I originally posted this message in the Eilat forum, thinking that Eilat would be a good base for touring the Negev and Petra. Mom is traveling to Israel, arriving on 12/13, and has to be in Tel Aviv the evening of 12/18 to meet up with her tour group. She wants to go to the Negev and to Petra in the days before the group tour. I've started to look at options:
1 - Arrive at Ben Gurion, transfer to an Arkia flight to Eilat on 12/13. 12/14 and 12/15 tour of Negev - I've contacted Desert Eco tours to see if they can accommodate mom. 12/16 day at leisure in Eilat. 12/17 day trip to Petra. 12/18 morning at leisure then afternoon flight back to Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion or Sde Dov?) Her hotel is the Tel Aviv Crowne Plaza, so I don't know which airport is better.
2 - Arrive 12/13 and transfer to hotel in Tel Aviv. Start Negev tour from Tel Aviv on 12/14, end in Eilat on 12/15. 12/16, 12/17 and 12/18 same as option 1.
3 - Arrive 12/13 and transfer to a Kibbutz in the Negev with a guest house. Per Frommer's, there are a couple that will arrange touring in the Negev and Petra. Return to Tel Aviv on 12/18.
Her particular interest in seeing the Negev is because of her work with JNF in the US. She wants to see the places that JNF is working to reclaim the desert.
Any advice and suggestions would be appreciated.