General Travel Information - It is important to read the information below. It will answer many of your questions regarding group travel.
Registration and Passport: Please be sure to have a valid passport with a date of at least six months remaining from return date of the tour. If you do not have a passport, apply for one immediately. We will not purchase your airline ticket without a valid passport. Please complete the registration form (one per person). Please make sure to complete the emergency contact info, as well as sign and date the form. If you are paying by credit card, please complete the section for credit card payments, and initial the box if you wish to have future payments processed on the same card. If your card expires, it is your responsibility to contact us with new payment information. If you choose to use a different card for second and final payments, you will need to complete another registration form with the new credit card info. We will contact you prior to second and final payments being processed. After each deposit or payment, you will receive a statement from us. It is important to comply with the due dates. Vendors servicing your tour must be paid at certain intervals. Please read and keep the terms and conditions that you were given with the registration packet.
Contact/Phone information: Talknsave.com (1-866-825-5672) is a very inexpensive rental phone option, if you wish to rent a phone. This phone only works in Israel. Contact them at least 6 weeks prior to the tour. They will mail you the phone before your departure. Hotels do have internet access available. Some hotels have internet available for free in the room and/or the lobby. Other hotels charge a fee. The hotels change their policies all the time, so we cannot verify if you will have free internet/wifi or if you will need to pay. Buses do have WiFi. However, in certain locations, the service can be unpredictable. You can use an internet application for calling the U.S.
Flights, Seating, and Tickets: Please arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to the scheduled flight departure.
Tickets will be issued at the airport. Your passport is necessary, and must be verified at check in. Once your passport is scanned, you will receive your outbound ticket. Flights less than six hours do not usually serve meals. They may have food available for purchase. Transatlantic flights will serve two meals. All flight reservations are held in our CST account. Seats are in economy, and we cannot upgrade your seats. Airlines will give us your seat assignments, and many times, seat assignments for flight legs outside of the U.S. do not offer advanced seat assignment for security reasons. Flight information will be provided in your departure packet, after final payments are received.
Hotel Room Assignments: Do your best to travel with a companion. If you are traveling alone, we will do our best to find you someone with whom to share a room, thus avoiding the additional charge of single accommodations. However, if you do not have a roommate or you are requesting your own room, the single supplement cost applies. Hotels are based on your particular tour arrangements. However, beware that room sizes are not like in the U.S. Rooms usually have hairdryers, and provide toiletries. Hotels have laundry service, but it can be expensive. Middle Eastern hotels and many European hotels do not have washcloths available. Hotel information will be given in your departure packet.
Electricity: Please remember to bring a converter/adapter, depending on what you are planning to use it for. You can purchase these items at Radio Shack, Best Buy, and Target. Make sure to read the package in order to find the correct adapter for the Middle East.
Land Transportation: Deluxe, air conditioned motor coaches will be utilized throughout the tour. Buses have air conditioning and heating.
Travel Insurance: If you are concerned about travel insurance, and wish to safeguard you travel investment, travelguard.com and insuremytrip.com offer several types of insurances at reasonable prices. We are not affiliated with these companies nor do we receive any type of commission from them. We simply offer this information to you, so that you can save money on travel insurance by avoiding extensive mark ups from travel agents. We work to reduce your cost, not increase it.
Luggage: It is best to pack light and take one 27 in. suitcase (or smaller) and a backpack or tote as your carry-on. You can then use this backpack or tote as your day bag for touring. Remember, if you are taking liquids or toiletries on the plane; put them in a one quart sized plastic bag (check with www.tsa.gov if you are unsure about what can be taken as a carry-on item). Check with the airlines for size restrictions. In your departure packets, we will provide luggage requirements and restrictions for your trip. Each person is allowed one (1) piece of luggage, either a larger piece for check in, or a carry-on legal size. You may not have two pieces of luggage. Buses do not have ample room for each person to bring two pieces of luggage. On your luggage tag, it is advisable on the outbound flight to put your name, and the first hotel name and phone number. It is also advisable to put an itinerary in your suitcase as well. Include the hotel names and phone numbers, as well as the dates of stay. For the return flight, you will put your home address and phone number. Hotel numbers will be provided at least 30 days prior to departure.
Money Concerns: Debit/credit cards are used in Israel. Contact your bank prior to leaving and give them the dates of your travel plans. Please remember to request an international number from your credit card or bank when you give them your travel dates. It makes it much easier to contact them, in the event that you need to do so. Make sure your pin number does not start with zero -0-. You do not need to exchange money. When you pay in dollars, you will receive back foreign currency, in most cases. It is wise to carry quite a few smaller bills; $1’s, 5’s, and 10’s. You can use these for small purchases. Money belts or pouches are highly recommended to keep passports and money secure. We will arrange shopping for you in secure stores. These stores are reputable, and it is safe to use your debit or credit cards. If you venture out on your own in the evenings, we do not suggest using your credit or debit card.
Shopping: As a group, it is important to stay together. We will arrange for you several places to shop during the touring time. However, this is not a shopping tour. We arrange this so that you will have secure places to shop. Some of the shops are owned by Christians. There are very few Christians living in Israel, so this is one way to help support them. If you wish to venture out and shop on your own in the evening, stay together in a small group. It is not possible to allow people to stop and shop at each place. If individuals do that, it will hold up the group, and touring time will then be decreased. Sites have hours of operation, and it is important that we stay on schedule. American Express cards and traveler’s checks are not widely accepted. Discover Card is accepted, but not often. MasterCard and Visa are preferred.
Dress Code: Dress comfortably and casually. At holy sites, men are required to wear pants. Women, if you wear a skirt or capris, make sure they come below the knee. Everyone must have their shoulders covered, so it is a good idea to wear shirts that have sleeves. No head coverings are required for women. At the Western Wall and the Tomb of David, men are required to cover their head, and head coverings will be provided. If you are traveling to other countries, remember that when visiting holy sites your attire should be conservative.
Temperature and Clothing: Temperature does vary, depending on the time of year. Plan to layer your clothing for fall and winter months. Layers allow you to add more if you are cold, or remove if you are warm. A jacket is recommended for fall and winter months. During the winter, a travel umbrella is a good idea. You can never predict the weather. A hat and sunglasses are also useful to protect from the sun. For spring and summer months, you will want to wear light weight, light colored clothing. It will help you keep cool. Moisture wicking clothes are an excellent idea. For travel to Israel, you will want to bring a swimming suit for floating in the Dead Sea, an experience you will not want to miss. The weather in the Negev area, near the Dead Sea is much warmer than all of Israel, due to being below sea level. Swim shoes are also a good idea. You can rent towels at the Dead Sea, or you can bring one along.
Shoes & Walking: Sites will require walking. Plan ahead and bring comfortable shoes for this purpose. Make sure your shoes have traction on the soles. Do not bring new shoes. It is a good idea to start walking, prior to the tour.
Dinners: You are not required to dress up for dinner. It is not required by the hotels. If you are on a cruise, please check with the dining room requirements.
Lunches: We arrange lunches at various establishments throughout Israel. About one month prior, we will contact these places. This will help us secure a price based on a group, which will help you save money. Your lunches are not included in the cost of the tour, so please plan accordingly. Prices vary, depending on the location. At lunches, and sometimes for dinner, Alpha 2 Omega Travel will cover the cost of your drinks. You may have soda, coffee, beer, wine, etc. We will let you know prior to arriving at the restaurant or the dining room, so that you know NOT to pay for your drinks.
Group Travel: Each person will be given a packet prior to departure (group meeting or at the airport). You will receive a lanyard with a name tag, which has contact phone numbers in Israel and Jordan. Please wear this. It will also help to identify you if you should become separated from the group. The guide will take you to sites, give us explanations, and then allow time for you to have Bible reading, a daily devotion, take pictures, and explore a little. It is important to listen to the explanation, and then take your pictures. If the guide must explain over and over, this wastes time. In addition, when the guide is offering an explanation on the bus, it is important for everyone to listen. If others are talking, it is distracting to others who have paid for the tour. You have an itinerary. However, it may be altered due to traffic, or if there are many other groups at a specific site. You will visit all of the sites, but it may not be in the exact order as stated. We want to make the best use of time. It is also important to note that if you decide not to visit a specific site, there are no refunds as stated in our terms and conditions. Everything is prepaid on a group basis. If you choose to leave the group, all costs are your responsibility.
Tips: In the base pay, we include nominal tips. At the end of the tour, if you wish to collect a little extra for the guide and driver, you may do so. If you feel you have received exceptional service, your giving will be appreciated by our Christian guide, and the driver. Tips for hotels, porters, housekeeping, dining room, reception, and airport assistance have been covered in the cost of the tour. You do not need to pay additional for these services.
Cultural Awareness and Our Concerns for You: You are traveling to a foreign country. Therefore, it will not be the same as the U.S. There are similarities in many respects. However, many things are very different. This is part of the experience of travel. It is also important not to offend people with unacceptable comments that are cultural or political in nature. If you have questions, you can certainly politely ask the guide or one of our staff members. They will happily answer your questions. But, please be mindful of your behavior in order to help maintain the upbeat demeanor of the group.
We will account for each person every morning before boarding the bus, and before and after visiting each site. Safety in a foreign country is of great concern to most people. Many people are not comfortable traveling to a place with which they are unfamiliar, and may perhaps have heard that it is unsafe. It is sometimes easier to avoid visiting a country you have always wanted to visit. Your safety is our concern. Tour operators will always have the most current information on the safety in each country, and any reports that are issued. Security issues in Israel and many other countries are many times overly exaggerated. It is, moreover, in all probability safer than where you live. Rest assured that millions of people travel to Israel and the Middle East every year without any safety or security issues.
Alpha 2 Omega Travel
P.O. Box 402128, Hesperia, CA 92340 US
Phone: (760) 985-3540