Israel Trip - last three days?

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Jun 28th, 2014, 09:30 PM
  #1
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Israel Trip - last three days?

Hi all - I'm going on a birthright trip in Israel, 10 days guided bus tour including visits to Jaffa, Haifa, Rosh Hanikra, Akko, Tsfat, the Gamla Trail, Tiberius, a couple days in Jerusalem over Shabbat, Aran, Masada, Sderot, and then a day and a half in Tel Aviv ending Wednesday night.

I am going to be staying after the guided portion of the trip trip for a full Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and then flying out of Tel Aviv on Sunday morning. Every moment will be planned for the first 10 days, so I'm hoping to go back and get a non-scripted view of the region in my three free days.

Is it feasible to get back to Jerusalem for part of that time? Should I just stay and relax and enjoy Tel Aviv for the full three days? Should I go somewhere else? is Eilat worth it? Is Jordan feasible? And what is safe as a 23 year old first-time solo traveler? How much will my travel plans be effected by being there on a Friday night and Saturday? I am not religious at all. Does the impact of shabbat vary regionally? How much do I need to plan travel (buses etc) in advance? I have booked a hostel in Tel Aviv for the full extra time just in case, but I can always cancel it!

I think I will be all nature-d and jew-ed out by the 10th day, so for the last 3 days I'd really prefer to see art, history, culture, and especially politics and religion through a non-birthright affiliated lens! And to also spend some time relaxing!!

Any wisdom or advice is greatly appreciated!
staceynicole is offline  
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Jun 29th, 2014, 07:53 AM
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Since you are a young person, I suggest that you spend the three days in Tel-Aviv relaxing on the beach after your exhausting tour and enjoying the many pubs and clubs in the city. You should also assume that many of the other people on your tour will be doing the same and that you will all spend the weekend together.

You can find a lot of info about what to do in Tel-Aviv in "Time-Out" magazine:
http://digital.timeout.co.il/english/

There are no buses running in the city from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening, but there are "sheruts" (shared taxis that follow the same routes as the major bus lines) that run on the Sabbath. Regular taxis are also available. All non-kosher restaurants (the majority) are open on Saturday as well as all places of entertainment and some of the museums (you have to check their web sites). The beach is always open

Tel-Aviv is considered a very safe city and there is no problem going about by yourself.

The bus to Eilat takes about 5.5 hours so doing a day trip to Petra will take up the entire 3 days: 1 day to Eilat, 1 day to Petra, 1 day back. You have to book the buses to/from Eilat in advance:
http://www.egged.co.il/Eng/main.asp?lngCategoryID=2771
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Jun 29th, 2014, 08:51 AM
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I totally disagree. Yes, you will be exhausted, but you are young and can deal. You have traveled thousands of miles to be in Israel. It seems that to spend 3 days on the beach and partying is not the best use of the fact you are in Israel. I would go back to Jerusalem to visit what you missed or to spend more at something you think you went through to quickly.

You probably will, btw have others from your trip to be with. I would not go south to Eilat and Petra. The heat, this time of year is brutal and from what I gather, it is brutal enough in Jerusalem/TelAviv at the moment.
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Jun 29th, 2014, 09:08 AM
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Elkaz:
I never said that he should spend 3 days on the beach. First of all, during the summer the beach should be avoided between 11 AM and 4 PM because the sun is too strong. This leaves plenty of time to see other sites in Tel-Aviv : Jaffa, museums, markets, old neigbourhoods, etc. I know many youngsters who have gone alone on Birthright trips - they all made many new friends, most extended their trip and they all ended up having a good time together in Tel-Aviv. So even if he plans to go to Jerusalem, the odds are that his group of new friends will decide to stay in Tel-Aviv because Jerusalem is dead on the weekend.
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Jun 30th, 2014, 03:27 AM
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Jerusalem is not dead on the weekend and since she expressed an interest in history, culture and more - some of the time can be spent in Jerusalem too - visit the Israel Museum, which you will not see on Birthright, explore the other quarters of the Old City and more.

There is nothing to worry about traveling around on your own - just use basic common sense.

Skip Eilat and Petra - that will take up all of your extra time and as noted it is super hot - only hotter there.
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Jun 30th, 2014, 09:27 AM
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Stacey,
fyi: The Birthright Israel program is designed to give you a very narrow view of the Holy Land. They dont even want you going to E Jerusalem, historic villages let alone Jordan or studying the history of the region. Deviating from their guidelines could result in losing sponsorship of the tour.

They do this for YOUR security, but I certainly understand people wanting the entire truth, not a propaganda tour
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Jun 30th, 2014, 07:16 PM
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FrankS: During the 10 days, the rules and itinerary are extremely strict. However, afterwards you can do whatever you want!

I had been planning on doing a "best of the west bank" tour through Abraham tours, but after the kidnapping and murder of the israeli teens I think I will skip that, even though I would like to at least see Bethlehem and the Banksy art. Any advice on the safety of that?

Instead, I think I will go to Jerusalem to see the Israel Museum and more that is missed on Birthright - perhaps as a day trip from Tel Aviv since it is only an hour away, and spend the rest of the time in Tel Aviv, and have no regrets about not going to Petra given the heat!!

Thank you so much for the advice!
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Jul 1st, 2014, 04:29 AM
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Hi Stacey,
Its easy for me to say Bethlehem & Jericho are safe, nobody wants to kidnap me. I really enjoy my time there and elsewhere in Israel, W Bank and Jordan. However, I would not suggest you do so without consultation with parents and tour organizers. Personally, Im surprised BI doesnt escort all the participants to Ben Gurion and make sure you get on a plane safely...especially now

If they agree and let you visit elsewhere, may I suggest you review the tours offered by Bein Harim. There are plenty of interesting places in Israel without going to the W Bank. I think you would enjoy Caeserea, Acre, Rosh Hanikra, Tiberies and Tel Hazor.


http://www.beinharimtours.com/Caearea-Acre-Tour
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Jul 1st, 2014, 04:55 AM
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<< Personally, Im surprised BI doesn't escort all the participants to Ben Gurion and make sure you get on a plane safely...especially now >> Are you serious ?? Why do you think that you have a monopoly on the "truth" ?

I think that we can assume the Birthright tour will likely visit Caesarea and Akko (see her list above). In any case, Ben-Harim gets consistently bad reviews on the travel forums - so that's another bit of bad advice on your part.

If you are interested in an organised tour, then look at the oft-recommended Abraham Tours:
http://abrahamtours.com/
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Jul 1st, 2014, 05:54 AM
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mbgg
Wrong on both counts

1) Do you advertise for Abraham Tours? as you are so wrong, I cant attribute your slander of Bein Harim to ignorance or incompetence. Both are reputable companies with a 4.5 TA rating. BH is actually rated 5 spots HIGHER than AT on Tripadvisor with twice the number of reviews. If you study the two, for a guided tour BH is better. If you need an inexpensive driver, AT is better.

2) Have you ever seen a Birthright itinerary? I would say not, because most of what I listed is often not included. So why talk about things you dont understand?
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Jul 1st, 2014, 08:22 AM
  #11
 
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mbgg, I do not like being told you did not say something, when you did. Maybe you don't know what you are saying. Go back to your first post, the very first one in this thread. You wrote, " I suggest that you spend the three days in Tel-Aviv relaxing on the beach after your exhausting tour and enjoying the many pubs and clubs in the city."

Sure sounds like you are telling her to spend 3 days on the beach! ( with partying at night)
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Jul 1st, 2014, 08:31 AM
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Elkaz:
True ... But I then said that he could find a list of things to do in Time Out (obviously other than the beach) and that some of the museums are open on Saturday.
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