Under Israeli regulations, you must hold a passport with an expiration date that is not less than 6 months from the end date of the trip. Please check your passport to ensure that it expires after December 1, 2020. A visa is not required. Make a copy of your passport and keep it in your luggage.
Plan on about $20 a day for lunch, soda, coffee, etc. You may want to bring a water bottle that you can refill. We try to avoid buying bottled water there because it is ecologically damaging.
We stay in modest, but excellent, hotels with Wi-Fi access. Breakfast is included; dinner may be included. Before we leave, you will have a complete itinerary, including a list of our hotels with their phone numbers and addresses, so that you can share it with family and friends.
Please, please, please honor arrival and departure times – you will always know when to be on the bus at the beginning of the day and when to return when you are on your own. Please respect your fellow pilgrims, our guide, and our bus driver by being on time.
We will gather most evenings, usually after dinner, for a time of worship and reflection. Everyone is expected to participate as this is an important part of our time together as a community. Everyone will be part of leading a brief time of worship during the course of the trip.
The Israeli currency is the Shekel. Israel is a “first world” country – meaning you will find access to ATMs, ability to use a credit card, and in fact, many tourist locations even accept US Dollars. You may want to take some shekels with you – probably not more than $100 worth. It is relatively easy to exchange dollars for shekels in Jerusalem and in almost any reasonably sized town we will be in. If you do decide to take a few shekels with you, contact your bank in advance of the trip as they often need several days to obtain the currency from their own treasury.
It will be warm (if not hot!). You may want a jacket in the evening. You need comfortable walking shoes, a hat (sun protection), a sweater if you get cold on air-conditioned buses, and (for women) a scarf or shawl. We will be visiting sites where modest clothing is expected – i.e., no shorts, sleeveless shirts, tank tops, etc. Modest clothing in the Old City is definitely expected.
Check with your cell phone provider on how to obtain coverage in Israel. The trip coordinator will definitely have coverage, and you can give her/his number to anyone who needs to have it in case they need to be in touch with you.
No immunizations are required.
It is natural to have some bit of apprehension about going to this part of the world. It’s important to keep in mind that the US media often magnifies any unrest there – and people who are actually there are not even aware of incidents that may be reported in our media. This has certainly been our past experience. It can happen that on a given day, a particular site is closed down by the Israelis for security reasons. We will be accompanied by a knowledgeable, professional guide and driver who will keep us informed and who will ensure that we do not put ourselves in harm’s way. In fact, it’s our experience that guides are extremely cautious and competent.
+7 hours from EST
You may want to purchase a guidebook and/or map. Any good guidebook will serve you well, especially if it has an extensive section on Jerusalem and a good map of the Old City. This map Israel Then and Now (available on Amazon) is particularly useful for understanding the region’s geography across many different eras.
We recommend that you bring a Bible. There is a saying that “the land is the Fifth Gospel,” and you will most likely enjoy connecting place names to scripture. Some people prepare by reading one of the Gospels, especially Matthew, Mark, or Luke. We will provide further recommendations for advance reading, so continue to monitor this page.
Click here to reserve your spot for the Holy Land Pilgrimage 2020