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Old 07-26-2012, 11:50 AM   #1
NoraG
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Jordan/Israel

So I know this is an ABD forum, but I hope I'll be given a bit of leeway here. I'm just hoping for some advice from fellow travelers. I will be traveling to Israel with the Birthright organization (no discussion on pros/cons/validity of said organization please) and have the option to extend my trip. The 10 trip to Israel plus airfare to and from NY is free. I'd possibly like to do a side trip to Jordan -Petra and Wadi Rum on a budget. This trip won't be anything like the South Africa trip I just took with ABD and I'm well aware of that. Just hoping for recommendations on tour companies to book with for a very hsort, inexpensive 2-3 side trip. I'll be leaving from Tel Aviv and am pretty sure I can take a bus from Tel Aviv to Eilat (on the border). If I don't find something in my budget, I think I'll have to pass. $800-1500 for 1-2 days is very expensive.

FYI, I don't have a traveling companion as the group trip will be over, but am willing to join a group in Jordan or Eilat. I have no need for a "private" tour. This just may or may not be doable for me at the moment, but I'd like to get an idea. Oh, and I leave in a month. Yipee!
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoraG View Post
So I know this is an ABD forum, but I hope I'll be given a bit of leeway here. I'm just hoping for some advice from fellow travelers. I will be traveling to Israel with the Birthright organization (no discussion on pros/cons/validity of said organization please) and have the option to extend my trip. The 10 trip to Israel plus airfare to and from NY is free. I'd possibly like to do a side trip to Jordan -Petra and Wadi Rum on a budget. This trip won't be anything like the South Africa trip I just took with ABD and I'm well aware of that. Just hoping for recommendations on tour companies to book with for a very hsort, inexpensive 2-3 side trip. I'll be leaving from Tel Aviv and am pretty sure I can take a bus from Tel Aviv to Eilat (on the border). If I don't find something in my budget, I think I'll have to pass. $800-1500 for 1-2 days is very expensive.

FYI, I don't have a traveling companion as the group trip will be over, but am willing to join a group in Jordan or Eilat. I have no need for a "private" tour. This just may or may not be doable for me at the moment, but I'd like to get an idea. Oh, and I leave in a month. Yipee!
Hi, NoraG. You may be well aware of this, but there can be issues in regards to both entering an Arab country with an Israeli stamp on your passport, and, reversely entering Israel with an Arab stamp on your passport. Currently, as far as I can tell, everything is cool between Israel & Jordan, but you really should double-check that somewhere official. Israel will, if you request, put the stamp on a separate slip of paper if you need it. Just an FYI. As I said, you probably already know this, but I figured it couldn't hurt to mention it.

I've only ever been to Israel, not to Jordan, so I can't help you with that. I do have some friends & relatives in Israel, so I can ask them if they have any suggestions. I'll let you know if I find anything out.

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Old 07-26-2012, 12:36 PM   #3
NoraG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
Hi, NoraG. You may be well aware of this, but there can be issues in regards to both entering an Arab country with an Israeli stamp on your passport, and, reversely entering Israel with an Arab stamp on your passport. Currently, as far as I can tell, everything is cool between Israel & Jordan, but you really should double-check that somewhere official. Israel will, if you request, put the stamp on a separate slip of paper if you need it. Just an FYI. As I said, you probably already know this, but I figured it couldn't hurt to mention it.

I've only ever been to Israel, not to Jordan, so I can't help you with that. I do have some friends & relatives in Israel, so I can ask them if they have any suggestions. I'll let you know if I find anything out.

Sayhello
Yes, Sayhello, I am aware of that, but it is an important aspect, so I appreciate you pointing it out. I think plenty of people read the boards and don't post, so it can be helpful to others as well. From the research I've done, an Israeli stamp on your passport won't hurt your entrance into Jordan or Egypt, but would make a difference in Syria, Lebanon, the UAE, etc. Just examples, not an exhaustive list by any means. My passport will be good for another 5 years, so I may ask that they put it on a separate sheet anyway, just for good measure. I would sure like to see those pyramids someday, but likely not in the next year or so, for rather obvious reasons.

It will be my first trip to Israel, so I'm very excited. I was promised a trip for my Bat Mitzvah and somehow that never happened- (hint, hint Mom!). Anyway, I'd appreciate any information your relatives have. I'm a bit worried that the trip will be a let down after doing South Africa with ABD-it was THE trip of a lifetime-perfect in every way. I still experience withdrawl and wish I could back. To be clear, I know this trip will be quite different and I'm looking forward to it. I just know I'll compare it to ABD!
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:43 PM   #4
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While there is no issue with discussing your trip here on the ABD board....please note that the discussion of alternate travel companies / agencies etc. is allowed, but advertising for said agencies is not.

I realize this is a fine line, but it's something we of which we need to be aware.

Thanks.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:47 PM   #5
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While there is no issue with discussing your trip here on the ABD board....please note that the discussion of alternate travel companies / agencies etc. is allowed, but advertising for said agencies is not.

I realize this is a fine line, but it's something we of which we need to be aware.

Thanks.
Hi Kevin,

I didn't mean to discuss something inappropriate. I've seen other people ask for alternative companies or suggestions for add-ons many times and those threads seemed fine. I especially thought this would not be an issue considering ABD does not do a tour to Jordan. I'm just asking for names and experiences from fellow travelers, not employees of other companies. As far as I know, I haven't advertised for any company, I simply said I was traveling with BRI, which is non-competitive considering the trip is free. Am I missing something?
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoraG View Post
Hi Kevin,

I didn't mean to discuss something inappropriate. I've seen other people ask for alternative companies or suggestions for add-ons many times and those threads seemed fine. I especially thought this would not be an issue considering ABD does not do a tour to Jordan. I'm just asking for names and experiences from fellow travelers, not employees of other companies. As far as I know, I haven't advertised for any company, I simply said I was traveling with BRI, which is non-competitive considering the trip is free. Am I missing something?
Hi NoraG,

I apologize if you thought I was referring to your posts. I wasn't.

As folks often take advantage of threads like these to advertise their business ventures, I was actually just offering a subtle reminder that it's not allowed.

Again, I apologize for not wording that better.

Thanks,
Kevin
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:15 PM   #7
NoraG
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Hi NoraG,

I apologize if you thought I was referring to your posts. I wasn't.

As folks often take advantage of threads like these to advertise their business ventures, I was actually just offering a subtle reminder that it's not allowed.

Again, I apologize for not wording that better.

Thanks,
Kevin
Now worries Kevin. Just glad to know I wasn't breaking the rules.

Best,

NoraG
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:21 PM   #8
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I've visited both, Israel and Jordan. It's no problem entering Jordan from Israel, so a stamp shouldn't be a problem either (same applies to Egypt)
I've always told immigration in Israel not to stamp my passport, because I didn't know if I had to go to Saudi Arabia some day.

We went as a family (2 adults and one child) and a tour operator wasn't necessary at all. We had a rental car and went to Petra, Aquaba, spent a night in a Beduin tent on Wadi Rum, went to the dead sea and Amman.
It's perfectly safe and, as opposed to Egypt, people are very polite and accept a "no, thanks".
Streets are in good condition, it's easy to navigate and the whole country is just awesome.
Of course, going all alone would be quite boring but on the other hand you are more flexible. I might still have the name of our Beduin host in Wadi Rum, I'm just not at home until Sunday, but if you are interested, just pm me.
I think we spent about USD 150 for three people in the dessert and another 100 for the hotel in Petra, the rental car cost about USD 400 for the entire week.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoraG View Post
It will be my first trip to Israel, so I'm very excited. I was promised a trip for my Bat Mitzvah and somehow that never happened- (hint, hint Mom!). Anyway, I'd appreciate any information your relatives have. I'm a bit worried that the trip will be a let down after doing South Africa with ABD-it was THE trip of a lifetime-perfect in every way. I still experience withdrawl and wish I could back. To be clear, I know this trip will be quite different and I'm looking forward to it. I just know I'll compare it to ABD!
Well, I'm not going to kid you, you're probably right, and it won't compare to ABD, but more for the amazing care & magic of the Guides than the subject matter. Israel is a beautiful and fascinating place; the sheer scope & length of the history there is just amazing. Places like the Old City in Jerusalem, Matsada and the Tombs of the Patriarchs in Hebron are awe-inspiring. To just stand there and realize HOW LONG these places have been there, and the people and events that have taken place there is really something. There's nothing quite like standing in front of the Wailing Wall...

I imagine you'd get a lot of the same feelings in Jordan.

I'll put some notes out on Facebook, and let you know what I hear back!

Sayhello
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:33 PM   #10
NoraG
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Being too cheap?

I may just be being too cheap for this trip. The group leaves Tel Aviv on Sept. 6, so I have to get from Tel Aviv to Eilat ($15 for a five hour bus trip I believe), stay the night in Eilat and cross into Jordan the next morning, or stay the night in Jordan (I think the latter is cheaper). I'm a bit wary about renting a car on my own. I would have no one to contact or anyone to help me should I get lost, have car trouble, etc. If I tour Sept 7 and 8, I can leave Tel Aviv on Sept 9. There are no flights on the 8th (Saturday, and thus, Shabbat) anyway. The cost to change my return ticket from Tel Aviv to NY is $190, plus a hotel on the night of the 6th ($75?), a two day tour ($380) or a one day Petra only ($200), extra meals ($50), tip ($25), RT bus ($30)= $750 for two days. Just seems steep to me. I realize the ticket change fee is just something I have to accept, but even without it, $280/day just seems high to me. Thoughts?
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Old 07-27-2012, 11:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoraG View Post
I may just be being too cheap for this trip. The group leaves Tel Aviv on Sept. 6, so I have to get from Tel Aviv to Eilat ($15 for a five hour bus trip I believe), stay the night in Eilat and cross into Jordan the next morning, or stay the night in Jordan (I think the latter is cheaper). I'm a bit wary about renting a car on my own. I would have no one to contact or anyone to help me should I get lost, have car trouble, etc. If I tour Sept 7 and 8, I can leave Tel Aviv on Sept 9. There are no flights on the 8th (Saturday, and thus, Shabbat) anyway. The cost to change my return ticket from Tel Aviv to NY is $190, plus a hotel on the night of the 6th ($75?), a two day tour ($380) or a one day Petra only ($200), extra meals ($50), tip ($25), RT bus ($30)= $750 for two days. Just seems steep to me. I realize the ticket change fee is just something I have to accept, but even without it, $280/day just seems high to me. Thoughts?
I don't know if this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but if it is, I would do it. Petra is one of the most impressive sights in the world, maybe just do the one day trip.
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:01 PM   #12
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Might be plunging in

Today I'm definitely leaning towards doing Petra and Wadi Rum. I've been communicating with a tour company that got great reviews on Trip Advisor. I've decided to do two days, only because I can't fly out on Tel Aviv on Saturday, it being Shabbat and all. For $850 I think I'm going to do it. Now if I can only make all the reservations and handle the logistics-and buy travel insurance! I wish I felt comfortable adding Egypt as well, but it's been hard finding something to coordinate with my dates.

As for getting the separate sheet of paper stamped in Israel. I assume I can just ask when I hand over my passport and that they get this request often, but do I need to bring my own paper (what kind should I bring?) or do they provide sheets of paper that fit in your passport? Might seem silly, but I like to be prepared.

Getting excited and nervous. I hear participants get little sleep on these trips, but hey it can't be worse than 5:30 wake up calls in S. Africa, which were so worth it!
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:30 PM   #13
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Nora,
Why don't you contact your local Jewish Federation Office. They can be of help guiding you. Also contact your birthright director and ask for suggestions. They may be more familiar with students (or under 26 year olds) traveling after their birthright trip.
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