JUNE 11, 2018 Departure from Los Angeles (LAX)
JUNE 23, 2018 Return to Los Angeles
Please make sure you bring your E-Ticket and passport with you to the airport. (Your passport should be valid at least to December 2018). Do not pack it in your luggage! Have it both easy to find and secure from loss. You may need to show it several times. Please answer any questions from the security personnel as politely, honestly, and clearly as you can. Our official group name is “The Fr. Heney Group.” The purpose of our trip is simply “Tourism.”
Our Group is flying at 7:45am on Air Canada #794 to Toronto and then #84 to Tel Aviv, arriving around 10am the next day, June 12th. Everyone should arrive at LAX at least 2 hours before departure. I will leave a few days earlier arrive in Jerusalem before you. I use that time to check out new archeological sites. I will welcome you at the airport when you arrive.
The airline normally assigns seats, not our travel agency. You can check with the airline yourself for a specific seat request. Because of the seat configuration, more than half of us will have aisle seats.
Air Canada is in Terminal SIX. There are plenty of stores, duty-free shops, and restaurants there as well. Just check-in as normal and proceed to the gate.
After disembarking the plane in Tel Aviv, the airport walkway leads straight to Passport Control. We will be met after Passport Control by our local Airport Assistant, with a sign reading “George’s International Tours.” Please wear your name tag so that he can identify us. He will lead us to Baggage Claim, which has excellent restroom facilities as well as money exchange booths for those that would like Israeli money.
After getting your luggage, please gather as a group until all are ready, then you will walk from the Baggage Claim Area as a group past Customs Control to Ground Transportation where our local guide Dicko Torossian and I will be waiting to help you board our bus. This area is crowded with people greeting passengers, so it is better that we walk together.
Please remember that the first row of seats on both sides of the aisle on the bus are reserved. However, because our bus rides each day are generally very short, there is no special advantage to having one seat over another. All seats are good.
Our hotel in Jerusalem is about 40 minutes away. The hotel staff will unload luggage into the lobby, where I will pass out room key cards. Your one large luggage case will be brought to your room (tips are already included) or you may carry it yourself. Please feel to relax and unwind after our trip. Our hotel is right next to the entrance to the OLD CITY, and about a five-minute walk to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The hotel also has a beautiful award-winning rooftop lounge.
Every night after dinner, I am usually in the rooftop lunge area or other hotel public area for discussion or questions about the trip. All are welcome. Our pilgrimage will start at 8am on most days.
Holy Land Pilgrimage Travel Tips
Credit Cards, Cash, ATM Machines, and Traveler’s Checks
I usually carry two credit cards, one VISA and one MASTERCARD. They are accepted everywhere and in more places than any other card. I keep one with me during the day for purchases, and I leave one with my passport at a safe location at the hotel in case the other one is damaged or lost.
You might consider calling your credit card companies and tell them of your travel plans and the countries we will visit (Israel & Jordan). Some companies, in the interest of protecting you against stolen cards, might deny a sale from a foreign location if they did not know you were abroad, thinking the card was stolen.
Every hotel, restaurant, and store that we will visit takes American dollars. I also carry a supply of one dollar bills with me each day to take care of small purchases such as water, postcards, and small gifts. It is also easier to pay for lunch with cash, either in dollars or Israeli Shekels. There is really no need to have Israeli Shekels, or Jordanian Dinars, unless you would like to have them for lunch or purchases off our tour schedule. There is an exchange machine next to Baggage Claim in Tel Aviv if you want Shekels, and Jordanian Dinars are available at the Israel-Jordan border crossing.
Please remember that banks, stores, and money exchange booths require your passport to cash traveler’s checks. Our guide will also indicate where a few US Dollar ATM machines can be found.
My cell phone company is Sprint and includes Israel and Jordan on its list of countries where they allow free international dialing. You might check with your cell phone company for that feature if you don’t already have it. Your company can also tell what the call rates per minute are, which can change from year to year.
If you have a smart phone, please remember that data roaming charges for email and other apps can be very expensive in Israel and Jordan for the time we are there (possibly close to a thousand dollars!) so please contact your company to inquire about the cost, and how to deactivate data roaming if necessary. If deactivated, your phone will still make and receive calls, but just will not receive email, or other data for various apps, like weather and news. You can receive all that data on WI-FI at no charge. All the hotels have WI-FI hot spots. Our Bus in both Israel and Jordan also has WIFI on board as well.
The Middle East uses 240 volts in their wall outlets, unlike the US which uses 110 volts. However, most appliances such as hair dryers, shavers, and chargers for cameras and cell phones are DUAL VOLTAGE. They automatically adjust to the voltage from the wall outlet. However, check your appliance. It should indicate 240V-110V somewhere on it which means it is safe to use. However, you will need an ADAPTER, which enables the two flat prongs on your American appliance plug to fit into the round wall plugs of Israel and Jordan. They are just a few dollars at any electronics store. The Middle East uses the same two cylindrical prong ADAPTER as Europe uses. I will bring a lot of extras in case you forget. Almost all hotels have hair dryers, but are often not very powerful.
I usually keep my passport in the hotel and take a color copy of the front identification page with me during the day. That is a personal preference. I know that some like to have their passport with them.
I always take a card from the hotel where I am staying with me at all times, in case I want to take a taxi to return. If I get lost, I can just show the card to any taxi driver. The card has the name and address of the hotel right on it, and in the language of the country.
Clothing at Religious Sites (No knees or shoulders visible)
The Middle East is religiously conservative culture and considers shorts and sleeveless shirts not proper for religious sites. Women often bring a large scarf or shawl that they can quickly throw over their shoulders at Church. There are vendors everywhere selling scarves as well. Actually, very light and breathable short sleeve shirts and long pants are cooler in Middle Eastern heat anyway. We will notify you at the end of each day what the dress code will be for the next day.
Email and Fax
Our Hotels will usually have several computers available where you can check the internet and E-Mail. Our hotels in Jordan and Jerusalem also have “Business Centers.”
Please remember to bring your E-Ticket, credit cards, and Passport!
(Almost anything you forget you can buy over there, but you cannot leave the US without your passport!)