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On Your Own

Michigan USA
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On Your Own

Hello,

My wife and I would like to travel to Israel on our own as opposed to a tour group. Is this safe? Can anyone offer any suggestions as to preparation for such a trip? We are interested in Christian sites but would also like to take in everything else Israel has to offer. Probably have about 10 days to spend, Would appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks

007kgb

Pinetop-Lakeside...
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1. Re: On Your Own

I would whole heartedly suggest that you do go ahead and tour on your own. Do some more searching around at this section and will find many ideas.

Also, send an empty email to Labatt@fuse.net with the subject line of 'tour guide' or some such and you will receive a very good set of ideas from one of the folks here.

For the most part, it is suggested to stay a day or two in Tel Aviv, then rent a car to travel to the north and stay near the Galilee for a few days. Then drive down to Jerusalem, turn your car in and spend the rest of your time there. You can take a day tour or drive to the Dead Sea region from there.

happy travels!

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
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2. Re: On Your Own

You can definitely do this kind of trip on your own. Things to keep in mind are the dates of your travel. Avoid going to Israel during the main holidays, in the fall, Rosh Hashanah through to Simchat Torah (which is about a month long) and in the spring, avoid goint during Passover.

The summer is very hot, in Dec, Jan and Feb it is colder and you should expect some days with rain.

With 10 days and an emphasis on the Christian sites, you might want to look at a schedule something like this:

Tel Aviv- 2 days

Galilee- 3 days

Jerusalem- 5 days which would include a day trip to the Dead Sea

You should have consider renting a car for self touring for the Galilee as it is difficult to tour in this area without a car.

There is so much to see and do in Israel and yes, it is safe to travel, in fact much safer than most countries.

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
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3. Re: On Your Own

I would echo that this is very possible to do on your own -- I have done it that way for twelve trips, all the way from the first one, and would not do it any other way.

I will be happy to send you my free, noncommercial guide -- just send me an e-mail at the address teddy gave: Labatt@fuse.net. Right now, I'm having some problems with my e-mail, but I hope to get it fixed later today, so if you are writing today (June 22, 2014), be patient.

Douglas Duckett

Gippsland, Australia
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem
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4. Re: On Your Own

My husband and I have travelled on our own as well as doing tours in Israel. We went right into the heart of the West Bank several times and felt completely safe all the time. (I prefer being on a tour or with a private guide in the West Bank though). When you are touring by yourselves it is a good idea to map out your itinerary for each day before you go, checking into the opening and closing times of each site. In particular watch out for times relating to Shabbat (Friday afternoon and Saturday). Note that public transport starts shutting down in the afternoon on Friday.

As a Christian, sites I would regard the following as must sees to be included in a first visit:

Jaffa (Joppa) - whilst staying in Tel Aviv. http://www.bibleplaces.com/joppa.htm

Caesarea (built by Herod the Great) - http://www.bibleplaces.com/caesarea.htm

Nazareth (I enjoyed Nazareth Village - http://www.nazarethvillage.com )

Megiddo - http://www.bibleplaces.com/megiddo.htm

Sites close to the Sea of Galilee are Tiberias, Capernaum, Bethsaida, Chorazin and the 'Jesus boat'

In the Golan Heights - Dan and Banias (Banias is Caesarea Philippi in the New Testament)

Jerusalem,... So many sites - too many to list! However one of my favourites is the Temple Institute: https://www.templeinstitute.org

Masada - amazing scenery, built by Herod the Great and full of Jewish history. It's alongside the Dead Sea so a float in the Dead Sea could be included in this day.

There are two sites I have used a lot when planning my trips. The first I have already linked to : www.bibleplaces.com and the second is www.biblewalks.com

Getting to Biblical sites in the West Bank is a little more challenging. For example, you can't take an Israeli rental car into "Area A" which includes Jericho, Bethlehem, the Palestinian part of Hebron, or Nablus (where Jacob's well is). However there are day or half day tours that you can do from Jerusalem to those places if you want to go. Check out www.abrahamtours.com for ideas. If you want to go into the West Bank to Palestinian areas then a good day to go is on Saturday because a lot of things are closed in Israel for Shabbat on that day.

Michigan USA
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5. Re: On Your Own

Thanks everyone for all the helpful information. I'm going to sit down with my wife and discuss some of our options.

007kgb

Paragon
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6. Re: On Your Own

All I can say is "DO IT DO IT DO IT"..! I did 4 bus tours before attempting to put a bus tour group together myself.........that effort fell apart....I was devastated....and THEN the people here encouraged me to put together a trip without using tour agency and so on. That's how I came to do my last 4 trips. The first two or three of those were having a private guide for about 1/2 to 2/3 of our days and our last trip we only used a guide a couple of times. Using the wonderful vast array of knowledge of the people here on TA was my best tool ever and continues to be that to this day. Get organized, ask questions, make plans....ask more questions....you can do this and it will indeed to a marvelous experience.

Kathy

Paragon, Indiana

Thousand Oaks...
Destination Expert
for Israel
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7. Re: On Your Own

There are advantages to both going with a tour guide and without.

A tour guide can give visitors a very effective insight into the sites you will be seeing. It can be a very educational and memorable way to see the country. A good tour guide can weave the complicated history of the region into a tapestry of understanding. A disadvantage of a tour guide is the additional cost which can be substantial.

If one is well versed in the history of the region then they can easily forgo a tourguide and have a full understanding of what they will be seeing.

A wonderful compromise is to do a combination of both!!

Plan your trip as you see fit but in some of the main areas like Jerusalem or Tel Aviv perhaps contract out with a private guide for a deeper understanding of the cities. To me this is a perfect way to get a first feel of the country.

Dr. Z

Michigan USA
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8. Re: On Your Own

Any recommendations for moderately priced hotels for some of the cities mentioned in this thread?

007kgb

Kamloops, Canada
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9. Re: On Your Own

My wife and I rented a car in Eilat and toured the dead sea and Massada on our way North to the Galilee area. We visited the sea of Gallilee, Mount Tabor and Nazareth on our way to Akko and Haifa. We finished by driving South to Tel Aviv where we returned our car and finished our trip in Jerusalem. I would not suggest getting a rental car for your stay in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem but for sights in the North and the Dead Sea area I would totally suggest getting a rental car because it made getting around on our own time so much easier.

We stayed at the following places because they were not too expensive or because they were located in a central place to what we wanted to see and do and I really had no complaints. I would stay at them again.

Massada - tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g293979-d1028563…

Jerusalem - tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g293983-d3439975…

Tiberias - tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g297765-d1110722…

Akko - tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g297736-d3216679…

Thousand Oaks...
Destination Expert
for Israel
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10. Re: On Your Own

Those areas have plenty of lodging choices. What time of year is this planned for? That could limit some of your choices.... Also, what budget do you have for lodging?