Many seasoned travelers are not aware
that their health insurance may not cover them outside of the
country. If you need to cancel your trip due to an unforeseen
emergency or serious illness, most of your trip may be non-refundable
if you are not insured. In the event you become ill during your
travels, finding and receiving medical care may be very frustrating
without insurance. Travel insurance also covers lost baggage and
worldwide emergency assistance. For a minimal amount of money, travel
insurance is a must. Speak with your Pilgrim Tours Representative or
your Group Leader for travel Insurance options.
US citizens need a
valid U.S. passport with at least six months validity beyond intended
stay, to enter Israel. Make two photocopies of your passport. Leave
one copy at home and carry the other separately from your original.
You do not need a Visa when entering Israel.
Non U. S. Citizens are responsible to fulfill appropriate entry
requirements of destination. Contact your Consulate office for
On some of our Israel tour programs you
may have pre-paid your tips, so you do not need to tip the hotel
staff, guide and driver individually. That will be taken care of for
you by your pastor leader or our Pilgrim Tours representative. Review
all your past and present documentation sent by Pilgrim Tours, to
verify if your tips have been pre-paid. As a show of appreciation, and
as only the minimum tipping amount has been pre-paid, Pilgrim
encourages travelers to provide additional tips to the driver and
guide for their services provided. Remember that a tip or gratuity is
earned for services rendered in a courteous and professional
In Israel a service
charge is often added to the bill in hotels and restaurants. However,
if it is omitted, a tip of 10-12% is customary. A usual tip for tour
bus drivers is $3.00 per person, per day and a tour escort usually
receives $5.00 per person, per day. Hotel Staff receives $1.00 per
person, per day. Do not tip taxi drivers in Israel. Pay only by what
the meter shows unless the cab driver is handling baggage for you.
The currency in Israel
is the Shekel. There are no restrictions on the import and export
of Israeli or foreign currency. Credit cards can be used in Israel
for larger purchases. ATMs in Israel are all connected to European
and American banking systems. Please be advised that the ATM machines
dispense money in SHEKELS - NOT US DOLLARS. U.S. dollars are
recommended for use for small purchases and tipping.
We suggest you call your bank and/or credit card company before you
leave to let them know you will be out of the country and using your
ATM card or credit card.
Electricity is 220 volts. You will
need to bring along the necessary converters to operate any 120-volt
appliances such as hair dryers, electric razors, etc. The plugs are
round and have two prongs.
None required for
U.S. citizens. Modern medical services are readily available in
Israel’s larger cities. Most doctors speak English fluently.
Pharmacies can provide medication for minor aliments, but travelers
should carry their own prescription medication. Israel meets western
standards of sanitation and no special precautions usually need to be
taken. The water and food are safe to consume, and medical facilities
are more than adequate. Check with your doctor about updating any
If you are required to take
medications, you should notify the leader of your group in the event
of an emergency. Ask your doctor to write an extra prescription to
take with you if your medication is lost. All medication must be kept
in its original container, including over-the-counter medications.
Due to the size of baggage compartments
in touring coaches, each passenger is restricted to ONE suitcase and
ONE carry-on bag (in addition to your purse, camera case or video
Total dimensions of the bag to be checked
on the airplane is not to exceed 62 inches (length + width + height)
and should not weigh more than 50 lbs.
Carry-on luggage is not to exceed a
width + height) and should not weigh more than 11 lbs,
as it must fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead
compartment. Due to the constant change in the air industry we
recommend you check the baggage allowance for your air carrier before
Be sure your luggage
is clearly marked on the inside and outside. If you are traveling
with a tour group, you must use the luggage tags provided along
with your own.
Due to recent changes in baggage allowance
in the industry we advise checking with your airlines before you
depart to see if there has been a change in their regulations
Seven hours ahead of EST and two hours
ahead of GMT.
In Israel the climate is
temperate, and temperatures all year round are reasonable. Israel has
two main seasons: Winter from November to March is cold and rainy in
most parts of the country; summer from April to October is hot and dry
with little or no rainfall. The desert areas can be extremely hot in
summer time. The best time to visit is March-June or October-November,
although climate shouldn't be a major consideration in choosing a time
Average Temperature Average Rain Fall
Leave your travel information with a
family member or friend, including a copy of your passport, your
flight itinerary, travel itinerary, hotel names and phone numbers. In
the event of an emergency, family members may contact Pilgrim Tours at
Dress comfortably for
the flight, wearing clothes that allow freedom of movement and shoes
that slip on and off easily.
When at the airport,
never leave your luggage unattended for any length of time…no matter
how short. Do not accept packages from strangers to carry on to the
plane for them.
Check-in time for
international flights is normally two-three hours prior to departure.
When checking in at the airport, a valid passport is needed as proof
of identification of travelers flying to Israel.
Bring along a
moisturizer, as the air in the plane cabin is extremely dry.
In order to avoid jet
lag, avoid caffeine, alcohol and carbonated beverages. Rather, opt
for natural fruit juices and water.
What to Pack
Comfortable, casual clothing that can
be layered to match the weather is a good suggestion. Planning your
wardrobe around one or two colors is also helpful. You may choose to
bring along one dressy outfit but it is not necessary. Be sure to
include comfortable walking shoes and a lightweight jacket for
mornings and evenings.
including a Baptism service in the Jordan River or any other location
in Israel, it is advise to wear proper footwear to protect ones feet
from any foreign objects that may be present in the water.
A raincoat and rain
hat (or poncho) is easier to use when sightseeing than an umbrella.
The above climate listings will allow you to plan accordingly for
Women should always
dress modestly. It is an affront to some in Israel for women to be
showing bare shoulders and legs. Women should also pack a lightweight
scarf for covering their heads only if entering a mosque or other
religious location which require this. Both men and women will need
to remove their
shoes before entering
a mosque as well. When entering religious sites in Jerusalem, men and
women need to make sure their legs are covered to at least below the
knee. Also, be sure to cover shoulders.
should only be worn around swimming pools or beaches and not in public
Be sure to keep
important items such as documents, money, medications, keys, etc. on
your person or in your carry-on luggage. Never pack these items in
your checked luggage.
Do not make yourself
a target by wearing expensive jewelry. A good way to conceal your
money and valuables is by purchasing an inexpensive, lightweight pouch
that attaches around your waist and is worn under your clothes.
Do not over-pack.
Leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs.
If you are traveling
with a companion, cross-pack. Put half of your items in your
companion’s luggage and vice-versa. This will ease the frustration of
Take along a small
backpack. When you are touring, fill it with bottled water, tissues,
notebook and pen. It will also come in handy for carrying souvenirs.
Don’t forget these
travel sized necessities: sewing kit, first-aid kid, tissues, travel
clock, toiletries, notebook and pen, pre-printed address labels (for
sending postcards), plastic “zip-locking” bags (for storing open
bottles and containers).
Purchase your film
and batteries in the US. Remember to bring extra for your video
To avoid dehydration which is very
common in extremely dry climates, drink plenty of water. Bottled
water, not tap is recommended at all meals. Pitchers of water will be
supplied at dinner in Israel. This water is safe to drink. Carry
bottled water with you when touring. When buying bottled water, make
sure the seal is not broken when you get the water.
People with sensitive
digestive systems need to be prepared by purchasing diarrehea
medication ahead of time to take with you. Electrolite supplements
maybe needed during the warmer months. Your doctor might be a helpful
source for recommending precautionary medication to take along.
For meals that are not included, check
with your group leader or the front desk at the hotel for suggestions
(be sure to mention the price range you are interested in). There’s a
wide range of cuisine in Israel from Continental to Ethiopian.
There’s even a First Century Roman restaurant (Cardo Culinaria)
serving only food of that era, before tomatoes, potatoes and sugar
were known in the Old World. Other specialties include hummus and
falafel (similar to a pita).
Check with your group leader or the
front desk for the best shopping areas. Specify that you are
interested in purchasing items that are known for their local and
There are countless opportunities for shopping in Israel in the
shopping centers that have sprung up in the past few decades -
including the Malkha Mall, the largest in the Middle East - as well as
in the colorful markets, annual bazaars, street malls, and shops in
the large cities - all of which offer attractive imported and
locally-made items. All of the towns in Israel have bazaars but the
ultimate is to be found in the Old City of Jerusalem. Favorite items
to purchase include leather goods, pottery, crafts, olive-wood
carvings and hand-blown glass. Bargaining is acceptable but in your
effort to keep the price low, do so without being insulting or
arrogant towards the vendors.
Show respect for the religious
observances throughout Israel - do not eat or drink in or around
religious shrines. Remove your shoes before entering a mosque.
Because of the large
amount of religious sites throughout the country, the Bible could well
be the best guidebook for the nation of Israel - bring one along.
Women should never
travel alone outside the main tourist areas. They should also ignore
any rude remarks directed at them and avoid eye contact with men.
Be sure to ask
permission before taking pictures of people and do not photograph
anything with military significance or remotely connected with the
government in Israel.
If you plan on hiring
a taxi, agree on the price before getting in.
Be sure to carry your
passport with you at all times.