Seniors Self-Touring(2)

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Sep 15th, 2005, 12:34 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 31
Seniors Self-Touring(2)

Thank you Douglas Duckett, Anon, Sandi, Mamamia, Weezie and Kathy4HIM for your responses to our first message We have made some decisions since then and have several new questions.
Remember we are a 70 year old couple traveling independently for the first time to Israel, arriving November 2,7PM and leaving November 18, 3.30AM.
Our tour can be divided into 4 sections:

1. Tel Aviv and day trips: Metropolitan Hotel (4 nights at $89/night) – 3 touring days
One United Day Tour to Caesarea, Acre and Rosh Hanikra and a second United Day Tour to Nazareth, Capernaum, Tabgha and Jordan River.
One day self – touring to Diaspora Museum and Old Jaffa.

2. Golan and Galilee by car:
Sunday, 6 Rent a car (Eldan or Avis) pickup (8AM) for 3 days of self touring.
Haifa panorama and Bahai Gardens - Zichron Yaacov - Carmel Wineries - Megiddo - Sephoris - Mt.Tabor - Hotel in Tiberias or Safed.

Monday, 7 Hamat Gader - Golan Heights - Gamla - Mt. Bental - Mt. Hermon - Tel Dan - Banias - Manara Cliffs - Hotel in Tiberias.

Tuesday, 8 Belvoir - Bet Shean - Gan Hashlosha - Bet Alfa Synagogue - Jerusalem - Alon Holiday Studio Apartment (7 nights).

QUESTIONS;
1. We will pick up a car in downtown Tel Aviv early Sunday morning and return it in downtown Jerusalem early Tuesday morning.
Which company and what model car? I called American Express and our Gold Card insurance coverage is not valid in Israel so we will take all insurance by car rental company.
2. We are mainly interested in historical and religious sites. Any suggestions on modifying our itinerary?
3. On day 3 to Jerusalem it seems that the shortest route is through the West Bank. Should we take it or go around?
4. Would it be more convenient to stay both nights in Tiberias?
If so is the nicer Scots Hotel worth the extra money as compared to the Prima Tiberias?
Would it be more convenient and interesting to spend one of the two nights in Safed at the Ruth Rimon Inn?
5. We read somewhere that a National Park Pass would be cheaper for us rather than paying for each site? We do not know which of the sites we wish to visit are included. Please confirm if it is a good idea.

3. Jerusalem and day tours
We will be staying at the Alon Holiday Studio Apartments at 9 Shamai St. near Ben Yehuda for 7 nights at $65/night.
We will take a United Day Tour around Jerusalem and another to Massada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea. We will spend the 4 remaining days touring the city.

4. Eilat and Petra
We will take an Egged public bus to Petra and stay at the Caesar Hotel at $83/night.
We will take a one day tour to Petra and return to Tel Aviv by plane.

QUESTIONS:
6. Petra - Day tour on Nov 16.Please recommend the best company considering client attention and value. Is hotel pickup/return included and what are other visa fees, etc.Are visa photos needed?
7. Flight Eilat - Tel Aviv –The two options are: The 5.30PM direct to Ben Gurion is there something to do in or around the airport for 9 hours? The 9.30PM to Sde-Dov with transfer to BG gives us 4 more hours in Eilat but requires airport transfer.
We have read that the check in requires 3 hours before departure. Is this correct for both the Eilat and the BG flights?

SOOO…..We would greatly appreciate your contributions to what is looking like a FANTASTIC TRIP!!




paulfr is offline  
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Sep 15th, 2005, 08:39 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Paul:

Check your itenarery: "return it in downtown Jerusalem early Tuesday morning." you probably mean WED. morning, no? You will drive to Jerusalem on Tuesday evening, after a whole day of touring in the northern Jordan Valley... I know Egged buses drive thru the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem... It's much shorter than what I would drive, AROUND the West Bank.... Use the new, fast Route #6.

Also, check with the apartment in Jerusalem about PARKING when you arrive late evening (returning your rented car in the morning, I assume), 'cause parking in downtown Jerusalem is a real challenge...

When you rent a car ASK ABOUT USING ROUTE 6, WHICH IS A NEW TOLL ROAD, but since it's all automated, you don't pay at any toll booth, you may have a problem with fines, later.

Also, if you use MasterCard Gold and Platinum - you WILL be covered by their insurance in Israel (I do it every year).

You want to rent an automatic car like a Mazda 3 (very popular in Israel) or a Toyota Corolla, or Ford Focus.

I would rather stay in Tiberias for the 2 nights. Much easier to access, more night life there. Safed is nice but very "sleepy". I read good things about the Scotts hotel.

As to flying back, you're right, 9 hours is too much for even a beautiful modern airport, with lots of Duty Free shops... Fly later to Sde Dov and take a cab to BG. Have you checked time tables with BOTH airlines operating there, Arkia and Israir?

No, you don't need to be 3 hours before your departure from Eilat... 1.5 is plenty...

When in Eilat, I would suggest you check again about available flight... Both airlines are notorious for improvisations... I had flown once with an Arkia flight that was headed to Sde Dov, but the pilot decided to stop first in Ben Gurion...
Mamamia is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 06:29 AM
  #3
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Thank you Douglas Duckett, Anon, and Mamamia, for your responses to our second message We have made some decisions since then and have several new questions.
Remember we are a 70 year old couple traveling independently for the first time to Israel, arriving November 2,7PM and leaving November 18, 3.30AM.
Our tour can be divided into 4 sections:

1. Tel Aviv and day trips: Metropolitan Hotel (4 nights at $89/night) – 3 touring days
One United Day Tour to Caesarea, Acre and Rosh Hanikra and a second United Day Tour to Nazareth, Capernaum, Tabgha and Jordan River.
One day self – touring to Diaspora Museum and Old Jaffa.

2. Golan and Galilee by car: SEE Question 2.

QUESTIONS;
1. Which company and what model car? I called American Express and our Gold Card insurance coverage is not valid in Israel so we will take all insurance by car rental company.

We will pick up an Avis Hyundai Getz car(automatic) in downtown Tel Aviv 8AM Sunday morning and return it in downtown Jerusalem 8AM Wednesday morning(or Tuesday 5PM).We will use a Canadian Visa Gold Card which gives coverage.

2. We are mainly interested in historical and religious sites. Any suggestions on modifying our itinerary?

We agree that there are TOO MANY things on our wish list. Could you all give us your preferred itineraries and a rating for each of our visits as Must Do, Should Do and Could Do.

Sunday, 11/6
A-Rent a car, 8AM, Tel Aviv
B-Zichron Yaacov and Carmel Winery
C-Druze Village-Daliyat al Carmel
D-Haifa-Bahai Gardens
E-Safed
F-Bar’ am Synagogue
G-Tiberias Hotel

Monday, 11/7
A-Hamat Gader
B-Gamla
C-Mount Hermon (We are wary of narrow winding roads with drop offs???)
D-Tel Dan
E-Banias
F-Manara Cliffs Cable Car-Kiryat Shmona
G-Yigdal Alon Center-old boat-Kibbutz Ginossar
H-Tiberias Hotel

Tuesday, 11/8
A-Belvoir
B-Bet Shean
C-Gan Ha-Shelosha
D-Bet Alfa Synagogue
E-Mount Tabor (idem..scary roads)
F-Zippori
G-Tel Megiddo
H-Return though Afula
I-Jerusalem Apartment

3. On day 3 to Jerusalem it seems that the shortest route is through the West Bank. Should we take it or go around?

We will go around through Afula for itinerary and less stress.

4. Would it be more convenient to stay both nights in Tiberias?
If so is the nicer Scots Hotel worth the extra money as compared to the Prima Tiberias?
Would it be more convenient and interesting to spend one of the two nights in Safed at the Ruth Ramon Inn?

We will stay at the less expensive Prima Tiberias for two nights since we will hardly spend any time in the hotel.

5. We read somewhere that a National Park Pass would be cheaper for us rather than paying for each site? We do not know which of the sites we wish to visit are included. Please confirm if it is a good idea.

Thanks for the website info. We will get a pass at the first park we visit.

3. Jerusalem and day tours
We will be staying at the Alon Holiday Studio Apartments at 9 Shamai St. near Ben Yehuda for 7 nights at $65/night

.For ANON: You can see their website at
www.jerusalem-apartments.co.il If you do visit please say hello to Sammy for me and let him know that we will be coming soon.
We will take a United Day Tour around Jerusalem and another to Massada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea. We will spend the 4 remaining days touring the city.

4. Eilat and Petra
We will take an Egged public bus to Petra and stay at the Caesar Hotel at $83/night.
We will take a one day tour to Petra and return to Tel Aviv by plane.

QUESTIONS:
6. Petra - Day tour on Nov 16.Please recommend the best company considering client attention and value. Is hotel pickup/return included and what are other visa fees, etc.Are visa photos needed?

ANY SUGGESTIONS?

7. Flight Eilat - Tel Aviv –The two options are: The 5.30PM direct to Ben Gurion is there something to do in or around the airport for 9 hours? The 9.30PM to Sde-Dov with transfer to BG gives us 4 more hours in Eilat but requires airport transfer.

OK.Better to stay 4 hours more in Eilat and transfer airports.
We have read that the check in requires 3 hours before departure. Is this correct for both the Eilat and the BG flights?

OK..EILAT ABOUT 1 ˝ HOURS.

SOOO…..We would greatly appreciate your contributions to what is looking like a FANTASTIC TRIP!!




paulfr is offline  
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Sep 18th, 2005, 04:00 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,328
Paul,

Please double check again. As much as I know VISA would NOT give you car rental insurance in Israel (as well as in Ireland and couple other countries), only MasterCard will. I would call them to double check.

Also, as much as I know, the Getz, though automatic, is a real TINY car. You have to take in consideration thet not all the roads in Israel are smooth, wide highways... I would chose a larger car, again, something like a Mazda 3, Corolla, or Focus.

That's as far as I can help for now...

...Yes, you deffinitely packed TOO MANY places on your daily wish list to visit for one day, in any of the 3 planned days...
Mamamia is offline  
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Sep 19th, 2005, 01:10 PM
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Posts: 412
Gold Mastercard does NOT cover car rental insurance in Israel and really hasn't for several years--let me explain

The wording in the Mastercard master rental agreement says something like "you may be unable to receive benefits in ...Israel" It does not explicitly exclude Israel as it does several other countries.
But, it does say that in order for Mastercard to cover the insurance you have to decline LDW and CDW (loss damage waiver and Collision damage waiver)
I have been told on several occasions by totally different companies that it is against Israeli insurance law to decline both coverages. Therefore, If you have to accept at least one, you invalidate the Mastercard coverage.

Sneaky, huh? Mastercard doesn't have to be the bad guy and say "no" outright (the way AMEX and Visa have for many years) but effectively you can't get coverage anyway.
AlexA is offline  
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Sep 19th, 2005, 05:00 PM
  #6
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Posts: 31
To our new Fodor's friends regarding the CAR:

1.We will rent an F car,like Toyota Corolla.

2.We were told by the insurer of our Royal bank of Canada Gold Visa Card that we have collision and theft coverage in Israel(PER DOCUMENTS) so we will use it and see what happens.

3.We were told by Sammy that after 7PM we can park for free in front of his Alon Holiday Studio Apartment at 9 Shammai St. in Jerusalem and return the car the next morning.

Regarding our 3 days car touring.Thanks for all the info.
We now have a better idea of the MUST SEES,SHOULD SEES and COULD SEES and we WILL see the MUSTS,some of the SHOULDS and forget the COULDS!!

Regarding the 1 day Petra Tour we have booked with www.desertecotours.com.

Also,we will take the LAST flight from Petra to Sde-Dov(199NIS) and transfer to Ben Gurion for out trip home.
paulfr is offline  
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Sep 19th, 2005, 06:48 PM
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Alex,

My experience every year in Israel (and sometimes twice a year), renting cars only from Eldan, is that they have no problem with me decling the CDW and LDW.... SO I guess it depends on the rental company.

My experinece is that VISA would not cover the insurance in Israel, as well as, Ireland, and couple other countries. MasterCard does.

But since Paul managed to get his Canadian bank's VISA cover the insurancein Israel --- we are all OK, I guess...
Mamamia is offline  
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Sep 19th, 2005, 06:53 PM
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Paul, even though you were told that you can park free after 7pm on the street, I would ASK AGAIN... Shamai street is in the heart of downtown Jerusalem, and you may have a VERY difficult time to find parking space there.

I suggest you double check.... Free is good. But if you arrive at 10pm, and can't find a space, that's not so good...
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Sep 20th, 2005, 01:51 AM
  #9
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Thanks Mamamia.
The owner,who lives in the same building, told us that there is also paid parking across the street in case we dont find free parking on the street.
Also,we expect to arrive before it gets dark and we may be able to return the car before 5PM.
paulfr is offline  
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Sep 21st, 2005, 07:39 AM
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paulfr: glad to hear some credit cards are still covering the car rental.

Mamamia: I stand semi-corrected. I have not used Eldan, but I have tried several US companies and when actually in Israel, I was not allowed to take the car until I ok'd at least one of the insurance options. I tried in vain to get some information about the disposition of insurance before I got to Israel, but was never given anything definitive or in writing. I did have a blank contract once faxed to me in advance so I could read the provisions,and it clearly said in English and Hebrew that if you decline one insurance, you MUST take the other.
One car rental place and one (two?) Israeli colleagues told me they understood it was a function of Israeli insurance law, not the individual companies.
I guess that;s why Visa and AMEX got out of the coverage a few years ago--they didn;t want to deal with the inconsistencies. The current (dated September 2005)US Mastercard guide
(http://www.mastercard.com/cardholder...veler_2005.pdf on page 3)
repeats the "You may have difficulty getting coverage" warning for Israel, so caveat rentor!

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