After several years of traveling to Israel, I’ve learned a few things along the way about maxing out on the best trip you’ll ever take. Got a trip planned to the land of the Bible? Here’s my Top Ten list for how to get the most out of your next trip to Israel!
1. Relax. The one question I have to answer, over and over again, is perhaps the most important one. “Is it safe to go to Israel?” And the answer? Absolutely. Nine million people live, work and play in Israel, and security is a paramount concern. It is not a war zone. Let’s put it this way. There are probably places in your hometown that are a lot more dangerous than the places tourists frequent in Israel. And if something happens that causes a security concern? This is a country that knows how to deal with challenges quickly and efficiently. Tourists who return to the USA with me usually speak of how foolish they feel at thinking they were stepping into a dangerous land. There are no guarantees with anything in life, but I’ve taken my wife, my daughters, and even my son-in-law while his wife – our oldest daughter – was expecting their first child. If it weren’t a safe trip, I wouldn’t go myself, and I wouldn’t invite you to go with me.
2. Pack lightly. Add up the luggage fees the airlines are going to charge you. That second big bag? It will cost you $50 to $100. That’s $50 to $100 you could use for laundry services at any of your hotels. Better yet, it’s an opportunity to buy and wear that souvenir shirt you wanted!
3. Forget the extra suitcase of food. You’re going to be well fed in Israel. Some of the food is different, but you’re bound to find plenty you’ll like. When it’s in season, the fruit you’ll find in Israel is the best in the world. Worst case scenario? For two weeks, man can live on bread alone!
4. Look down. When you’re touring an ancient site like Caesarea or Megiddo, you’re often walking on broken pottery. You’ll assume you’re walking on tiny rocks. But take a closer look and you’ll see the ridges and the other confirmations that you’re walking on history!
5. Get off the bus. The traveler who maximizes his or her trip to Israel will use every minute to explore the land. Most tour groups break for a long lunch. If you’re up to the adventure, munch on an apple and some crackers, and spend that lunch hour walking around the area. This is the land of the Bible! Don’t waste all day in a cafeteria … and by all means, be back at the bus when it’s time to get back on the road! Never hold up your group! Our EIN groups are often in remote areas around lunchtime, which is why we plan on picnics. It saves time, it’s good food, and it reminds us the times when Jesus turned a boy’s lunchbox into a feast for thousands.