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Looking for Israel Tour Guide for Family

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Looking for Israel Tour Guide for Family

My family is planning to go to Israel this summer - late June-mid-July, and would like to arrange a private group tour with a guide, rather than join a large tour group. We would like to combine air, (from NYC) land, hotels, but are not sure where to start. There will be 7 or 8 of us, ranging in age from 13 - 72. We are all jewish, but would be interested in seeing the highlights of the country - most of us have never been there. Any suggestions for tour companies or guides would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Paragon
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1. Re: Looking for Israel Tour Guide for Family

From my own experience I can tell you that if you have a tour company to put together a private tour for you the cost will be quite high. If expense is not an issue for you then you can certainly have a tour company do this for you. Folks here can recommend tour companies that specialize in tours from a Jewish point of view if that is what you want.

OR---you can book your own airfare and hotels and hire your own private guide/driver.

If you would like to explore this option you can get advice on that here, too.

Please post and give us some more information as to your wants/desires and you will get plenty of help.

Kathy Walters

Paragon, Indiana, USA

cakywalters@iquest.net

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2. Re: Looking for Israel Tour Guide for Family

We'd like to hire our own tour guide/driver, but would probably need some help arranging all of the hotels, depending on the itinerary. (My mom may have the most time for making arrangements--the rest of us are juggling jobs, kids, etc., and don't have tons of time, so the more a guide could help us, the better) How can we find certified guides, and do any of them help with the hotel arrangements? Airfare from NYC is fairly straightforward, but we weren't sure if there are discounted rates if you book in conjunction with any tour guides, or if they have any suggestions regarding airfares.

NYC/Israel
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3. Re: Looking for Israel Tour Guide for Family

If you hire a guide in advance--they may be able to help you with making arrangements in Israel. ( I assume for a fee) Suzanne Pomerantz, who sometimes posts on these boards and has received excellent reviews from people who post is a good choice. She is a former American who has been living in Israel many years. She is, of course a licensed tour guide. ( something to be aware of, not everyone who claims to be a guide is indeed licensed by the Israeli government)

Why don't you email her. It is

suztours@gmail.com

NYC/Israel
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for Israel
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4. Re: Looking for Israel Tour Guide for Family

eee gads, I forgot to write that everyone on this board can (and will) offer advice about Israel--when you give us a little more info--like how long are you going to be in Israel, what are your interests.

Arizona
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5. Re: Looking for Israel Tour Guide for Family

Since a lot of the best guides are already booking for next spring and summer, I suggest you use the search window on the forum, look up guides, and you will be able to compile names of 6 or 8 well-recommended guides. (Moti, Ezra, Jeff, Dov, Yochi, Joe... and others) Some do the whole country, some specialize in one area or another.

I think choosing a guide is a very personal decision, and since it's a lot of money, I always advise people to contact two or three, and (assuming availability) take the time to email ideas about itineraries, concerns -- back and forth a few times. Get a sense of flexibility, communication ability, organization, style and humor -- and if possible, have a phone call before making the final decision, although that isn't essential.

But you better get on that immediately, because people are reporting many guides are already tied up for may and June. The sights, hotels -- we can help you (your Mom) put together a splendid trip if you let us know ages, interests, etc.

Paragon
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6. Re: Looking for Israel Tour Guide for Family

mymagoos---you have gotten some great advice here already.

I can personally recommend two guides who are licensed and have their own vehicles (something you would need for the North and other areas as well). You could find their information by searching this forum, but, I think that I would like to make it a little easier for you.

Moti Dagan is a Holocaust survivor, a very quick-witted and lovely man who is more full of energy than most people half his age. I first used him for a day trip and later was on a bus tour where he was the guide. Then, last fall I took the plunge into doing a private tour and hired him for it. I didn't regret my decision for a moment. Moti will give you what you ask for in a tour (your desires and interests will be catered to..........).

His email is: DAGAN8@014.NET.IL

His telephone numbers are: (as dialed from the USA)

home: 011-972-9-741-8197

cell: 011-972-54-805=2266

Ezra Eini is also a licensed guide/driver and he is the man I always give much credit to for the fact that I fell in love with Israel, its land and its people. Ezra has a passion that just grabbed my heart and I have never forgotten the two tours I was on that he guided. He does occasionally take on a private tour group.

His email is:ezra1@isdn.net.il

His telephone number is: (I believe this is a cell number)

011-972-50-565-6727

If you are flexible in your dates for next summer you can hopefully still get a good guide for a timeframe that will suit for you and your family. I highly recommend a telephone call to whichever guides you decide to contact (after an initial email perhaps) as it really does help (in my opinion) to converse with them.

It is easy to secure your own hotels. If you want your guide to recommend hotels they certainly might be able to do so, but, you can secure your rooms either on your own or through a person like Orit who is often spoken of here as working with people to get them hotel rooms in Israel. I have used both of these options and I have done well.

I do not think that a tour guide will have much to say at all about your choice of airlines. If you are flying out of NYC/Newark and you want a nonstop your choices are fairly limited. You can use Delta, Continental or El-Al. (Is there another choice? **scratching my head**) I can tell you for a fact that we found tickets are going up in price all the time. The tickets we purchased for about $1500.00 for next May are now well over $1700.00. I can tell you that unless the airline schedules change (which obviously they can) right now Continental offers the flight that gets into Israel the earliest in the day (arriving 9:30 a.m.). By the way, I have flown El-Al and I have flown Delta and will choose Continental for next spring only because of that earlier arrival into Israel. I was satisfied with my experiences on both Delta and El-Al. I also flew Lufthansa once and the service was fine, but, I did not like the time that it took to get there (changing planes in Frankfurt).

How long will you stay in Israel? I recommend 2 weeks if you can. The country is simply amazing and even 2 weeks will not be enough. *smile*

Kathy Walters

Paragon, Indiana, USA

cakywalters@iquest.net

Israel
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7. Re: Looking for Israel Tour Guide for Family

Try this site for a list of all the registered guides in Israel

http://www.tour-guides.co.il/search.php

(you can browse the names as well as search)

some of them have their own websites.

Note that some days you won't need a guide

and it would be a waste to hire one for that day

eg for Yad Vashem in Jerusalem which is a MUST

Yad Vashem is free and you need a few hours

there, you can combine it with something else

in Jerusalem. Buy a guidebook!

Suggest you hire the guide for part of the time, and part of

the time tour alone eg the markets, the museums.

Paragon
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8. Re: Looking for Israel Tour Guide for Family

On our upcoming trip we will have a guide/driver with us for 10 of our 14 days in the country.

We'll have 4 full days in Jerusalem without our guide. All of us are repeat Israel travelers and we'll relish exploring on our own.

I certainly agree that Yad Vashem is a place where a guide is not at all necessary. In fact, I think it is good (my opinion) to be without a guide because one can go through at their own pace totally and this is not a place to even think of being rushed.

Hiring a guide is not to be taken lightly. I really like the idea of hiring someone that comes personally recommended. I met Moti through a recommendation from Ezra, for example.

It's simply a very personal choice. Some people don't hire guides at all. Some people cannot imagine not having a guide with them at all times. Take into consideration the needs of your group (you have a wide age range) and your own convenience. Perhaps this will be the only trip this particular family group will have to Israel together. Make sure you make it the trip of a lifetime. *smile* I believe you will.

Kathy Walters

Paragon, Indiana, USA

cakywalters@iquest.net

Lexington, Kentucky
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9. Re: Looking for Israel Tour Guide for Family

I agree that Suzanne Pomeranz is an EXCELLENT guide. She also has connections with drivers and other tour guides, so if she isn't available, maybe she would have a suggestion for someone else. She was very responsive to our emails, too, so that would be a good place to start.

Cheers,

Jan

Paragon
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10. Re: Looking for Israel Tour Guide for Family

Suzanne is truly a lovely lady. I have not used her as a guide because of our need for a driver, but, have met her in person and enjoyed time with her. I wrote to her recently (because I hadn't heard from her since her return to Israel) and she hasn't responded. I hope she is all right.

Kathy Walters

Paragon, Indiana, USA

cakywalters@iquest.net