Israel 101: Holy Land Travel FAQs

Disclaimer: This information is up to date as of 4/1/2022. Please inquire with the US Department of State for the latest updates.

Free Close Up of the Flag of Israel Stock Photo
Israel’s Flag courtesy cottonbro

Q: What’s the difference in the time zone from US Eastern time?
A:
Israel is 7 hours ahead of the US Eastern time zone.

Q: What are the hotel rooms like?
A:
Most rooms in 1st class or better include a private bathroom, tv, phone and most have a hair dryer. Some will not provide wash cloths, and some upon request. It’s advisable to bring one in a plastic sealed baggie for use and ability to pack for movement to another hotel.

Q: What do I need to know about electricity?
A:
You will need an international adapter (European style with 2 round prongs) as well as a converter to safely use your electronics. Israel uses 220 volts, where as we use 110 volts in the US. Some devices are dual voltage, these do not need a converter. Be careful with flat irons, hair dryers, etc. – anything that heats up – it can ruin your appliance and converter. It’s better to purchase an appliance that can run on 220 volts when switched over.

WA-15 | 3 Conductor Plug - Israel, Travel Adapter
Israel Style Plug adapter
Power converter

Q: Is the water safe to drink?
A:
Yes. Also most tour buses typically sell bottled water or it may be able to be purchased en route.

Q: What are the buses like?
A:
Most deluxe coach buses are comfortable, air conditioned and fit up to 45 guests.

Q: What type of weather should I expect?
A:
The climate varies a lot, but typically dry in Spring, Summer, & Fall. Bring a small umbrella and check weather before departure and every day.

Q: What type of clothing should I pack?
A:
Bring clothing you can layer, that’s both casual & loose fitting for movement. A few other items you might like to bring would be a poncho, sunglasses and/or hat, and most of all – comfortable shoes. Lots of walking! Note: at many holy sites, men and women are expected to have their knees and shoulders covered. Pack a scarf, pashmina, or other means to cover them.

Q: What should I know about prescription Medication?
A:
Bring medications in original containers along with a copy of your prescription and generic name. If you have medication needing refrigerated, tell your travel professional or tour company as early as possible.

Q: What should I know about mobility/accessibility issues?
A:
It’s best if you are able to walk and because these historic sites you’ll likely be seeing are not set up for the physically challenged, those needing wheelchairs, oxygen, other assistance, etc. will find it limiting. Guides and staff typically cannot assist with wheelchairs and such for liability reasons. Contact your travel professional or tour company about these needs right away.

Free People Walking on Seashore Stock Photo
Sea of Galilee courtesy Haley Black

Q: How much daily walking should I expect?
A:
You can typically expect to walk 1-3 miles per day on most trips. There are usually pauses and your guides can help you with the breakdown of what to expect.

Q: How much money should I bring?
A:
That will vary for everyone, but most folks bring at least $500 in cash to cover expenses like lunches, spending money, optional tipping, and will also vary depending on the length of your trip.

Q: What type of currency is accepted?
A:
Shekels are used but US currency is very widely accepted, but it’s a good idea to stay in the smaller bills since change may be limited. Take $1, $5, and $10 bills the most. Maybe some $20s.

Shekels, courtesy https://israelrail.com

Q: Are ATMs available?
A:
Local banks and most hotels will have ATMs but you will get local shekels currency from them.

Q: Should I bring traveler’s checks? Credit cards?
A:
Traveler’s checks are a bit dated now and they can be hard to use, so credit cards are best. Credit cards are widely accepted. You may want to consider whether your card charges you an international fee or not, and contact any card issuers which you plan to use and let them know about your plans.

Q: How does tipping work?
A:
Check your tour’s brochure to see if any of your gratuities are pre-paid. Be sure to consider the guide, porters, driver, hotel dining, housekeeping, front desk staff, etc. You’ll want $1 bills on you for random things, like tipping a restroom attendant at a church, for example.

Q: What is VAT?
A:
VAT is Value-Added Tax, a type of sales tax of at least 17% which is charged for most goods in Israel, it’s in the price though so it’s not added at the register.

Q: Will I be able to hear my guide?
A:
Most tour operators include headsets so you can hear if you’re not right with the guide, your group is a bit larger, or the area is noisy.

Typical looking tour headset

Q: How long is a day of typical touring?
A:
Most days you’ll leave your hotel around 7-8am, and return around 5-6pm. You will be quite ready for resting, unless you have a lot more energy than me.

Q: Will internet access be available?
A:
Most hotels have free WiFi but some may charge. Many touring coaches have WiFi as well. Another option is available. Contact Easy Breezy Journeys to learn more.

Q: Can I call home?
A:
Hotels typically charge a fee, and do be sure to check with your cellular provider for information on roaming, international use or packages, etc. You may want to use WiFi and a free app, like WhatsApp, facetime, or Facebook phone calls, among others. Be aware of that time difference!

Q: Are there any vaccination requirements?
A:
None are as of the most recent update to this article (see top of the page)

Q: Do I need a passport?
A: Yes, for sure. Any time you leave the country except for on a cruise ship (but I still recommend it then) you need a valid unexpired passport. You need it to be valid through 6 months after you return from your trip. It takes 8-11 weeks currently for processing a new passport, but rush services are available.

Read More here: How to Apply for or Renew Your Passport

Q: Do I need a visa?
A:
United States & Canadian Citizens don’t need one for trips shorter than 90 days, but check your country’s own requirements if this is not you.

Q: What are the US Customs regulations?
A:
You’re allowed to bring back $800 in duty-free purchases. Gifts can be mailed but you can send only $100 per day.

Q: What happens if I need to cancel my trip due to political, global, or other reasons, like illness?
A:
The same as any other trip, in truth – don’t book without including travel insurance is my advice. Travel insurance policies vary, so you’d have to read the fine print, but most travel tour companies do impose cancellation penalties if you cancel. That’s where the insurance comes in.

Q: What should I be 1000% sure I don’t forget when packing?
A:
Passport, backup photo ID, flight confirmations, Bible, sunglasses, camera, converter, adapter, prescriptions, money, & toiletries.

Q: Any last tips for me?
A
: Yes:

  • Pack light, you’ll want souvenirs!
  • Bring extra copies of all important documents, and medication prescriptions
  • Be on time for the bus each day
  • Keep receipts
  • Settle personal charges at the hotel the night before check out
  • You’re not at home so enjoy the chance to try new customs and food! Be respectful of the culture and have a great time!

Ready to plan your great adventure of faith?

If so, Easy Breezy Journeys is here to make it easy for you! Just click HERE to get started!

Free Man Wearing Sunglasses Reading Book on Body of Water Stock Photo
Dead Sea photo courtesy of Toa Heftiba ┼×inca

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