Sunday, November 24, 2019

Holy Land Travel Tips

I noticed that there is a lack of travel tips for Holy Land travels, hence this short list of tips that hopefully will be helpful to those planning to take on this extraordinary experience:

  1. First and foremost, remember that you are a pilgrim; You are a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place of special significance to your religious belief.  
  2. Prepare yourself mentally and spiritually; Read the bible, learn about the places and individuals in the bible ~ go online, watch Youtube or download a mobile application; I found wonderful bible map (Bible Maps 1.3.0).  It was quite helpful in making me understand the significance of the different places we've visited.
  3. Don't wait until you are too old to travel to the Holy Land. The pilgrimage involves plenty of uphill/downhill walks; Some of the people in our group had to bail out on most of the walking tours.  
  4. Travel light; Your luggage should just be enough for you to tag along, especially if you are crossing borders; Note: Travel to the Holy Land involves transferring hotels. In our 14 days Holy Land Tour (Egypt-Israel-Jordan), we stayed in a total of seven (7) hotels.
  5. Be conscious of your luggage allowance. Certain airlines are quite strict on luggage weight and sizes.     
  6. Always keep a day bag with you for valuables (passport and wallet), mobile phone, sunscreen, sun hat, shades, foldable fan, for women a shawl will come in very useful.
  7. Get a WIFI to stay connected; The one we had though does not have very good signal. There are public WIFI is the airports, tour bus and most hotels and restaurants.
  8. You don't need to buy Jordanian Dinar (JDN), Egyptian Pound (EGP) or New Israeli Shekel (NIS).  You can use US Dollars (USD) to buy almost anything in Jordan, Egypt and Israel, however change might be using local currencies. It would be wise to have your big USD bills changed to smaller bills of 1s, 5, 10s and 20s.  We got most of our loose bills at Dubai airport duty free shop.  We bought small items and specifically requested change in loose bills,     
  9. Bring lots of 1 USDs, for paying for restrooms (they call Water Closet), tipping and gratuities.  
  10. On souvenir and "pasalubong" remember that you can always bargain;  Prices vary greatly (though you have to be mindful of the quality).  Our best buys: 
    • Rosaries - the cheapest we got at Cana (3 sets of 12 for USD20); while the most expensive we got at Mt Sinai (6pcs for USD60, the Mt Sinai rosaries though were made of metal with Holy Land sand and very sturdy); 
    • Holy Land Book - we got ours from a souvenir shop at USD16, however we were offered the same book (with CD) at Gethsemane for USD15;
    • Wine at Cana should not be missed!  My husband bought two (2) age 21 wine at USD40; Cost of regular wine is at USD15. 
    • Dates - your guide will tell you, theirs is the best dates.  I have tried them in Egypt, Israel and Jordan, but got ours at a souvenir shop at the Israel-Jordan Allenby border.  They were bigger than most we've tasted and not very sweet, but also more expensive at USD10 (big box). Some of our tour group though were able to get cheap dates at a supermarket in Jordan for about JDN 3 (USD 1.4/JDN).
    • We also bought Essence Oil in Egpyt, they were quite costly at USD100 per 250ml bottle. 
  11. If you are going to the Dead Sea, bring aqua shoes.  It is very slippery, I have seen people tumble and loose their balance alot.  I was just so happy I have my water shoes on!
  12. Bring toothbrush and tootpaste; They don't have these in hotels. 
  13. Expect cumin spice in your food; If you are not into this taste, I suggest you bring noodles, biscuits or canned/bottled food with you (or die of hunger).
  14. Bring lots of small and medium size ziplock, useful for pack snacks from your breakfast plate (please do discretely, you may find some hotel staff may frown on this activity) to keep you full during long walks or when your next meal is not up to your palate.   
  15. DIY or  Organized tour ~ We went for an Organized tour as this is our first time to visit the Holy Land, but I think a DIY is possible especially in Israel. To get the most out your Holy Land travel ensure to get experience guides. Our Israeli tour guides, Alex and Abud were extraordinary and very helpful.  Highly commendable.
    • Alex Radiev (fb: Alex Radiev)
    • Abood Safar (email:; fb: Abdo Safar)

Remember to follow my blog, for more details of our Holy Land Travel. 
Will post more tips by attractions, which hopefully help make your Holy Land Travel preparation easier. 

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