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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about accommodations...

Purposeful Journeys usually books travelers in higher end hotels.  Please check the specifics of your journey for hotel names and links to their websites.

Generally there are hair dryers in each room.

These items are usually provided.

In the Holy Land hotels generally have air conditioning.  Please check the specifics of your journey to go to the hotel links.

In areas where the climate dictates a need for heating, hotels usually provide heating.

Hotels frequently offer laundry services for an extra cost.  While the cost of a hotel doing laundry may seem expensive, you do not want to miss a day of your journey.

In general, nearly all meals you are likely to desire are included in the tour,.  Breakfast is included most mornings unless your itinerary calls for an early departure.

Questions about money overseas...

While Purposeful Journeys strives to create travel experiences that are as all-inclusive as possible, there are some things that are not included.  Please review your specific itinerary, which has these items.

Please also review your budget worksheet to help you plan for these extra expenses.

 

Gratuities in general should be given in cash.   If you add a tip to a credit card receipt, the service staff are often unlikely to receive that gratuity.

The recommended gratuity amounts for the main tour guide, site guides, coach driver, and hotel staff (concierge, room service, housekeeping) will vary by country

Taking a nominal amount of the local currency of your destination can be helpful, although in the Holy Land, US dollars are widely accepted.  Smaller denominations ($1, $5 or $10) are most useful.

Please be aware that since this is group travel, there will not be time for people to exchange money in the arrival airport.  You will have to wait until you arrive at your hotel.

Should you think it is necessary to bring some foreign currency, the place to start is your local bank.

Two things to avoid are Traveler’s Checks as they are difficult or impossible to cash in many destinations.  Personal checks are not accepted anywhere.

However, once you arrive at your destination hotel there are several options for obtaining local currency.

  1. Some overseas banks and hotels will exchange currencies for you, for an exchange fee.  They only accept US cash, no credit cards.
  2. ATMs are generally available, especially in cities and at tourist sights.  You can use your bank’s ATM card to get local currency.
    • It is important that you let your bank know in advance where and when you will be traveling.  Do this to avoid having them block your card.
    • Please be aware that some banks charge foreign transaction fees at ATM machines.  It is best to find out before you go.
  3. While there are currency exchange businesses, it is recommended that you avoid them as their fees are very high.  Again, they accept US cash only, no credit cards.

Generally, yes.  Bring just one or two credit cards.  Major credit cards are widely accepted, but not necessarily at every venue or store.  Some cards, such as American Express, Diners Club, and Discover are accepted at fewer places.

Try to use a card that has no foreign transaction fees.  This can save a considerable sum.

You may need to alert your credit card company of your travel destinations and dates to avoid having them block your card.

Credit cards are safe for purchases because they have a limit of your responsibility if someone fraudulently uses your card or information.

Your debit card will give you access to ATMs to get local currency.  Remember to let your bank know of your travel dates and destinations to avoid having them block your card.

Using a bank debit card for purchases is not recommended since fraud coverage is generally poor or slow if someone obtains your card or information.  Further, they have unlimited access to your bank accounts on that card.

A prepaid debit card, loaded with a specific amount of money, is an option that protects your bank accounts from fraud. The value of these cards is limited to the amount you have loaded onto them.   They have no credit line for you to access.

Questions about travel during the journey...

Restrooms are readily available at places we will visit.  The use of a public toilet is often free, but occasionally some require a nominal fee.

In a restaurant, tips should be given in cash, and the amount varies by country.  Most of your meals are included in your tour and you will not need to provide gratuity for these.

In most countries it is safe to drink water from the tap.  In some countries, restaurants do not provide tap water unless it is specifically requested.  Bottled water is widely available for purchase.

Most countries use different electrical voltages and sockets than we do in the US.  You would do well to purchase a quality international adapter.  If the international travel adapter has a fuse, that can be particularly helpful.

In the Holy Land type C and H sockets are present.  A two-pronged adapter fits into both.

Make sure to check with your service provider for details, as simply using your phone without an international calling plan is very costly.  Most US cell phone service providers have international calling plans available.

If you choose to decline an international calling plan, be sure to turn off roaming and cellular data on your phone to avoid huge fees.  You can manually set the time zone.

To communicate among members of your travel group, Purposeful Journeys will create a private WhatsApp group for most journeys.

Travel and tourism companies are connected to a country-wide alert system in Israel, and decisions are made day by day and moment by moment to reduce the possibility of danger.

For travelers with these issues, check with your host or Purposeful Journeys for specific accessibility or physical demands.

Purposeful Journeys has the bedrock philosophy of balance.  This means that all journeys include at least some time for you to explore on your own.

The amount of walking varies with each journey.  Check with your host or Purposeful Journeys for details about the specific journey in which you are interested.

Questions about getting from here to there...

  1. Suitcases:  One checked bag will be allowed.  The size and weight of this suitcase will be determined by airline policy. This will hold most of your medicines, your clothing and most of your personal care items.  Consider leaving space for purchases you may make.
  2. Carry On:  One carry on, such as a large zippered tote bag or back pack can be helpful on the airplane as well as on daily excursions.  The carry on is where to pack sufficient medicines for three days, extra underwear, wet wipes, a pashmina scarf, headphones, any item with a lithium battery, as well as anything else that your are likely to need on the flight or that is valuable
  3. Personal item: One, small zippered purse or small shoulder/computer bag is also allowed on the plane.

You cannot bring more than 3 oz. of a liquid or gel in carry on.  Use travel sizes for these items (such as toothpaste).  Larger bottles containing 3 oz.  will be confiscated.

Remember that no fresh foods are allowed in any luggage.

Packing efficiently is very important.  One pair of comfortable walking shoes will be sufficient.  You should plan on bringing enough clothing for the entire time. Most clothing can be worn more than once: please keep that in mind as you pack.  Taking time to do laundry will detract from your journey.

Prepare to dress comfortably.  There is no need to dress up.  Dressing in layers is always a good idea.  For cooler seasons, avoid bulky coats or heavy sweaters.  Instead bring a light-weight coat (such as a puffy jacket or lined raincoat) and lighter sweaters or fleece.  Sweatshirts, jeans, sneakers, tee shirts, khakis are all acceptable.

Bring sunglasses and some kind of hat. These are truly necessary on journeys to the Holy Land.

Women and men will both need to dress modestly to gain entry to some sights.  This means covering shoulders, head, and knees.

  • For men: some kind of hat (such as a ball cap or sunhat), long pants, and a shirt with at least short sleeves
  • For women: long pants or a longer skirt/dress, short sleeves.  A pashmina style scarf can help with this coverage as it can cover hair, bare shoulders or be tied around the waist to cover knees.

You may want to bring a small umbrella that you can pack in your carry on.

Most of our international journeys are in a time zone several hours different than our usual.  This time difference can lead to symptoms of jet lag, such as extreme fatigue, sleeplessness and headaches.  Two things we recommend to minimize jet lag are:

  1. Forget what time it is back home.  When you board the plane, reset your watch and devices to the time at your destination.  When you arrive, stay on the new time schedule for eating and sleeping.  Avoid napping after arrival.
  2. Try to sleep on the long flight going east.  (But stay awake on the westward ride home.)  Some people use noise-reducing headphones.  On the plane, reduce lights as much as possible (such as reading lights, tv screens, phones).  Avoid caffeine until you arrive at your destination. Even a little sleep on the flight is incredibly helpful.

Here are some recommendations:

  1. Stay hydrated.  This means a lot of bottled water, which is usually available at all times in the airplane’s galley,  Avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks.  Instead have water, herbal teas, juices, or carbonated water.
  2. Consider bringing a travel pillow and pashmina scarf (large rectangle) to be comfy and warm.  Wear socks, even with sandals. It can get cold and airline blankets are small.
  3. Bring wet wipes. These are nice to have to clean your seating area, tray table, and arm rests. Use them to refresh your hands and face as well.
  4. Loosen your shoes – but keep them on!  (Airplane floors are not clean.)  Swelling in lower extremities frequently occurs.  Many people choose to wear knee high compression hose (available at many pharmacies and department stores) to reduce this swelling.
  5. Walk frequently. When you are awake, get up and walk the aisles every couple of hours (and maybe get some water in the galley).  You can include mild stretching to keep the blood moving!
Questions abut preparing for your journey...

While learning the language might not be necessary, you might find it helpful to learn the alphabet and some phrases.  Our tours are in English.

Consider downloading to your phone a free app like Google translate to translate from English and back.  Using your camera, it can also translate signs.  Download the needed languages before you travel.

Your passport, the one that is the paper booklet. The wallet-sized card is not sufficient.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the end of your journey, or they will not let you board the plane in the US.  If you passport expires before then, apply for a new one immediately

You need to carry your passport all the time and in a safe manner, such as zippered pocket, secure purse, or special secure holder worn close to the body.

Make two copies of your passport before traveling. Leave one  with a trusted person at home. Put the other copy in your luggage. You will need this if your passport is lost or stolen.

If you have TSA PreCheck or Global Entry cards, bring them as they can be useful at US airports.

 

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