Trips through Bookman Ministries cost between $2900-$3400, depending on actual trip dates. Note that the trips are 13 days in all, which means 10 full study days in Israel – days when we get up in the morning and go to sleep at night in the land. A nonrefundable $250 deposit is required to secure your spot. The full balance must be paid one month before the departure date. If up until the last minute a trip must be rescheduled or canceled for any reason – personal or political – you will receive a full refund minus the $250 deposit.
After you arrive at our rendezvous point in Tel Aviv, your trip costs are completely covered, except for most lunches, tips, and any gifts or souvenirs you choose to buy. In general, we recommend budgeting $12-$15 for lunch. Snacks, Cokes, and ice cream cost anywhere between $3-$5. The largest portion of a typical traveler’s additional expenses come from souvenirs. Altogether, our travelers usually bring between $300-$500 in spending money. Additionally, travel insurance, cancellation insurance, or medical insurance costs are not included in the land fee.
Is it safe to travel to Israel?
Traveling to Israel is actually in line with traveling to most other international destinations, including England, France, Germany, and Belgium. As long as you follow typical travel etiquette, you should expect a safe visit to Israel. The main area of conflict brought up on news outlets is the Gaza Strip, which is nowhere near the stops on our travel itinerary. There are a few other parts of Israel that we do not include on our itinerary that we might suggest avoid when traveling alone or at night, but the same can be said of certain parts of most U.S. cities as well.
For a more detailed explanation of the traveling conditions in Israel, check out TripMemos.
What is included in the land cost?
Your trip includes eleven days and ten nights in the Holy Land (10 full study days in Israel); daily breakfast and dinner; comfortable, hand-picked accommodations; study materials for your tour preparation; travel in-country by private, air-conditioned, deluxe motor coach; teaching by a Doug Bookman team member at significant biblical sites; our licensed tour guides and bus driver; and all porterage, site entrance fees, gratuities, and taxes. Please note that your airfare to and from Israel is not included.
Bookman Ministries does not include airfare in package prices because it is generally cheaper for travelers to make their own travel arrangements. It is also more convenient for you to schedule your own travel, allowing for specific airline preferences, etc. You also have more flexibility to adjust dates to lengthen your trip at the beginning or end if you would like to stay longer to visit additional places.
What is the overall goal of the Study trip?
Trips through Bookman Ministries are designed to challenge and refresh visitors to Israel. While the trips are a lot of fun and have moments of relaxation, they are very much focused on helping the traveler understand the nexus between the narrative of Scripture and the land of Israel. This is the land which is, after all, the stage upon which so much of God’s Word was played out. The focus throughout the trip is on learning – both the geography of the land and the narrative of the Bible – and what it means for us.
What kind of travel documents do I need?
You must have a passport to travel to Israel. Passport applications are available at local government offices and most area post offices. We suggest searching online for the nearest passport authority in your area. Receiving your passport can take months, so plan ahead and apply early. Passports are valid for ten years from the date of issue (five years for applicants under 18).
If you have a passport already, make sure that it is valid for six months after your stay in Israel ends.
We advise travelers to have their passports and airline tickets before leaving home for the airport. It is wise to make two photocopies of your passport in case you misplace your passport during the trip. Put one copy in your luggage and the other in your backpack or carry-on.
A pre-arranged visa is not required of U.S. citizens traveling to Israel. However, travelers with Arab stamps in their passports can expect to receive many questions at passport control security checks, both entering and leaving the country. Travelers with entry/exit stamps from Arab countries that do not have peace agreements with Israel are advised to request a new passport.
Since I arrange my own airfare, where do I meet the group?
The group will meet at Gilgal Hotel in Tel Aviv on the first day of the trip. However, if you would like a day to recoup from your travel, you are welcome to arrive a day (or more, for that matter) early. The hotel will be alerted that some travelers may choose to arrive early, but you must make those arrangements yourself.
Contact information for the hotel is as follows:
Address: Nes-Ziona St. Tel Aviv 63904
Phone: +972 3 5111000 Fax: +972 3 5167291
When contacting the hotel, mention that you are with the STS/Bookman Study group.
The Gilgal Hotel is about a ten minute walk from a very nice Mediterranean beach. The price of a regular room for Sunday night (the first night of our tour) is built into the cost of the trip; if you choose to arrive early, you will be responsible for paying the charge for any additional nights.
How do I get to the Gilgal Hotel from the airport?
Getting from the airport to the hotel (Gilgal Hotel in Tel Aviv) is not difficult, but it is your responsibility. The least complicated and most dependable way is to simply take a taxi. There are shuttle services, but they are not cheaper (in our experience) and involve a level of complexity and uncertainty which are not worth the effort (in our opinion).
After passing through customs and picking up your luggage, proceed through the Greeters Hall and exit at Gate #3. Turn left at the sidewalk, find the dispatcher’s station, and ask for a taxi to the Gilgal Hotel in Tel Aviv. Be sure to have the address available.
You are responsible for the cost of getting from the airport to the hotel. Taxi drivers are required by law to use the meter on all trips. If you know the accepted rates, it is acceptable to set a price beforehand. For long trips, the driver must charge passengers according to the Ministry of Transport price list posted in all taxis. Furthermore, a 25% surcharge for night trips is in effect from 9:01 pm – 5:29 am (and from 4 pm on Fridays and holiday eves). Trips out of Ben Gurion Airport are charged an additional NIS 5.00, and passengers pay approximately NIS 3.00 for each suitcase.
Try not to be intimidated by this process, as it is simple and entirely dependable. The trip has been arranged this way in order to provide maximum flexibility for travelers and to keep your costs at a minimum.
We recommend that travelers consider purchasing accident/health insurance for the trip. If your health insurance does not adequately cover you when abroad, consider short-term policies that cover only the time you are in Israel. They are quite affordable and provide thorough and accessible coverage.
We recommend the American company MissionaryHealth.net, which primarily provides policies for Christian workers, or the Israeli provider Chacoty Sasson General & Life Insurance Agency at www.chacoty.co.il.
We strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancelation insurance. Doug’s close friend Craig Dunning at https://discipleshiptravel.com can help you. Note that you should not insure the land cost, as that will be refunded to you if you are unable to go for any reason. It is wise to insure the cost of the air passage, as the airlines are reluctant to refund that cost.
We focus primarily on study trips to Israel and do not offer trips to Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, or other nations.
How physically challenging is the trip?
This study trip will be more physically demanding than many trips to Israel. It will involve a great deal of walking and hiking, whether it’s uphill, downhill, on uneven steps, and sometimes over rocks. Depending on the time of year, weather conditions can be very hot and dry. These physical difficulties are complicated by the fact that North Americans traveling to Israel experience a change in time zones (lack of sleep, jet lag) and dietary changes. At the same time, there will almost always be provisions for travelers to opt out of given walk, which usually means waiting with the bus for the group to return. If you are at all apprehensive about strenuous physical exertion, this may not be the best trip for you. There are many tours to Israel available that are less physically demanding than this. We are, however, willing to do what we can to make the trip work for you if you decide to go.