Ladies, we all had such a great time this summer. Letâ€™s share our memories and pictures with one another online. JWRP has set up an account where we can all download our pictures per city. Please visit snapfish.com and use the following email address and password and start downloading today.
Nothing can truly prepare you emotionally and spiritually for a trip a like this, but here are some travel tips to prepare you physically and materially so you can make the most of your time in Israel:
El Al has advised that participants traveling on El Al should NOT lock their suitcases. This is because the suitcases must be able to be opened by El Al security and/or Transportation Safety Administration inspectors. Accessible property must be limited to one bag plus a personal item (purse, briefcase, laptop, backpack, etc.) per passenger.
Carry on - Because of limitations in storage on the bus, ONLY 1 checked bag and 1 carryon of a purse or backpack (of the schoolbook size, NOT the week-long camping size) per attendee will be allowed. Standard airline rolling carry-on luggage is TOO LARGE to fit on the bus along with the checked bags.
Check in â€“ Women are allowed 1 checked piece of luggage, the maximum weight of which (from the El-Al website) shall not exceed more than 50 lbs (23kg). The size of each piece is determined by the sum of the length, height, and width â€“ the dimensions of which should not exceed 62 inches.
El-Al actually allows 2 checked luggage pieces, but because of storage limitations, ONLY ONE may be brought along on the trip.
Passengers are advised that no liquids or gels are permitted in your hand luggage/carry on except for:
Expert tip: Check www.tsa.gov before packing to make sure youâ€™re following the latest rules and regulations.
You will need a signed US Passport for travel to Israel, valid for at least 6 months after the return date home. Carry it with you. Do not pack it in your checked luggage. Consult your local US Passport office if you have any questions about the validity of your passport or if you must renew your current one. If you are not a US citizen please contact the Israeli Consulate for the most up to date entry requirements. US citizens need not apply for a visa before leaving for Israel: they will be given this visa upon their arrival in Israel free of charge. Anyone traveling to other countries requiring visas should check with the appropriate Consulates directly for applications forms and information on how to process the application.
IF YOU ALSO HAVE AN ISRAELI PASSPORT: Your Israeli passport must be valid for you to leave the country. Whether or not you travel on your Israeli passport, it must be current and valid for you to leave. If your passport has expired, you will be allowed to enter the country, but you must renew your passport before you will be allowed to exit.
Expert tip: Make a copy of your passport and leave it with a friend or family member in case your passport gets lost or stolen.
The shekel (NIS = New Israeli Shekel) is Israel's legal tender; you can change money at the airport, at money changers, and at some hotels. Many stores and hotels will gladly accept your dollars, and may give you a discount for US currency. Credit cards are widely accepted at more established merchants, but cash is king on the streets (especially in the shuks (local markets)-- donâ€™t expect to haggle and then pay with Visa). Your bank ATM card or credit card is also accepted at most Israeli bank ATMs. The machines do charge a fee, so try and take out larger quantities less frequently.
Expert tip: Make sure to call the consumer service department of any credit card youâ€™re going to use and notify them where and when youâ€™ll be abroad. The last thing you want to happen is to try and purchase a beautiful set of Shabbat candlesticks, only to have your card rejected by a company who thinks youâ€™ve stolen your own identity!!
The weather in Israel is hot, no matter how you slice it. Converting it to Celsius only makes you feel better briefly- itâ€™s still HOT. For those who say, â€śItâ€™s a dry heat,â€ť I reply, â€śWell, so is an oven, but Iâ€™m not looking to wander around in one.â€ť It can easily be close to, if not over 100 degrees. Here are the average temperatures for the summer months youâ€™ll be there.
The electrical current in Israel is 220 volts AC, single phase, 50 cycles. If you are taking electric razors, hair dryers, curling or flat irons, or other electrical appliances, bring a small converter/adapter kit (any store like Target or Wal-Mart will have them). Make sure your computer cord chargers will convert.
Major department stores are generally open throughout the day. Banking hours vary between banks and the cities in which they operate but most of the time you can find bank machines that take debit and credit cards.
No special health precautions or immunizations are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Israel. Of course, see your physician prior to your departure if you have any medical problems.
Medicines and other medical supplies should be carefully labeled and stored in your carry-on luggage. Consider bringing a second pair of prescription eye glasses/contact lenses, and bring paper prescriptions with you in case you need a refill for any reason.