Below are the general answers to many Frequently Asked Questions. Please check to see if your question is answered there. If your question is not answered, please submit your question in the response form at the bottom of the page.

NOTE: If you are looking for a FAQ page that is for a specific tour, please go to the GROUPS drop down menu to find your group. Each group has a FAQ page that is specific to that group.

Why should I invest in a trip to Israel?

Perhaps it goes without saying, a trip to Israel isn’t cheap. Some tours are considerably more expensive than others, but none are cheap. That reality causes a number of people to ask, “Why should I invest in a trip to Israel?”

That question could be answered in a number of ways, but it might be best answered by those who have invested in a trip to Israel.

“Before this trip I was excited, but as soon as I got there my excitement immediately turned into total appreciation and disbelief. Here I am in Israel, and all I could think was ‘Why me? How did I get here?’ And, ‘thank you God!’ I couldn’t believe I had the opportunity to go to Israel and see the things I saw and experience the things I experienced.” – Tom

“Going to Israel put so much in perspective for me.” – Karen

“It has opened my view of the gospels SO much more and my perspective has changed when I read them.” – Anna

“After my visit to the Temple Mount, I will never read John 15, 16, and 17 the same.” – Scott

“The Bible has real life inside of me! I read it with greater respect now!” – Rodney

“Seeing the sea from the top of Mt. Carmel like Elijah mentioned made the story really come to life.” – Tamara

“Our reading of the Bible will forever be influenced by the places we visited and the information you shared.” – Mike

“The trip was amazing and life changing. It is completely different to read the Bible or to sit in Minor Prophets class and literally see before your eyes what that certain terrain looks like.” – Rebekah

“For me, it definitely gave my Bible a visual, . . . I learned a lot of history that I can’t learn or experience in a normal classroom or by reading a book.” – Tanya

“Being in the ancient synagogue for church was important and it felt like I was in the stories of the Bible. But then again, the whole trip was like that!” – Tim

“I can’t read John 15-17 the same. I see it in color and it means so much more when you have walked something close to the disciples walk and realize this is JESUS’ last imparting to HIS disciples before HE is crucified.” – Ben

“The geography and topography of Biblical lands is now real for me.” – Katie

“It was very profound for me to read Jesus’ prophecy of the Temple’s destruction, and then look up and see the fulfillment of it at the Southern Excavation!” – Kristen

“The synagogue in Capernaum was mind blowing because I could really picture Jesus teaching.” – Nick

“I will never forget sitting on the edge of the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem and hearing about the difference between Jesus’ Kingdom and David’s Kingdom.” – Scott

“Looking out over the ruins at Capernaum and picturing men lowering their friend from a rooftop into a house where Jesus was also was a highlight for me.” – John

“To be in the vicinity of where Jesus died for my sins and being able to visualize the true sacrifice and penalty that He paid was truly something that I will never forget.” – Tom

“It was sobering and so mind boggling for me to be in the Garden of Gethsemane.” – Jessica

“The Brow of Nazareth…what a sight! Never get over it.” – Ken

“My Bible became a lot more sacred to me.” – Katie

“I can’t read John 15-17 the same. I see it in color.” – Ben

“Only eternity will tell what your investment meant in the lives of our students.” – Duke

“The high place at Dan was something that is engraved on my mind. It was surreal to sit in a place that the Jews had used to sin against God and realize that I can do the same thing today.” – Rebekah

“The scripture came alive for me I will never read the Bible the same way again. I will pay more attention to the details that I skipped over in the past.” – Joyce

“It’s amazing how understanding the topographical layout of an area can help bring clarity to understanding the text of Scripture.” – Tamara

“It is amazing to now read the gospels and when it says Jesus left a place and traveled to another, I can now picture that in my mind.” – Timothy

“After being at all these ministry spots of Jesus, I literally CANNOT read the gospels the same.” Ryan

“Reading the Psalms of Ascent as we walked up the stairs was an unforgettable experience. It makes so much sense when you read it aloud on location.” Ben

“I think the geography of Jesus ministry was something that I really feel more knowledgeable about now that I’ve been there. That’s one thing that will always stick with me, that’s helping me put NT Scripture into context better.” Jill

“Comparing my days there is like comparing delicious apples and delicious oranges.” Katie

Is a trip to Israel really worth the cost?

Many people wonder if a trip to Israel is worth the cost. One might think the automatic answer from a travel agency is YES! However, we at Discipleship Travel LLC realize there are many factors that determine a trip’s value. We also realize that not all Israel Tours are the same, neither are all travelers.

Two major problems that we have seen many times are tour companies that are focused on making as much money as possible and tourists that are interested in a vacation more than learning the Bible. In the case of the former, the package prices are higher, sometimes considerably, and it seems there is more time spent shopping than touring. In the case of the latter, the tourist gets frustrated because things are different than back home, the hotel or food or entertainment isn’t what they expected, or the days are too long. In both cases, we think the trip isn’t worth the cost.

Discipleship Travel LLC focuses on providing value for your investment by keeping costs as low as possible, using guides who are paid and tipped well so they don’t feel the need to have endless shopping stops, and prepping the groups for a true study tour.

Because we believe the Bible is not just a holy book – it is a life changing book – we are committed to emphasizing learning the Bible on location. Our tours are not designed to give a cursory look at a few sights each day and go shopping. Instead, while we do provide shopping opportunities, we spend the bulk of our time visiting biblical sights and studying on location. We intend for our guests to not only do pre-trip reading, but to also bring their Bibles on locations and begin to read them more intelligently and “see the stories in color.” We also seek out of the ordinary learning opportunities. For example, on one occasion Craig met a holocaust survivor in the breakfast line and asked him to speak to the group on the bus before they left for the day. You can read the story here.

TRAVEL ISSUES

Do I need a passport?

International travel requires the use of a valid passport. You should arrange to have possession of a valid passport at least sixty (60) days prior to departure. Also, your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months after your return date. If your passport is not valid for at least six (6) months beyond your scheduled return date, you will be denied boarding on your outbound flight.

Any fees associated with passport acquisition or renewal are the responsibility of the traveler. More information including new passport applications or renewals is available here.

Do I need a visa to enter Israel?

Generally, bearers of United States passports do not require prior arrangement of a tourist visa to enter Israel; visas are issued upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport. Other nationalities should get clarification from an Israeli Embassy or consulate (see below).

Tourist visas issued at Ben Gurion Airport are typically valid for three (3) months. Those wanting to stay longer than three (3) months are required to get an extension through the Ministry of Interior.

If a traveler has had ANY previous entry-visa-related issues (in Israel), or thinks he/she might be on a no-fly list, the matter should be clarified at the Israeli Embassy or consulate closest to your home prior to departure from the United States. Discipleship Travel LLC is not responsible for denial of entry, nor any resulting damages of being denied entry to Israel.

A list of locations, hours and contact information of Israeli consulates in the United States can be found here.

Do I need any shots before going to Israel?

Generally, bearers of United States passports do not require prior arrangement of a tourist visa to enter Israel; visas are issued upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport. Other nationalities should get clarification from an Israeli Embassy or consulate (see below).

Tourist visas issued at Ben Gurion Airport are typically valid for three (3) months. Those wanting to stay longer than three (3) months are required to get an extension through the Ministry of Interior.

If a traveler has had ANY previous entry-visa-related issues (in Israel), or thinks he/she might be on a no-fly list, the matter should be clarified at the Israeli Embassy or consulate closest to your home prior to departure from the United States. Discipleship Travel LLC is not responsible for denial of entry, nor any resulting damages of being denied entry to Israel.

A list of locations, hours and contact information of Israeli consulates in the United States can be found here.

Will we have a layover on the way to/from Israel?

Every group is different, depending on point of origination and availability of flights. In our efforts to provide our clients with the best service/cost possible, Discipleship Travel LLC contracts with a variety of airlines. Thus, some groups will have non-stop transatlantic service to Israel, and others will have a transition (i.e., chane of planes) in Canada or Europe.

Layovers typically do not provide travelers suffiicent time to leave the airport. On a rare occasion, a group may have an extended layover, but that will be made clear to the group leader prior to contracting that particular flight.

Do I need travel insurance?

Discipleship Travel LLC acts only as an agent for suppliers and is not responsible for damage, loss, or theft of luggage and/or personal belongings, or for personal injury, accident and/or illness. For your own protection it is important that you have sufficient insurance to cover these possibilities.

Be aware that travel insurance benefits are not limited to health related incidents. After determining your coverage needs, check with your insurance agent to verify your insurance plan meets your needs in Israel (or wherever you are traveling), including personal health/injury, loss/damage to belongings, and trip interruption. You should carry proof of insurance in case you need medical attention while in Israel.

Because of the risk of misunderstanding insurance benefits and the complications that often occur when using non-Israeli insurance policies in Israel, Discipleship Travel LLC recommends purchasing travel insurance. You can choose from among the different policies we sell, or from your personal insurance agent.

NOTE: Insurance is optional, but STRONGLY RECOMMENDED!

Click the Travel Guard banner to see the various policies we offer.

Are there restrictions on things I can bring back to the USA?

Yes, there are restrictions on certain items. The United States Customs and Border Patrol has a helpful website . Also, see the helpful “Know Before You Go” page.

Discipleship Travel LLC has no influence in what can and can not be brought back to the United States. There is nothing we can do to help a traveler that is detained by US Customs and Border Patrol due to contraband. Please make sure you are aware of the current restrictions by visiting the pages linked above.

SHOPPING ISSUES

Will we get to shop?

Because Discipleship Travel LLC puts such an emphasis on the “study” portion of Israel Study Tours, many people wonder if they will get to shop at all. Yes, you will get to shop. However, participants need to understand that Discipleship Travel LLC puts a priority on providing great learning opportunities and far less emphasis on shopping. That doesn’t mean no shopping, though; we realize most of our guests want to buy souvenirs and gifts for friends and family. We have no problem providing opportunities to shop, we just don’t build our  study tours around shopping.

Can we visit a diamond factory?

The short answer is yes. However, we should clarify that answer.

Typically, Discipleship Travel LLC does not make a visit to a diamond factory a compulsory stop for the whole group. Instead, the tour guide will inquire as to who in the group is interested in visiting a diamond factory. If anyone is interested, the guide will make arrangements for a visit one evening after the tour day is complete

There is no obligation to visit, or to buy anything if you do visit. Some people like to visit just to see what is available. Others have specific interests in buying a gemstone in Israel. Of course, the choice is yours.

Are there in restrictions on items we can bring back to the United States?

Yes, there are restrictions on certain items. The United States Customs and Border Patrol has a helpful website . Also, see the helpful “Know Before You Go” page.

Discipleship Travel LLC has no influence in what can and can not be brought back to the United States. There is nothing we can do to help a traveler that is detained by US Customs and Border Patrol due to contraband. Please make sure you are aware of the current restrictions by visiting the pages linked above.

HOTEL ISSUES

What are the hotels like?

Hotel rooms in Israel are typically smaller than average hotel rooms in the United States. And in some cases, significantly smaller. In fact, our ground company in Israel has told us that certain hotels are “off limits for Texans because they will feel too cramp and not enjoy their stay.”

The specific amenities at each hotel vary by chain, location, age of the building, and rating. All of our hotels have dining halls and provide breakfast and dinner buffets. Additionally, you can expect a clean comfortable room. Though some hotels have spas or fitness centers, you should not expect one except at the Dead Sea. If the hotel does have a spa or fitness center, it usually requires a day membership. The hotels along the Dead Sea offer free access to pools, but charge for massage/therapy treatments.* For those groups who are staying at the Dead Sea and are interested in massage/therapy, please speak with your guide early in the trip so the appropriate reservations can be made.

Many hotels provide hair dryers, and most offer access to an iron. If you MUST have a hair dryer, the safest course of action is to bring one with the necessary converter. Each hotel provides bath towels, but no wash cloths. If you require a wash cloth, please bring your own. However, make sure to keep your wash cloth separate from the towels in the bathroom because room service often unknowingly gathers them with the towels. All hotels provide a laundry service for an additional fee. Like in the United States, some hotels offer free wi-fi and others have fee based access to wi-fi. All of our hotels have a 24-hour front desk, luggage service, and provide wake up calls upon request.

Usually, we will not know the specific hotel your group will get until a few days before departure, and that is subject to change up to the last minute. The hotel managers often “trade” groups between comparable hotels in order to accommodate the flow of traffic based on group size and number of nights. Sometimes availability is limited to specific nights, which might require a group to stay a couple nights at one hotel and a couple nights at another hotel in the same city, or even to split their time in Jerusalem to the beginning and end of the tour.

*Massage/Therapy treatments are NOT INCLUDED in the tour price and are the responsibility of those who use the service.

Can I get a single room?

A limited number of single rooms are generally available for our groups. However, we can never offer more than 10% of our rooms as singles, and depending on the season and demand, the number of single rooms available to a group may be significantly less than 10%.

Those desiring a single room are required to pay a single supplement, which is clearly indicated on your group’s information page. All single rooms require a supplement, even in the case that a traveler wants to share a room but can’t find a roommate.

The amount of the supplement varies according to the details of the specific tour (i.e. season, number of days, and specific hotels).

Discipleship Travel LLC can not be responsible for incompatibility issues between roommates. If there is a need to change from double/triple to single rooms during the trip, for whatever reason, Discipleship Travel LLC will attempt to facilitate those arrangements based on availability and payment of the single supplement, but there is no guarantee that such changes will be possible. Only the hotel management can determine availability for room changes.

Do I need an electricity converter?

A tourist asked, “Do I have to use a transformer or adapter for my electrical devices in Israel?”

plugadapterElectricity in Israel is rated at 22ov (220v-240v) 50hz compared to the 110v 60hz in North America. That difference requires certain precautions when using North American appliances and electrical devices, including telephones and computers.

First, let’s clarify the difference between adapters and transformers/converters. Adapters affect the plug; they change the standard American flat posts to Israeli/European round posts. At the right, you can see the standard 2-pin plug used in Israel.Transformers/converters affect the electricity; in this case, they reduce Israel’s 220v down to 110v; transformers/converters do not affect the hz.

Today, many electronic devices (e.g. computers, battery chargers, tablets, phones, etc.) have an internal transformer and can operate safely on 110v or 220v. Check the specs label on your device to see if yours does. Click here for an example. If your device is rated to operate on 110v-240v, you should only need an adapter like the one in the photo at the top right. You can easily find a 6-pack available on Amazon for less than $3 (Caution! The customer reviews on this product are not good). Here‘s another adapter that has better customer reviews.

If your device does not operate on 220v, you will need a converter. The size depends on the type of device you want to operate. A 50-watt converter is usually sufficient for basic electronic devices like phones and computers. Heating devices (e.g. curling irons and blow dryers) usually require a more robust converter of at least 1600 watts. Many Israeli hotels have hair dryers and 110 electric outlets for shavers in the restrooms, which may be a better option than trying to get a North American hair dryer to work properly. Many travelers end up burning up their hair dryers when trying to use them in Israel. This hair dryer works in Israel (with a plug adapter) and has received good customer reviews.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the links provided in this post serve to illustrate the kinds of devices that are typically used by tourists and should not be construed as endorsement of the quality or dependability of any of the devices. Discipleship Travel LLC assumes no liability for your correct or incorrect use of any items linked or described in this post. The purchase and/or use of any of these or similar items indicates your acceptance of personal responsibility and liability for any damage that may result.

HEALTH ISSUES

Do I need any shots before I visit Israel?

Currently, travelers from the United States are not required to get any inoculations prior to entering Israel. Other nationalities should enquire at the Israeli Embassy or consulate closest to their home. (See below.)

More health/disease information, including travel warnings and tips, is available from the Center for Disease Control.

A list of locations, hours and contact information of Israeli consulates in the United States can be found here.

Is it safe to drink the water in Israel?

Israel is a world leader in water technology, and the water is generally safe to drink.

While in the hotels it is usually okay to drink the filtered water that is served at meals. Also, it is generally safe to brush your teeth with the water in the hotel rooms. However, the safest course of action is to drink bottled water because your stomach may not be ready for microbes that are common for Israelis. (Likewise, Israelis may not be ready for microbes you have become accustomed to in the United States.)

We definitely recommend drinking only bottled water (i.e. no drinking fountains) while out touring. This will help ensure that you don’t need to stay behind for a day or more due to an upset stomach. Bottled water is available on your bus for a reasonable price. This makes it easy to get a few bottles for use in the hotel when you arrive for the evening, and then to refresh yourself throughout the day as needed.

The cost of bottled water is not included in the tour price and is the responsibility of the user. Each person may react differently to the various water sources available in Israel and is solely responsible for their decision to use or not use bottled water.

If you are on an extension to Egypt or Jordan, we suggest you use only bottle water for drinking and brushing your teeth in those countries.

Will my USA health insurance work in Israel?

You should check with your provided. If the answer is yes, please check to see where you may use your coverage while in Israel. Ask specifically, which hospitals, doctors, and pharmacies accept your insurance coverage.

Additionally, be aware that even if your coverage is accepted in Israel, you may be required to pay for all services before being discharged, then settle the matter with your provider.

TOUR ISSUES

Can we visit a local church service while in Israel?

Discipleship Travel LLC encourages tour groups to visit a local church service. Due to our long tenure in Israel, we have contacts with fellowships from a variety of theological affiliations throughout the country. Generally, fellowships that are open to visits by tour groups will provide translation into English.

Can we have a baptismal service?
For groups that desire a baptismal service, a visit to the Yardenit baptismal site at the Jordan River will be included in the itinerary. This is a beautiful setting at the south end of the Sea of Galilee where the Jordan River exits the lake.

The facility requires the use of a rental gown. Included in the $10 rental fee* is use of the changing room and warm showers, a towel, hair brush and a baptism certificate suitable for framing. Other services that are available for purchase** include a videographer that offers a video of the group’s baptismal service, a professional still photographer is usually on site, a full service restaurant, a snack bar, and an extensive gift shop.

Our guides and teachers do not lead the baptism service or perform any baptisms. Those responsibilities are left to the group leader who is typically a pastor.

* The rental fee is not included in the tour price. Only those using this service are required to pay the fee.

** The cost of any additional services are not included in the tour price and are the responsibility of the user.

Will we have evening lectures?

Discipleship Travel LLC provides customized itineraries for each group, and will provide evening lectures according to the desires of each group leader. A variety of topics can be presented by gifted speakers: modern politics, archaeology, modern or ancient history, geography, and ministry reports from local ministries.

Evening lectures must be arranged prior to the group’s arrival in Israel.

Can we participate in an excavation?
All Discipleship Travel LLC travelers can participate in an archaeological excavation. We highly recommend that each group take part in the Temple Mount Sifting Project, which gives participants the opportunity to sift through debris illegally removed from the Temple Mount by the Muslim authorities.

After a brief explanation of the history of the Temple Mount, groups get a short course on how to sift debris and find important artifacts. No previous experience is required.

Almost all participants describe this as a highlight of their tour, especially those who found ancient artifacts. There really is something special about getting your hands dirty handling ancient debris, particularly debris from such an important historical and biblical location!

For those interested in extending their stay to participate in a field excavation, Discipleship Travel LLC can help arrange the details.

Can we have a 4x4 tour?
Discipleship Travel LLC can schedule a 4×4 tour for all or a portion of the group.

Groups that are interested in a 4×4 tour have a variety of terrain options: the mountains of the Galilee and Golan Heights, along the upper section of the Jordan River, or in the Judean Wilderness. We can also schedule a 4×4 tour in conjunction with an evening meal with the Bedouin in the Negev Desert.

Can we ride a camel?
Camel ride on the Mount of Olives

Camel ride on the Mount of Olives

Usually, groups have a few opportunities for a short camel ride on the Mount of Olives, near the Dead Sea, and sometimes near the Zion Gate. These short rides – about 2 minutes – provide you a photo opp, the sensation of riding a camel, and usually cost about $5.00.*

If you or your group are intersested in a longer ride – a couple hours, for example – please let us know and we will build that into the tour.

*The cost of unplanned camel rides is the responsibility of those who use those services.

NOTE: If you are looking for a FAQ page that is for a specific tour, please go to the GROUPS drop down menu to find your group. Each group has a FAQ page that is specific to that group.