Do I need a passport to travel to Israel?

Us-passport1International travel requires the use of a valid passport. You should arrange to have possession of a valid passport sixty (60) days prior to departure. Also, your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months after your return date. If your passport is not valid for at least six (6) months beyond your scheduled return date, you will be denied boarding on your outbound flight.

Any fees associated with passport acquisition or renewal are the responsibility of the traveler. More information including new passport applications or renewals is available here.

Do I need travel insurance or can I use my US-based health insurance?

Discipleship Travel LLC acts only as an agent for suppliers and is not responsible for damage, loss, or theft of luggage and/or personal belongings, or for personal injury, accident and/or illness. For your own protection it is important that you have sufficient insurance to cover these possibilities.

Be aware that travel insurance benefits are not limited to health related incidents. After determining your coverage needs, check with your insurance agent to determine whether your insurance plan meets your needs in Israel (or wherever you are traveling), including personal health/injury, loss/damage to belongings, and trip interruption. Note: Many US-based insurance plans do not cover you outside the United States, so get confirmation of coverage in writing! You should carry proof of insurance in case you need medical attention while abroad.

Because of the risk of misunderstanding insurance benefits and the complications that often occur when using non-Israeli insurance policies in Israel, Discipleship Travel LLC recommends purchasing travel insurance. You can choose from among the different policies we sell by clicking the Travel Guard banner below.

NOTE: Insurance is optional, but STRONGLY RECOMMENDED!

SEE OUR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS PAGE

Too Good to be True Rental Phones

Discipleship Travel LLC is happy to announce a new partnership with TalknSave to provide our travelers with mobile phone service in Israel.

Below is a blog post that details our personal experience with TalknSave. It was published May 25, 2012 on Craig Dunning’s personal blog and clearly illustrates why Discipleship Travel LLC decided to partner with TalknSave.

Too Good to be True Rental Phones

Shortly before my recent trip to Israel, I was made aware of TalknSave, a company that rents phones to tourists for an unbelievable [to me] price of $5 per day. That $5 per day provides unlimited calls to/from phones in Israel, Canada and the United States.

Having lived as long as I did in Israel, I was skeptical of the offer as being too good to be true. However, rather than dismiss it altogether, I contacted the company and started an interesting “you gotta prove it” relationship with Elie Mamann, the company rep.

I explained my reluctance, which was based on typical Israeli marketing of large promises followed by zero customer service. Eli had heard the same reluctance by others, and he confided that he, too, was skeptical before he began working with this company. He assured me that the service was everything promised or he would not work there. Of course, that sounds like all the other “trust me” sales pitches I have heard in Israel. However, he said one thing that gave me enough confidence to give it a try: “I’m from North America, so I know what you have in mind regarding customer service.”

He convinced me, … sorta. I’m afraid I’ll be eternally skeptical of salesmen from that region. But, I told Elie that I would give him a try … and if the service is all he’s made it out to be, I promised to be his biggest supporter. On the other hand, if the service was fluff, I would be a megaphone warning others to stay away.

The result of our group’s use of TalknSave was total satisfaction. Elie provided all the personal service he promised, including meeting the group at the airport to deliver the phones at the bus. They also provide pre-paid mailer envelopes and a drop box at the airport for ease of return on the way out of the country.

We had 15-18 people rent the phones (a few different plans), and all were completely satisfied. We also had a few bring their home plans for various reasons. Some were happy with the home plan decision, even though they likely paid more. Those that brought Verizon service were sorely disappointed. Verizon agents may tell you that they provide service in Israel, but members of my group (and a previous one, too) found out that isn’t true.

I know that some will wonder, “what’s the use/need of having a mobile phone while touring Israel?” Here are some of the benefits:

  1. A growing number of tourists are on vacation, but still managing things back at the office because of the instant contact culture (calling, texting, surfing) that we are moving toward. These phones offer unlimited, instant contact at a very low price.
  2. Most tourists’ families are unaware that when they hear news of rockets coming into Israel, those rockets aren’t landing in every location. These phones offer unlimited calls that might be helpful in assuring folks back home that things are okay.
  3. In the case that something serious – like war, or the Arab Spring, or hospitalization – happens, these phones are an inexpensive way to be in touch with people back home. That might be helpful for the tourist and their families.
  4. As the group leader, my phone gave me an inexpensive way to be in touch with the guide, driver, and other people I needed to reach.
  5. Tourists aren’t always where they are supposed to be. Those that had phones were easily located.

Be aware that there are different plans available, including data and text plans. For those that want to take their own “Smart Phone,” a SIM card is available in this plan.

If this recommendation interests you at all, whether you are a single or group traveler, please click on the banner below to see the options and sign up.

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Want to Live in Israel?

Artichokes ready for harvest.

Artichokes ready for harvest.

Have you ever thought about living in Israel, but didn’t know how you could do so? Ever thought of volunteering on an Israeli farm, working the “Land of Milk and Honey”? WWOOF ISRAEL provides a framework to do just that?

Through WWOOF you can access a list of farms that accept volunteer help from two day to six months. Each volunteer is required to work 5 days per week and will receive room and board in return, as well as the opportunity to live in Israel for a period of time.

A registration fee is required (NIS 160/270 single/couple) to join WWOOF, after which you can get the listing and contact details for participating farms.

If you are interested and/or have more questions you may want to check out their FAQ page.

NOTE: This information is offered for informational purposes only. No guarantees of any kind are offered or implied by Discipleship Travel LLC.

Electricity: Do we need adapters or transformers?

A tourist asked, “Do I have to use a transformer or adapter for my electrical devices in Israel?”

plugadapterElectricity in Israel is rated at 22ov (220v-240v) 50hz compared to the 110v 60hz in North America. That difference requires certain precautions when using North American appliances and electrical devices, including telephones and computers.

First, let’s clarify the difference between adapters and transformers/converters. Adapters affect the plug; they change the standard American flat posts to Israeli/European round posts. At the right, you can see the standard 2-pin plug used in Israel.Transformers/converters affect the electricity; in this case, they reduce Israel’s 220v down to 110v; transformers/converters do not affect the hz.

Today, many electronic devices (e.g. computers, battery chargers, tablets, phones, etc.) have an internal transformer and can operate safely on 110v or 220v. Check the specs label on your device to see if yours does. Click here for an example. If your device is rated to operate on 110v-240v, you should only need an adapter like the one in the photo at the top right. You can easily find a 6-pack available on Amazon for less than $3 (Caution! The customer reviews on this product are not good). Here‘s another adapter that has better customer reviews.

If your device does not operate on 220v, you will need a converter. The size depends on the type of device you want to operate. A 50-watt converter is usually sufficient for basic electronic devices like phones and computers. Heating devices (e.g. curling irons and blow dryers) usually require a more robust converter of at least 1600 watts. Many Israeli hotels have hair dryers and 110 electric outlets for shavers in the restrooms, which may be a better option than trying to get a North American hair dryer to work properly. Many travelers end up burning up their hair dryers when trying to use them in Israel. This hair dryer works in Israel (with a plug adapter) and has received good customer reviews.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the links provided in this post serve to illustrate the kinds of devices that are typically used by tourists and should not be construed as endorsement of the quality or dependability of any of the devices. Discipleship Travel LLC assumes no liability for your correct or incorrect use of any items linked or described in this post. The purchase and/or use of any of these or similar items indicates your acceptance of personal responsibility and liability for any damage that may result.