Helpful tips for your travels from

           Discovery Cruises and Tours:

 

Luggage:
You are allowed to take one piece of checked luggage plus a carry-on bag. Your carry-on must not exceed 55cmX40cmX20cm, weight limit 17 pounds, and must fit under the seat or overhead in the storage space. The checked bag cannot weigh more than 50 pounds.  Your luggage should be marked with a Discovery Cruises and Tours luggage tag with your name, address and phone number printed on it.

Weather:
The weather is very unpredictable just like the U.S. and the rule is: Be Prepared! You can do something about being hot, but you can't do much about being cold if you aren't prepared. We suggest ski silks (long, thermal underwear) as well as a warm coat, gloves and hat November-April. In addition you may want to have a raincoat or pancho and an umbrella, especially January-March.  Summers get very hot!

Electricity:
The electrical current in Israel is 220 volts. This means you must have an electrical converter and adapter plugs if you intend to use any type of electrical appliance such as razor, hair dryer, etc.  There is an electrical outlet in the bathrooms marked for RAZORS only. Use this outlet at YOUR OWN RISK! It will generally burn up American-made razors because it operates on a different cycle. When you plug your hair dryer or curling iron into the adapter please operate your appliance on low as they tend to overheat if you use them on normal settings. Please be careful with these items as they are difficult (and expensive) to replace in Israel.

Carrying your passport:
It is not necessary to carry your passport except at the airports.  Keep it in a safe place where you always know where it is.

Checking into your hotel:
Hotel check-in is simple and will be done in the same manner at each hotel. Upon arrival you will proceed into the lobby and will be given an envelope. The envelope will contain your room key plus two stick-on tags with your room number on them. You will proceed outside by the bus and affix a tag to your luggage which will then be delivered to your room. Once this is done you may go to your room to freshen up. You will also be informed as to what time dinner will be served.

Checking out of your hotel:
The morning of departure you will place your luggage (with identification tag) outside your door at a specified time (usually 7 a.m.) to be collected by the porters. The porters will collect the luggage and arrange it outside by the bus. We ask that you visually identify your luggage before getting on the bus and it will then be loaded. It is very important you identify your suitcase because once you depart it is very difficult to get luggage that is left behind! IF YOU MADE CHARGES TO YOUR ROOM, be sure to go to the desk the evening before check-out or fairly early in the morning to pay these charges.


Night Life:

Most travelers are pretty tired after a full day of touring, however if you want to do something in the evening please be advised of the following possibilities. Generally, all the shops close downtown at 6 p.m.  In addition, the YMCA in Jerusalem offers an Israeli Folklore Evening of music, dances etc. This begins at 9 p.m. and is about two hours long. The cost is $15 per person. This is not available in English every night so check with your guide to obtain a schedule.


Video Cameras, iPads, Smart Phones, Etc.:

Video Cameras are OK; policy dictates a security deposit at the airport, but this is rarely enforced with group travel.  You many bring iPads, Smart Phones, etc. for taking pictures and videos.  Be sure to use a converter to charge up any items.    

Calling home:
Phones/Sim Cards are available for rent through Israel Connect.  The link to their web site is
www.israelconnect.net/dwm/ Or you can call to the states with your long distance company's direct number.  For AT&T, get a local line and dial 177-100-2727.  You may then use a credit card or calling card to place your call. 

Money/Currency:
Dollars are generally accepted in Israel so it is not necessary for you to change them into local currency.     When you make a purchase, however, you will usually be given change in shekels.  Your guide will explain how to easily use this currency.  We recommend that you take $50 in one dollar bills for small souvenirs.   For larger purchases, most vendors will accept Visa, MasterCard and/or personal checks.

 

Shopping:
Several opportunities will be provided for souvenir shopping.  If possible, you will visit an Olive Wood factory and gift shop in Bethlehem.  You will also have opportunities to browse local shops in Jerusalem.  WARNING!!  Do not go with any vendor who approaches you and offers to take you to his/her shop for really good deals!  More than one tourist has been taken and was disappointed in the quality of merchandise.  We highly recommend you shop at stores your guide recommends or shops in the Jewish areas.  Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!


Items Left On Bus During Touring:

It is safest to leave handbags, purses, etc. on the bus as it will be locked while you are out touring.  Please be very careful in crowded areas with purses and wallets.  Like every place in the world, pickpockets do prey on tourists.


Safety:

Israel is the safest country in the world with less crime per capita than any place.  However, it is not recommended that you leave your valuables in a hotel room.  Take them with you or use a safety box in the hotel.  You are perfectly safe to walk in any of the Jewish areas day or night; however, we do not recommend you visit or walk in the Old City or other Moslem areas after dark or alone.  While Americans are liked in Israel, we would prefer you not take any chances.

Meals:
You can drink the water!  If your lunches are not provided, you should plan to spend $10-17 per day for a lunch; i.e., sandwich, soup or salad.  Be careful; you can spend more than you plan!  Ask your guide if you have a question.  Ask a waiter if unsure which beverages are included with your meals.

Daily Schedule:
You should expect a wake-up call about 6:30 a.m. and plan to be on your bus by 8:15 - 8:30 a.m.  You will be advised daily by your guide as to scheduled departure times and any dress limitations for the next day.  One or two locations may not allow shorts to be worn inside and ladies may want to bring a wrap-around skirt.  Dress is very casual so pack light!


Leaving Israel:

The day of departure your group will arrive at the Tel Aviv airport about three hours prior to departure. Your luggage will be set off the bus by the driver. At this point you will take a rolling cart and place your luggage on it. You will proceed inside the airport and get in line at the direction of your guide, tour leader etc. DO NOT GET IN A HURRY!!! This process is slow and the plane will not depart without you.


Customs:
The only customs you will have to clear will be upon arrival back in the United States. Regardless of what city your luggage is checked to, you will have to claim it and clear customs at the first point of entry into the U.S. You will receive a U.S. Customs Declaration Form aboard your flight home. You are allowed $400 per person or $800 per couple duty free. In addition, the U.S. has a trade agreement with Israel regarding diamonds, jewelry and precious stones. You do not have to list these items. When completing the form you will want to write in "Misc. souvenirs" and place the amount you think you spent. You do not need to get receipts for small items but receipts are recommended if you purchase major items.

 

 

Still have questions? Call Discovery Cruises and Tours at 817-595-2700