Frequently asked questions
Is it safe to travel in Israel or the middle east?
Below is an article that we wrote several years ago and still applies today.
Why can't we talk about the church to anyone in Israel?
What do we say if asked about the church or Book of Mormon in Israel?
Simply, "I cannot talk about it." Why? "The Israeli government has asked us not to talk about our church or the Book of Mormon." Can I attend your church services? "No, only members of our church are allowed to attend in Israel."
How much money should I take?
You will need some money for lunches each day and possibly food at the airport. What you spend on souvenirs is a personal choice. Credit cards are accepted at stores but not on the streets. Shekels are welcome but dollars are accepted. We like to take a hundred dollars in ones with us during the day for bottled water or conveinent souvenirs. All trip related costs are covered in the price of the tour, including tips. However, you are welcome to give "a love offering" to any service provider that helps you.
How much does an olive wood nativity cost?
Depending on the quality and size, $75.00 - $750.00. We often bring back nativities for friends and I estimate a 6"inch piece with a stable of average quality about $125.00.
How do I know if I am getting a good price for a souvenir?
We know the best places to shop and can direct you if asked. However, if you see something very specific that speaks to you, get it, we can't guarantee that you will see it again. But you will see most of the same items repeatedly.
The old city in Jerusalem has almost anything that you would want. There is one vendor in the Christain quarter that has the best prices and has a little bit of everything and deals mostly with BYU students. We will direct you to him. Also, a vendor that deals with our church-related olive wood pieces will be a stop on our tour. Even if you just want to look you will enjoy meeting him.
I have electronic items that I must bring, will they work at our hotel?
We use 120 volts and they output 220 from their outlets. Your phones, laptops and tablets convert to the wattage. Other items like a CP machine have a converter attached to the power cord. You will need a different adaptor plug with two round prongs to plug into the wall. There are hairdryers in the bathrooms. A curling or flat iron can be used if a separate converter and adaptor is used, however, the wattage conversion will be different, either not hot enough or too hot. Because of this I bought an Israeli flat iron and will have it to lend out if needed.
How much walking and climbing stairs will there be?
We will be walking and climbing stairs every day. Some regard it as a strenuous trip. If you are active and exercise regularly you will have no problem. If there is an area that you are not sure of entering, we can direct you to another path or wait in a safe place. For those with limited mobility and choose to take a detour or wait till the group is back, we remind you that you are still seeing more than you would at home. Just being on location is a faith-promoting experience. In each trip of the past trips, we have included those with limited mobility. We will do our best to accommodate you and don't want you to miss anything.
What type of shoes should I wear?
The ground is very uneven with loose rocks. Cobble stones and archeology sites are everywhere. We recommend good walking supportive shoes. Some street hazards are not marked like they would be in the USA, so we must all be vigilant as we walk.
What is considered "modest" dress in Israel?
There is a modern Israel, like the Tel Aviv area and then a conservative Israel, especially in the holy sites. We will spend most of our time at the holy sites that are maintained by different faith groups. Generally each Muslim, Jewish and Christain sites are expecting the visitors to dress modestly out of respect for their faith. We will direct you each evening as to the sites we will be visitng the next day so you can dress appropriately. Generally this is for the women, who at one or two sites will need to have thier arms and legs and head covered.
As an example, one year on the temple mount, governed by Muslims, a women wore tight leggings. She was asked to cover up her legs to be more modest. She wrapped a pashmina around her waist like a skirt and that satisified them. On the temple mount they might offer coverings that go over your clothes if they feel you are not dressed modestly. This usually only happens in the warm months.
Can we make frequent restroom stops?
Most sites have public restrooms of varying quality. They should be available every 1-2 hours. If we are planning a long time between restroom stops we will let you know. Some toilets may require a shekel to use or a person there selling toilet paper or you will not have any. For these and other reasons, we like to carry our own tissue and hand wipes, just in case.
At times, traveling into different time zones and eating new foods you may experience bowel changes. If you anticipate this we suggest you bring anti-diarrhea or constipation remedies. These are also available at Israeli pharmacies and can help you find one near our hotel.