Israel & the Palestinian Territories: Women’s Expedition
from $3585
Duration: 8 Days
Uncover diverse perspectives in Israel and the Palestinian Territories on this eight-day Women’s Expedition. With local female leaders and guides from Israeli, Palestinian and Bedouin backgrounds this tour will immerse you in some of the different cultures of the region through the eyes of incredible women. Meet Palestinian peace activists, break bread with Bedouin women and learn about Israeli women working to secure the right to pray at the Western Wall. Travelling in an all-female group means you can access spaces that are off-limits to mixed-gender groups and be part of cultural and religious discussions in an entirely new way.
  • Visit female artists in Arad where the local community has developed a social tourism project that highlights what life is like on the edge of the Judaean Desert.
  • Take a tour with a local peace activist as she shows you the West Bank city of Ramallah. Then enjoy a home-cooked meal and discussion with activists from the Women Wage Peace organisation.
  • Immerse yourself in Bedouin culture and discover the secret art of henna, then enjoy lunch and discussion with Bedouin women involved in grassroots activities creating opportunities in tourism and agriculture.
  • Explore historical sites of Jerusalem on a unique dual-narrative tour, with female guides – one Israeli and one Palestinian – giving their perspectives on life in the city.
  • Check out the graffiti at the Separation Barrier to see how street artists have responded to the wall, and visit Banksy’s controversial Walled Off Hotel.
  • Jaffa - Tour of Old Jaffa
  • Nablus - City Tour
  • Ramallah - Women Wage Peace
  • Ramallah - Walking Tour
  • Masada - Masada visit
  • Dead Sea - Dead Sea visit
  • Arad - Artist Village of Arad
  • Rahat - New Dawn in the Negev
  • Bethlehem - Banksy Museum
  • Bethlehem - Church of Nativity
  • Bethlehem - Separation Wall
  • Bethlehem- Bethlehem Walking Tour
  • Jerusalem - Yad Vashem Museum
  • Jerusalem - Mount of Olives
  • Jerusalem - Women of the Wall
  • Jerusalem - Hafrashat Challah
  • Jerusalem - Dual Narrative Tour Old City
  • Day 1 Location: Tel Aviv
    Your Women’s Expedition through Israel and the Palestinian Territories begins in Tel Aviv, a modern city that truly never stops. With its lively cafe culture, relaxed Mediterranean beach scene and diverse nightlife, Tel Aviv is a great place to start your exploration. Your tour officially begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm at your hotel, which is located close to the beach and the Carmel Market – both great places to start exploring on your own if you arrive with time to spare before the meeting. After the meeting, you can choose to join your leader and group and get to know each other better over an optional dinner.
    Day 2 Location: Ramallah
    Rise and shine for breakfast with your leader and fellow travellers. Get to know each other a little better over a coffee, then head out to begin exploring Tel Aviv. Visit Jaffa, now a vision of modernity but said to be one of the oldest port towns in the world. While in Jaffa visit the eclectic Ilana Goor Museum, a privately owned collection of curious and unusual art. Illana is an Israeli self-taught artist and lifelong collector, who long dreamed of establishing her own museum to showcase her art collection. Later, continue on a short journey to Ramallah via Nablus. Once an important trade route city, Nablus has been settled since before the Roman era. Take a walking tour through the Old City. This is a great place to shop for local spices and olive oil soap, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth we also recommend sampling a slice of kunafa. Imagine if a cheesecake, a pizza and an orange blossom tree had a baby – trust us, it works. Continue to Ramallah and check in to your hotel.
    Day 3 Location: Ramallah
    Founded in the 16th century (allegedly by a father who wanted to extricate his daughter from an arranged marriage) Ramallah today is a cultural and economic hub of the West Bank. Head out on a tour of this vibrant city with a local peace activist as your guide. Visit the Dar Zahran Heritage Building, Nelson Mandela Square and Arafat’s Tomb while your guide shares stories about growing up as a Palestinian woman on the West Bank. Enjoy a home-cooked meal and some discussion on the peace process from a woman’s perspective. After dinner, members of Women Wage Peace will speak about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and their activism work, which is based on pillars of non-violence and respect.  
    Day 4 Location: Arad
    Embrace an early start this morning and depart Ramallah for a full day of travel to Arad, a town at the edge of the Judean Desert, with some incredible stops en route. First up is Masada, the spectacular cliff-top fortress built by King Herod around 35 BC, which we will reach via cable car. The fortress is of particular significance to Jewish people around the world because of a battle that is said to have occurred here during the First Jewish–Roman War. Continue to the Dead Sea Valley. Grab lunch and learn about local efforts to restore the regional environment to its former glory. Visit the Dead Sea and enjoy some free time during which you can take a float in the super-salty waters which are 423 metres (1388 feet) below sea level. Continue to your camp in Arad and check in. There are no scheduled activities this evening, but you can choose from optional activities such as a night walk in the desert.
    Day 5 Location: Jerusalem
    After breakfast head to Arad City. Visit a social tourism project called Halonot La Midba (Windows to the Desert), and meet the artists for an informal chat about life in the desert and their community. Then continue to Rahat and join some Bedouin women to share a traditional lunch while discussing their involvement with a grassroots Bedouin–Jewish organisation that empowers young women. Learn how to make and apply henna and perhaps discover how local spices have been used in traditional medicine for generations. Munch on dishes like maqluba (upside-down rice), mansaf (lamb and yoghurt) and pickled vegies while you learn about what life is like for local Bedouin women. Continue to Jerusalem, where you will arrive in the late afternoon. Pay a visit to Sunbula, a fair trade organisation where marginalised women are supported through traditional Palestinian crafts. There are no scheduled activities for the rest of the day, however, you may wish to take part in an optional visit to West Jerusalem or a food tasting tour.
    Day 6 Location: Jerusalem
    This morning, travel into Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity as well as Manger Square, which is the place where Jesus is said to have been born. Afterwards, discover a different side to Bethlehem on a graffiti tour at the Separation Barrier. Get your best ‘pondering art’ furrowed brow on and swing past Banksy's Walled Off Hotel, which is home to Banksy-themed rooms, local artists' work and a museum. Return to Jerusalem and drive to the Mount of Olives, which looks over the Old City, and visit the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations – also known as the Basilica of the Agony. Pay a visit to the holocaust museum Yad Vashem in the afternoon and discover the history of the holocaust from a women's persepctive. The rest of your day is free for you to do what you please. You might wish to visit a hamam (Turkish bathhouse) or take part in an optional cooking class.
    Day 7 Location: Jerusalem
    Take a full-day tour of the Old City’s Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holy sites with two guides – one Palestinian and one Israeli. During this dual-narrative tour you will visit the Dome of the Rock courtyard and the Aqsa Mosque/Temple Mount. Continue to the Western Wall to learn about how it became a place of worship and a source of debate, with input from a representative of Women of the Wall, a local organisation that wants to secure for women the right to pray at this holy site. After lunch, walk part of the Via Dolorosa toward the Holy Sepulchre, where you will learn about the ancient church, the history of disputes and ownership claims and the modern Christian community in Jerusalem. In the evening, meet with a Jewish Haredi woman for a Hafrashat Challah ceremony and get a hands-on lesson in this tradition. The mitzvah of separating challah is one of the three mitzvahs which are uniquely given over to women to perform – the other two are lighting the Shabbos candles, and Taharas Hamishpacha.
    Day 8 Location: Jerusalem
    Your Women's Expedition comes to an end today. You are free to leave the accommodation at any time after breakfast, but please ensure you check out by 12 pm.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    05NOV2020
    Return Date:
    12NOV2020
    3585NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    29APR2021
    Return Date:
    06MAY2021
    3585NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    02SEP2021
    Return Date:
    09SEP2021
    3585NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    01 Apr 2020

    Trip title

    Israel & the Palestinian Territories: Women's Expedition

    Trip code

    ENSF

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    Uncover diverse perspectives in Israel and the Palestinian Territories on this eight-day Women’s Expedition. With local female leaders and guides from Israeli, Palestinian and Bedouin backgrounds this tour will immerse you in some of the different cultures of the region through the eyes of incredible women. Meet Palestinian peace activists, break bread with Bedouin women and learn about Israeli women working to secure the right to pray at the Western Wall. Travelling in an all-female group means you can access spaces that are off-limits to mixed-gender groups and be part of cultural and religious discussions in an entirely new way.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Women's Expedition

    Transport

    Minibus

    Physical Rating

    3

    Physical preparation

    A basic level of fitness is required to be able to enjoy this trip to the fullest.

    Joining point

    Beer Garden Boutique Hotel (formerly known as Yarden Boutique Hotel)

    Yona HaNavi St 35,

    Tel Aviv

    ISRAEL

    Phone: +972 774566038

    Joining point instructions

    If you are arriving from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, taxis are available from the airport. Private Taxi drivers are required by law to use the meter on all trips. There is a train service available to Tel Aviv-HaHagana train station with mini bus connections to Allenby/Bialik (104 and 204) the hotel is a short 3 min walk on alighting from the bus. Private airport transfers are available for pre-booking through Intrepid. Contact your agent for details. Be sure to advise your flights details at least 15 days prior to departure. If you have pre-purchased a transfer, please look for your name and the Intrepid Logo on the transfer barrier when exiting the customs area. A representative will be there to collect you. For any complications with your arrival transfer please contact our local team. +972-(0)-58-690-6428 OR +972-(0)-54-721-4546

    Finish point

    Holy Land Hotel

    6 Rashid St.

    East Jerusalem

    Jerusalem

    ISRAEL

    Phone: 00972 2 6284841

    Important information

    SINGLE SUPPLEMENT A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent for further information. ITINERARY This trips starts in Tel Aviv and finishes in Jerusalem. ACCOMMODATION On Day 4 we spend the night in an eco-accommodation facility on the edge of the Judaean Desert. Accommodation is 'glamping' style in a tent with bunk beds and shared bathroom facilities. Bedding is supplied.    WEST BANK  Following recent safety incidents we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Israel (particularly within the West Bank) before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page at www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts. 

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. In Israel and the Palestinian Territories, in accordance with local regulations your Leader will also be a licensed Tour Guide and will not only have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip; but will also have specialised knowledge on the sites visited and provide full guiding services.

    Safety

    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field: www.intrepidtravel.com/safety

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. BALCONIES Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! SEAT BELTS Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PICK POCKETING & PERSONAL SAFETY While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking at night and encourage you to walk in groups and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. WATER SAFETY Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water. TRAVEL ADVICE & TRAVEL INSURANCE We recommend that you check your government's advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.

    Visas

    PASSPORT As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. ISRAEL: Australia: No - not required Belgium: No - not required Canada: No - not required Germany: No - not required Ireland: No - not required Netherlands: No - not required New Zealand: No - not required South Africa: No - not required Switzerland: No - not required United Kingdom: No - not required USA: No - not required PLEASE NOTE: It is important to be aware that many Arab and Islamic countries deny entry to any person that has evidence of a visit to Israel. Syria, Iran, Libya, Tunisia and several other countries are included in this list. If you are planning to visit any of these countries with the same passport you must request that your Israeli ‘tourist visa’ be stamped on a loose leaf ‘Form 17 L’ instead of in your passport. Likewise, if entering Israel through the land borders with Jordan please ask the Jordanian officials not to stamp an exit stamp in your passport. If you have evidence in your passport of visits to certain Islamic countries, Israeli border officials will scrutinise you regarding the purpose of your visit to Israel. They can sometimes appear difficult and the delay can be lengthy however patience and a friendly demeanor are advised.

    Why we love it

    Visit female artists in Arad where the local community has developed a social tourism project that highlights what life is like on the edge of the Judaean Desert.

    Take a tour with a local peace activist as she shows you the West Bank city of Ramallah. Then enjoy a home-cooked meal and discussion with activists from the Women Wage Peace organisation.

    Immerse yourself in Bedouin culture and discover the secret art of henna, then enjoy lunch and discussion with Bedouin women involved in grassroots activities creating opportunities in tourism and agriculture.

    Explore historical sites of Jerusalem on a unique dual-narrative tour, with female guides – one Israeli and one Palestinian – giving their perspectives on life in the city.

    Check out the graffiti at the Separation Barrier to see how street artists have responded to the wall, and visit Banksy’s controversial Walled Off Hotel.

    Is this trip right for you

    This is a Women’s Expedition that shows you Israel and the Palestinian Territories from a woman's perspective. It is a politically neutral tour, but you will be exposed to diverse local opinions and challenges faced by local women of all backgrounds.        This trip is new to our range this year. Despite rigorous planning and research, new itineraries can sometimes throw us some surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a welcome surprise, but now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in adventure travel. This tour includes one night in a shared tent in an eco-camp on the edge of the Judaean Desert. The accommodation is quirky, traditional and comfortable with bunk-style beds, shared bathroom facilities and bedding provided. The weather can be hot during the day and cool during the night in the desert. Please ensure you pack for a changeable climate. We will be visiting and spending two nights in the West Bank (Palestinian Territories). Please refer to your travel advisory service for safety updates and your insurance provider to ensure you are covered for travel in this region.

    Health

    All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. DRINKING WATER As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.

    Food and dietary requirements

    Your group leader or representative will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements. Please notify your booking consultant of any dietary requirements at the time of booking. For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader or representative will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.

    Money matters

    CREDIT CARD, ATMS AND MONEY EXCHANGE ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities throughout the Middle East. Credit and debit cards are the best way to access money throughout most trips (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.  Check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions. Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day. TIPPING Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is a part of everyday life and is more than just a reward for services rendered. This practice is not merely reserved for foreigners, locals have to constantly hand out 'Baksheesh' as well - to park their cars, ensure fresh produce and pick up their mail. If you are satisfied with the services provided, a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate and always appreciated. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. Usually the equivalent of around USD5 to USD10 per person, per day to cover tips is fine. Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, your leader might raise the idea of a group tipping kitty. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running this kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This kitty does not include tips for your leader and crew. TIPPING GUIDE To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult. Restaurants: round up to the nearest figure or leaving the loose change is generally fine; Up-market restaurants, when checking the bill, if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate. Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however USD2 to USD3 per person per day is generally appropriate. Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however, as a guideline USD4 to USD5 per person, per day can be used. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. SHOPPING AND COMMISSIONS  There are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs and handicrafts while on this trip. Popular purchases include: gold and silver jewelry, mosaics, dead sea products, local embroidered items and general souvenirs.  While we do not make arrangements for specific shopping excursions due to our customers feedback, there may be opportunities where your trip leader can offer suggestions if you are interested.  CURRENCY – Israel and Palestine The currency in Israel in the New Israeli Shekel (NIS).  The shekel is divided into 100 agorot. Coins come in denominations of 10 and 50 agorot (marked ½ shekel) and one, two and five NIS; notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200NIS.  Travelling in Palestine the NIS, the JD (Jordanian Dinar) and the USD are all accepted

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. GENERAL PACKING LIST • Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance,    air tickets or e-ticket receipts and a copy of this document. • Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets. • Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild          pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids. • Daypack • Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both. • Power adaptors • Insect repellent • Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses • Earplugs and eye mask (you might be sharing with a snorer!) • Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an              enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a    1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or      discarded in waterways and natural environments. • Warm clothes including hat and gloves - When travelling in cooler climates • Wind and waterproof rain jacket • Toiletries/travel wipes/ hand sanitizer  • Travel Towel • Closed in, comfortable walking shoes. As most of our trips include some walking elements, we highly          recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes.  • Camera with spare memory cards and batteries • Clothing - The staple travel items but consider the time of year.  We recommend a fleece/jacket any time    of the year and a scarf for women for visiting religious sites   Cold Weather• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater• Scarf• Warm gloves• Warm hat• Warm layers / thermals   Warm Weather:• Sandals/flip-flops• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)• Sun                    hat/bandana• Swimwear LUGGAGE LIMIT On this trip, you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and, although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 15kg. If your itinerary includes a flight, please keep in mind that some domestic airlines have checked luggage limits of 15kg. CLOTHING & CLIMATE Please note that as a desert region, the Middle East can have extreme weather. Temperatures are generally hot with little rain. This can become extreme during the summer months of June to August. In the months of December to March it can be very cold, particularly next to the river or the ocean and out in the desert where night temperatures can drop dramatically. Even in the hot months, it can get cold in the desert at night. Consider bringing a sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period, especially on itineraries which include camping such as on a felucca, in a desert camp, or at a Red Sea beach camp. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat is essential. VALUABLES Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safes to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. BATTERIES/POWER Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras regularly. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Charging of batteries is advised before checking out of your hotel rooms. Please bear in mind there may be some nights were electricity may not be as readily available as you might be used to – home stays, beach and desert camps etc. RESTRICTED ITEMS Generally drones are not permitted into any Middle East destination or they require registration and pre approval please refer to your airline carrier if you are considering taking a drone on your travels or check out drone laws by country on line. We have had some reports of binoculars being confiscated or causing delay in customs if carried in hand luggage.  

    Climate and seasonal

    SUMMER Temperatures are usually between 27-32 degrees Celsius. Tel Aviv, and Tiberias tend to be hot and humid, Jerusalem is dryer and cooler, particularly at night. Masada & Eilat are extremely hot often above 40 degrees centigrade. WINTER The winter months in Israel (December through to February) can be quite cold. Temperatures in northern parts of the country can drop to freezing overnight. There’s often heavy rain and snowfall around these areas is common. You will need to be prepared to travel in varying temperatures over these months. Temperatures generally range 10-15 degrees during the day. SHABBAT Beginning at sundown on Friday and ending at sunset on Saturday, Shabbat signifies the Jewish day of rest. In Israel, religious Jews do not work during Shabbat and many refrain from using electronics, driving, cooking and using the telephone in order to “keep Shabbat”.  In Israel, public transportation does not operate on Shabbat meaning there are no public buses or trains operating from sundown on Friday. Some train services will not resume until Sunday other may start in the evening. You will need to check your scheduled service. Yom Kippur, means Day of Atonement and it is considered by Jews to be the holiest day of the year, 28th September 2020.  What happens: This is one of Israel’s most special days. The whole country shuts down. No planes land, no shops are open, no public transportation runs, no cars are driven, no TV is broadcast, no food is served in hotels.  RAMADAN 2020 In 2020, the important month of Ramadan or Ramzan in Turkey will be in progress from 23 April through until 23 May, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival or Bayram in Turkey will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected. Ramadan month can differ from country to country and region to region, it can be a wonderful inclusion in your vacation. If you have concerns about travelling at this time, please check with Intrepid or your booking agent before your departure.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below: Intrepid's Local Operator: +972(0)58690 6428 OR+972(0)54721 4546

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel When packing, be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops isn't appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing (3/4 trousers that come to the calf are fine) is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.

    The Intrepid Foundation

    http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. ACCOMMODATION STYLE Some of the accommodation along the way is basic or simple, three and four star accommodation in the Middle East (with the exception of Israel)  is often not equal to same star facilities in some western destinations. Rooms are clean and comfortable, however you may note some small maintenance issues that have been overlooked, please assist us by bringing these to the attention of your Leader so that we can follow up with our hosts. Many restaurants and hotels do not serve alcohol for religious reasons or due to local laws. Breakfast is included in 95% or our hotels, pleaser refer to our daily itinerary for meal inclusions. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multi share basis.  CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.  Standard check in time is 1400 hours. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. SHOWERS Showers at some hotels only have hot water at peak times (usually morning and evening). Outside of these times you may need to speak to reception to obtain hot water. HEATING AND AIR-CONDITIONING As a desert region, this part of the world has extremes of weather. Winter months (approx December to March) can be very cold. All of our hotel accommodation contains suitable bedding, and simple light bedding is provided during camping activities such as an overnight felucca, desert camps or at the Red Sea Beach camp stay. Most of our travellers find the bedding provided here adequate, but for your own comfort and if you are particularly sensitive to the cold, consider bringing your own sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket. Some of our guesthouses / hotels don't supply heating. In many cases this would be a major financial and environmental strain on our hotels and the local towns. Summer (approx June to August) can be very hot everywhere we travel, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning. ROOM ISSUES If you have any issues with your room, please speak to the hotel and your tour leader right away so that the problem can be addressed without delay.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

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