Guiding Star Ltd. acts as a tour operator. The suppliers providing transportation, sightseeing arrangements and hotel accommodations for the tour program are independent contractors and are not agents or employees of Guiding Star Ltd. All services provided and vouchers issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by suppliers.
By utilizing the service of the suppliers, you agree that Guiding Star will not be liable for any change in flight or itinerary schedule, strikes, delay, acts of governments, fires, riots, theft, pilferage, epidemics, quarantine, medical or customs regulations, accident, loss, injury, or damage to you or to those travelling with you in connection with any accommodations, transportation or any other services or resulting directly or indirectly from any occurrence or conditions beyond its control, including defects in vehicles, breakdown in equipment, thefts, delay or cancellation of or changes in itinerary for any act, omission, or event during the time you are on board the aircraft.
Neither Guiding Star Ltd and/or agents of the airlines concerned are to be held responsible for the late arrival of passengers at airports or resorts due to inclement weather, nor are they to be held liable for payment or any refund for transfers or unused hotel accommodations or meals occasioned by such late arrivals at the hotels holding rooms as confirmed itineraries. Passengers must bear all such losses or expenses. To guard against unforeseen health or other circumstances, we recommend you purchase travel insurance. Guiding Star Ltd. is not responsible for circumstances beyond its control. In circumstances where trip cancellations resulting from the inability for trip to depart as scheduled, such as cancellations due to acts of war and/or terrorism, war, God, or nature takes place, Guiding Star Ltd. is not liable for restitution.
Please also familiarize yourself with Information for Agents and Tour Organizers.
Information for Agents and Tour Organizers
Israel, Palestine, Holy Land, Jordan and Egypt
Note though all due care is taken with the information below, regulations do change sometimes without notice. We cannot be responsible for any mistakes or changes in the below information. The information is for guidance. Please check any critical information.
The information below aims to familiarize you with the workings and norms of the tourism industry in the area (Holy Land – Israel/ Palestine; Jordan; Sinai and Egypt). Our quotations and mode of operation are based on these conditions. Please read carefully to familiarize yourself with the situation on the ground. We hope that your better understanding of the conditions in the area will help you in planning the trip for your clients. Note, though, the situation in the area is dynamic and constantly changing. We do our best to keep this information up to date, so be sure to revisit this page from time to time. If you need additional information or clarifications please contact us.
If you notice any mistakes in or have any suggestions about this information please email us.
Tourism to the region is currently very strong in Israel/ Palestine and less so in Jordan and Egypt. Demand is very strong and in the high season months, March-May and October-November; demand can exceed the limited hotel availability. In Israel/ Palestine demand is very strong in Easter (Western and Orthodox Easter) and during Jewish Holidays.
We therefore recommend:
Planning ahead and booking early (one year or more in advance is not too early!)
Bringing tours in the shoulder and low season when demand is less
Being prepared to pay non-refundable deposits to secure hotel space
Finalising trips as early as possible in terms of group status and rooming lists
Being flexible with your itinerary and hotel requirements. Be prepared to fit the itineraries to the hotels available rather than the reverse.
Avoiding changes (dates, sequence, hotels, etc) once the tour is booked.
Agents who are better organized in advance, and who are willing to put money down will get the hotel space ahead of others.
Our quotations are based on the hotels listed or similar. If the hotels listed are not available, we will look for the best alternative. The final hotels used will be the ones confirmed by us. If hotels of the quoted price range are not available we may have to charge a supplement for more expensive hotels.
Note that Israel does not have a hotel grading or category system. In Jordan and Egypt hotel ratings exist but the standard of hotels within any single category vary extensively.
Note a quotation is not a confirmation. Once we get the go-ahead from you we start the hotel booking process. It is possible that the hotels requested or specified may not be available. Please do not assume any confirmation of hotels until we specifically advise you. We recommend you check with us from time to time for the progress of your booking.
During busy times or high seasons hotels may request non-refundable deposits to maintain reservations. Some hotels are asking for deposits 1-4 months in advance. We will pass on such requests to you. Note hotels may cancel bookings unless a payment is made. In the event of such a cancellation, and the materialization of the booking, we cannot guarantee space at the same hotel and will book at the best available alternative.
Single Rooms are subject to availability. Note that there may be a limited number of single rooms available in hotels especially in the high season. Hotels sometimes limit the number of single rooms to 10% of total rooms booked. We recommend you limit the number of single rooms. If you have a large number of single room requests please check with us before confirming to the client.
Single Room Supplement is charged by hotels regardless of the reason for the single. Thus singles that are forced (when there is no one for the person to share with) are charged by hotels regardless.
Most hotels provide twin beds in twin and double rooms. For double rooms the two beds are pushed together.
Triple Rooms usually consist of a fold-up bed added to the room or a mini-sofa bed that opens up into a bed. These may not be as comfortable as the regular beds. Hotels generally give a minimal reduction for a triple share. Please make clients aware of the conditions of triple rooms.
Most hotels do not have a wide variety of bed types (King size, Queen size, etc). Sometimes the bed types are available in 5 star hotels. Generally hotels are not able to accommodate bed requests for groups. Groups are confirmed on a run-of-the-house basis whereby hotels provide the group with the rooms they have available at check-in. Rooms cannot be pre-booked for groups. For individual travellers in 5 star hotels there is more of a possibility of booking specific room & bed types.
Most hotels in the do not have designated non-smoking rooms. Generally only the Deluxe Five Star Hotels have non-smoking rooms. In Israel smoking is prohibited in hotels.
Rooms are provided at hotels on a run-of-the-house basis for groups & often for FITs. This means that hotels provide whatever rooms they have available upon check-in. In return for this you benefit from special concessionary room rates. Special request for certain rooms, adjoining rooms, etc, are subject to availability at hotels, and hotels are under no obligation to provide them. We pass on your requests to hotels but cannot guarantee them. To guarantee such rooms you must make an individual room booking at the much higher individual room rates than group rates.
Nearly all hotels provide Wifi in the public areas and rooms. Slowly more and more hotels are offering this for free (at least in the lobby). For those who charge for wifi the cost varies from $2-$5 per hour and $5-$20 per day.
Most hotels in the Holy Land are Jewish hotels and are Kosher. This means that there are specific restrictions on providing of food (for example diary & meat products cannot be served together; on Holy days cooking is not allowed and they serve cold plates only; etc). Some hotels in Jerusalem and hotels in the Palestinian Authority areas (Bethlehem & Jericho) are not kosher. Hotels in Jordan and Egypt are not kosher.
Generally Hotels do not allow food and drinks rom outside the hotel to be brought into the hotel for consumption in the hotel.
In Jordan and Egypt hotels do not serve tap water with lunches and dinners. The only option they provide is to sell you expensive bottled water. Unfortunately this is almost a norm and we have been unable to change this.
Half Board packages are based on special Half Board (HB) hotel prices. All breakfast and dinners are at the hotels unless stated otherwise. Many hotels offer a minimal or no reduction or refund for forgone breakfasts and dinners with this special HB rate. Dinners outside hotels will cost more as they are more expensive than hotel dinners and involve additional costs for transport to and from the restaurant.
Hotels do not usually accommodate specific meal or dietary requests (no nuts, gluten free, etc) as they deal with lots of groups a day. We do our best to request any specific dietary requests. However, please be aware that the often the restaurant staff are not qualified to take care in this area. Your clients are responsible for their dietary needs and must check and take responsibility personally for any food they eat. Often the meals are buffet and clients may able to select particular dishes they want to eat.
Most hotels consider groups to be a minimum of 15 paying persons. Some hotels have a higher minimum number. Below 15 persons some hotels will no longer apply group rates and apply FIT rates, which can be much higher than group rates. Please check with us if the group is going to be less than 15 pax.
Hotels require the status of groups at least 60 days prior to arrival. Rooming lists are required at least 30 days prior to arrival. Hotels may ask for these earlier in busy periods.
Porterage at hotels is included and is paid for to the hotel. It is a service fee. Most porters at hotels also ask for tips in addition to this fee; additional payments are at the client’s discretion.
Air Conditioning: Most hotels have one set of pipes for heating and air conditioning. This means that hotels cannot provide heating and air conditioning simultaneously. Hotels usually do a switch over from air conditioning to heat in the Fall and from heat to air conditioning in the Spring. The switchover is a major operation and takes 2-3 days. Hotels therefore cannot do this easily and groups often find there is a problem of lack of air conditioning or heat around the time of the switchover. So, for example, if the hotel is set on heating and a hot weather spell occurs, there is no air conditioning in the hotel and the rooms tend to be too hot. There is little that can be done about this as most hotels here operate in this manner. Only a few of the 5 star deluxe and expensive hotels have a dual piping system and can provide both air conditioning and heat.
Check-in at hotels is usually 2:00 pm or later. Early check-in is subject to availability at the time of arrival and cannot be guaranteed. The only way to guarantee early check-in is to pay for the room night from the night before arrival.
Some Jewish hotels only allow late check-in after Shabbat is over on Saturdays and Jewish Holidays. This is especially the case in resort areas such as the Dead Sea, Tiberias, the coast and Eilat. The reason for this is that religious Jews cannot check out before the end of the Sabbath; so hotels rooms only become available late. Hotels operate on this basis and we cannot change this.
Check-out at hotels is usually between 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. Late check-out is rarely available at hotel and to guarantee it you must pay for an additional night.
Hotels sometimes face an overbooking situation whereby they have more rooms confirmed than they actually have. In this situation the hotel may move a group to another alternative hotel. The norm in the area is that the hotel is entitled to do this as long as the alternative hotel is of the same or higher standard than the hotel booked. However, the location may be different. As an agent we resist any move by the hotel, but sometimes there is no choice. As a land operator we ultimately cannot be held responsible for such situations as the law of the area allows hotels to do this. Please take this into consideration when operating trips to the area.
Deluxe hotels may also move a reservation when there is a State Visit. For example for President Obama’s visit in 2013, the King David Hotel cancelled all reservations at the hotel and President Obama and his entourage took the whole hotel. Again, hotels are entitled to do this by Israeli law and this possibility exists; though it is remote.
The final rooming list should be sent to us at least 40 days prior to arrival of the group. In the peak season some hotels may ask for rooming list or status up to 4 months in advance.
The Holy Land (Israel/ Palestine) is experiencing very high demand. There is more demand than there are hotel rooms. Our advice is to do the following:
Move business to the low season: space is more available, prices are lower and sites are less crowded.
Work in advance: try to finalise group as far in advance as possible with rooming list and program. Some companies are sending rooming lists 4 months prior to arrival of group. Those who work more in advance have a better chance of getting space.
Be prepared to pay non-refundable deposits to hold onto hotel space.
Be flexible with the hotels requested and the sequence of the itinerary when booking. It is easier to match the program or itinerary with space rather than vice versa.
Once a tour is booked and hotels confirmed, avoid any changes. Changes to the program or hotels requested may mean losing the hotel space we have and leaving us with a problem.
Telephone calls, mini bar items, drinks and extras from hotels are generally very expensive. It is possible to get telephone sims or telephone cards to use in each country. Some hotels also charge telephone access fees so even dialing a toll free number can incur charges. Please check all costs and charges before you use a hotel telephone or consume items from the hotel. We are unable to intervene in any charge disputes between a client and the hotel.
When lunches are included they are based on using local tourist restaurants. Most are self-service allowing for a starter, main course and fruit; some restaurants have a set menu.
Drinks and not included in the meals. The restaurants we use are based on several criteria:
Location: restaurants need to be located close to sites visited or en route between sites.
Parking & Access: restaurants need to have parking and access for buses.
Seating capacity: restaurants need to be able to accommodate groups.
Speed of service: any time spent on meals is usually at the expense of time sightseeing. So speed of service is important.
Cleanliness and hygiene of the restaurant
Adequate and clean restroom facilities.
Note requests for specific restaurants may incur additional cost as they may be more than our budgeted restaurants.
Restaurants do not usually accommodate specific meal or dietary requests (no nuts, gluten free, etc) as they deal with lots of groups a day. We do our best to request any specific dietary requests. However, please be aware that the often the restaurant staff are not qualified to take care in this area. Your clients are responsible for their dietary needs and must check and take responsibility personally for any food they eat.
Dinners are usually in the hotel. Hotels give a special Half Board price; often there is no reduction in price for a forgone meal (dinner or breakfast). Thus substituting a meal at a hotel with a meal out may cost extra (in Jordan and the Holy Land).
Note that there are not enough local restaurants that cater to tourists. Sometimes there is no or little choice of restaurants in a particular area.
All our transportation suppliers use fully licensed tourist vehicles that comply with government regulations.
Bus Size: In the Holy Land (Israel/ Palestine) quotes are based on using a 14-19 seater coach for a group of up to 15 people; and a 33 or 50 seater coach for a group of 16 to 25 people; and large 50+ seater coaches for up to 50 persons. Note the largest coach size is a 59 seater bus.
In Jordan and Egypt quotes are based on prices for buses that fit the group with a few spare seats (18 25, 35, & 50 seater buses). If you require a large coach for a small group there will be a supplement. The maximum group size that can fit a large coach in Jordan is 50 and in Egypt is 48 tourists.
Our price is per bus load. For groups over 50 pax, there will need to be two buses and two guides, and the price will be according to the number of pax in each bus. A group of 64 pax, for example, will be in two buses with 32 pax each and billed at the 32 pax rate.
Generally the larger (50+) buses are more comfortable than the smaller bues.
There are a few small “Deluxe” or VIP buses at a supplement.
In Israel/ Palestine most buses have Wifi.
4. Gratuities and Tips
Unless specified tips are not included in our quotations. Note tips are customary in the region and are an important source of income for people working in the tourism industry. In addition, guides and drivers have a good memory. They give good service to those who give good tips!
We recommended the following tipping schedule for groups:
Guide: $5 per person per day
Driver: $3 per person per day
Hotels: $2 per person per day
Restaurants: $1 per person per restaurant.
Recommended tipping schedule for FITs or Individual Travellers:
Guide: $10-$20 per person per day.
Driver: $10-$20 per person per day.
Though porterage at hotels is included and paid by us directly to hotels, porters often ask for an additional tip. It is up to you if you would like to give one.
The quotation is usually based on an afternoon/evening arrival and morning departure unless otherwise stated. No sightseeing is priced in on the first and last day unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Any itinerary discussed with a quote is considered a guideline rather than a contract. With so many factors to consider (Muslim, Christian, Jewish holidays, national holidays, Eastern and Western Churches, political events, traffic, crowds, etc) it is difficult to plan for everything. In addition, some sites do not announce special events or timings in advance. Thus the guide often changes the sequence of visits according to local conditions such as crowds, traffic conditions, special events, etc. We always strive for the group to visit all the sites mentioned in an itinerary. If any sites are not visited we offer to refund any entrance fees saved.
Timed Itineraries & Sequence: Note that we do not recommend giving clients timed itineraries. They are hard to abide by as the actual timing of touring depends on local conditions. With the Holy Land tourism growing phenomenally, it is impossible to predict how long a visit will take. Sometimes groups are arriving to a site and finding a queue of 2 hours long – especially at the Holy Sepulchre and Church of Nativity. This obviously ruins the planned timing. Other delaying factors are restaurants queues, checkpoints, slow clients, etc. The guides therefore often modify the sequence of the program to optimize the time of visits for the clients. For example, if they hear a site is crowded, they may change the sequence of visits in order to arrive at the site later when it is less busy.
If clients are given timed itineraries and local conditions do not allow the group to abide by them, they may complain. Therefore we recommend avoiding timed programs. Our guides are well experienced and in the end they aim to fit in all the sites mentioned in a program in the most convenient way for the group.
Occasionally force majeur (delays, crowds, etc) does not allow all sites on the itinerary to be visited. We are happy to refund any unused entrance fees but cannot take any additional refund or responsibility.
Certain services, such as the Tunnel, Yad Vashem, Masses, High Mass, Solemn Entry, etc, get fully booked and are subject to availability. Currently, demand exceeds supply. The Tunnel visit should be booked at least 6 months in advance. The time allocated for the visit is allocated by the management of the Tunnel and is not flexible. We are obliged to accept times assigned to us and have no flexibility in setting the times. It is not rare for visits to be very early in the morning or late at night.
Mass, High Mass and Solemn Entry reservations are not opened to reservations till 2-4 weeks ahead of time, and are not necessarily given on a first come first serve basis. They are set by the Christian Information Centre. We cannot guarantee them. Solemn Entry must take place before any visit to the Church of Holy Sepulchre and is not available on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays; and certain Christian Feast days.
Sites sometimes change their opening times without notice. Also they sometimes have specific feasts or occasions in which they close without notice. We are sometimes not notified of these changes and cannot assume responsibility for them.
There are often events (marches, parades, marathons, etc) that disrupt traffic in cities. We do our best to work around them.
6. Pricing & Our Rates:
Due to fluctuating exchange rates; rising fuel and food prices; and strong demand the region is going through price upheavals. We are unable to absorb the price increases by suppliers and generally there is tendency for price increases in services to Israel.
Please do not compare new prices with old ones. There are continual price increases as well as the usual differences in price seasons, year-to-year increases, etc.
All price quotations are an offer that is subject to availability of hotels in the quoted price range. The final price is subject to change until confirmation of hotel accommodation is given. If hotels confirm at a higher rate than the one we based our quote on we will requote accordingly.
Our offers are valid for 21 days from the date of the offer. Once you give us the go ahead to book we will initiate bookings with hotels. If hotels confirm to us at higher than the contracted rate we have with them, then we will have to re-quote. Our price is subject to the hotel availability at the contracted rate.
Deviations from groups: note that for pax who deviate from groups (leave early, arrive late, etc) any reduction on the tour for unused services is minimal. This is because we book group services and deviations involve extra work that must be priced in.
In extreme cases such as a dramatic exchange rate fluctuation, or fuel increase, imposition of new taxes, we may face sudden increasing rates at little notice. We reserve the right to pass on such sudden increases
Unless otherwise arranged, a deposit of 50% is required one month prior to arrival and full payment is required at least 14 days prior to the arrival of the group. Payment must be by wire transfer or by bank draft.
During busy times or high seasons hotels may request non-refundable deposits to maintain reservations. Some hotels are asking for deposits 1-4 months in advance. We will pass on such requests to you. Note hotels may cancel bookings unless a payment is made. In the event of such a cancellation, and the materialization of the booking, we cannot guarantee space at the same hotel and will book at the best hotel available.
8. Cancellation Fees
Below is our cancellation schedule for land arrangements only. This does not cover cancellation fees for flight tickets if any. Nor does it include special non-refundable deposits requested by hotels.
For group reservations, Guiding Star does not charge cancellation fees for drops in numbers up to 10% of the total group size from 31 days prior to arrival.
Fees for Full Group Cancellation:
31+ days: no charge except for any prior non-refundable deposits required byhotels
15-30 days: 50% of tour fee
07-14 days: 75% of tour fee
00-07 days: 100% of tour fee (full cancellation fees)
For cancellations of up to 20% of group size the following cancellation schedule would be applied.
31+ days: no charge
15-30 days: 50% of tour fee
07-14 days: 75% of tour fee
00-07 days: 100% of tour fee (full cancellation fees)
The cancellation schedule for FIT (individual) bookings is the same as above.
31+ days: no charge
15-30 days: 50% of tour fee
07-14 days: 75% of tour fee
00-07 days: 100% of tour fee (full cancellation fees)
We strongly recommend that clients purchase adequate travel insurance including cancellation cover.
Please note that in certain peak season periods, hotels may require a non-refundable deposit to keep hotel space. We will inform you as soon as such a deposit request is made and give you the option of releasing hotel space rather than incur the obligation. These deposits are non-refundable in case of cancellation.
Note we have never charged any cancellation fees for cancellations due to a major outbreak of conflict in the area. Generally the tourism industry is sympathetic with regards to cancellations caused by conflict and waive all cancellation penalties.
9. Border Regulations & Visas
All tourist entries to Israel, Jordan & Egypt require a passport with 6 months validity. Often this is not enforced at the border if there are several months left on the passport till expiry; but it is the clients’ responsibility if they choose to chance this.
Israel Departure Taxes are set in NIS at the beginning of each year. The amount in US$ is subject to exchange rate fluctuations:
Israeli Exit taxes in 2017 are:
Allenby Bridge: $49 pp (NIS 172 pp)
Taba, Arava & Sheikh Hussein: $32 pp (NIS 118 pp)
Jordan exit tax at land borders is JOD10 pp (approximately $15 pp) - subject to change.
Currently tourists are exempt from the Exit tax if they leave Jordan on the same day they arrive into Jordan or the day after they arrive. Exit tax is payable if you stay 2 nights or more in Jordan.
Airport Departure taxes for Israel and Jordan are paid on the airline ticket.
Some clients prefer not to have their passports stamped when entering Israel. The current (since early 2013) policy in Israel is not to stamp passports but to issue travellers with a personalised printed card. This card has a scanned copy of your passport photo on it, along with your name and entry date. This card must be kept with your passport throughout the duration of your stay in Israel. Be sure to keep this with you, as it is your proof of entry to the country and you may need it to show at Israeli checkpoints if asked. You also need to show it when leaving Isael/ Palestine.
If you actually would like a stamp in your passport, the authorities will still provide this for you if requested.
However, please note the rules do change and we recommend you still mention to the authorities that you don't want your passport stamped. We cannot be present there to assist you inside the immigration terminal; nor do we have control over Israeli Immigration practices. From our experience not having your passport stamped does not seem to be the norm of the Israeli Authorities. We have not had an incident whereby a passport has been stamped against the wishes of the tourist for over 10 years. We, of course, cannot be held responsible in any way if your document gets stamped.
Note Jordan does not stamp passports at Allenby Bridge/ King Hussein Bridge. They do stamp passports at the Jordan River Crossing (Sheikh Hussein Bridge) and Rabin Crossing (Arava); though they will stamp a separate piece of paper (& not your passport) if asked. We, of course, cannot be held responsible in any way if your document gets stamped
Visas to Israel: Certain nationalities require visas in advance to Israel. We can apply on your behalf for group visas. A group must consist of at least 10 people for visa application processing. We cannot apply for individual visas except for nationals of countries without diplomatic relations with Israel (for example Malaysia and Indonesia).
The Israeli visa application takes at least 12 working days (6 weeks for Moslems) to process by the Ministry of Interior. We recommend sending us the passport manifest 20 working days in advance (or at least one month in a period including Jewish Holidays). Note visas are issued at the discretion of the Ministry of Interior and they may refuse part of or the whole of the visa application without giving any reason (though this is extremely rare). We are not responsible for any visa application rejection by the Ministry of Interior.
Please do not assume that a visa is ok unless confirmed by us. The decision to issue a visa is not ours but of the Ministry of Interior in Israel. They may refuse or delay the issuing of a visa. Please check with us about the visa status if you do not hear from us.
Note the Israeli visa fee is an application-processing fee and is paid to the Ministry of Interior. It is non-refundable even if the visa application or part of it is rejected. Also, note that entry to Israel is at the discretion of the Israeli government and they may refuse entry to the Holy Land (though this is extremely rare). We are not responsible for any refusal of entry to the Holy Land.
Visas to Jordan: Visas for Jordan are obtained at points of entry to the country. Visas costs $60p. Groups (minimum of 5 pax) arriving through a local travel agent and staying a minimum of two nights consecutive nights immediately after arrival can get a free group visa. Groups must arrive and depart together. We must have a Passport manifest in advance of the group arrival to obtain a group visa.
Note groups arriving to Jordan but not staying 2 consecutive nights immediately on arrival must pay the visa fee.
Certain nationalities (generally from poorer countries) are restricted and must get prior approval through us from the Jordanian Ministry of Interior to enter Jordan. Please check with us for additional information.
Note Allenby Bridge or King Hussein Bridge is not an officially designated point of entry to Jordan. Tourists cannot obtain Jordan visas at Allenby Bridge. Please check with us for additional information. Please be sure to get confirmation from us that we have permission for restricted nationalities before they arrive. For more information on Allenby Bridge see http://www.amman2jerusalem.com/
Groups arriving at a port of entry in Jordan (such as the airport), and then crossing the Allenby Bridge or King Hussein Bridge to the Holy Land, may return via Allenby Bridge to Jordan. They can re-use the visa they initially obtained in Jordan as long as it is within the validity of the visa (for example, tourists get a 1 month at the airport. They are able to re-enter Jordan at Allenby within the 1 month. There is no additional visa fee. Note this rule only applies when leaving Jordan and re-entering at Allenby.
Visas to Egypt: Visas to Egypt are obtained at the point of entry to the country. The cost is $15pp (except for a few nationalities that are exempt). Certain nationalities (generally from poorer countries) are restricted and must get prior approval through us from the Egyptian Ministry of Interior to enter Egypt (at an cost extra for processing). Please check with us for additional information.
Security delays:From time to time tourists are delayed at the port of entry by Israeli Authorities. We are not responsible for such delays and any consequences.
VAT refunds in Israel: Some stores offer this facility for tourists. Not all stores offer this and no stores in Bethlehem or Jericho offer this. It is the client’s responsibility to check if this is available at a store and to arrange it accordingly. We cannot assume any responsibility for any problems with VAT refunds. You need your passport and card of entry. Refunds are at the border points. Please be aware that your group schedule may limit the amount of time you have to process VAT refunds. There are rumours that this facility will be ended by Israel.
11. Airline Tickets:
Most airlines do not accept reconfirmation of flight tickets. You must ensure that your reservation with the airline has the contact information of the respective land operator in the country of departure. (If you are flying from Israel the airline should have our Jerusalem office contacts; if you are flying from Jordan the airline should have our Amman office contacts. IF you are flying from Egypt the airline has the Egyptian agent contact information; etc.) This is your responsibility and is very important in case there is a change in the scheduled flight.
If purchasing airline tickets from us, please be sure to check the tickets as soon as you get them from us. Please check the name, dates of travel, routing and origin and destination. Advise us immediately if there is any problem.
All prices we give for tickets are subject to availability of the quoted class. Airlines segment their seats into different classes. Generally the cheaper classes fill up first. We cannot guarantee a price and given class till the booking is made.
Ticket reservations generally have a time limit. At the time limit the reservation is automatically cancelled. The class and price are then subject to availability. It is up to you to ask for the booking to be ticketed before the time limit expires. Be sure to ask us to ticket in good time (not at the last minute!) and allow for weekends, holidays etc.
Airlines have the right pass on increases for fuel and airport taxes to passengers before ticketing. Ticket prices may go up. To ensure the price the ticket has to be issued and paid for.
Occasionally a ticket is issued as two separate fares. For example on Royal Jordanian (RJ) one can issue tickets to cities beyond NYC/CHI in the USA, using two separate fares on the ticket: RJ fare to NYC or CHI and another domestic fare on a US carrier between NYC or CHI and the final destination in the USA.
Please note the following, when using tickets, with two separate fares:
The Airline does not provide free hotel accommodation for passengers with no same day connection to the final destination, holding tickets with two separate fares.
In case of any arrival delay of the first flight, the airline will not be responsible for providing flight’s Protection or hotel accommodations to any passenger connecting to another destination.
The applicable “Change of reservation” and/or “Refund” fees, for both separate fares would be collected from passengers holding tickets with two separate fares.
Please note that although you could sometimes save some money by using two separate fares, instead of using the airline published through fare to the final destination, however you may also face inconveniences in case of flight delays or additional penalties in case of change of reservations or ticket refund.
Thus, we strongly recommend that you take all tickets based on the Published Though fares, reflected in the Central Reservation Systems.
Lost luggage by the airline is the airlines responsibility. We are happy to assist with following up with the airline to get delayed luggage to the client; however please realize it is not in our control. Please be sure to fill in a lost luggage claim at the airport and inform us the claim number. However, in the final resort the airline is the party that is responsible for lost or damaged luggage. Any compensation or claims for lost or damaged luggage must be made to the airline directly. Any entitlement regarding emergency supplies in case of lost luggage should be sorted with the airline or your ticketing agent.
Airlines generally no longer require reconfirmations of flights. For certain airlines we do this in any case; but not as a rule. Please be sure to give the airline our or the clients local contacts in case there is a change in flight schedule. However, we cannot be responsible for any changes or costs incurred by a change of schedule or overbooking by the airline.
Group fares are sometimes the same or more than fares found on the internet. The advantage of group fares is their flexibility:
Internet fares have to be ticketed and paid for to guarantee their class and price. Group fares have much more flexibility.
Once ticketed on the internet no change of name is allowed and high penalties apply for change of date or routing. Group fares allow much more flexibility.
Airlines often ask for a deposit and payment schedule for group tickets. Please be sure to get deposits to us in good time.
The fees for cancelling reservations or change of dates or routing of tickets vary from airline to airline. Please check with us the cancellation policy of each reservation.
12. Syria & Lebanon
Syria and Lebanon do not allow entry to their countries to tourists who have visited Israel. If you have Israeli stamps or Jordanian border stamps at the crossing points to Israel in your passport you will not be allowed entry to Syria & Lebanon. Therefore if you have a tour that combines Syria/ Lebanon & Israel, we recommend planning the tour to visit Syria first before going to Israel. Also, please ensure that clients do not have Israeli stamps in their passports.
13. Miscellaneous Information:
Tap water in the area is generally safe to drink. However, all water contains bacteria that vary from country to country. Travellers sometimes get upset stomachs from bacteria that they are not used to. So we recommend drinking from bottled water.
Credit Cards and ATMs are generally widely available in the main cities.
We strongly recommend that clients have full and comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical; lost luggage; flight delay and misconnection; and tour cancellation.
You can check for the latest exchange rates on www.xe.com
14. Information specific to the Holy Land (Israel/ Palestine):
Note Israeli Jewish guides are not allowed by Israeli law to enter Palestinian Authority (PA) areas such as Bethlehem or Jericho. Some guides have special permission to allow them entry. We can arrange for a local guide to be with clients in PA areas.
15. Information specific to Jordan:
The local Bedouin community operates the jeeps in Wadi Rum. They tend to be old open back Toyota pick-up trucks. Jeeps are allocated on a rota basis. We have no control over which jeeps our group gets.
The visit to Petra involves lots of walking – at least 2-3 hours.
Guides in Petra generally cover the Treasury, Amphitheatre, paved street, Qasr Al Bint. They usually do not go to the further places such as the Monastery and High Place of Sacrifice.
There are horse drawn carriages in Petra that travel down to the Treasury. However there is an extra charge for this. There are only 6 carriages and they cannot be booked in advance and so are subject to availability on arrival in Petra. In busy times it is not unknown for there to be a wait of up to 2 hours for a turn with the carriages.
The horse fee in Petra is obligatory for all groups. It must be paid for regardless if the horse is taken or not. The horse goes around 1 Klm to the beginning of the Siq and is only one-way. There have been many incidents of tourists falling off horses. We do not recommend taking the horse ride in Petra. Riding is at your own risk. Horsemen in Petra expect/ demand a tip of $3-$5 pp.
16. Information specific to Egypt:
A visit to the top of Mt Sinai is a long walk. It takes around 3 hours climb and a 2-hour decent. We do not recommend doing it unless you are fit and used to long walks.
It is possible to take camels part of the way up Mt. Sinai. The local Bedouin community provides these camels. They cannot be booked in advance and are provided on a local rota system. They cost an extra $20 pp plus a tip for the camel handler. Riding a camel involves some risk and clients have been known to fall off them and injure themselves. We do not recommend taking the camels. Any client who takes a camel does so on his or her own risk.
Generally Egyptian guides do not climb Mt Sinai with the group. Usually another representative from the company does so.