Planning a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories


The idea of a traveling to Israel and the Palestinian territories has always been intriguing to me.  Although the ancient history and modern day history is so interesting, the political unrest in the region has always been in the back of my mind.  Of late, despite the Arab Spring, relations between Israelis and Palestinians has been rather peaceful.  The impetus for this trip really stems from a reasonable airfare that was found back in March.  Being the travel addict that I am, rarely a day passes where I don’t check airfares.  I happened to stumble upon a $970 airfare from Chicago to Tel Aviv with Alitalia which I though was excellent given the length of flight and time of year.  Even better, we were able to use our points from a Capital One Venture Card (which I highly recommend) so the flights were free for both my wife and I.


With the flights booked, we now had to plan the trip.  Israel and the West Bank are both relatively small areas to cover so we decided to base ourselves in Tel Aviv and take day trips from there.  After researching, we decided on visiting several areas: 1.  The Biblical North of Israel which included Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee 2. Jerusalem and Bethlehem  3. Mosada and the Dead Sea.  After much research, we had a tough time deciding on taking group tours versus private tours.  Although the cost of a private day tour was double that of a group tour, we felt more secure to book a private tour.  Ultimately, this was a great decision.  Our guide, Shalom Langerrs (, ended up being a very special guide and we spent three amazing days with him.  By booking a private guide, it gave us more flexibility to see what we wanted on our own time schedule and we learned so much more about this interesting region than we would have with a group tour.


As fate would have it, the day prior to our departure, the U.S. State Department came out with a travel warning and proceeded to close around twenty embassies, including the embassy in Tel Aviv.  Although there was some concern regarding these developments, we were determined to proceed onward with our trip.  We contacted Shalom and he didn’t seem too concerned about this warning so weren’t either.  We figured we were traveling to one of the most vigilant countries in terms of security.  Looking back, we felt very secure during our trip and never once worried about our safety.  Despite stories that you may read in the newspaper or watch on television, I believe this is a safe area to travel to and I wouldn’t let its turbulent history stop you from visiting this historic land.


  1. Roger Schmitt says:

    I enjoy your narratives and photos very much. There’s a slim chance I’ll ever visit most of these places so your website is the next best thing. Thank you for posting.

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