Additional Information About Travel to Israel
At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your tour guide and driver a gratuity. Your WEST tour coordinator will collect the gratuity at any point during the tour (many travelers like to pay ahead of time to get it out of the way). Although it is not required, your driver and tour guides rely on these tips, and work hard to ensure you an unforgettable experience. We recommend tipping the equivalence of $3 USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6 USD/CAD to $9 USD/CAD per person per day for your tour guide. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2 USD/CAD per local guide, payable following the local tour. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
In order to enter Israel, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of your return home. An onward or return ticket is also required for entry. A visa is not required for Israel, however a no charge, three-month visa may be issued upon arrival and may be renewed. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
The flights for tours beginning or ending in Israel will arrive or depart from Tel Aviv. On-tour transportation is provided primarily by private motor coach, but may include planes, trains, boats, ferries, or other modes. In your free time, you may wish to explore the main cities by public transportation. Israel has an extensive—and remarkably inexpensive—transport system of bus, tram, train and metro lines. Purchase all-inclusive passes for the best deal and try to avoid peak periods of travel, when walking is probably your best bet. Taxis are also very inexpensive in Israel.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Israel. Especially during the summer months, take proper care for sun exposure. While no vaccinations are required for entry, be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel recommendations.
Israeli food is invariably fresh and very carefully prepared. A typical breakfast may consist of sourdough bread with sheep’s-milk cheese and olives, as well as jam or honey. The range of food choices throughout Israel is immense. You’ll find everything from Kosher meals to dishes with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences, as well as the international choices available in any major city. On the coast, fish is an excellent choice, including Ben-Yehuda Boulevard is known for its many delicious ice cream shops.
The Israeli new shekel is the currency you’ll be using on your tour.
Better rates of exchange are usually available in Israel, although it’s
worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first
arrive. We advise that you take credit cards and dollar bills in small
denominations. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of
your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases
for fraudulent charges and freeze your account. Exchange Israeli new shekel in small amounts at a time in order to compensate for inflation. Travelers checks are difficult to exchange, and should be used only as a last resort.
Israel is ten hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). When it’s noon in California, it’s 10 p.m. in Israel.
Israel and Jordan operate on the European standard 220 volts.