Best websites for planning trip to Israel?

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Dec 4th, 2005, 04:13 PM
  #1
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Best websites for planning trip to Israel?

I am planning an 8 day trip to Israel for May. This will be our second trip. The first one was with an organized tour group in 1997. This trip will be just my husband and myself.

Because of the safety and security issues of the last few years, guidebooks have not been updated for several years. So I am looking for recommendations of up-to-date websites to help plan sightseeing and other travel arrangements.

I thought we would base ourselves in Jerusalem and make day trips from there.

Thanks for any assistance you can offer.
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Dec 4th, 2005, 08:10 PM
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Jerusalem is not a good base for day trips.

Tel Aviv is better.

There are very good, guided tour-bus trips that leave daily and pick up from major hotels.

Or you could rent a car and plan your own.

I think the BEST is to simply spend some time HERE, reading what's been accumulated here.... There are a LOT of good ideas and useful information.
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Dec 5th, 2005, 06:55 AM
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Thank you, Mamamia.

You are absolutely correct that the best advice comes from Fodors Message Board.

I am a semi-regular on the Europe board and have greatly benefitted from all the generous and wise advice available there when planning trips to Europe.

The reason I was thinking of basing in Jerusalem is because of family there and because on our previous trip we did not really have enough time to see all the things I wanted to see.

But I am very flexible and always willing to learn from the advice of others who are more knowledgable.

Thanks again for your response.
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Dec 5th, 2005, 10:39 AM
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Suntravel, pull up all Israeli posts, some posters offer their travel logs through e-mails, I got 2 very interesting.

Also there are many organized tour groups with itineraries posted on the Internet. This can serve as a base for your planning.

Looking at the calendar:
May 2 Memorial Day
May 3 Independence Day
May 26 Yom Yerushalaim
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Dec 5th, 2005, 11:14 AM
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Please read our report on this forum...Seniors self-Touring.
It worked out REALLY GREAT for us.
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Dec 5th, 2005, 02:18 PM
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FainaAgain: A great suggestion about reading older posts. I will start doing that.

Thanks for the information about important dates in Israel. I had to arrange my trip around May 18th....the date of the family Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem. Otherwise, I would have found it very interesting to have been in Israel on those other important dates.

I will also check out the organized tour information for ideas.

Paulfr....Thanks for your reply. I had already read your trip report last night and have made notes. I hope my trip will be as succesful as yours.

There are several travel resources I plan to check. But I always like to get ideas from this message board because I know that there will be information you can't find anywhere else.

Thanks again.
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Dec 7th, 2005, 08:52 AM
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I am planning a trip to Israel for my husband and I in May 2006 also. We have never been. We are planning similar to you, one full week, staying in Jerusalem and doing what we can from there. One website that has some unique information is www.gemsinisrael.com. Especially their ideas in "specialty tours" many from Jerusalem. At least some are half day walking or driving tours with interesting topics. You could do a tour with them or just use their topics for inspiration. They also have a search engine for hotels and other travel arrangements, but I haven't used that. I have been using even dated guidebooks but then searching for the website for more current information through google. Some local attractions in or near Jerusalem that have good websites explaining opening hours, locations, directions, what they have and their own special events and guided tours are the Tower of David Museum (www.towerofdavid.org.il), the Israel Museum (www.imj.org.il) and the Biblical Landscape Reserve (www.n-k.org.il or search "neot kedumim"). Also, www.frommers.com has some good thoughts not so much on details but on the "best of" type lists for ideas. Finally, the Jerusalem Post has an online edition at www.jpost.com. There is a travel section. There is also a living section which has restaurant and other reviews that might be helpful. Also, I looked at a variety of accomodations from the King David Hotel to the American Colony Hotel to the YMCA and everything in between and settled on Avissar's House which you can see more about at www.jeru-avisar-house.co.il, e-mail: [email protected], as a good match for us.
Have fun planning your trip!
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Dec 7th, 2005, 05:37 PM
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Laurie Ann:

Thank you SO MUCH for all of this information. I have just started doing my research and this will help tremendously.

I appreciate your taking the time to give me so many great details. I am especially interested in looking into the tours you mentioned at "gemsinisrael" and checking out the hotels.

Thanks again and I hope you have a fabulous trip.
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Dec 7th, 2005, 05:56 PM
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Laurie Ann: For your hotel in Jerusalem, do you know anyone who has stayed there or have you read any independent information about the place....other than their own website?

Thanks.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 03:24 AM
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SOME GREAT WEBSITES FOR ISRAEL:

http://www.jpost.com/ - Jerusalem Post online great for current news
http://www.goisrael.com/discoverisra...logy/index.asp - a great source for all types of info on Israel
http://www.bibleplaces.com/ - Photos, descriptions of sites in Israel, Jordan, etc.
http://www.levitt.com/slideshow/ - Israel slide show
http://www.netours.com/2003/mt-olives.htm - history of ancient Jerusalem great pictures
http://www.josephus-1.com/ - Josephus eyewitness to Christianity
http://www.mustardseed.net/html/pjrugrdd.html - info on the Garden Tomb
http://www.sandalphon.com/gtcross.html - info on the Garden Tomb
http://www.christianhomesite.com/cherryvale/israel.htm - Louise Moulton trip report

Forums:
www.fodors.com
www.igougo.com
www.virtualtourist.com
www.frommers.com

If you would like our 26 page travelog, pls email me at: [email protected]

We were in Israel & Jordan in October.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 05:54 PM
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Thanks, Happy Wanderer and Suntraveler, for those great websites! I'm going over Christmas break with my two college sons (one who is studying there for the year) and we are doing it on our own, but will take some organized day tours. I've heard United is good, and they have a half-day tour of Jerusalem and a day tour to Masada and the Dead Sea. Any recommendations on this company? We are renting a car to go to Galilee for 2 nights, and I've been reading as much as I can since we will not have a guide up there. Of course the gospels are the basis for the events, but other scholarly and professionally done websites provide very important information as well. I know it's been said that Tel Aviv is a better base city, but we're staying in Jerusalem where my son is.
Does anyone have any further advise on the issue of security and safety now? My son reminds me he's safer there than driving on the highways around our city, (which is true) but there seems to be something brewing over there now. Do we take public buses or taxis? How do you avoid crowded places like markets and restaurants when that's why you're there?
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Dec 12th, 2005, 05:57 PM
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Oops- I forgot to thank Laurie Ann for the websites! Thanks!
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Dec 13th, 2005, 05:46 PM
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Happywanderer:

Thanks for all those websites. It will make my planning a lot easier.

Thanks again to everyone for the helpful suggestions.
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Dec 13th, 2005, 07:06 PM
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Does anyone have any further advise on the issue of security and safety now? My son reminds me he's safer there than driving on the highways around our city...

Ah, yes, but security and safety are relative things where Israeli drivers are concerned . Take your time, enjoy the Galilee. Maybe we'll see you up there.
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Dec 14th, 2005, 09:02 AM
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ttt
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Dec 16th, 2005, 08:29 AM
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Someone asked about what more we knew about the Avissar house than their own website. Nothing specific. I had done some research and wanted a place in a "neighborhood" and not just "tourist district" and the owner is a documentary filmmaker. It is in Yemin Moshe, one of first parts of the city built outside the walled city just before the turn of the 20th century. See description of neighborhood at http://www.jafi.org.il/education/noa.../yeminmosh.htm. Sounded "cool" to us. We never try to find the "perfect" hotel and just try to enjoy whatever we get so long as it is a good value. So for $120 a night for a two room suite with kitchenette it seemed ok to take a chance.
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Dec 17th, 2005, 03:55 AM
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Just happened to read your emails and I stayed with a group of other women at Avissar's House! It was an incredible find. Great location and nice apartment, though nothing fancy at all. But great for a base, making some of your own meals, and a pretty area. Enjoy it.
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Dec 18th, 2005, 09:34 AM
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For debwhite, any great finds in the area of Avissar's house? restaurants, shops, local bus stop? It's so hard to find local information.
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Dec 19th, 2005, 03:25 PM
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I stumbled upon a website

www.jerusalemfoundation.org

it gives not only sites in Jerusalem, but walks "promenade" from place to place, list of parks, descriptions, and so much more! I've only touched the bases, will take several days to search this site!
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Dec 19th, 2005, 03:41 PM
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for laurie_ann: from Avissar's we just walked everywhere. I will have to check on the name of our favorite restaurant. We made breakfast in the apartment daily. the old city is close as is the central Jerusalem shopping area...if you like walking.
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