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We look forward to you joining with us in Israel very soon! Please make sure that you bring all items on the list. You may either pack them in a suitcase, carry-on or large backpack. We recommend that you pack light and as few luggage pieces as possible — the less and lighter the easier for you. During our trip you won’t have to carry your luggage a lot but during the transfers to a new overnight location you are responsible to bring your luggage to the bus and handle it yourself at check-ins (hotel etc.).
If you are a musician we welcome you to bring your instrument — a guitar, bongo, flute or other wood wind instruments are best and easiest to carry around. We will have several occasions where you will be able to play your instrument in a group setting. Please make sure that you can bring your instrument without any additional fees by your air carrier.
You may also be able to wash a t-shirt, shorts etc. in a sink at a guesthouse/hotel. For that we recommend to bring hand-wash soap for your laundry or buy it locally. We recommend that you bring enough clothes for the duration of your trip without having to wash them. If you extend your time in Israel you may do laundry in public laundry washing machines which can be found in all major cities in Israel.
You will be arriving at Terminal 3. Please, utilize the time it takes for the airline to process your luggage to use the bathrooms and to change money (you may also change money later). After passing through passport control, you will collect your bags and go through customs. If you are asked for the reason of your stay in Israel please tell the security officer that you are a participant of a “Keshet Israel tour program” of two weeks.
After exiting into the arrival hall, you will find one of our staff waiting for you with a large sign “Engage Israel”. We will organize your transfer to our first location, where you will be received by one of our staff. They will show you your room where you can refresh yourself and rest until we start our program around 3 pm on July 18th.
All travelers must have a passport valid through SIX MONTHS AFTER YOUR DEPARTURE FROM ISRAEL. Most countries need no visa to enter Israel. Please check with the nearest Israeli consulate or contact us if you have questions.
Israel has the highest ratio of doctors to potential patients in the world, but we will try to insure that you do not give them any business during your visit. If you have any special medical problems, please consult with your physician before traveling. While almost all prescription medications are available in Israel, if you are taking a prescribed medicine it is preferable to bring a sufficient supply with you (and extra glasses and lenses). If any medical problem does arise in Israel, you will have access to a staff of excellent English-speaking physicians. Please be sure that your health insurance covers foreign travel.
Generally speaking Israel is much safer than a major city in your country. Nevertheless, Israeli thieves also have to make a living, so we recommend that you take the usual traveling precautions, such as not carrying open bags which are a temptation to pickpockets, not leaving your property lying around, etc. We particularly advise keeping your cash, credit card etc. in money belts and bringing a photocopy of your passport in case you need to replace it quickly. Please do not accept parcels from strangers who ask you to deliver them to Israel. You will be asked about this before boarding the plane and it is best to be able to answer truthfully. While in Israel do not leave parcels, knapsacks or other baggage unattended in public places.
Throughout the day, the weather will range from hot to very hot (28 – 35 degrees / 70s to 90s). It can be chilly at night in Jerusalem, so be sure to take a light sweater or jacket for the evenings.
The arid climate in most of Israel means that, especially in summer, one loses fluids without necessarily noticing. In other words your body can require you to drink without making you thirsty. We will be providing an insulated mineral water holder to each participant and stocking the bus with mineral water that you may purchase at very reasonable rates. Tap water in Israel is fine to drink but we recommend drinking the excellent mineral water available all over Israel for at least the first few days of adjustment to the climate.
The price of a soft drink can is between 5 and 8 shekels and a 0.5L bottle is generally one shekel more expensive than a can. Prices in tourist areas in big cities, especially tourist cities can be up to 20 shekels per 0.5L bottle, however often a small walk will reveal the more local places that will sell you 6 1.5L bottles for as cheap as 32 shekels. In fact, it is possible to buy a 6 pack of 2 liter “Ein Gedi” bottles for a preset price of 12 shekels.
Your cell phone might work with the local networks. Please be aware of roaming fees while receiving calls/sms etc. If you want to call home you may purchase a calling card for public phones. Laptops/Netbooks, Email & Internet: You might have the opportunity to check your email in an internet café during the trip. You are free to bring your own netbook/tablet/smartphone. There might be some sites (youth hostels, hotels etc.) where public wireless internet is available (possibly with charge). Please consider that bringing a personal computer will add to your total luggage travel weight!
You can obtain shekels from most ATM’s with your credit card or ATM Card. Check the back of your card. Most Israeli Banks are on the PLUS Network. A few are also on CIRRUS. PLUS works better at more banks. It is easier to use credit cards for nearly all cash transactions. Credit cards are accepted by most tourist establishments. By and large you will be using cash shekels mostly for small purchases. There are also many “Change Point” establishment throughout the country should you wish to change American dollars or your own currency. However, you will get the best rate at ATM machines and at the airport. Credit Card purchases also get the best rate. Currently the rate is 3.6 shekels to the dollar (see daily rates here)
During our trip you will encounter the rich variety of Israeli foods. We will eat a lot of fresh vegetables, salads as well as meat dishes, often served with bread and Hummus. All breakfasts and most dinners will be buffet style so you may pick what you like best. Some lunches will be buffet style too, some will be “packed lunches” that we will eat while traveling. One lunch and one evening meal is not included and you have the opportunity to buy your own. If you’d like to know how to visit Israel like an Israeli you should learn a thing or two about the Israeli food. The first thing you need to know is that eating out in Israel is not necessarily expensive. Furthermore, Israel’s idea of cheap food is not necessarily MacDonald’s. Like any Middle Eastern country, street food in Israel is very common. The thing about Israel’s street food is that it’s still fast food and you don’t have to eat it while sitting. Some of the places don’t even have any chairs or tables and you simply eat your meal while standing in the street. Whether you’re a respectable businessman or a scruffy construction worker — everybody eats this way.
For additional travel information about Israel check out: wikitravel.org/en/Israel If you have any further questions please let us know! We are happy to assist you in your preparation for this trip. Looking forward to meeting you in Israel very soon! The Engage:Israel Team
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