[symple_highlight color=”green”] I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Genesis 12:3[/symple_highlight]

Your airline baggage allowance is; one checked bag up to 50 pounds, 1 carry-on and 1 personal item (backpack suggested).  We suggest your personal item be a backpack.  This can be used to pack your heaviest items on the air flights and during the tour it should be used for your day supplies such as snacks, journal, sun block, medicine, water bottle and the like.  The tour package includes a full gourmet breakfast and dinner.  Due to the often rigorous and full daily tour schedule it is a good idea to bring some lunch items with you in case we do not stop at a restaurant for lunch in order to enjoy more tour locations.

Personal Packing Recommendations

Hotel accommodations provide all bedding and toiletry items such as towels, soap, shampoo, conditioner, iron, safe, hangers.

  • Bible, Note Book and Pens
  • Medications: To avoid problems with customs, keep medicines in their original packaging with labels. Bring a copy of your prescriptions and generic names for drugs. If a medication is unusual carry a letter from your doctor attesting your need for this drug.
  • Clothing
    • Variety of warm/cool clothing: Often it will be warm during the day and cold at night (87F day/43F night for November, 85F day/37F night early March).
    • At the holy spots and some other areas such as a few hotels shoulders and knees cannot be exposed, so pack accordingly. As we are there to show our love and respect it is good to mind their customs.  Overall, the nationals are a non-casual, conservative people in dress.  Bring some pants and shirts you do not mind getting dirty for ministry opportunities.  You could be painting, cleaning or making pizza!
    • Most of the hotels have washers and dryers so bring a small amount of travel sized laundry soap if you would like to wash your clothing. In case there is not a dryer available, consider clothing materials that dry quickly when washed and hung out to dry.  Jeans and heavy cotton may take several days to air dry where synthetic and light cotton will dry overnight.
    • Swimsuit (conservative) to get baptized (optional) in. The swimsuit should be something you don’t mind taking into the Dead Sea and Dead Sea mineral pools in the hotel as it may affect the dyes.  This is so much fun so don’t miss out!
  • Mini-Umbrella
  • Sunglasses, Hat and Sunscreen
  • Camera and charger with either a large memory card or extra memory cards: If your camera uses regular alkaline batteries bring extra, they are expensive in Israel and we don’t often go to stores on the trip.
  • Water: Bring a hard water bottle to use for the entire trip. For the flight, the stewardesses will be happy to show you where you can fill it on the plane. It is a good practice to drink 2-4 liters in the course of the flight. Staying well hydrated will help reduce jet lag.
  • Personal Toiletries
  • For your carry-on: Ear plugs, Airplane Pillow, Gum
  • Worship Music (iPhone, CD’s or other device)
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel or anti-bacterial wet wipes.
  • Snacks (protein bars, granola bars, nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, beef jerky, etc– think PROTEIN)
  • Closed toe water shoes and a mini flashlight (we recommend an LED type) with extra batteries: 2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:30 If we go into Hezekiah’s tunnel, you will need closed toed shoes you are willing to get wet for this fun excursion. If you forget a mini-flashlight they sell them there for $2.
  • Electronic Devices: The electrical current in the Middle East is 220 volts.  This requires you to use an adapter for most of your US devices. Bring an INTERNATIONAL Converter plug: Most places sell them universally with attachments for many countries.  Ask for one for the Middle East.
  • Spending Money for Lunch: The average meal at the lunch stops is $10/person.  You can reduce this cost in two ways.  Find someone to share with; the typical lunch meal is schwarma, schnitzel or falafel and fries and portions can be large enough to share.  2. Bring extra snacks like protein bars for your lunch.  Your hard water bottle can be filled with ice and water each morning.  If you forgot the hard water bottle the bus drivers sell water on the bus for $1.
  • Small back pack for daily use (keep money/wallets passport close to reduce the chance of pick pocketing)
  • Two pairs of walking shoes (your feet get tired of the same ones every day)
  • 1st Aid Zip Lock Pack; Band aids, Neosporin, Aspirin, Etc.
  • Most important to bring: Love, Joy, Shalom, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Self Control….and…..Flexibility.

It is always a good idea to weigh your checked bag before arriving at the airport and leave some space open in your carry-on just in case your checked bag is over the weight limit when checking your baggage in at baggage check. If it is overweight, you can shift some of the weight into your carry on and avoid extra, unexpected baggage fees.

Airline Baggage Allowances

Delta, American Airline, United, Air Canada

Regular Passenger Allowance:

You are allowed one free checked bag that has a weight capacity of 50 pounds, one carry on and one personal carry on item. A second checked bag up to 50 pounds cost an extra $100 one way. Additional weight or bags cost an extra fee.

We ask that you utilize 75% of your 50 lb checked bag for ministry supplies and your carry-on and personal item (back pack) for your own packing needs.

If you plan to leave your checked bag (these can often be found at second hand stores) in Israel you will have a quicker, easier re-entry coming back into the US as you will only have your carry-on and backpack to check back in through security.

Spending Money

Most people spend at least $300 for coffee/drinks, snacks, lunch and souvenir gifts.

The New Israeli Shekel is Israel’s currency. There are coins of 5, 10, 50 ago rot (like cents), and 1, 5, 10 shekels, as well as 20, 50,100 & 200 shekel notes. 200 Shekel notes are not easily traded, and one should try to avoid receiving them when exchanging money.

Money can be exchanged at any of the street exchange bureau, ATMs or any of Israel’s major banks that include Hapoalim, Leumi, Discount Bank, FIBI and Hamizrahi.

Getting your hands on local currency in Israel is easy, and there are several ways of doing it:

  • The Airport – The first place you will have an opportunity to change money is in the luggage area of the airport.
  • Change Places – Change places are readily available, especially on the main streets of main cities. Generally speaking, they are always cheaper than the banks and ATMs.
  • ATM’s – You can withdraw cash directly from an ATM. There are many ATM’s around Israel that are all connected to European and American banking systems. Most ATM’s accepts foreign cards and automatically switch to English on the instructions screen when they recognize a foreign card. At some ATM’s (called “caspomats” in Israel), you can even withdraw dollars and other foreign currencies.  When using an ATM you will be charged by your credit card provider, as well as an ATM fee which is usually $3.5 plus 4% of the total amount. Your credit card provider (i.e. VISA, MasterCard, Diners club, American express etc.) will also determine what the exchange rate is, and it will usually be the highest rate possible for that date.  It is important to verify what these are while still in your home country. It is also important to let your bank know you will be using the card overseas so they don’t prevent transactions for fear of fraud.
  • Banks – When exchanging money at a bank, you will be charged a fixed exchange fee which works out to be usually higher than the ATM’s. If you do choose to use the bank, try not to exchange money on Sundays. While the Israeli banks are open on Sundays, there is no world currency trade on Sunday, and the banks charge a commission that is 10 times higher than on any other day of the week.
  • Travelers’ cheques – some Israeli businesses will accept Travelers’ cheques, although most of them won’t. If you insist on using travelers’ cheques, this leaves you with the alternative of caching them at any of the Israeli post offices, which are the only commission – free way to cache travelers cheques in Israel. Cash can also be sent to post office branches using Western Union services. It’s best NOT TO BRING TRAVELERS CHECKS. They are next to impossible to use and banks charge the highest transaction fee on these. In fact, many money changers will not change them at all.