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GREETINGS BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST


Your upcoming pilgrimage to the Holy Land will be full of spiritual activities and sightseeing adventures that will last you a lifetime. We do include some free time for recreation, such as shopping, culture dinner and unique surprises along the way. All tour activities are optional, and will depend on your individual stamina as you manage the terrain. Some of you may desire free time to pursue your own interests. You are welcome to refrain from participating in any aspects of the tour (no refund can be issued for any aspects of the tour which you choose not to participate in). Additional costs may also be incurred by you for these pursuits which are not covered by the tour. You will be responsible for these costs which may include taxi fare, admission fees and more.

It is also important to note that there is a certain amount of walking and the terrain varies greatly throughout your pilgrimage tours. You will encounter hills, unpaved streets, and cobblestone streets. Please be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes like tennis, rubber sole and other types that will grip the surfaces.

Prior to your pilgrimage one should begin preparing physically as well as spiritually for your journey. Possibly develop an enthusiastic walking group that meets on a regular basis.

  • If not accustomed to physical activity begin walking 1-2 times a day; build up to 1-2 miles.

  • If possible attend daily Mass. Spend quiet time in church to reflect upon your upcoming journey.

  • Pray to Jesus and His Blessed Mother to open your hearts and minds to be responsive to new perspectives, ideas, spiritual togetherness and reconciliation you all will be sharing.

  • If you don't, learn how to pray the Rosary and begin praying the rosary daily if possible as a group.


PREPARING FOR YOUR TRAVELS


Security Procedures:

  • All liquids, gels and aerosols carried in your personal carry-on bag onto the plane must be in three-ounce or smaller containers.

  • Each traveler must remove these items and place them in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. This takes time and slows the screening process.

  • Larger containers should be stored in your regular luggage that will be placed in the boot of the plane.

  • Pack all these items in the appropriate Ziploc clear plastic bag.

  • Any other security measures per airline policies.

  • Visit the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) for complete details.

 

Final Documents:

You will have your final documents 4-6 weeks prior to your departure date (you may have already received). Most of your final documents (hotel confirmations, emergency contacts, general trip information, travel tour badge, international phone connections, travel insurance etc.) will be included and some will be available with your trip leader. Airline E-Tickets, if applicable, will be sent to you electronically and a copy will be available.

  • A final passenger list will be sent to you prior to E-Ticket ordering. Review the list to assure your name is correct. Notify us if there are any discrepancies.

  • E-Tickets that are ordered incorrectly will require a change fee. This fee will be paid by you.

  • Review your tickets to ensure that your name on the tickets is an exact match to that of your passport.

  • Note that the name field on your tickets is correct. It will be 19 characters long, therefore names exceeding this length will be cut off (this is not a problem, as your actual reservation contains your full name).

  • Your first and middle name may be together (MICHAELVINCENT BROWN)

  • Review the itinerary to ensure that all departure and destination cities, as well as dates are correct.

  • Notify us immediately should any discrepancies be found.

Please note that late payment/bookings can cause delay coordinating everyone’s final documents.

International Flights:

  • Check in for your international flight three/ four hours prior to the scheduled departure time.

  • Passengers must personally check their luggage at the airline counter.

  • Advise the airline representative of your final destination upon check-in so that you will not need to claim your baggage and recheck it during flight connections.

  • Our pilgrims travel from across the USA. You will be traveling independently for all flights until your arrival at your final destination.

  • A tour guide will not join you during your flights. They will meet you at your final destination.

  • Holylands Arts attempts to centralize as many pilgrims as possible on the same flights, so you may arrive/depart on the same flights (for additional information see “Arrival Procedure” below).

Airline Connections:

Holylands Arts must book your airline reservations based on the routing provided to us by the airlines, including connection time, cities for connections, and partner carriers.

  • Airlines determine the standard for the required minimum connecting time to transfer from one gate to another for each specific airport.

  • At times, the connection times provided by the airlines may be tight (i.e. 45-60 minutes) and require passengers to make haste during their connections.

  • There are times when the connections are long, due to the flight availability at the time of booking.

  • We are subject to the rules, regulations, and availability of the carriers we work with.

  • We also must ensure that all reservations correspond so that each pilgrim is able to meet the group transfer to/from the airport to hotel and hotel to airport.

Airline Tickets:

Your ticket is purchased at a Group Rate; This is lower than regular Economy. They are issued to us approximately 15-25 days prior to your departure date. Unfortunately, all of the airlines process Group tickets this way. There are no exceptions.
Some airlines now require that we provide e-tickets in place of paper tickets.

  • At check-in, you should be ready to provide your flight itinerary and passport to the agent.

  • Paper tickets, and boarding passes, must be present in order to check in and board the plane.

  • Your tickets might be e-mailed to you.

  • If you don’t have an e-mail, it will be mailed to you.

  • Check the name to make sure it is spelled correctly.

  • If your ticket has an error then contact us immediately so we can correct it.

  • Your seat assignments will be random.

  • Review the airline website for information on Seat Changes and Upgrades.

  • For international flights it is recommended you arrive 3 hours prior to check-in.

  • Your Passport must not expire within 6 months of your travel date.

  • Passport expiring 6 months or less need to be reissued.

  • You are responsible for any Visas necessary for your trip.

  • Review the information on luggage and carry-on.

Airline Mileage Accounts:

Contact the airline you are traveling directly to open a mileage account and to obtain credit for the miles flown on your pilgrimage.

  • Remember each airline will have different rules and regulations for their Mileage Accounts.

  • It is your responsibility to contact the airline directly for these Mileage Accounts and any upgrades you are requesting.

  • Airlines offer upgrades to Economy Plus, Premium Plus, Business Class and First Class seating for additional fees or Mileage Plus points.

  • Holylands Arts is not responsible for any upgrade and cannot guarantee any upgrades or changes in your seating arrangements. Ask for specific seats at the time of check-in, if it's available, the agent will help you.

  • Your reservations are booked at a Group Rate Economy Price Ticket. This is factored into the total price of your Pilgrimage Tour Package. This keeps our pricing competitive and allows us to offer the best tour package rates in the industry.


PREPARING FOR YOUR PILGRIMAGE


What should I do if I want to change my ticket?

If you would like to change your ticket for any reason once it has been issued you MUST work DIRECTLY with the airlines. You will incur additional costs (minimum of $200 per person) for such changes. Many airlines will upgrade you to Economy Plus and Business Class at the gate or when you check in. This is based on the availability of seats. It is generally less expensive to do it this way.

Dietary Meals:

Holylands Arts is not responsible for your special in-flight meals.

  • Those having dietary restrictions and needing a special in-flight meal are required to contact the airlines prior to their designated departure to order their meal.

Health Precautions:

While visiting certain countries, vaccinations are necessary for tourists; however, trips to most European countries including Israel do not require vaccinations. Your flights are long and you may be exposed to the flu virus. Individuals traveling in the late fall or early spring may consider getting flu shots.

No inoculations are necessary when traveling to Israel from the US.

  • Consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

  • Tap water is safe and drinkable in Israel, except at The Dead Sea and Bethlehem.

  • Although Israeli water is safe, the presence of various minerals in the water may make you a bit queasy. Though in small amounts and for teeth brushing, local water is fine. For this reason, bottled water could be a good investment.

  • In Jordan and Egypt (Sinai), tap water is not drinkable. Bottled water is essential.

  • Jet lag is among the most common health ailments that visitors to the Holy Land will experience, even seasoned travelers.

  • Upon arrival, spend the first 24 hours adjusting your internal clock to the new time zone.

  • By eating and sleeping according to the local time, your body will quickly adapt to the change.

Travel Warnings:

US State Department Travel Advisories: For up to date US State Department travel advisories you may visit:
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html

Note: US Department of State tends to over dramatize the West Bank situation, while it is important to follow their advise, ask your Holylands Arts representative for any information about local threats that are occurring in the area at the moment of travel, they have first hand access to live data about the situation. Your safety is a top concern to us.

 

Arrival Procedure:

  • After disembarking from the plane you will clear immigration, and proceed to claim your luggage. You will exit the baggage claim area into the arrival lounge where you will be greeted by our driver and/or your Tour Guide displaying a sign with your Group (Trip) name and/or “Holylands Arts”. You will then all be transported to your hotel.

  • If your plane arrives late, or you are re-routed you may miss the group transfer which is included in your package. In such circumstances you will need to pay for your separate private transfer, whom you may submit, a claim to the airlines for reimbursement upon your return to the USA.

Luggage:

It is suggested that you attempt to travel with one piece of checked-in luggage and one carry-on. International air carriers are becoming stricter about the size and weight of baggage and carry-on luggage. Most airlines allow one carry-on and one piece of luggage not to exceed 50 lbs.

  • Size and weight limitations vary from airline to airline and even according to destination.

  • For your own comfort and that of fellow passengers, please limit the size of your hand luggage to 17x14x8 in. Check this information on the individual airlines you are traveling with.

  • Due to limited coach capacity we prefer you have a single bag with dimensions not exceeding 62 inches in overall dimensions (length+width+height), and weight not exceeding 50 lbs. (23 kg).

  • For health reasons, porters may refuse to carry very heavy suitcases.

  • Carry all documents and money on your person but not all in the same place to limit the inconvenience in case of loss.

  • Do not keep money, important documents, medicines or jewelry in your suitcase; please leave valuable jewelry at home.

  • We recommend a money belt worn inside your clothes, while touring.

  • On departure from your hotel, remember to double check that you have your money belt with you, and that you have collected any items left in the hotel safe.

  • Never leave your hand luggage unattended or out of sight in public areas, including airports, hotel lobbies or dining rooms.

  • Keep ALL medications in your carry-on bag during your trip in case your suitcase should be lost.

  • Keep a separate list of important numbers, i.e. passport, traveler’s checks, and credit cards, in your handbag or personal carry bag, together with photocopies of airline tickets and the relevant pages of your passport/visas.

Lost or Stolen Items:

Holylands Arts is not responsible for your lost or stolen items.

  • Contact the airline carrier immediately if you have lost luggage or personal items. They will supply you with the proper paperwork to complete and then register your claim.

  • Make sure they know your traveling itinerary so they can contact you if your lost items are located.

  • We are not able to follow-up on your claim. Contact a family member or friend to handle any inquiries by the airlines until you return home.

Common Sense Rules of Safety and Security:

  • Avoid excessive displays of jewelry or cash (carry sufficient amounts for daily needs).

  • Use room safes or leave items with the hotel manager.

  • Make certain that any valuables are insured against theft.

  • Avoid exploration on your own of unfamiliar streets or areas.

  • Be cautious if you are approached by unfamiliar individuals.

Travel Protection Plans:

Please note that Traveler’s Protection Plan is STRONGLY recommended for all Holylands Arts pilgrims. Traveler’s Plan is purchased as a group rate to keep costs low.

  • Traveler’s Insurance cannot be purchased after you have paid in full for your trip.

  • For those who have purchased Travel Insurance through Holylands Arts, a pamphlet will be included with the leader of the trip. Please refer to him/her about this brochure for specific stipulations or questions.

Holylands Arts will supply you with free basic Trip Protection Plan coverage.


Money:

  • Major Credit Cards (Visa, Master Card) can fill most banking needs. AMEX fees are higher for merchants and they may decline taking it. Same goes for travelers checks.

  • Most banks in Palestine are open Sunday through Thursday from 9am to 4:30pm, and a few are open Saturday; ask at your hotel for the location of the one nearest you.

  • Your tour guide should provide you with locations that offer the best rates of exchange.

  • Use your credit card only at secure places of business (restaurants, hotels and souvenir shops).

  • Credit cards offer a reasonable exchange rate and can be cancelled should it be lost.

  • Visa and MasterCard are the best options and accepted in many stores.

  • Debit Cards are accepted. If lost or stolen there is no protection available by debit card companies.

  • Prepaid cards offer some of the same theft and loss protections as a credit card. If you report the loss or theft of a registered card to the issuer, most will restore your original balance and issue a new card.

  • ATMs are available in most of the destinations we service, and are very similar to those in USA.

  • Refrain from exchanging money at your hotel or local change booths, as the fees are high.

It is recommended that you contact your local bank and credit card companies before departing on your trip to advise them of your itinerary.

“How much money should I bring with me?”

It is not an easy question to answer as each person is different. The type of lunches you prefer can make a big difference (restaurant vs. cafe). Are you planning on purchasing mementos for yourself or loved ones? We recommend that the minimum spending money you should bring with you / budget for, in addition to the suggested tips, is the equivalent of $ 50.00 (US Dollar) per day. Remember, you can always spend more or less, or bring money home.

Currency Exchange:

The basic unit of currency is the Israeli New Shekel (ILS). For up to date currency exchange rates please visit www.xe.com.

ATM Machines:

ATM machines can be found at most bank branches, post offices, train stations, airports, shopping centers, etc. and are accessible 24 hours. Remember there is a fee for each withdrawal.

  • Banks charge a commission when you withdraw money, especially from the network of bank.

  • You should ask your bank for information about where you can use your card and what commissions are charged for withdrawing money.

  • Note: You need a four-digit personal identification number, or PIN (six digits won’t work), to use ATMs in Israel/Palestine.

  • If you have a six-digit code, you have to get a new one for your trip.

  • Be sure to find out your daily withdrawal limit before you depart.

  • Also keep in mind that many banks impose a fee every time a card is used at a different bank’s ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions (up to $5 or more) than for domestic ones. On top of this, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. For international withdrawal fees, ask your bank before you go.

  • You can also get cash advances on your credit card at an ATM.

  • Credit card companies try to protect themselves from theft by limiting the funds someone can withdraw outside their home country, so call your credit card company before you leave home.

  • Keep in mind that you’ll pay interest from the moment of your withdrawal, even if you pay your monthly bills on time.

It is recommended that you bring cash with you in order to avoid all the credit card fees.

Value Added Tax (VAT):

There is 18% value added tax on most goods and services in Israel and Palestine. At retail stores, this tax is always already included in the price. Keep your receipts. 

  • Upon making a purchase of $50.00 or more at a gift store that has an agreement with the VAT authorities, you should fill out a form at the store and have it stamped there.

  • You will be eligible, upon presenting the form and the item, for a 18% refund at the airport prior to departure.

  • Do not pack these gift items in your luggage. They should be kept in your hand luggage if you want the refund.

  • Tourist services, such as hotel accommodations and meals taken in hotels, paid with foreign currency are exempt from VAT tax.

How to Get Your VAT (Value Added Tax) Refund:

Israel’s sales tax, or VAT (value-added tax), is 18%, but you can get most of that back if you spend the required amount or more at only participating retailer.

  • You must be over 15 years old, and you must present a passport.

  • After you spend the required minimum amount, ask for your détaxe papers. Fill out the forms before you arrive at the airport for departure.

  • Be sure to have the forms stamped at the airport customs desks. The customs official may ask to see your purchases so it’s best to have them in your carry-on bag.

  • Mail the stamped forms at the airport (the store provides an envelope) and the refund process has begun (note – this is only if Israel is your final point of departure back to the U.S.).

  • For additional information on the VAT refund http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VAT

  • All refunds are processed at the final point of departure.

  • Mark the paperwork to request that your refund be applied to your credit card so you aren’t stuck with a check in Israeli New Shekel (ILS).

  • Even if you made the purchase in cash, you can still get the refund on a credit card. This ensures the best rate of exchange.

  • If you’re considering a major purchase, ask the store policy before you get too involved or be willing to waive your right to the refund.

Tipping:

If your trip's Terms and Conditions had the tips included and paid for, skip this next part into "Hotels/ Accommodations".

Tips are an important part of earnings for your escorts, guides and bus drivers.
We recommended the following tipping schedule for Group Travelers:

  • Guide: $5.00-$7.00 per person per day (One person on 11 day pilgrimage average tip is $55.00 – $77.00).

  • Driver: $3.00-$5.00 per person per day.

  • Hotel receptionist: $1.00-$2.00 per person per day.

  • Restaurants: $1.00-$2.00 per person per restaurant.

  • There is no tipping on a credit card receipt. In Israel, the line below the amount is for your phone number. Do not write on any receipt. Americans are known as big tippers so always review you receipts carefully.

Please note that restaurant wait-staff prefer tips in cash. For this reason, it is recommended that you have some small change on you, even if you plan on charging your meal(s).


Hotels/ Accommodations:

All hotels are equipped with all the modern conveniences (showers, toilets, bathtubs, hair blowers, etc.) that you would find in a U.S hotel. The rooms are smaller and maybe the shower and bathroom facilities are as well. Remember you are not traveling home but are abroad. Rooms may be smaller than you are used to based on European standards.

  • Hair dryers and clothes irons are available, while other appliances are not. If you bring your own appliances from the US(hair straighteners, etc.), you need to buy a converter for your appliance to work. Electricity in the Holy Land is 220 volt, while in the US is 110 volt.

  • Mini-bar items and access to pay TV channels are at your own expense.

  • Please note that while we do request non-smoking rooms for our clients, Holy Land hotels are less stringent about enforcing these rules.

Toiletries:

Hotels provide soap, shampoo, conditioner and other toiletries that you would find at home. Housekeeping is provided daily along with fresh bath, and hand towels. Some hotels do not provide washcloths. Bring your own.

  • It is recommended that you bring your own shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, etc.

  • Stop at Wal-Mart, Target or your local food store and purchase travel size toiletries.

  • The toiletries provided by your hotel are different from those found at home.

  • The materials, chemical and fragrances they use may not agree with your skin type. Regardless, pH level is universally neutral in these products and will not harm your skin.

Electricity:

 
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Before leaving home, you will need to purchase an international adapter so your two-prong plug will connect to the various local electrical supply outlets (check that it is sufficiently powerful for your appliance), and a converter to convert the 220 volts to 110 volts. Adapter/converter kits that include the entire range of plugs can be purchased at better electrical supply stores.

  • Stores such as Fry’s, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Radio Shack and Target sell adaptor/converter kits readily.

  • Buying electrical devices in foreign places is not recommended unless you are sure that the electricity current they use is compatible with the current at home.


Telephones:

  • Making a phone call:

The telephone country code for Israel is +972, Palestine +970 (to call the US enter +1 followed by the city code and telephone number).

Communication for Free:

You may communicate for free during your Pilgrimage. If you have a smart phone (iPhone, Samsung, etc.) there’s different apps you can download in order to get free calls to the United States any time while you're in the Holy Land or anywhere else in the world. Below are the recommended applications for you to choose. Make sure the person you are contacting has the same app on their phone.

Facebook Messenger, Viber, Whatsapp, Skype, Facetime.

You need WiFi to use these apps, most Hotels and Restaurants in the Holy Land have WiFi. 

Hotel Telephones:

While telephones offer convenience, they do tend to cost substantially more than public phones. You may choose to utilize a calling card to be more cost efficient, however, be advised that most hotels charge a connection fee which ranges from 1.00 – 5.00(estimate) Israeli shekel (ILS) for such calls almost (estimate) $1-1.50 USD. This would be calculated in minutes.

Cell phones:

You may bring your cellular phone, but make sure to contact your wireless phone provider and inform them, that you will be traveling out of the country (giving them destinations). Most have an “international plan”, if not, you can choose to get one for the trip. This will allow you to make calls to the United States while you are out of the country using your wireless phone. You may also purchase a pre-paid phone.



Public Toilets:
Known as WC, and available in most tourist locations.

  • You will be amazed on how clean well-kept they are.

  • Many public toilets are manned by attendants who ask for a small “user’s fee”(one shekel).

Photos:

If you are bringing a digital camera, make sure to bring extra batteries.

  • Be aware of posted signs. Photography is not allowed in some museums and churches.

Taxis:

You may want to go somewhere on your free time. Choose only those vehicles with a meter and a taxi sign.

  • We recommend you pre-negotiate the fare, as taxi drivers in some countries may attempt to overcharge unwary travelers.


U.S. Customs:

U.S. citizens who have been in The Holy Land for more than two days may return to the United States with up to $800 worth of merchandise duty-free.

  • For those who wish to bring more home with them, a flat rate of 3% duty is levied on the next $1,000 worth of purchases. It’s a good idea to retain the receipts from your purchases should they be requested by a Customs Inspector upon your return to the United States.

  • For details visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website https://www.cbp.gov/travel


Meals / Food:

In the Holy Land they tend to dine later than we are accustomed to. Your dinners will be scheduled around your tour group excursions and may be as late as 6:30 pm. So always have snacks available to sustain you. Water on the coach is supplied by the driver for $1.00.

  • In Palestine and Israel, breakfasts are buffet style.

  • Your breakfast will include juice, tea, coffee, iced tap water and other beverage refreshment.

  • Unlike in the U.S., it is frowned upon to take food out of the breakfast room.

  • Dinners in hotels also will be served buffet style.

  • Your meals include iced tap water and coffee or tea. All other beverages, including bottled water, will be at additional cost.

Check with your tour guide or concierge for a list of good restaurants.

Language:

The official language of Israel is Hebrew and in Palestine Arabic. English is taught at an early age to school children and widely spoken, so there should be no problem in communication.


Passports:

We require your complete passport information on your reservation form. This allows us to expedite your airline reservations.

  • Your Passport must not expire within 6 months of your travel date.

  • Passport 6 months or less need to be reissued.

  • These regulations are enforced. You may be denied access on your flight.

  • We advise you to have at least 2 copies of your passport. This is for your protection.

  • Keep your copies in separate and secure areas.

The current (since early 2013) policy in Israel is not to stamp passports but to issue travelers with a personalized printed card. This card has a scanned copy of your passport photo on it, along with your name and entry date. This card must be kept with your passport throughout the duration of your stay in Israel. Be sure to keep this with you, as it is your proof of entry to the country and you may need it to show at Israeli checkpoints if asked. You also need to show it when leaving or entering Israel and Palestine. If you actually would like a stamp in your passport, the authorities will still provide this for you if requested.

Visas:

A visa is not needed for US citizens to enter Israel and Palestine.


What to Pack / Clothing:

Consider the climate. It all depends upon the season as to what the average temperature will be in Israel.

  • We would suggest checking out CNN weather on the web and get a current 5 day weather report for Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Tiberias and the Dead Sea.

  • Wear some layered clothing. Light coat in early morning which you’ll probably remove later in the day.

  • No formal clothing please.

  • Slacks, pants, capris, are worn.

  • No shorts or sleeveless blouses are permitted in some of the churches.

For both sexes, avoid tank tops. Jeans are not comfortable in the hot weather. For both sexes we encourage you to wear lightweight hiking pants made of synthetic fabric by companies such as Columbia and The North Face. Some of these also have zip off bottoms that convert the pant into shorts. Long light skirts for women are comfortable and work with the dress code as does light-weight, light-colored linen or cotton slacks. For men light khakis work as well.

Make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes. If new, make sure you walk in them for a couple of weeks to break them in. On the plane(some flights up to 12 hours), you will want to wear loose-fitting clothes and pack a pair of slippers to wear for the flight, as well as a lightweight jacket.


Frequently Asked Questions


What should I do if I lose my ticket?

If you should lose your ticket prior to your departure date, contact Holylands Arts immediately. We will fax a copy of your original ticket to the airlines. You will need to arrive at the airport extra early and sign a Lost Ticket Indemnity Form, and pay the airlines a $100 reissuing fee. If you should lose your ticket during your trip please immediately inform your tour guide who will advise us, so that we may follow the same procedure.

What should I do if my flight is cancelled or delayed?

If your flight is cancelled or delayed it is imperative that you work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights or protection.

• Once your tickets have been issued or you have check-in for your flights, Holylands Arts can no longer make any changes to your flight itinerary. This can only be done by the airlines. In such case, remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so be persistent.
• It is important to remember that it is not the airline agent’s fault, so try your best to remain courteous to them, as you may find that you receive more assistance this way.
• The airlines are not required to offer reimbursement for personal expense or overnights when delays/cancellations occur due to weather. We strongly recommend the purchase of Traveler’s Insurance for this reason. However, if you find that you have no luck with the airline personnel, please contact us and we shall do all in our power to assist you.

What should I do if I miss my flight due to my late arrival at my departure airport?

If you should miss your flight, due to your own late arrival at your departure airport, it is imperative that you work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights. You will incur additional costs (minimum of $200 per person) for such changes. Please note that you should contact Holylands Arts once your alternate arrangements have been made so that we may arrange for a private transfer (at your expense) if necessary.

What happens if I have a problem or complaint during my trip?

If you have any problems, concerns, or complaints during your trip, please communicate them IMMEDIATELY to your tour guide. Your tour guide is at your disposal to assist you with all your needs including issues with your hotel room, meals, etc.
• Remember, there is very little that can be done to undo a problem once you have returned home, but, most of the time your tour guide can address any concerns you may have swiftly.
• However, if the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction by your tour guide, then please contact our office.

Do I need a visa traveling to Israel or Palestine?

No. American and Canadian citizens and most western countries need only a passport when visiting the Holy Land. Your passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date you enter Israel.

Do I need special vaccines before traveling?

No. Israel is a developed country with advanced health care, and advance level of hygiene to equal the best Western countries in the world. Tourists have no requirements for vaccination prior to traveling to Israel or Palestine.

Do I need to contact my cellphone’s carrier before I leave the US, to be able to make phone calls in the Holy Land?

Not necessarily, that will be the expensive option. There is no need to use your carrier to make phone calls in neither Palestine nor Israel. Every single hotel, restaurant and some attractions provide free WI-FI. We recommend you use the internet to contact your family and friends.

What foods and drinks do I avoid in the Holy Land?

Most meals in the Holy Land are prepared with locally organic and fresh ingredients, whole cooked with no raw ingredients. If you are allergic to anything you should inform your guide. I wouldn’t worry about food in general. The only concern is tap water, try avoiding it by only drinking bottled water. Some tourists in the past have caught a mild stomach flu from tap water their bodies are not familiar with.

Is it Safe in Palestine?

Yes, especially in the Bethlehem area. Millions of pilgrims visit Palestine every year. Tourists have consistently reported that they felt safe and comfortable during their visit.

What currency to use in the Holy Land and how do I convert it?

US Dollars are the mostly used currency by travelers and are accepted in nearly every place you visit. If you choose to convert some US Dollars to the local “Israeli Shekels” currency, wait till you get to Bethlehem, the rates are lower than other cities, ask your guide for assistance.

Do I have to walk a lot during the trip?

Essentially, yes. But there will be many breaks in between, you can rest before you continue to the next stop. Some Christian attractions are within walking distances from each other, especially in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The old streets and buildings from the previous centuries do not fit buses, that is why there will be more walking on some days than others. If you are not comfortable walking a lot we can provide a wheelchair on the long walking days. Though, many of the elderly people in the past have had no problems walking.

Can I do laundry at the Hotel?

Yes, some hotels offer paid laundry service. If a Hotel doesn't offer this service, nearby laundry stores are usually cheap and offer same day pick up. If you need any help regarding laundry, ask your guide for assistance. 

Do people speak English in the Holy Land?

Yes. Nearly everywhere you go people speak English. English is the second language in both Israel and Palestine and even young teenagers speak it fairly.

Will there be a tour guide with the group at all times?

Yes, an English licensed Christian tour guide will be with the travelers from day one until final day’s departure. One of our local organizers will also be present at least half of the times.

Is there a lot of hiking during the trip to Petra in Jordan?

No. While the Petra is within the desert, and there is a few hours ride on the sand, you do not have to hike or walk at all times. After you reach the entrance of your destination, there is an option to ride a carriage, or even a horseback ride to the final destination.


E-Mail Communications

We realize that there are individuals that may not have an e-mail address. Communications regarding registration, insurance, airline reservation, E- Ticketing and other important information will be sent to the church office. Please stop by the office to inquire about anything that you may need. They will communicate your needs and requests to us.

Note:

Though every effort will be made to follow the itinerary, it should be considered as an indication of the tour, rather than a contract of places to be visited.

  • Occasionally local religious holidays, national days, traffic conditions and other events may necessitate changes in the sequence of visits or the missing of certain visits.

  • We will have daily Mass and strive to be in the places as indicated. However, sometimes this is not possible as the site may not be available for Mass or itinerary changes are forced upon us. In this case an alternative site for Mass will be arranged.

Our intention is to operate all pilgrimages to Holy Land, as listed in the itinerary, however, from time to time, due to the state of affairs in the area, departure may be cancelled, and in which case, all money would be refunded.


Please feel free to contact us for additional information and/or questions or concerns.

Our daytime hours (Monday-Friday) are 9:00a.m.-5:00p.m. CT.

Share with us your feedback upon your return from your pilgrimage. Or write a review on social media or Google by looking up "Holylands Arts".

Tel: (314) 312-2033

Fax: (314) 312-2069

Email: info@theholylands.org

www.theholylands.org