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The Holy Land

8 days

Never more than 16 guests OR Travel Privately

Overall Rating
based on 51 Reviews

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Our Distinctive A+R Style

  • Our uniquely immersive itinerary will reveal more sites of Biblical antiquity and immerse you in 21st-century Israeli life.
  • Discover the White City of Tel Aviv, hailed as a superb example of the Modern Movement in architecture.
  • Our 4-night Jerusalem stay allows for extensive exploration of the Old City and excursions to the Qumran Caves and Dead Sea.
  • Ascend to the hilltop ruins at Masada and hear the inspiring tale of its brave inhabitants.
  • Our specially arranged lunch with a Palestinian Christian family in Bethlehem promises a deeply rewarding cultural encounter
  • With the smallest groups in Israel, our savvy guides can tailor the day’s activities for more personalized and enriching experiences apart from the crowds.
  • 7 nights in our luxury hotels; 14 meals with wine at dinner; fully guided sightseeing; all transfers; and all gratuities except for your Trip Leader.
Visit 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites c

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On arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and assisted through baggage claim and arrival formalities, and then escorted to the Drisco Hotel. Established in 1866 and now a member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World, our luxury heritage hotel is set in two historic landmarks built by American settlers in the 19th century. Meals D

Day
2

Along the coast to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee

The Setai - Sea of Galilee, Israel

This morning’s sightseeing begins in Jaffa, one of the oldest areas of Tel Aviv. An important seaport since antiquity, its ancient streets and still lively waterfront offer a palpable sense of the ancient traders who came here – both by sea and camel caravan. Continue along Rothschild Boulevard to explore the distinctive White City of Tel Aviv c. Founded in 1909 and developed under the British Mandate in Palestine, this outstanding example of innovative, early 20th-century town planning is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site - recognized as a fine architectural ensemble of the European Modern Movement in a new cultural context.

From Tel Aviv, you’ll journey northward along the coast to the ancient city of Caesarea. Built by Herod the Great and once the seat of Roman rule in the region, its excavated highlights include an impressive theater and the aqueduct that brought water to the city in ancient times. Enjoy a tour and tasting at a local winery and learn about ancient Megiddo c as you continue to Cana to see the Wedding Church where Jesus performed his first miracle, turning water into wine. In Nazareth, you’ll visit the Basilica of the Annunciation. The current 60-year-old landmark you’ll admire today is the fifth church built on the same site. The first was likely a simple 4th-century alter set in the grotto that was believed to be the site of Mary’s house. Many historians maintain that the first actual Church of the Annunciation was commissioned by Emperor Constantine and completed in 470 AD. Continue to Tiberias and check in to The Setai, our luxury resort on the Sea of Galilee. Meals B+D

Day
3

Along the shores and across the Sea of Galilee

The Setai - Sea of Galilee, Israel

After breakfast, a guided excursion on the tranquil waters of the Sea of Galilee offers a terrific introduction to this beautiful region - so rich in Biblical history. Back on land, we’ll visit the Yigal Allon Museum to see a remarkably preserved wooden fishing boat. Discovered in 1986, scholars have since dated it to the 1st century CE during the time of Jesus.

Continue to Capernaum where Jesus spent much of his ministry and chose his first disciples. You’ll also see the 2nd-century synagogue where extensive excavations have shed light on ancient life in the area. Continue to Tabgha to admire the fine mosaics at the Church of the Multiplication, the site of Christ’s feeding the 5,000. On Galilee’s northwestern shores, you’ll visit the Mount of Beatitudes. Although there is still discussion among scholars, this spot has long been commemorated by many as the hill where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.

Continue your touring with the archaeological site at Caesarea Philippi at the foot of Mt. Hermon. Built around a spring, one of the main sources of the Jordan River, this Greco-Roman city was in ancient times associated with the Greek God Pan. Ascend the Golan Heights for sweeping clear-day views that stretch all the way to Syria and then return to our luxury resort on the Sea of Galilee.  Meals B+D

Day
4

Through the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem

Inbal Jerusalem Hotel - Jerusalem, Israel

Begin another day of enriching exploration at Yardenit, a popular Baptismal site on the Jordan River. Continue to Beit She’an where extensive archaeological excavations that have revealed many ancient landmarks including an impressive Roman amphitheater. This is a rich site where you can learn about Israel’s many layers of civilizations, dating back 5,000 years to an early settlement that later saw successive waves of conquerors including Egyptians, Philistines and Assyrians. Beit She’an was rebuilt as a Hellenistic city about 2,000 years ago before reaching its peak as a 5th-century Roman metropolis with as many as 40,000 inhabitants. Then discover the unusual Zodiac-motif mosaics of Beit Alpha, a Byzantine synagogue, before continuing onward to Jerusalem. Take in the views of the city from atop the Mount of Olives and stroll in the Garden of Gethsemane where ancient, gnarled olive trees still bear fruit and give the Garden a timeless feel. Then check in to the 5-star Inbal Hotel overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem.  Meals B+D

A Holy City for three of the world’s great religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – Jerusalem occupies a unique place in humanity. Enter the Old City and stand before the Temple Mount and the Western Wall - the holiest of Jerusalem’s Jewish sites, sacred because it is a surviving remnant of the Herodian retaining wall that once enclosed and supported the Second Temple. In front of the Western Wall is a large plaza that was created in 1967 as an area for prayer. Continue along the winding streets of the Jewish Quarter to visit the historic Hurva Synagogue. Destroyed in 1948 during the Arab-Israeli War, it was recently rebuilt in its original 19th-century style.

Walk along the Via Dolorosa to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, an important pilgrimage site since the 4th century, and then continue through the lively Arab Bazaar. On Mount Zion, you’ll see the traditional Tomb of King David and the Room of the Last Supper. End your sightseeing at the colorful Mahane Yehuda Market; established nearly a century ago, it’s still the largest open air market in Israel. Engage with friendly vendors and mingle with the city’s rich mosaic of residents as our guide shares insight into Israel’s modern food scene and enduring traditions. And with a prepaid Bites Card, you can sample exotic Middle Eastern delicacies and foods from around the world.

This evening, we’ll take you the Tower of David, an ancient citadel near the Jaffa Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City. As darkness envelops the site, a spectacular Sound and Light Show unfolds with breathtaking virtual reality images and sophisticated trompe l’oeil technology to tell the story of Jerusalem. Meals B

Day
6

Modern Jerusalem and Bethlehem

Inbal Jerusalem Hotel - Jerusalem, Israel

This morning, you’ll visit Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center. Founded in 1953 as a principle center for the documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem remains a dynamic and vital place dedicated to safeguarding the memory of the past and imparting its meaning to future generations. Then enjoy an expertly guided tour through the Israel Museum. Established in 1965 as the largest cultural institution in Israel, it’s now ranked as one of the leading art and archaeology museums of the world. Among the highlights in its vast millennia-spanning collection are the Dead Sea Scrolls and a meticulously constructed model of ancient Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period.

Then travel to Bethlehem where we’ve arranged for you to have lunch in the home of a Palestinian Christian family. With a tempting variety of Middle Eastern salads and appetizers and a main course, this congenial lunch is enhanced by lively conversation with your hosts – and a chance to gain genuine insight into their lives. Then visit the Nativity Church, the oldest standing church in the Holy Land. Originally built in the 4th century by St. Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine, the present 6th-century structure was erected by Justinian. Back in Jerusalem, your evening is free to dine and enjoy as you wish.  Meals B+L

Day
7

Excursion to the Dead Sea and Masada c

Inbal Jerusalem Hotel - Jerusalem, Israel

After breakfast, you’ll embark on a full day excursion to explore the region of the Dead Sea; at nearly 1,400 feet below sea level, it’s the lowest point on Earth. Leaving the city behind you, you’ll see the site of the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Continue to Masada, where you ascend by cable car to visit the hilltop ruins and hear the chilling tale of its brave inhabitants. Overlooking the Judean Desert and Dead Sea, Masada is a natural fortress of rugged beauty. Atop this strategic site, Herod the Great built a palace complex in the classic style of the early Roman Empire. In 73 A.D., it was the site of a violent clash where Jewish patriots made their heroic last stand in the face of an overwhelming Roman army. Today, the fortifications and attack ramp that encircle the monument are the most complete Roman siege works surviving to the present day. Your next stop is the Dead Sea! Be sure to bring your swimsuit as you’ll enjoy lunch and time for a swim – or maybe just a relaxing float in the buoyant therapeutic waters. On your return journey to Jerusalem, you’ll stop to see Wadi Qelt and its 5th-century Monastery of St. George, still inhabited by monks and built into the side of a cliff. This evening’s farewell dinner offers a chance to share experiences and insights gained with your fellow travelers.  Meals B+L+D

Day
8

Depart Jerusalem

You’ll be escorted to the airport today for your departure flight.  Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Add the Highlights of Jordan

5 Day Extension from $1,999

Fully guided by our expert native-born Trip Leader, this immersive journey along the fabled King’s Highway reveals riveting sites of antiquity and Jordan’s enduring traditions. It’s an enriching short tour filled with history and culture - or the perfect extension for our journeys to Egypt and Israel.

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Day
1

Welcome to Jordan

On arrival to Jordan, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the stylish W Hotel in the heart of the city. The rest of this day is yours to relax, enjoy and explore as you wish.

Day
2

Jerash + The King’s Highway to Petra

After breakfast and check out, you’ll join our engaging Jordanian Trip Leader to start your foray into history – starting with Jerash. Just 45 minutes north of the capital, Jerash is celebrated as the best-preserved provincial Roman city in the world – and fondly referred to as the Pompeii of the East. Enter through the imposing triple-arched gateway built to honor Emperor Hadrian and then explore a wealth of ancient sites including the impressive Oval Plaza and Temple of Zeus.
 
Then set out along the historic King’s Way, a trade route of vital importance in the ancient Near East. Traveling southward, you’ll make your way to Madaba where you’ll visit St. George Church to see an incredible 6th-century mosaic depicting Biblical sites from Egypt to Palestine; with 157 Greek captions, it is the oldest-known map of the Holy Land. Then sit down to a home-cooked meal in a restored century-old residence before ascending Mt. Nebo, the traditional burial site of Moses. At the summit, with its panoramic views of the Jordan Valley, there stands a Franciscan structure that was erected to protect the remains of a 4th-century Byzantine church. Continue along the King’s Highway to Petra and check in to the deluxe Mövenpick Hotel, ideally located across from the visitor’s entrance. Before bidding farewell for the evening, your Trip Leader will be happy to assist with suggestions and assistance for dining on your own this evening. Meals B+L

Day
3

Explore Ancient Petra

Mighty Petra c was a strategic link in ancient caravan routes and is still stunningly preserved after nearly 2,000 years. Built by the Nabataeans and later abandoned, it was lost to civilization for centuries until its re-discovery by a Swiss adventurer. The entire city is carved into the sides of a deep gorge, and the only entrance is through a narrow opening called the Siq. This morning, as your Trip Leader leads you into Petra from between these 100-foot cliffs, a remarkable vista will unfold before you… Temples, tombs and dwellings chiseled out of the solid, rose-hued stone. Over the next 3 hours, your expertly-guided tour of Petra includes the famous Treasury and other ancient monuments like the haunting Street of Facades and the Roman Theater. After your guided tour, you can linger on to explore more of the Valley at your own pace: Numerous tombs, large and small residences, temples, bathhouses and other public spaces offer fascinating insight into what life was like when Petra was a thriving city. We’ve included full-day entry, so you can even return to the Mövenpick Hotel to relax or have lunch before returning later in the afternoon to continue your independent exploration.
 
This evening, we’ll take you to the Petra Kitchen for a hands-on culinary experience. Working alongside local villagers under the supervision of a skilled chef, you’ll prepare a variety of traditional Jordanian dishes. It’s a congenial, enriching and fun evening. Enjoy the bounty of your labors when you sit down with fellow travelers for a wonderful well-earned dinner!  Meals B+D

Day
4

Wadi Rum + Back to Amman

Check out after breakfast and join your Trip Leader for today’s adventure that takes you deep into the captivating landscapes of Wadi Rum c immortalized in the epic film Lawrence of Arabia. Traveling in comfortable 4WD vehicles, you’ll discover a remote region where sandstone and granite mountains rise sheer-sided from wide sandy valleys to reach spectacular heights of 4,000 feet and more. An exciting 1-hour camel ride promises a timeless and intimate experience of Wadi Rum’s evocative beauty. At Khazali Canyon, you’ll enjoy a guided 20-minute hike to see ancient Nabataean inscriptions and drawings. Sit down to a traditional Bedouin lunch with a local family before returning to the W Hotel in Amman.  Meals B+L

Day
5

Depart Amman

You’ll be escorted to the airport today for your onward journey.  Meals B

Private Tour Add-Ons

Cairo

Our 4-day Cairo private tour includes a choice of 5-star hotels, daily breakfast, chauffeured airport transfers, and in-depth private car sightseeing with our engaging Egyptologist.

The Kingdom of Oman

Our private Oman tour shows you the desert, mountain and coastal landscapes of Oman, including an overnight sunset desert camel safari and visit with a Bedouin family. Our engaging Omani guides will immerse you in the history, striking natural beauty and enduring traditions of their native land.

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More Personal Space
+ Our Extra Care
 

  • Proper physical distancing with two seats to yourself on our large, luxury touring coaches
  • High-touch surfaces on coaches and private vehicles sanitized frequently throughout the day
  • Whisper Headsets when there are 5 or more guests
  • Dine at small, properly distanced tables, avoiding crowded large-capacity restaurants
  • Guides and staff will wear face masks when in close proximity to guests
  • Face coverings and sanitizer always available complimentary for our guests
>> Click Here to read all that we are doing so you can travel with More Space + Extra Care

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Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
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Pay-In-Full

Save $1,000 per couple + $500 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you pay-in-full at time of booking.

Exploring Israel – Ancient + Modern

These videos, articles and podcasts will illuminate the enthralling experiences that await you on our intimate journey to Israel. Drawn from respected independent sources, we’ve curated this multi-media collection to ignite your imagination. Inspiring as they are now on your screen, the things you see, read and hear will truly come to life when you travel with our engaging and impassioned Israeli guides.

Our A+R Library

 

Passports + Visas + Entry Requirements
American citizens will need to present a valid passport upon entry into Israel. Your passport must be valid for 6 months after your return to the U.S.  It is your sole responsibility to secure and/or pay for any and all visas (reciprocity fees, affidavits, immunizations, etc. that are required to be permitted entry into each destination). No visas are required for American citizens to Israel unless you are staying longer than 90 days. Visitors from countries other than the United States should check on their specific entry requirements with the nearest Israeli consular office.

Visas and entry requirements can change without notice, so it is important that you check the U.S. State Department website well in advance of your travel date to ensure you procure the proper documentation for your travel. For up to date visa requirements US citizens should visit www.travel.state.gov.

Please note that Israel is currently under Level 3 Travel Advisory. You may wish to consult the State Department’s website travel.state.gov for the most up-to-date information.

Israel has a very tight security screening process and the local authorities hold the right to refuse entry into Israel to anyone without explanation. Please review the restrictions at the State Department’s website above.

Due to ever-changing entry requirements related to world health restrictions, it is important to stay up to date about what is required for entry into any country you travel. Many countries (including Israel) will require proof of negative COVID-19 test result prior to entry.  The test and any resulting quarantine implications from the test will be solely at the responsibility of the traveler.  Please review the country specific information and announcements through the US Embassy website as well as the embassy of the country to which you plan to travel. Links to these pages can be found at the top of our homepage at www.alexanderroberts.com.

Now is a good time to assemble and check your travel documents, then keep them together in a safe, accessible area of your home. If you keep your passport in a bank safe deposit, retrieve it now to avoid a last-minute rush, and double-check the expiration date!

Your Health
Recommended inoculations for travel may change and you should consult your practitioner for current recommendations before your upcoming journey. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet all health entry requirements, obtain the recommended inoculations, take all recommended medication, and follow all medical advice in relation to your trip. Inoculation requirements can be found on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/. Also check the World Health Organization (WHO) website http://www.who.int/ith/en/ before you travel internationally.

Medical supplies including CPAP machines for sleep apnea can be brought as an additional carry-on with most airlines.  If you are traveling with a CPAP machine, please let Alexander+Roberts know in advance and consider bringing a backup battery in case of inconsistent electricity supply. Distilled water is available in most destinations. Make sure you have all appropriate adaptors, although newer machines have universal power supplies that can adapt to various voltages. Bring extra supplies (especially cushions) and replacement parts as repairing the machine while travelling may not be possible.
Physical Activity
Ancient sites worldwide were constructed well before building codes or the existence of safety and accessibility standards. And in order to maintain the architectural and historical integrity that attracts visitors in the first place, many of the sites have been intentionally left in their natural state. As such, you will encounter uneven terrain, irregular steps, and a lack of handrails, barriers, ramps and cautionary warning signs where you might expect them back home. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to take great care and caution when exploring these sites. Pay attention to all instructions and do not wander away from your guide, especially off designated paths into unmarked terrain. When exploring on your own, heed all regulations, be extra mindful of your surroundings and note any conditions that could increase the risks (poor visibility, wet slippery surfaces, etc).

For travelers with mobility issues or physical challenges, be prepared for less accessibility than we enjoy in the United States. Hotels may be limited in the provisions made for such travelers and some do not have elevators. Airports are not always fully equipped with modern jetways, and ramps for wheelchairs are often absent.

We regret that we cannot provide individual assistance for guests who need mobility assistance.  Nor can we ensure that local vehicles will be wheelchair-equipped. For these reasons, a qualified companion must accompany guests who need such assistance.
 
Physical limitations requiring special attention and/or equipment must be reported when making reservations. We will make reasonable attempts to accommodate special needs but cannot provide individual assistance.  Should issues become apparent on tour that impact other guests, we may require individual assistance be obtained or require the guest to return home early at the guest’s expense.  

Protecting Your Vacation
As you prepare and get excited for your upcoming journey, it’s not fun to think about what would happen if you had to cancel or interrupt your trip. The best way to eliminate that worry is with a good travel protection plan. Travel protection plans can help protect you in the event of loss of non-refundable trip deposits and payments that result from cancellation or trip interruption (due to a covered reason such as injury or illness before or during the trip). It also helps with reimbursement for medical emergency costs (including very costly medical evacuation costs), missed connections and baggage loss. There are many good plans out there, and we’re happy to offer a very comprehensive Travel Protection Plan - including “Cancel for Any Reason” benefits. You can find complete information online: alexanderroberts.com/insurance.aspx

Your International Flights
If you have not already made your international flight arrangements, you should consider taking advantage of our excellent relationships with outstanding international carriers including Lufthansa, British Airways, United Airlines and Emirates. We can book your air in Economy, Premium Economy or Business Class with advice on seat availability - and even advance seat assignments on many carriers and routes. Booking your international air with A+R will allow us to directly assist you with any flight disruptions, delays or cancellations while on-tour.

Personalized Service… Anytime you Need it!
If you have questions about your upcoming journey or wish to make any changes such as adding extra nights, special sightseeing or transfers, please call your travel agent. You can also contact our Concierge, Melanie Delworth, at 800-678-7942, Ext. 154. Or reach her by email at mdelworth@alexanderroberts.com.

For travel assistance during your journey, we’ve included our OnCall International service… It’s complimentary 24/7! Just call 888-771-8409…. Anytime, we’re here to assist you.

A Word about Hotels
As in other parts of the world, check-in time for most hotels is around 3:00PM and check-out time is typically 11AM. Should you arrive early to find that your room is not yet ready, the hotel will likely be more than happy to store your luggage securely for a few hours. That leaves you unencumbered to explore a bit at your own pace - or to relax with a cup of tea or coffee either in the lobby or at a nearby cafe.

Similarly, if you have a late departure flight, hotels will store your luggage after you’ve checked-out, leaving you free to explore and relax until it’s time to go to the airport. Depending upon how busy they are, hotels may allow you to occupy your room for another hour or two without charge; check with the front desk to determine if this is possible for your day of departure.

If early check-in or late check-out is required, advance arrangements can usually be confirmed for the cost of an additional night. Please notify us or your travel agent if you wish to confirm either.

Climate
Israel is blessed with a Mediterranean climate, making for pleasurable year-round travel. It enjoys sunny and cloudless days from May to October, with average temperatures around 80°F in the summer. Regardless of the season, it’s important to pack clothing that can be layered as temperatures rise and fall throughout your travels. Don’t forget your sunglasses, sunscreen and hat. Comfortable walking shoes are a must!

Money Matters
The currency in Israel is the New Shekel (ILS). The Israeli treasury is currently in the process of replacing the existing bank notes with new designs and colors so don’t be alarmed if you receive different-looking bank notes for the same denomination, but please double check the number of the denomination when spending. Exchange rates can vary widely but one US dollar roughly equals about 4 shekels.

American dollars, major credit cards (American Express, Master Card and Visa), and traveler’s checks are accepted in Israel, though American Express is not always accepted. Credit cards are good for any large purchases you may make; cash is the most convenient in general. It is advisable to bring a fair amount of your cash in smaller denominations ($1s, $5s, $10s and $20s).

ATMs on both the Cirrus and Plus networks are available throughout the country. We recommend that before you travel you inform both your bank and your credit card company which countries you will be visiting. It is also a good idea to inquire about fees for transactions abroad.

If you plan to make purchases with credit cards or change traveler's checks into local currency, please have your passport with you.  Otherwise, you might consider leaving it in the hotel safe.

Tipping
For your on-tour convenience, we have included all gratuities except for your Trip Leaders or guides. This includes drivers, baggage porters and restaurant staff for all included meals; certainly, if any of these services are exceptional and go above-and-beyond, then feel free to tip additionally.

For your Trip Leaders or guides, many of our guests find it helpful to have some guidelines; in that spirit, we recommend tipping them $8-$10 per person, per day.  On our Private Tours, your personal guide is also your licensed professional tour driver; in this case, we recommend $15-$20 per person, per touring day.

Although not included in your Tour Fare, please remember that these Trip Leader gratuities are always at your discretion. They are appreciated as recognition for excellent service, but whether you tip, and how much, is entirely up to you.

When you’re out enjoying meals and activities that are not part of your A+R itinerary, here are tipping guidelines in accordance with local practices:

•    Upscale restaurants: A service charge of 12% to 15% is typically already included on the bill. If you have any questions, just ask the restaurant staff.
•    Spa Services: Add 10% to 15 %.
•    Taxis: Tips are not expected by taxi drivers.

For any gratuities, we suggest you tip in the local currency. But if you only have US Dollars, they will be graciously accepted.


About Electricity
Electric current is 230V at 50 Hz AC and most outlets support two round-pin plugs. An adapter plug and a converter may be necessary to charge your electronic devices, and are usually available from the front desk. For more information on plugs and sockets, review the information at: www.iec.ch/worldplugs/map.htm.

Internet and Phone calls
If you plan to bring your cell phone when you travel, please check with your carrier to ensure that your plan covers international calls and/or mobile data from the countries you will visit on your trip and whether there may be money saving plans available from your carrier that can be arranged in advance. Alternatively, local prepaid SIM cards for your phone are usually available at the airport where you arrive and can be used to tap into local service providers. Wi-fi is available at many hotels either complimentary or for a fee; you can find Wi-Fi information on your itinerary and hotel list, or check with the front desk upon check in regarding access details.

If you need to place an international call from your hotel room, please check first with the Front Desk about their rates. Hotels often contract with outside vendors to provide direct-dial service for overseas calls – and the rates can be unexpectedly high!

The dialing code for Israel is +972; you’ll need to prefix the local number with this dialing code when calling from outside of Israel.

Is the Water Safe to Drink?
Bottled water can be found in most hotels and at various shops throughout the cities.  It is best to avoid drinking the local tap water and using ice cubes in Israel, especially if you are very sensitive to changes in water due to mineral contents and added chloride though you technically can drink it.

Meal Time
Israeli cuisine includes local dishes that have long been native to the land as well as a variety of cuisines brought to Israel by Jews from the Diaspora. Buffet breakfasts at your hotel will include many items that you’ll be readily familiar with - including fruits, breakfast breads, eggs, cereals and yogurt. In addition, more typical Israeli morning fare will also be available including salads, fresh vegetables, cheeses and a popular dish known as Shakshouka – which consists of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions and other spices. For lunch and dinner, many of the most popular dishes may remind you of other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines – with items like falafel, hummus and couscous. Schnitzel, a breaded and pan-fried chicken cutlet, is often enjoyed with a variety of side salads, vegetables and rice or mashed potatoes. Shwarma, grilled lamb or other meat that is thinly sliced and served in pita bread or over rice, is a popular and inexpensive lunchtime meal or snack. For dessert, flaky sweet Baklava and crepes with a variety of fillings will be very familiar to you. More exotic Israeli desserts include Knafeh (made from shredded pastry, cheese and sweet syrup) and Malabi (a pudding flavored with rose water and usually topped with nuts).

Most hotels and many restaurants are kosher, meaning they follow the Jewish dietary laws. These include not mixing meat and dairy products, no pork or shellfish. Kosher restaurants close Friday afternoon and on the eve of holidays and reopen after the Shabbat or Holiday.


Shopping
Enjoy your shopping, but keep a few precautions in mind. We recommend that you avoid items that are presented as antiques or even as ancient artifacts. Often, they’re anything but old! In addition, the export of genuine antiques is strictly controlled so that cultural treasures do not leave the country. Animal skins and items made from tropical bird feathers could come from endangered species and should also be avoided. Some items could be made from endangered species and their export (and import into the USA) are illegal. Buy only from reputable shops, and if you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to ask your hotel concierge or your guide for advice. Should you purchase a larger item which the seller agrees to ship, we recommend that you take a picture of the item and make sure you have all the bills of sale as well as the seller’s address and phone number should the need arise for you to contact the shop upon your return home.

A Word about Faith + Religion
Jerusalem is a Holy City for three of the world’s major religions, revered by Christians, Muslims and Jews. Nearly all of the places you will visit resonate with deep spiritual significance for people of these diverse faiths. Although it likely goes without saying, we want to remind all of our travelers – regardless of your faith or personal religious beliefs – that respect is important. What may be for you a sightseeing stop of mainly historic or cultural importance is – for many of those around you – also a place that continues to have great religious significance. Conservative dress and a respectful tone of voice will be among the things to keep in mind. Please note that the Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine and only those of the Muslim faith can enter inside. All other places included in your sightseeing program are open to people of all religions.

Shabbat is the Jewish holy-day and day of rest of the week. Shabbat starts on Friday afternoon/evening and ends on Saturday evening. All public offices in Israel are closed on Shabbat, as are most private businesses such as stores. In most cities, public transportation (trains and buses) does not operate. Taxis are available.

In mainly secular cities, like Tel Aviv, many of the restaurants and cafes are open, but throughout the country many restaurants may be closed. It is recommended to check in advance if you are planning on visiting a specific location. Radio and TV broadcasts operate as usual.

Israel recognizes several national holidays which can affect the operation of tours and business hours. Please review the website below if you have questions about the Israeli holidays during your time of travel: https://info.goisrael.com/en/holidays-in-israel

What are Business Hours?
Israel is 2 hours ahead of London and 7 hours ahead of New York.  In Israel, shops are open from 9:00AM to 7:00PM Sunday through Thursday, with reduced hours on Friday. Most shops close in the afternoon between 1:00PM and 4:00PM. On Fridays and on the eves of major Jewish holidays, shops are open in the morning and close early in the afternoon.

Conversing with Locals
Both Hebrew and Arabic are official languages of Israel, but you will find that most people also speak English.  Local signs at sites are also translated to English.


Packing Advice to Get You Started
For sightseeing and dining out, dress comfortably and neatly. Your hotel restaurant will welcome casual dress, but if you attend the theater it would be best to wear business-like attire. As a rule, you should dress a bit more conservatively in the Middle East then you would in America, especially if you are a woman. Please do not wear shorts (no bare knees) and bare shoulders when visiting religious sites. Men are also encouraged to choose long pants rather than shorts. Comfortable footwear is a must!

Consider an Easy-To-Carry Traveling Bag
It’s good to have a small bag to carry your daytime needs with you while traveling; a backpack is used by many travelers for this purpose. A water bottle is always handy to have in your traveling pack.

The Essentials
Hotels are well-equipped with tissues and toilet paper; however small packets of facial tissues can be handy for use in public bathrooms. Your hotel will provide fine amenities, including soap and shampoo, but pack your own if you use particular brands. Please bring your own lotions, contact lens solutions, cosmetics and feminine hygiene products. Bring extra prescriptions (packed partially in your hand luggage) as well as cold medicine, aspirin and cures for intestinal troubles. You should also bring a good sunblock lotion with you since high temperatures can intensify the impact of the sun. We recommend 30+ SPF.

Though it will be available on tour, you should be prepared to carry your own personal protection equipment including hand-sanitizer and comfortably fitted face masks. There may be sites and public areas that will require face coverings.

Seeing + Capturing your Experiences
Make a complete check of your camera equipment before you leave and make sure you have replacement or rechargeable batteries and additional memory cards.

Camera drones are not allowed for use on our tours as they can detract from the experiences of your fellow travelers. If, however you plan to bring a drone for use in your free time, please pay close attention to the local aviation laws.  Most historic sites and national parks explicitly prohibit the use of personal drones, so it is your own responsibility to acquire any necessary permission and adhere to local laws should you plan on traveling with a drone.  

On-Tour Hunger Pangs
High-protein snacks are good for both the air trip as well as for your activities while traveling: nuts, raisins, granola bars and peanut butter are popular with many of our travelers. If you drink decaffeinated coffee, this is a good item to bring along as it may not always be available. Powdered milk or coffee creamer is also recommended for those who like them, and sugar substitutes are not always available.

A Few Final Tips
Some handy items we recommend include: an extra pair of glasses, an alarm clock, and a bottle opener.

A Note about Traveling with Minors
Many countries currently require documentary evidence of a relationship between minors traveling with an adult. Although Israel is not one of them, we strongly recommend that parents traveling alone with a minor carry a notarized letter from the absent parent authorizing the trip, regardless of whether the parent is married or divorced. Never-married parents, parents whose spouse has died, and parents who have been granted sole legal custody of children are encouraged to carry notarized proof of their status, including death certificate where appropriate. Grandparents traveling with grandchildren and adults traveling with children who are not their own should carry letters of authorization from both parents of the children. It is wise to also carry the child’s birth certificate with the original seal. Please visit the state department’s website travel.state.gov if you plan to travel with a minor.

Reminders about Your Baggage
Baggage restrictions vary by airline, and we ask you to review the airlines on your itinerary and review baggage restrictions on their website to determine the maximum number of bags and weights that are allowed.  In Economy, passengers are limited to one bag.  Keep in mind that the flights that are included on your tour are in Economy and are limited to one checked bag with weight limits.  So when packing for your trip, consider the bag and weight restrictions on all of your flights, not just your international arrangements.

Most airlines charge travelers for additional bags and excess weight so we advise you to pack as lightly as possible. Most of our hotels offer laundry services.

TSA Packing Tips
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) publishes a comprehensive list of items that are Permitted and Prohibited in carry-on and checked baggage. You can find the complete list online at https://www.tsa.gov/travel.

For vacation travelers, the important thing to remember is that only one small bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes can be in your carry-on bag when you pass through security. Each item is limited to 3.4 ounces (100ml) - and all containers must fit inside a clear, 1-quart sized, zip-top bag. If you have containers that are larger than 3.4 ounces, they must go inside your checked baggage.

Medications, baby formula/food and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding the 3.4-ounce limit, and they do not have to be in a zip-lock bag. You should declare these items at the checkpoint, and keep in mind that TSA Officers may need to inspect them.

Other Recommendations:

•    Jewelry, cash, tablet devices and laptops should be in your carry-on baggage. Tape your business card to the bottom of your laptop for easy identification if it gets separated for inspection.
•    Avoid accessories and jewelry that contain metal as they may set off the metal detector at the check point. This saves having to take them off and put them back on as you pass through security.
•    Wear slip-on shoes that can be easily removed and placed on the conveyor built to be x-rayed at the security check-point.
•    If you wish to place a lock on your checked luggage, it must be of a make and model approved by the TSA.
•    Do not pack wrapped gifts and do not bring wrap gifts to the security check point.

And a Few Words about Safety + Security
Traveling abroad is no different than visiting a new city in the United States: use common sense precautions to safeguard your person and your possessions at all times. Remember to wash your hands frequently and use hand-sanitizer.
•    Do not go out and about with your passport unless specifically instructed to do so by your local guides.
•    Keep your extra cash and passport in the in-room safe of your hotel. In the few instances where they are not available, then store these items in the safety deposit box at the front desk.
•    Always make a copy of your passport, credit cards and e-tickets and keep them separate from the originals so that they can be more readily replaced if lost or stolen. Leave extra copies with someone at home who you can reach while traveling. Or consider scanning these documents and emailing them to an address that you can access while abroad.
•    If you don’t already own one, consider investing in a money belt that can be concealed under your clothing. This is a good place to keep the cash and credit cards that you need for personal expenses while sightseeing, shopping and touring.
•    Do not display large amounts of cash in public.  Carry your purse with the strap across your chest, not dangling from your shoulder or arm.

These measures will save you countless time and trouble should your credit cards, airline tickets or passport be lost or stolen.  

Border Crossings from Israel to Jordan
There are three border crossing points between Israel and Jordan that are most frequently used:  the Yitzhak Rabin/Arava border point near Eilat (south of Petra), the central border crossing is at the Allenby Bridge/King Hussein Bridge border point if traveling from Jerusalem to Amman or the Jordanian Dead Sea resorts; and toward the north is the Jordan River Border Terminal/Sheik Hussein Bridge, if you are traveling from Tiberias / Nazareth / Sea of Galilee area to Jordan.  

For information regarding the passage of Israel's borders, please see the following website:
http://www.iaa.gov.il/en-US/rashot/Pages/default.aspx

Note: if you plan to cross the border to Jordan at Allenby Bridge or Arava border point, you must obtain your Jordanian visa prior to your departure from the U.S. At Sheikh Hussein border point, Jordanian authorities issue an entry visa on the spot.

The Israeli government is currently changing the visa requirements at the Arava border crossing.  You can stay up to date on the requirements through the Jordanian Embassy, but we recommend you acquire your visa ahead of time to avoid any confusion.

Regardless of which border point you use, you will be required to pay, on the spot, the Israeli departure fee/tax.  The current Israel departure tax/fee ranges from $28 to $50 per person depending upon which border point you cross and fees are subject to change without notice. In addition, there are shuttle / bag fees of up to $8 per person. All local fees must be paid in local currency.

Please note that Israeli and/or Jordanian drivers and guides are not permitted to cross the border with you. When traveling from Israel to Jordan, your Israeli transfer (car and driver) will bring you to a designated border crossing point. Once you complete your Israeli exit formalities you will proceed unescorted to the Jordanian border terminal. After completing Jordanian entry formalities, please look for your Jordanian transfer (car and driver) who will wait for you holding an Alexander+Roberts sign with your name. He/she will transfer you to your hotel in Amman or to your designated Jordanian Dead Sea resort hotel.  

Border Crossing Information
(subject to change without notice)

Allenby Bridge (King Hussein) border point
(last arrival must be 3 hrs before closing; see hours below)
This Jordan river crossing in the Jordan Valley east of Jericho, about one hours drive from Jerusalem, is the closest to the city.  You must have a Jordanian visa in advance (see note above). Should a traveler not have the required visa, the crossing will be over the Sheikh Hussein Bridge located one and a half hours further to the North. Your transfer costs will be significantly higher.

Opening times: (subject to change without notice)
Sunday – Thursday 8:00AM to 10:00PM
Friday – Saturday, Jewish Holidays & eve of Jewish Holidays: 8:00AM to 11:00AM

Closed on Yom Kippur (exact date to be advised about one week in advance by authorities).

Current Israeli land departure fees/tax: approximately $52 per person

Sheikh Hussein Jordanian River Border Terminal
Located near the Israeli town of Beit She’an, this is the northernmost Jordan River crossing point. It is about 57 miles from Amman. If you are entering Jordan from Israel at this border point, your Jordanian visa may be obtained on the spot.

Opening times: (subject to change without notice)
Sunday – Thursday: 6:30AM to 9:00PM
Friday – Saturday: 8:00AM to 8:00PM

Jordanian visa cost: approximately USD $15 per person, payable on the spot in cash (USD exchange for Jordanian Dinars).

Current Israeli land departure fees/tax: approximately $30 per person

Arava (Yitzhak Rabin) border point
Located about 2 miles north of Eilat, Israel. There are currently some pending regulations at this border point, to avoid possible issues, we strongly suggest that you obtain a Jordanian visa in advance (see note above).  

Opening times: (subject to change without notice)
Sunday – Thursday: 6:30AM to 8:00PM
Friday – Saturday: 8:00AM to 8:00PM
Closed on Yom Kippur and Islamic New Year

Current Israeli land departure fees/tax: approximately $30 per person

Please be patient and prepared for delays when using land crossing points from Israel to Jordan. This crossing procedure is guided by politics and protocol. Crossing the border can take up to three hours, depending on Israeli security measures.

 
Some Helpful Web Links

U.S. Department of State
www.travel.state.gov
Travel documents and tips; State Department Travel announcements; Consular Information for countries you will visit
 
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel
General health information for travelers and health information on specific destinations

Transportation Security Administration
www.tsa.gov (select Traveler Information)
Tips for travelers going through security at the airport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
www.cbp.gov (select Travel)
Helpful information for returning U.S. citizens travelling abroad

Calling the U.S. from Abroad
www.att.com/traveler
AT&T’s USADirect service offers convenient telephone access to the U.S. from around the world

Currency Converter
www.oanda.com/currency/converter

Alexander+Roberts
www.alexanderroberts.com
For information about your tour: itinerary, customer reviews, visas, Travel Protection Plan, payment and cancellation details



 

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