FAQ

HOLY LAND TRAVEL INFORMATION

PASSPORT   
                                                   

Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six (6) months following departure from your foreign destination. Check your expiration date now.  When traveling, DO NOT pack your passport in your suitcase. Carry it with you at all times.  Make two copies of the picture page of your passport.  Leave one copy with family or a friend, and pack the other copy.  If your passport is lost or stolen, the copy of the picture page is proof of your citizenship.  The consular officer in the US Embassy or consulate will assist you.

PASSPORT CONTROL
Upon arrival in Israel, present your passport and entry forms to the Passport Control Official.  If you do not wish for your passport to be stamped, inform the official before submitting the documents.

LANGUAGE
Hebrew is the official language of Israel, along with Arabic.  English is taught in schools and is the most common second language.  Street, road signs and commercial signs include English.

HEALTH CONCERNS
No vaccination requirements are imposed on visitors entering Israel. Ask your doctor what to take in the event you become ill.  We suggest IMODIUM-AD, LOMOTIL and COMPAZINE. We also suggest you take something to help you sleep on the airplane.  But, try it before you travel!

BAGGAGE

Due to limited motor coach luggage capacity, only one large piece of checked luggage (wheeled luggage is recommended) and one carry-on are permitted (in addition to handbag, backpack, or briefcase).  Attach an ID tag to your luggage. At times you will have to handle your own luggage in the mid-East.  Don’t pack more than you can carry yourself.  Call the airlines for current luggage dimensions, weight requirements, and costs of excess baggage. Although your checked luggage may meet weight requirements initially, remember that your return flight luggage may be heavier if you bring home souvenirs, gifts or other purchases. These can add up to extra luggage expenses. Suggestion: Pack a collapsible fabric bag or backpack inside your luggage.  This will be handy as you travel within Israel.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Check your health insurance policy to see if you’re covered outside the USA. We recommend a comprehensive travel insurance program.  If you’d like information about travel insurance, call 972-293-2256.

TIME DIFFERENCE

Israel is eight (8) hours later than Central Standard Time.  When it is 12:00 PM (noon) in Texas, it is 8:00 PM in Israel.

PHONE CALLS

Get your long distance telephone code from your carrier before you leave. Inquire about the overseas rate originating out of the USA. You may wish to tell your family that our group should return to the hotel between 5:00-6:00 PM each evening (Israel time). From Israel,  long distance calls made with a calling card from a pay phone are often less expensive than from your hotel room, where service fees are imposed and charged to your room.

WATER AND BEVERAGES

The water in Israel is pure and safe. However, we suggest you drink bottled water if you have a sensitive system.  Plastic bottles of water may be purchased in most hotel dining rooms or restaurants. The cost is from $1.00 – $3.00 depending on bottle size and place of purchase. Tea, coffee, milk, & juice is included with breakfast at no supplemental charge.  However, at lunch and dinner, you will be charged for drinks not included with dinner.  Please take care of payment for these and other extras before you leave the dining room.
Drink ONLY bottled water in Jordan and Egypt, and make sure the seal is intact.

WHAT TO PACK

First, you are on a sightseeing tour—not a “fashion show”! The basic daily theme will be Casual and Comfortable. That means skirts, jeans, slacks, and shorts in some areas.  Wear comfortable walking shoes or tennis shoes that are broken in. Take a jacket, sweater, raincoat, or an all-weather coat.  In some holy sites, sleeveless outfits or exposed knees are not allowed.  Carry a shirt, shawl or large scarf to cover shoulders or knees when necessary.  Clothes that you are comfortable in at home are perfect.  Many people wear warm-up suits for the transatlantic flight and take along a pair of slippers for the plane. You will be in the same clothes for a long time.
Carry a change of clothes in your carry-on bag just in case your suitcase gets lost.

Note: Almost every day we are on tour after breakfast until dinner. Most days you will have time to clean and freshen up before dinner, but you are not required to dress up for meals.

OTHER SUGGESTED ITEMS

  1. Bible / Notepad / Pen
  2. Inflatable neck pillow
  3. Camera (receipt if new) / Film
  4. Hat / small umbrella
  5. Swim suit (old one for Dead Sea)
  6. Tissues (travel pack)
  7. Sunglasses / Sunscreen
  8. Extension cord
  9. Beach shoes
  10. Emergency sewing kit
  11. Powdered laundry soap
  12. Safety pins
  13. Extra pair of eyeglasses
  14. Towelettes (packets)
  15. Washcloths
  16. Zip lock bags
  17. Converter / Adapter plugs (Israel is 220 V)
  18. Small flashlight
  19. Luggage straps
  20. Travel alarm
  21. Medications
  22. Passport / Visa / Copy of passport picture page carried in different place than passport
  23. All purpose travel bag for use on bus

EXPERIENCED TRAVELER’S TIPS

Take only what you can carry yourself.

  • Plan your wardrobe around one color.
  • Plan to dress in layers so you can peel like and onion.
  • Place liquids in plastic bottles and pack inside zip lock bags.
  • Carry a copy of your credit card
  • Carry an extra supply of all prescription medication.
  • Carry a list of essential medications.
  • Carry your doctor’s phone number.
  • Do NOT bring expensive jewelry.
  • Don’t pack essential medications in your checked luggage. Carry them.
  • Don’t pack your passport in checked luggage. Keep it with you.
  • $50-$100+ in new one dollar bills (see “Money Matters” below).
  • Don’t over pack!!

AIRPORT CHECK-IN AND SECURITY

Airline Security for carry on luggage changes from time to time. http://www.tsa.gov./  for up to date info.

  1. All liquids, gels and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller.
  2. All liquids, gels and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag.
  3. Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items.

HOTEL INFORMATION

Hotel names, addresses, and phone numbers are included in the itinerary. If you need additional information, call 972-293-2256.

ELECTRICAL CURRENT

120 volt power is available for electric razors in the bathroom of your hotel room.  However, you may want to take along your own converter should one of the hotels not have this feature.  Radio Shack or a reputable luggage store sells converters and voltage adapters (220V to 115 V – two prongs). If you plan to use the electricity, purchase a plug adapter, as well as a voltage converter.

MONEY MATTERS

Most expenses are included in your travel program. However, you will need money for lunch, drinks, incidental expenses and souvenirs. Plan $5 – 20 per lunch.
Currency. In Israel it is not necessary to change currency.  Shops accept the USD. We suggest that you take $50 to $100 in one dollar bills.  Also take some $5, $10 and $20 bills.  Larger bills are usually hard to change in Israel.
In Jordan and Egypt American money and travelers checks will be accepted in most stores which cater to tourists.  However, hotels and non-tourist establishments may demand their own currency.
Credit Cards, ATM cards. All major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. Credit card transactions in a foreign country are usually subject to a currency conversion fee. In addition, the credit card company may add an additional fee to your purchase. Check to see what your credit card’s policy is. Some ATM cards will work in Israel also, but expect additional fees. Check with your bank.
Personal Checks. Personal checks cannot be written to banks or hotels for cash. Most stores do not accept personal checks.  However, they may come in handy in a true emergency.
Traveler’s Checks. Most traveler’s checks are accepted, but more identification is required than in the USA or Canada, and fees may be imposed. Can I take my American traveler’s checks to a bank and cash them for USA dollars? NO.    Don’t expect or demand American money back for change. Shops prefer cash or credit cards.
Service Charges and Tips. Before you leave the USA, CrossTalk has already collected money for tips to the guide, driver, and dining room staff.  If you feel the guide and driver have done an exceptional job, it is appropriate to give them a love offering. This can be given directly to them or to group leader to give at farewell dinner. At the end of the tour, guide and driver tips will be distributed by your group leader at the group farewell dinner. Porterage for one bag per person is included in the cost of the tour. Tips to chamber maids are not included.
Additional hotel charges. Please settle your account for incidental hotel charges (laundry, food, telephone, etc.) directly with
the hotel no later than the evening before we check out.

SHOPPING

Although this is not a “shopping tour”, we fully understand the desire to bring home souvenirs.  Time has been allotted for shopping.  Some of you will think this time is not enough, and some will think too much time is spent on shopping.

VALUE ADDED TAX REFUNDS

A “Value Added” tax (VAT) is much like our sales tax. In most countries abroad, VAT is charged on all items purchased. Since you are a tourist, you can recover this tax if:

  1. Your purchase in one store exceeds a specific amount.
  2. You receive from the store a Tax Refund form.
  3. You present this form and your unopened merchandise to customs officials at the air terminal when departing.  Customs officers will validate your form with an official stamp and refund the VAT.
  4. For more information, check with your guide .

BE A CONSIDERATE TRAVELER

Remember, you are traveling as a group and should consider the comfort and well being of the entire group at all times.  If you are late getting on the bus, everyone loses valuable time. Keep up with the group. Be prepared to rotate your seat on the bus daily.
The front rows of the bus are reserved for your tour leaders and hosts to be able to confer. If you have a special need such as motion sickness or a hearing problem, please inform your host or leader.
If you have to be absent from a day of touring for any reason, please notify your tour host, bus captain, or guide as soon as possible.
When touring, you will be given ample time to photograph scenery and points of interest. It will be tempting to linger behind
at times, but please do not delay the group by continuing to take photos after we call “all aboard”.

NAME TAGS

Wearing name badges will give everyone a chance to get acquainted and will facilitate the group’s passage through the various points. Please wear yours.

You are embarking on a wonderful adventure. In addition to being an exciting and a spiritual learning experience, travel to the Holy Lands can include some frustrating and trying times. Recognizing these small inconveniences as a part of the adventure can add richness to the trip. Really it can! Have a wonderful time.

“Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep”

A Traveler’s Prayer

The Lord bless thee, keep thee, the Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee, the Lord turn His face unto thee, and give thee peace.  May it be Thy will, Lord of Heaven and Earth, to lead us to peace and safety, to fly us in peace and safety to our desired destination to find life, joy and peace.  Guard and watch us who fly the air routes and cross the seaways and travel the overland passes.  Make firm the hands that guide the steering and sustain their spirit, so that they may lead us in peace and safety.  For in You alone is our shelter fro now unto eternity. Amen.