechser) from the local rabbinate, proving that their kitchen has been supervised and thoroughly checked, may choose not to take this trip. Some places decide to follow the laws of kashrut but do not display a hechser. These places will have something posted on-site along the lines of ‘Voluntarily Kosher’, or ‘Supervised by God’. This may be acceptable to those who follow a more relaxed standard of kashrut. Many of the restaurants we will be going to are kosher and/or vegetarian- or vegan-friendly, but some are not. Further, small establishments and homes that we visit may not be kosher, and the traveler may find nothing suitable and be disappointed.
I am vegetarian or vegan. Can you accommodate my needs?
Israel is one of the best countries in the world for vegans. Most restaurants are vegetarian friendly and offer vegan options. If you advise Lynn ahead of time, we can have those restaurants prepare some vegetarian or vegan dishes in addition to those dishes the restaurant is preparing for other tour participants. A few establishments may not have a suitable alternative.
I only eat gluten-free foods. Can my needs be accommodated?
Our tour operator works with this on many of their tours and there is a high awareness in Israel about the need of many people to eat gluten-free foods. Several of the restaurants where we will be eating offer gluten-free options, but you may have difficulty at other places. If you advise Lynn ahead of time, most restaurants will prepare some dishes that are gluten-free in addition to those they are preparing for other tour participants. We cannot assure you of a gluten-free kitchen.
I have certain food allergies. Can you meet my needs?
This may be difficult. While our tour operator works with this on many of their tours and there is a high awareness in Israel about food allergies, whether we can meet your specific needs depends on your food allergy. If you choose to come on the tour regardless of your food allergy, please advise Lynn ahead of time so that we are aware of this allergy.
I must be cautious about my intake of sodium. Can you help me out with this?
Unfortunately, no. Much of Israeli food is highly salted and you will need to gauge your sodium intake yourself.
What is the number of guests who will be on the tour?
The minimum number of guests on the tour is 25 and the maximum is 30.