WRJ Goes to Israel: FAQS

May 7-15, 2023

Additional FAQs

Thank you for registering for Women Off the Beaten Path: WRJ Goes to Israel! We look forward to this experience with you.

In preparation for the trip, please review the additional FAQs below. These topics include what apps to use for communication, electrical current and size plugs,  transportation, and more!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email WRJ at info@wrj.org

Israel Trip FAQs

  • Accommodations in a room with double occupancy for 8 nights and a late check-out on departure day. For an individual room, an additional fee of $1,725 will apply.  
  • Touring for 9 days with a tour educator (guide) in a luxury, air-conditioned bus with water provided.   
  • 1 group departure transfer and VIP assistance at the airport.  
  • Meals include a daily breakfast, 2 lunches & 7 dinners  
  • Porterage at all hotels 
  • All site entrance fees & program fees 
  • A personal tour operator who handles the logistics and works with you to ensure a successful and seamless travel experience. 
     
  • An individual room: For an individual room, an additional fee of $1,725 will apply. 
  • Arrival transfer(s) 
  • Flights to and from Israel.   
  • COVID-related expenses, including tests. (See information below under insurance and COVID protocols).  
  • Evening transportation when dinner is not included.
  • Meals that are designated as "on your own" in the itinerary.
  • Amendments to the program. If any sites, programs, meals, etc., are added to the program, an additional fee may be required.
  • Personal extras: Items of a personal nature such as laundry, wines, mineral water, beverages, coffee, tea, food other than the fixed price menu, passport and visa fees, insurance, and foreign port taxes, unless otherwise specified.   
  • US and foreign airport taxes, Q fuel surcharge, and border taxes when applicable.  
  • Value Added Tax (VAT) Is currently not applicable to tourists visiting Israel. Should the law change, you will be notified, and VAT will be added to your final invoice.  
  • Gratuities: It is recommended to tip $12pp/day for the tour educator and $6pp/day for the drivers. Tipping is optional and can be in USD or Shekels. Many travelers put this amount (in dollars) in an envelope before they depart so that they aren’t searching for money at the end of the trip. WRJ staff will take care of collecting and bundling tips at the end of the program. For meals on your own, the usual restaurant tip is 12% cash left on the table. For hotels, a daily tip of $2-5 USD, or 6-15 shekels is typical.
  • Credit card fees 

Israel requires medical expense coverage while in destination, but there is not a set amount that is required. J2 recommends the provider Travel Insured International, and the two plans below, but you may book through your own provider. Many providers require you to purchase insurance within a time limit of booking your trip, so please look into this sooner rather than later.  
 
The Medical Only plan, called Worldwide Trip Protector plan provides up to $100,000 in medical expenses, among other benefits, such as trip delay, trip interruption, luggage delay, and much more. This plan does not include a trip cancellation benefit prior to departure. 

See the link below for the list of benefits. To price this plan, through the purchase link, you need to enter 0.0 in the section where it asks for the trip cost. 

The other recommended plan is also called the Worldwide Trip Protector Plan including Trip Cancellation. This plan offers similar benefits while in destination as the above-mentioned Medical Only plan, including the $100,000 medical expense coverage. The difference is the additional coverage for trip cancellation prior to departure. If someone needs to cancel their trip prior to departure for unforeseen medical reasons, including COVID-19 illness, or other covered reasons, as listed on the link, they can claim 100% of their nonrefundable trip cost, pending insurance approval. 

To price this plan, through the purchase link below, in the section where it asks for the trip cost, you will need to enter the per person trip amount that you are paying for the trip (tour & airfare amount). 

These two plans can be accessed and purchased using this link.  

All cancellations need to be made in writing to WRJ and J². If your cancellation is made more than 30 days prior to departure, all of your monies will be fully refunded.   
 
If your cancellation is made less than 30 days prior to departure, you will be provided with a nontransferable travel credit, valid for 18 months for travel on a J² travel program.  
 
If your J² travel program is canceled at any time, you will receive a full refund.

All attendees must agree to and sign WRJ's Covenant of Care, which will be sent to registrants before departure. We will share this document as we get closer to the start date.
We are also continuously monitoring safety protocols, which are subject to change closer to the journey's start date. 
 

We will use WhatsApp for communications during the program when we are together in Israel (itinerary updates, daily reminders, etc.). We recommend you download the app in advance if possible. 

Unless there’s an unusual case when someone needs an Israeli number, we recommend that participants contact their US provider and turn on their international plan. Each provider is different, so you will want to check with yours directly. 

For all calls, people can use WhatsApp or another web provider through WiFi.

Free WiFi is available in most places in Israel and will be available in our hotels. It may be available on our bus as well. 

Most vendors and restaurants accept credit cards, so you may need to exchange very little money. Check if your credit card charges fees for use in foreign countries. You may want some shekels for hotel tips, street purchases, and other small items.  

The most convenient way to obtain currency is through Bank ATMs found all over Israel. Enter your 4-digit PIN and indicate the number of shekels you want; the value will be debited from your account in U.S. dollars. Foreign currency may also be exchanged at many hotels. Some U.S. banks will allow you to ‘order’ shekels before your trip at no charge. Check with your bank about that option if you don’t want to worry about changing money when you first arrive. There will be plenty of opportunities to change money at ATMs, but we will not likely have opportunities to visit banks during normal business hours.  
 
The currency in Israel is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS). NIS bills are in denominations of 200, 100, 50, and 20 shekels. Coins are in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10 shekels. Each shekel is divided into 100 ‘agurot’ (singular ‘agura’), with coins generally in 50 and 10 agurot.  

Although exchange rates fluctuate daily, the shekel is worth just under 30 cents USD at the time of this writing. For a quick calculation when shopping or ordering from a menu, divide by 3. For example, an item that sells for 100 NIS is the equivalent of about $30.  

The electric current in Israel is 220 volts AC, single phase, 50 Hertz. Our hotels all provide hair dryers.  An adapter is used needed to plug US electronics into the 3 (or sometimes 2) pronged wall sockets in Israel.

To plug in your US electronics, you will need an adaptor to connect a ‘Type A/B’ plug into a “Type H” or 2-pronged wall socket (see photo below). A converter is needed to convert the currency from 110v (US) to Israeli currency (220v).

Most cell phones and computers have internal converters; if so, you will not need a currency converter. However, other electronics (such as battery chargers or electric toothbrushes) may require a currency converter to convert 110v to 220v. These are items you will want to purchase in advance and bring with you.
 

Travel Adapter Reference:

Two power adapters

 

Daytime temperatures should be pleasant: 70s and 80s in most of the country but hotter at the Dead Sea. Jerusalem may be cooler in the 70s, 50s in the evening.
There could be some rain though unlikely heavy rainfall. A rain poncho that can fold up in your day pack is a good idea. 
 

*Please clearly mark each piece of your luggage with your full name and phone number.

Hand Luggage

  • Passport / visa
  • A photocopy of your passport information page
  • Credit cards / cash
  • Health & travel insurance documents
  • Prescription medications (and any medications you will need while traveling, including Tylenol / Aspirin)
  • Snacks
  • Mobile device / charger
  • One change of clothing
  • Books / magazines
  • Reading glasses / sunglasses
  • Hand sanitizer / wet wipes / tissues
  • Face masks
  • Any liquids should be in containers no larger than 100ml (3.4 ounces) and placed in a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag (up to 20x20cm).
  • No tweezers or sharp instruments

Travel Wardrobe

  • Lightweight, layer-able, versatile clothes in non-wrinkle fabrics
  • Light tops (short or long sleeve)
  • Tank tops/undershirts
  • Short sleeve polo shirts and t-shirts
  • Sweater / cardigan / light jacket
  • Jeans / khakis / sweatpants
  • Gym clothes & sneakers
  • 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes and 1 pair of more formal shoes
  • Clothes for Shabbat (white shirt/blouse – nice pants or skirt)
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit
  • Sun hat
  • Flip-flops or sandals or water shoes for the Dead Sea

Ben Gurion is a large international airport with ample signage in English. You really can’t go wrong. When you get off your plane, follow the signs for Passport Control. It will be a very long walk, but if you follow the crowd, you will be fine (and there will be restrooms on the way!). Once in the large hall for Passport Control, you will see people getting into many lines. There are only two options, either for foreign travelers or those with Israeli Passports. See the signage above the kiosks where the agents sit. There will be many lines for each option, and there is no way to judge which line will be faster or slower, so just pick one and relax.  

When you get up to the kiosk window, the agent will ask for your passport and may ask you a few questions, such as why you are coming to Israel (a tour), what group you are with (Women of Reform Judaism), have you been to Israel before, etc. They will then stamp your passport and give you a slip of paper, which you will take with you to the next hall (behind the agent’s kiosk), which is the luggage area. Although there should be agents there, the entry to the luggage area has automated turnstile/gates that will take the ticket you just received to open up for you. 

Once in the baggage claim area, there are numbered carousels to identify which carousel is for your flight. If needed, you can get a free cart to carry your bags. Once you get your bags, proceed to the exit. You will pass by customs before you get to the exit, but the agents rarely stop anyone here. If they do stop you, they may want you to open your bags or ask you what you are bringing into the country. Once through the exit, you will be in another large hall where people are met by drivers, if you have arranged a pick-up in advance. There are also ATMs and food in this area if you wish to change money or if you need a place to wait for a fellow traveler arriving a bit later.  

For taxis or other transportation services, simply walk out the door and follow the signs. There is a taxi stand to the left of the exit with different spots for those going to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, etc. There is always a dispatcher there who speaks English and can make sure you are in the right place. The dispatcher will tell you the cost of getting to your destination. Many drivers will take either US dollars or shekels; be sure to confirm in advance the way you wish to pay. Most cabs do not take credit cards. And you are on your way – enjoy the sites as you travel Israel’s modern highways overlooking her ancient hills and valleys! 

If you are interested, our tour provider will be able to coordinate private transportation to the hotel as well as additional hotel accommodations before or after the tour

If your return flight is immediately after the program ends on Monday night after the closing dinner, the bus will take you directly to the airport. Most flights depart from 11:00 pm (May 15) to -1:00 am (May 16), and our schedule will accommodate those flights. If you are departing at a different time, you can easily make arrangements for a taxi or car service to the airport at a time of your choosing. The hotel concierge can arrange this for you. You should plan to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours prior to your flight.  

At the airport, there will be a security line for your flight where you will answer questions (such as why you were in Israel and what you did there) and have your bags screened. You will be asked if anyone gave you anything – be very upfront about that, including any informational materials you received when we visited various sites, etc. After your bags are screened, you will check in at the counter for your flight, where you will check your bags. From there, you will go through airport security like normal. Be sure to have your passport with you! And don’t forget to stop by the VAT booth with your qualifying purchases and paperwork. 

If and when you are on your own, we recommend you download the Gett App. Gett is the Israeli-based taxi app, which is very similar to ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft. Uber and Lyft do not currently have a presence in Israel. Be sure to download the Gett App before you arrive in Israel. You may not be able to download the app once you are in Israel.