Common International Travel Mistakes

When traveling internationally, the following are common, but easily avoidable mistakes.

1. Packing essentials in checked luggage. This means medicine, cash, laptop chargers (and laptops), valuable jewelry, anything you really can’t afford to lose or be without.

Locking your luggage isn’t a solution, since in the short run, just having a bag misplaced can cause as many problems as having things stolen.

2. Not having ANY currency for the country into which you are flying. Yes, most airport money changers charge high fees, along with other U.S. currency exchangers. But while airport shops may accept any currency, and some countries accept U.S. dollars, many do not. Especially at smaller shops or restaurants.

If you don’t know for a fact that your dollars will be accepted, get a small amount of foreign currency. At least this will mean you can get a snack, cab ride, or make a small purchase at, say, a drugstore, if an ATM is not readily available. A few dollars worth of local currency can be a lifesaver until you arrive at your hotel.

3. Not making a copy of your passport. This takes only a minute, and usually isn’t an issue. But it only takes misplacing or losing it once to change all that. While you’re making a copy, check the expiration date. (This last potential mistake happens more often than you might think.)

4. If you’re in a country that doesn’t use a Western alphabet, not having your hotel name written on a card or a piece of paper. English may be one of the most common languages in the world, but that won’t help if you find a taxi driver who doesn’t speak it, or if you just get lost and need directions back to your hotel.

5. Make sure itinerary dates match. On an itinerary where you have done air and hotels separately, spend a couple minutes making sure the dates match. Especially where overnight flights are involved. It’s bad enough to arrive at a hotel a day earlier than your reservation, it’s much worse to arrive a day late.

Holy Sepulchre Closed for 2nd Day

Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a regular tourist stop for most Christians visiting Jerusalem, has been closed for two days (from noon Sunday through Monday, so far) in protest of the Israeli government’s claim that the Church owes several million dollars in tax debt. The leaders of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer opted to close their church building to tourists on Monday in solidarity.

The government insists it is not taxing church activities, which have historically been exempt from taxes. What is in dispute is whether church properties that are commercial and not specifically for religious use should be taxed. The government says yes. The church says no. Jerusalem’s mayor claims the tax debt is 650 million shekels, which is over $186,000,000.

At the time of this writing, church officials remain uncertain how long the church will be closed to tourists.

See the Arutz-7 article here and the ABCNews article here.

Priests pray at the Thirteenth Station of the Cross: The Stone of Anointment in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. (Photo: ©2006 Craig A. Dunning)

Priests pray at the Thirteenth Station of the Cross: The Stone of Anointment in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. (Photo: ©2006 Craig A. Dunning)

8 Fabulous Food Tours in Israel

In the 1950s, a very young Israel experienced severe food shortages. But in an amazingly short time, Israel’s desert was blooming with fresh produce prized in the Western markets. Israel’s dairy cows gave a record amount of milk, the ancient wine industry was resurrected to international praise and Israeli gourmet chocolate received global recognition.

Fresh honey on the breakfast bar at the Olive Tree Hotel, Jerusalem.

Fresh honey on the breakfast bar at the Olive Tree Hotel, Jerusalem.

Simply put: The food in Israel is wonderful. Most tourists eat most if not all of their meals in their hotels. In “8 Fabulous Food Tours in Israel” Touchpoint Israel will stir your appetite to get out and explore the varieties of food available in Israel.

New International Screening Measures

Delta Airlines has published the following:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Additional Screening Measures

Effective July 19, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require additional screening measures for customers flying on international flights bound for the U.S. These screening measures pertain to any departure point where a passport is required to reenter the U.S. Customers flying to the U.S. from an international airport are encouraged to arrive to the airport at least three (3) hours prior to departure to allow time to clear security.

Advice to Customers Flying on International Flights Inbound to the U.S.

  • Customers should follow Delta’s current guidance and plan to arrive at their international departure airport at least three hours prior to the departure time of their flight
  • Customers are encouraged to proceed promptly to their departure gate where additional screening may occur to avoid delay or missed flight
  • Customers can expect to see expanded uses of canine screening at international airports and deployment of advanced technology screening

Sand and Sun in Israel

Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea at Netanya, Israel

Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea at Netanya, Israel.

Many of our tour participants think only of desert sands when they think of Israel. A trip to Israel shatters so many misconceptions …

Touchpoint Israel has published a nice article highlighting “8 Beautiful Beaches to Visit in Israel this Summer.”

A day at the beach is one of the highlights of summer for children and their parents. With 140 beaches boasting plenty of sand for digging, calm surf, warm water temperatures, and strong breezes for kite-flying, Israel is perfect for a sunny family day at the shore.

Read more … click here.