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Need help from the experts

Pennsylvania
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80 posts
22 reviews
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Need help from the experts

Hi there,

Planning to be in Jerusalem for a family vacation in January. This is our first trip there. I am excited although have a lot of concerns. Your help and advice would be most appreciated.

1. We were recommended to visit the Tower of David light show. Any advice on how to reserve tickets from the US, and are there any discounts if you do it online?

2. Will we have a problem if we do not rent a car? We are making Jerusalem our base, and just doing day trips.

3. Is there a website such as US HopStop that let's you plan public transportation trips?

4. What is cab situation like? Can we hail a cab in the streets or do we have to call for it? We need to visit family outside of Jerusalem (about 20 minutes away). Will cabs go there or do we need to plan to take a bus?

Sorry for a lot of questions. Just trying to save myself the aggravation during the vacation. Thank you!

NYC area
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426 posts
42 reviews
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21. Re: Need help from the experts

You say that you are nervous drivers. If you are nervous drivers where you normally drive, I am going to guess that you would be even more nervous in a foreign country. I recommend not renting a car but using a guide with a car for those places you cannot get to without one. You could mix this with small group tours to try to keep the prices down.

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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15,824 posts
77 reviews
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22. Re: Need help from the experts

considering the high rate of fuel in Israel plus the dropping value of the dollar, $700 per day for a driving guide, especially if there are large distances involved, is no longer on the high end.

The same can be said for a walking tour with a private guide, almost none charge less than $300 a day and most have adjusted their rates accordingly. You will also find that there are now many guides who no longer quote their rates in dollars and do charge only in NIS.

What is important is clarifying exactly what you want, what you will get and if you feel comfortable with the guide. And again, only you can decide what is the bet fit for you.

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
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35,074 posts
35 reviews
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23. Re: Need help from the experts

You indicated that you would have extra milage, so for sure the $700 is in line. If at all possible use a driving guide. Yes, you can rent and you can drive ( the guide can not drive your rental vehicle) but as already said both because you are nervous drivers--the roads up north could be curvy AND because it is hard to enjoy while driving and being nervous you can easily regret it.

You also indicated that it is hard to deal with a guide with only email. I'll ask a few questions

a. where did this guide come from?

b. have you spoken to him at all? You should. You need to speak with a guide. It IS a lot of money and you need to make sure you can understand and enjoy his/her manner.

c you also need to feel comfortable, in advance, with the guide. If you are uncomfortable working with him in advance, how are you going to tour with him. BTW the guide should be open and willing to hear your suggestions and your wants. While his input is valuable and needs to be listened to , bottom line it is your trip.

Two of the people who post regularly here are also driving guides. They offer their assistance freely and dont' advertise ( as per TA regulation)

Oreet above and Davetheguide are both driving guides. Other people on the thread will recommend people they like.

Pennsylvania
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80 posts
22 reviews
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24. Re: Need help from the experts

Thanks. I welcome any recommendations. I googled "israel guides" but there is so much out there, it is very confusing. Does this site has reliable guides www.israel-guides.net?

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
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14,315 posts
185 reviews
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25. Re: Need help from the experts

Any guide who is licensed is "reliable" to a degree -- they have extensive training and have passed licensure. But that does not mean they are a fit for you. There are many licensed guides who are just terrific, several of whom post on here. Then there are some who are mediocre, or self-promoting blowhards, or high-maintenance. And there are a few whom are jerks with whom I would not want to spend ten minutes, let alone a full day or several days. A license doesn't answer that question -- only getting references and talking with the guide by telephone to ensure a personal fit can do that.

Good luck!

Douglas Duckett

NEW JERSEY
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24 posts
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26. Re: Need help from the experts

Look at Artzeinu Tours (Orthodox) at artzeinu.co.il. When I went with our family of ten, they offered substantial discounts. Even without discounts they run about $100.00 per person for an all day tour. They do multi-day tours as well, and have been highly recommended by friends of ours.

27. Re: Need help from the experts

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Removed on: 30 December 2011, 16:20
NEW JERSEY
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24 posts
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28. Re: Need help from the experts

Sorry for the double post. Not sure how that happened. I've sent a request to delete one.

Pennsylvania
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80 posts
22 reviews
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29. Re: Need help from the experts

Somebody else suggested Artzeinu. I will defnitely look into them. Multiple thanks to everybody for their advice. I will keep you posted...

Staten Island, New...
Destination Expert
for Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
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30. Re: Need help from the experts

Just to stress what Douglas is saying there are terrific guides that post here. Strictly knowing not from experience but by hanging around here long enough to see how professional and super knowledgable they are. Here are some names...

Orit Segal (Oreets) - lives in Jerusalem I believe

VisitIsrael (Chana)

DavetheGuide - I strongly suspect that he's a guide ;)

Shoshi - not sure if she's a guide but def can be one

I'm sure I'm missing some.