Christmas in Israel and the Palestinian Territories

9 Days from $3,615

START: Tel Aviv

FINISH: Jerusalem

AGES: 15 - 99

THEME: Festivals and Events

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Description

Enjoy a Christmas like no other on this festive adventure in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The Holy Land is a thing of legend no matter where you’re from, how old you are or when you visit, but at Christmas this sacred destination lights up with an atmosphere that could only be described as magical. As well as exploring the Christmas markets, spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the place Jesus entered the world in Bethlehem, with Midnight Mass, a candle procession and Christmas dinner with locals. Travel to Nazareth and hike part of the Nativity Trail, one of the most famous journeys of the Bible; visit the spot where steadfast Jews held out on Massada’s rugged outcrop; swim in the Dead Sea; and, finally, immerse yourself in the everyday buzz of Tel Aviv. Rich in history, packed with celebration and steeped in the lore of many faiths, this Israel and Palestinian Territories adventure offers something special for all kinds of travellers.

Start: Tel Aviv

Finish: Jerusalem

Ages: 15 - 99

Theme: Festivals and Events

Accommodation: Hotel (9 nights)

Destination: Jerusalem

Highlights

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Experience the joys of Christmas in Bethlehem – Christmas dinner with the locals, Midnight Mass in Manger Square, and the musical Shepherd’s Nights Festival
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Explore the famed religious towns of Jericho, Bethlehem and Nazareth. Hike along the Nativity Trail, retracing part of Mary and Joseph’s legendary trek to Bethlehem and stroll the alleys and lanes of old Jaffa.
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Head down to the famous Dead Sea for an effortless float in its salty blue waters
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Contrast the reverent atmosphere of Jerusalem with a very different Israeli city – modern, cosmopolitan, hedonistic Tel Aviv

Itineraryicon readmoreicon minus

icon check Day 1 : Tel Aviv

Your Christmas adventure kicks off at 1 pm today in the cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv. With its lively cafe culture, relaxed Mediterranean beach scene and renowned nightlife, it's the perfect place to celebrate the start of the festive season. This afternoon we head out to explore Jaffa. This ancient city is said to have existed on the shores of the Mediterranean for over 4000 years, and its port is thought to have been the point at which Jonah departed from in the story of Jonah and the Whale. We visit the Church of St Peters and the old Jaffa Flea Market, and stroll through the little alleyways and streets, many of which are richly decorated for the festive season. Check out artists galleries and studios, boutiques and craft shops, all with Christmas gift ideas. There may even be some local street music to get you in the mood. In the evening, enjoy some dinner with your fellow travellers.

icon check Day 2 : Bethlehem - Christmas Eve

It's time to celebrate Christmas in the ultimate location – the birthplace of Jesus himself. After an early  breakfast, we journey 1.5 hours to the Bethlehem and join pilgrims for the annual Christmas scouts' march through the city, their drums and bagpipes resonating through the streets as they guide the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem (His Beatitude Fouad Twal) on his journey from Jerusalem to the Church of Nativity. His entry to the city officially marks the Christmas celebrations. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to soak up the atmosphere before this evening's Christmas dinner. Rejoin the crowd in Manger Square later in the evening for that famous Christmas custom – Midnight Mass – which you'll view on the giant screens in the square. If you have pre-booked your tickets, there's the opportunity to attend Mass in the Church of Nativity for a next-level experience.

icon check Day 3 : Bethlehem - Christmas Day

Merry Christmas! Ease into the day with some free time. Later in the morning you'll travel the short distance to Battir Village, one of the most beautiful places in the West Bank. Explore The Old Town – Seven Widows Quarter – which gained its name from the seven widows that lived there simultaneously. After a local lunch, take a short hike throughout the fertile valley. In the afternoon, it's off to join in the concerts of the Shepherd’s Nights Festival in the Old City of Beit Sahour, with a Candle March from the Orthodox Shepherds’ Field to Souk el Shaab and then to the Old City of Beit Sahour. As evening approaches, return to Bethlehem.

icon check Day 4 : Nazareth

Departing early in the morning, drive (approximately 45 minutes) to the ancient crusader port of Akko (aka Acre). Here you’ll visit the vast complex of buildings occupied by the Knights of St John (Knights Hospitaller), excavated to uncover a large hall, a dungeon, a dining room and the crypt of an ancient Gothic church. Also check out the secret tunnel of their rivals, the Knights Templar – an underground passage between their fortresses. Continue to Rosh Hanikra and ride the cable car up the cliff face to see the stunning grottoes there. These incredible caves are located at the farthest point north on Israel’s Mediterranean coastline, on the border of Lebanon, where the sea meets the cliffs.  In the evening, enjoy a local cooking class and included dinner, staying overnight in Nazareth.

icon check Day 5 : Nazareth

Today we explore the ancient city of  Sepphoris, often referred to as the forgotten city.  Located just 6.5 km from Nazareth it was the capital of Gaillee, and whilst not mentioned in the New Testament is it often of particular interest for Christians and according to tradition the original home of Mary's parents,Joachim and Anne (or Anna), was at Sepphoris. During the 12th century the Crusaders built a huge Church of St Anna, possibly on the site of their home. Excavations have revealed a cosmopolitan city including a Roman theater built into the eastern side of the hill that held over 4,000 people.  Also known as the Mosaic City, some of the best mosaics in all of Israel are in Sepphoris. Keep your eye out for the Nile Mosaic, depicting Nile Festivities. Later, travel to the western shores of the Sea of Galilee today and Tiberias – established all the way back in AD 20 – before returning to Nazareth in the evening.

icon check Day 6 : Jerusalem

Visit the Church of the Annunciation, where Mary received the news of the Immaculate Conception, along with the well where she drew water every day. Travel via the Jordon Valley to Jerusalem. Stop at The Mount of Temptation, which has a gravity-defying monastery clinging to its sheer face, before swinging by Jericho, to visit Hisham’s Palace. The old hunting lodge has one of the most beautiful and elaborately decorated mosaic floors in the world. Continue to the Mount of Olives that looks over Jerusalem’s Old City and visit the Garden of Gethsemane, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before Jesus' crucifixion. Arrive in Jerusalem, a city steeped in spirituality and legend; a rich tapestry of the many cultures, religions and nationalities that call it home, be they Palestinian Muslims & Christians, Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Armenian Christians, Ethiopian Copts or Greek Orthodox monks. We spend the nights of days 6, 7 and 8 in the Holy City.

icon check Day 7 : Jerusalem

Drive out to the spectacular clifftop fortress of Masada this morning. Stop en route at the 6th-century cliffside Monastery of St George of Koziba in the desert (Deir El Qelt) and see the massive church built into the mountains. In Masada, take a cable car to the fortress built by King Herod around 35 BC. This UNESCO World Heritage site is immensely important to the Jewish people, a symbol of their exile from the Holy Land and of bravery and self-sacrifice. After that, it's off for a swim in the famous Dead Sea – which is really an extremely salty lake, not a sea (and 'dead' only because of the lack of marine life in it!). Enjoy an effortless float in this buoyant body of water and perhaps snap a photo or two. The nutrient-rich mud here is a fun thing to cover yourself in for a photo.  Head back to Jerusalem for the evening. We recommend checking out Machane Yehuda Market; grab a beer in one of the many laneway bars to watch the market come to life in the evening.

icon check Day 8 : Jerusalem

Explore the Old City on foot this morning. We will start with the Courtyard of the Dome and the Western Wall – the remains of the Temple Mount, which acts as an outdoor synagogue, where written prayers are slid into the cracks between stones. Continue along the Via Dolorosa starting at St Stephen’s Gate, passing the crusader church of St Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. Located in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, this pool was mentioned in the Gospel of John and associated with healing. Continue along the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) – the 'way of sorrows' which follows Jesus’ path to crucifixion – and stop by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, died, buried, and rose again. Sip tea, sample fresh local bread and then walk through the Christian Quarter up to Jaffa Gate for a lunch break. Enjoy some free time this afternoon to explore the Holy City on your own, then perhaps meet up with your group in the evening for an optional farewell dinner.

icon check Day 9 : Jerusalem

Happy New Year! Your Christmas Adventure finishes after breakfast this morning.

What's Included?icon readmoreicon minus

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Meals

8 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners
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Transport

Minibus
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Accommodation

Hotel (9 nights)
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Included Activities

  • Jerusalem - Guided tour of Old City

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Starts
Ends
Price
Availability
Dec 23, 2019
Dec 31, 2019
$3,515
Fully Booked

Important Detailsicon readmoreicon minus

icon readmoreicon minusJoining Point

Olympia Hotel

164 Hayarkon St. Tel-Aviv 63451

Tel Aviv

ISRAEL

Phone: +972 35242184

icon readmoreicon minusFinishing Point

Gloria Hotel

33 Latin Patriarchate st.

Jaffa Gate

Jerusalem

ISRAEL

Phone: +972 2628 2431

icon readmoreicon minusPhysical preparation

A basic level of fitness is required to be able to enjoy this trip to the fullest.

icon readmoreicon minusImportant information

1. This trip starts in Tel Aviv at 1.00pm please ensure your flights are arranged accordingly or advise your booking agent of your arrival time.

2. A Single Supplement is available on this trip. Please ask your booking agent for more information.

3. Following recent safety incidents we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Israel (particularly within the West Bank) before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts

2020 Itinerary Updates

This trip will not operate in 2020

4. This trip  requires a minimum of 4 people to depart. Please do not book any non-refundable flights or services before the departure is guaranteed to depart.

NEW UPDATES FOR 2019 Departure

Tickets for midnight mass can only be purchased directly on line by individuals on the below website.

http://www.cicts.org/default.asp?id=353

There has been a change to activities on day 5, please refer to the daily itinerary in this Essential Trip Information document.

icon readmoreicon minusGroup leader

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. In Israel and the Palestinian Territories, in accordance with local regulations your Leader will also be a licensed Tour Guide and will not only have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip; but will also have specialised knowledge on the sites visited and provide full guiding services.

icon readmoreicon minusSafety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field: www.intrepidtravel.com/safety

FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PICK POCKETING & PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking at night and encourage you to walk in groups and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. WATER SAFETY: Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water. TRAVEL ADVICE & TRAVEL INSURANCE We recommend that you check your government's advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.

icon readmoreicon minusVisas

PASSPORT

As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

VISAS

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

ISRAEL:

Australia: No - not required

Belgium: No - not required

Canada: No - not required

Germany: No - not required

Ireland: No - not required

Netherlands: No - not required

New Zealand: No - not required

South Africa: No - not required

Switzerland: No - not required

United Kingdom: No - not required

USA: No - not required

PLEASE NOTE:

It is important to be aware that many Arab and Islamic countries deny entry to any person that has evidence of a visit to Israel. Syria, Iran, Libya, Tunisia and several other countries are included in this list. If you are planning to visit any of these countries with the same passport you must request that your Israeli ‘tourist visa’ be stamped on a loose leaf ‘Form 17 L’ instead of in your passport. Likewise, if entering Israel through the land borders with Jordan please ask the Jordanian officials not to stamp an exit stamp in your passport. If you have evidence in your passport of visits to certain Islamic countries, Israeli border officials will scrutinise you regarding the purpose of your visit to Israel. They can sometimes appear difficult and the delay can be lengthy however patience and a friendly demeanor are advised.

icon readmoreicon minusWhy we love it

Experience the joys of Christmas in Bethlehem – Christmas dinner with the locals, Midnight Mass in Manger Square, and the musical Shepherd’s Nights Festival

Explore the famed religious towns of Jericho, Bethlehem and Nazareth. Hike along the Nativity Trail, retracing part of Mary and Joseph’s legendary trek to Bethlehem and stroll the alleys and lanes of old Jaffa.

Head down to the famous Dead Sea for an effortless float in its salty blue waters

Contrast the reverent atmosphere of Jerusalem with a very different Israeli city – modern, cosmopolitan, hedonistic Tel Aviv

icon readmoreicon minusIs this trip right for you

Christmas Eve in Bethlehem is spectacular, but it can get congested, and some of the scheduled events can change with little notice. Midnight Mass is best witnessed on the screens in Manger Square. If you’re looking to watch from the Church of Nativity, you’ll need to book at least three months in advance.

Weather can be cool at this time of the year, so don’t forget to bring a warm jacket, gloves and head covering for the Christmas Eve festivities.

This trip requires a moderate level of fitness, as there’s a significant amount of hiking involved. Some of the sites we visit involve walking on rocky and/or steep hillsides, where there is often little or no shade. Comfortable walking shoes and a hat will make it easier to explore the sights.

Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry. If you are satisfied with the services, remember to provide a tip. It’s not compulsory, but it’s customary and always appreciated.

Israel and The Palestinian Territories are by no means a cheap destination, so it’s important to budget accordingly. Your leader can point you in the right direction for good deals.

icon readmoreicon minusHealth

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip.

DRINKING WATER:

As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.

icon readmoreicon minusFood and dietary requirements

Your group leader or representative will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements.

Please notify your booking consultant of any dietary requirements at the time of booking. For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader or representative will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.

icon readmoreicon minusMoney matters

When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need.

Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).

Please note: all recommendations for additional costs, tipping etc. are in USD. You will need to convert these into the relevant local currency.

MEALS NOT INCLUDED

Depending on the style of trip you have chosen (Basix, Original or Comfort), included meals will vary.

Breakfast. If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay between USD5 to USD10 at a local café.

Lunch. Lunch at a touristy restaurant should cost around USD10 to USD20. However, local street food can be substantially cheaper.

Dinner. At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD15 to USD25 for a main.

These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget and are happy to eat just local food you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries.

TIPPING

Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is a part of everyday life and is more than just a reward for services rendered. I countries where wages are extremely low it is an essential means of supplementing income. This practice is not merely reserved for foreigners and locals have to constantly hand out 'Baksheesh' as well - to park their cars, ensure fresh produce and pick up their mail. If you are satisfied with the services provided, a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate and always appreciated. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.

Usually the equivalent of around USD5 to USD10 per person, per day to cover tips is fine. Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, your leader might raise the idea of a group tipping kitty. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running this kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This kitty does not include tips for your leader and crew.

TIPPING GUIDE

To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground.

- Basic restaurants – Round up to the nearest figure or leaving the loos change is generally fine.

- Up-market restaurants – When checking the bill, if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.

- Local guides – Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest USD2 to USD3 per person, per day for local guides.

- Your tour leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD3 to USD5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

EMERGENCY FUNDS

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

CREDIT CARD, ATMS AND MONEY EXCHANGE

ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities. Credit and debit cards are the best way to access money throughout most trips (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.

Check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.

Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day.

icon readmoreicon minusWhat to take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances.

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.

GENERAL PACKING LIST:

• Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts and a copy of this document.

• Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets.

• Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids.

• Daypack

• Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both.

• Power adaptors

• Insect repellent

• Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses

• Earplugs and eye mask (you might be sharing with a snorer!)

• Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

• Warm clothes including hat and gloves - When travelling in cooler climates

• Wind and waterproof rain jacket

• Toiletries/travel wipes

• Travel Towel

• Closed in, comfortable walking shoes. As most of our trips include some walking elements, we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings.

• Camera with spare memory cards and batteries

• Swimwear (itinerary dependant)

• Clothes! Bear in mind that laundry facilities will be widely available throughout this trip. The cost varies in each destination.

LUGGAGE LIMIT:

On this trip, you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and, although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 15kg. If your itinerary includes a flight, please keep in mind that some domestic airlines have checked luggage limits of 15kg.

CLOTHING & CLIMATE:

Please note that as a desert region, the Middle East can have extreme weather. Temperatures are generally hot with little rain. This can become extreme during the summer months of June to August. In the months of December to March it can be very cold, particularly next to the river or the ocean and out in the desert where night temperatures can drop dramatically. Even in the hot months, it can get cold in the desert at night. Consider bringing a sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period, especially on itineraries which include camping such as on a felucca, in a desert camp, or at a Red Sea beach camp. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat is essential.

VALUABLES:

Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safes to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

BATTERIES/POWER:

Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras regularly. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Charging of batteries is advised before checking out of your hotel rooms. Please bear in mind there may be some nights were electricity may not be as readily available as you might be used to – home stays, beach and desert camps etc.

RESTRICTED ITEMS

Generally drones are not permitted into any Middle East destination or they require registration and pre approval please refer to your airline carrier if you are considering taking a drone on your travels or check out drone laws by country on line.

We have had some reports of binoculars being confiscated or causing delay in customs if carried in hand luggage.  

icon readmoreicon minusClimate and seasonal

ISRAEL IN WINTER:

The winter months in Israel (December through to February) can be quite cold. Temperatures in northern parts of the country can drop to freezing overnight. Snowfall around these areas is common. You will need to be prepared to travel in varying temperatures over these months.

icon readmoreicon minusA couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.

Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.

By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.

If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

icon readmoreicon minusFeedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

icon readmoreicon minusEmergency contact

GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below:

Intrepid's Local Operator: +972-547613668 OR +972-547862882

icon readmoreicon minusResponsible travel

Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.

Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

When packing, be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops isn't appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing (3/4 trousers that come to the calf are fine) is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.

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HEATING AND AIR-CONDITIONING:

As a desert region, this part of the world has extremes of weather. Winter months (approx December to March) can be very cold. All of our hotel accommodation contains suitable bedding, and simple light bedding is provided during camping activities such as an overnight felucca, desert camps or at the Red Sea Beach camp stay. Most of our travellers find the bedding provided here adequate, but for your own comfort and if you are particularly sensitive to the cold, consider bringing your own sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket. Some of our guesthouses / hotels don't supply heating. In many cases this would be a major financial and environmental strain on our hotels and the local towns. Summer (approx June to August) can be very hot everywhere we travel, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning.

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Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

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ITINERARY CHANGES:

Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.

Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

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Hotel (9 nights)

Machu Picchu!

Win a Classic Peru Adventure Tour to Machu Picchu & Ancient Inca Sites. Every NOVICA product purchased through the end of the year qualifies as an entry. Let the journey begin!
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