Q. What do I do when I arrive at Pearson International Airport (YYZ) before departure?
A. Please make sure to arrive 3 hours before departure. Go to the International Air Canada counter in Terminal 1. When you get to the area, please make sure to introduce yourself to Joe and Karen Amaral and to get checked in with them before going through the ticketing line. They will give you your name tag and travel pack. Your name tag will let the security team know you are traveling with our group. Joe and Karen will also give you further instructions before you go through to the gate of departure.
LAND ONLY PACKAGE
Q. What is a Land-Only Package?
A. Let’s say you have air miles and want to use them to pay for the flight portion of your trip or let’s say you want to fly in a day or two ahead of the group and you want to arrange your own flight to Israel. You can purchase a land-only package from International Heritage Tours and join us for the hotels, meals and sites. It includes everything a normal tour package does…just without the flight.
EXTEND YOUR STAY IN ISRAEL
Q. If I want to stay longer in Israel, can I do that?
A. Absolutely! If you’d like to stay longer, you can arrange with our tour operator beforehand to extend your stay and change your flight arrangements. This should be done at the time of registration.
Q. If I fly to Israel ahead of the group, how do I meet up with them?
A. Our first night is always spent at the Renaissance Hotel in Tel Aviv. You can join us for dinner at the hotel at 7 pm and then for the orientation meeting after dinner.
TICKETING AND INFORMATION PACKAGE
Q. When will I receive my ticket and information package?
A. Approximately two weeks before departure you will receive a phone call from a representative of International Heritage Tours to confirm your mailing address and to arrange a shipping time.
CLOTHING TO WEAR IN ISRAEL
Q. What kind of clothing/accessories should I bring?
A. Comfortable clothes that you would wear in the spring or summer. For religious sites (such as churches and sites deemed holy) women must wear modest clothing that covers their shoulders and knees at all times. We also recommend dressing in layers as the mornings and evenings are often much cooler than mid-day (especially in Jerusalem).
Q. What kind of footwear should I bring?
A. Comfortable shoes as we do a lot of walking. Steps and pathways are often uneven and you’ll want shoes that will keep you stable on your feet. It is also recommended that you bring water shoes or flip-flops for when we go to the Dead Sea and for the Jordan River Baptismal site. The sand at the Dead Sea is extremely hot and there are rocks at the edge of the water.
Q. Do I need to bring a swimsuit?
A. It is optional but recommended especially if you want to be baptized. There will be an opportunity for you to swim in the Mediterranean on our first day. There will also be a time to swim in the Dead Sea and to be baptized in the Jordan River. Each hotel also has a pool and/or is within close proximity to water.
Q. Do I need to bring dress clothes?
A. Yes. We will be at a Shabbat dinner and it is traditional to dress up for that evening.
Q. Are there any other recommendations?
A. We recommend bringing a hat and sunglasses with you along with some SPF sunblock.
Click on this LINK to see our printable recommended packing list.
Q. How much luggage am I allowed to bring?
A. You may bring one mid-sized case to check into the plane that may not exceed 23 kg (50 lbs) and you may bring one carry-on bag not to exceed 8 kg (17 lbs).
Q. What can I not bring with me on my carry-on bag?
A. For security reasons, you are not allowed to board with potentially dangerous articles such as scissors, cutters, Swiss army-type knives or tools and instruments for agricultural, scientific, sporting or industrial use and the like, nor can you board with any type of imitation or toy firearm. All liquids, gels, creams and aerosols must be in 3.4 ounce (100ml) or smaller containers.
MONEY/CURRENCY IN ISRAEL
Q. What is the currency in Israel?
A. Shekels — although, U.S. Dollars are widely accepted. Canadian Dollars are not usually accepted.
Q. Do I need to get shekels here in Canada or will I be able to change my money in Israel?
A. On our first day after we check-in to the hotel, feel free to explore the streets of Tel Aviv where you will find several places to change your money to shekels.
Q. If I run out of cash, can I get more while I’m in Israel?
A. Yes. Your North American bank card should work in any ATM machine in Israel. You will receive the cash in local shekels. (There is usually a charge from your bank associated with doing this. If you plan to withdraw cash while in Israel, please inquire about the fee(s) at your local branch before departure.) We always recommend contacting your bank and/or credit card company to make them aware of your travel plans. This will help to ensure your bank card and/or credit card accounts are not frozen while you’re in Israel.
Q. How much should I expect to pay for lunches?
A. Approximately $12 up to $15 USD per person per day.
Q. When is the Tip Fee collected and what is it for?
A. We collect the tip fee on the first night at our orientation meeting in Israel. This fee is to pay the driver, the tour guide, and the luggage porters. If you want to tip the housekeeping staff or your meal servers, that is at your discretion.
Q. What is the food like in Israel?
A. If you like Mediterranean food, you’ll love the food in Israel! There are a wide variety of foods in the breakfast and dinner buffets to please everyone. There are a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Q. Is the food kosher?
A. At the hotels we stay at, breakfasts and dinners are kosher. At breakfast you won’t find any meat as there will be dairy products served and then at dinner, you won’t find any dairy products as meat is being served. For our lunches, it may vary between kosher and non-kosher restaurants.
Q. What can you tell me about the bus and bus driver?
A. Our bus driver is very friendly. In most cases our bus driver has purchased Wi-Fi for the bus so that you can Facebook, Tweet and Instagram all the pictures you just took at that amazing site you just visited! There is air-conditioning and comfortable seating with overhead storage for your bags. Other than the front row, there is no assigned seating and we encourage you to switch up your seat everyday.
Q. Is there a bathroom on the bus?
A. No . . . due to terrorism years ago (a bomb was placed in the toilet of the bus), no bus in Israel is permitted to have washroom facilities on board. We will make rest-stops if our journeys are going to be extended.
Q. Is it safe to travel to Israel?
A. Joe Amaral has brought several groups to Israel including members of his family and it has always been safe. If there is any area of conflict, we always avoid it completely. Our tour guides are highly trained and know the areas to avoid if any conflict arises in Israel.
Q. Is my passport and are other personal items safe to leave in the hotels?
A. Every room has its own safe which you set and secure with your own protected code.
Q. Do I need to bring any medication?
A. As your body may be adapting to a new and different climate and water system or if you tend to have a sensitive stomach, it is not required but it is recommended that you bring Immodium (loperamide hydrochloride). It may also be helpful to bring items such as Advil (ibuprofen) or Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Gravol (dimenhydrinate). If you have a medical condition and are on medication for it, please remember to bring it with you. Also, if you have a medical condition, please make us aware of it during the orientation meeting at the beginning of the trip.
Q. Do I need any vaccinations before I go to Israel?
A. No, there are no immunization requirements for Israel.
Q. Can I fly if I’m pregnant?
A. Most airlines will permit you to fly up until the end of the 35th week of your pregnancy. Starting the 36th week of the pregnancy, medical approval by an airline doctor is required. Due to medical considerations, pregnant women may not fly after the end of the 37th week of pregnancy.
Q. Do I need a voltage converter to plug in my electronic items?
A. That depends on your electronic item. The voltage in Israel is 220 V. Check your device (usually the information is listed on the plug itself)—it should say something like: Input: AC 100V – 240V. If your device is within the 100 to 240 volts range, then you can simply purchase a plug adapter at your local dollar store as the plug/outlet system in Israel is different from North America. If you need a voltage converter you can purchase them for a cost of about $15 to $25 at most retail stores. We’ve found it’s helpful to have one adapter and then bring a North American power bar to plug all your electronics into.
Q. Can I use my cellphone in Israel?
A. If your phone is unlocked, you can purchase a SIM Card at the airport in Tel Aviv and preload it with phone-call, texting and data capabilities for about $50-$60. If your phone is not unlocked, you can leave it in airplane mode and use Wi-Fi where available.
• HAIR DRYERS – We recommend you don’t bring your own hair dryer. Several people have burned out their hair dryers because the voltage in Israeli hotel bathrooms isn’t compatible with North American hair dryers. The voltage is set mainly for shavers. If you do bring your hair dryer along with an adapter, please remember to plug it into an outlet that is not in the bathroom to avoid frying your hair dryer. Most hotels have hair dryers and if you don’t see one you can ask at the front desk for one.
• FACE CLOTHS – if you prefer to wash up with a face cloth, you will need to bring your own as most hotels do not have them.
• PACKING LIST – Download and print off our PDF Packing List. Use it as a guide when you’re packing for your trip with us!