When should I travel to the Holy Land?

Located on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea, the weather in the Holy Land varies throughout the year. Summers (April-October) tend to be hot and dry, with winters (November-March) tending to be cool and rainy. Hillier areas (Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the Galilee) are usually chillier.

Do I need a passport?

Yes. Americans, Canadians and citizens of most western countries* need just a passport to come to Israel: no visa is required. Please note that your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date you enter the country.

*For more information and complete list of countries that do not require a visa, please visit the Consular Services page of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/ConsularServices/Pages/default.aspx).

No additional documents are required to visit the Palestinian Territories

Is it safe?

Yes! In 2013, an all time record of 3.6 million people visited the Holy Land, and that is because it is not only an amazing destination but it is quite safe. Both the Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism would not encourage tourists to visit if they felt they would be in the slightest danger.

Public Holidays

As a Jewish State, Israel follows the Hebrew calendar. Jewish holidays are observed as the national public holidays of the country and change annually depending on the Jewish lunar calendar. Within the Palestinian Territories, Islamic and Christian holy days are national holidays; the dates of the Islamic holy days change every year and are celebrated in accordance with the lunar calendar.


Christmas is celebrated three times a year in Bethlehem:
Catholics and Western denominations celebrate Christmas on December 25, Greek
Orthodox followers celebrate on January 6, and Armenians celebrate on January 18.


During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and business hours hours are adjusted accordingly throughout the Palestinian Territories. All shops close before sunset.

Restaurants, except those at hotels catering to tourists, are closed during the day though some will reopen after sunset for the night. In order to avoid offending those fasting, it is advisable not to eat, drink, or smoke in public during Ramadan.

What should I pack?

Generally speaking, your luggage should be sturdy and light-weight. At present, security restrictions do not permit you to lock your luggage. Liquids, including cosmetics, are not permitted on the aircraft (although you may pack them in your checked luggage).


3-4 slacks
1 pair of jeans
1 skirt
2 pairs of shorts
1 dress
4-6 tops (combination of t-shirts, blouses, and sweaters)
underwear & socks
1 pair of walking shoes, 1 pair of dress shoes


3-4 slacks
1 pair of jeans
4-6 shirts (combination of t-shirts, button-downs, & sweaters)
underwear & socks
1 pair of walking shoes, 1 pair of dress shoes

Many travelers like to bring a bible along too, or at least use a good app for immediate reference when visiting many of the historical sites.

What is the currency?

Israeli currency operates under the New Israeli Shekel (NIS), or shekel for short. Bank notes are distributed in denominations of 200, 100, 50, and 20 NIS. Money can be exchanged at most banks in Israel and money changing storefronts can be found across the country. Go to (hhtp://www.xe.com/ucc) to see the daily exchange rate.

U.S dollars, Jordanian dinars, and the Israeli Shekels are accepted in the Palestinian Territories. Also the  Egyptian pound is accepted in Gaza.

ATMs are also readily available and most accept international bank cards. Check with your bank as to what they charge you per withdrawal. Currency conversion offices are available throughout both Israel and the Palestinian Territories

Most stores, hotels, and restaurants will accept credit cards but personal checks are generally not accepted. Cash is the preferred method of payment in most stores.

Tourists paying in foreign currency are exempt from value-added tax (VAT) at their

Shopping in Israel

In Israel, the workweek operates from Sunday through Thursday, with many shops in Jewish areas closing in the afternoon on Friday in observance of the Sabbath. Many businesses are not open on Saturdays, though one can find many boutiques, wineries, and restaurants open in non-religious areas of the country.

Israel is full of small markets that sell everything from fruits and vegetables to arts and crafts—these makolets can be found scattered throughout residential areas of most neighborhoods. Major outdoor markets, called shuks, are located throughout the region, the two most famous being the Mahane Yehuda and the Carmel Market, respectively.

Shopping in the Palestinian Territories

Within  the Palestinian Territories there are many interesting markets and shopping areas as well. Certainly Bethlehem offers a number of olivewood stores and other locally made souvenir stores as well as large souvenir stores. Most are generally open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., six days a week, and are closed either Friday or Sundays depending on the religion. Aside from the typical souvenirs, other wonderful products produced locally and available for purchase include lovely textiles and other handicrafts such as embroidered dresses, shirts, pillows and other products. Interesting glass can be found in Hebron along with other products. Shuks are abundant throughout the region as well with some of the most interesting markets being those in Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem and Hebron.

Public transportation

Minivans –orange painted – or buses are used to travel from one city to another. Taxis –
yellow painted – or service – orange painted – are used for in town transportation.

Car Rental

Cars can be rented from the Ben Gurion International Airport. Should you be interested in driving throughout the region it is important that you rent a car that carries insurance in both Israel and the Palestinian Territories.  Middle East Car Rental provides rental cars at the Allenby Bridge, Jerusalem or at the Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv. An international driver’s license is required, and insurance is available from the rental agency. Many other agencies are available throughout the Israel and the Palestinian Territories but the vehicles are only insured within the specific region.

Please note that Palestinian-Americans cannot use this crossing to enter Jordan.

Border Crossings

The most used crossing for tourists is the border at Rachels Crossing, just south of Jerusalem. Passing through is as easy as having a valid American, Canadian, or European passport in hand. Should you wish to take a taxi into the Palestinian Territories note that only Arab taxis are allowed to travel freely into Bethlehem and beyond and therefore some travelers prefer to take an Arab taxis from East Jerusalem directly across the border and into Bethlehem. Other travel possibilities include taking Arab bus number 22 from East Jerusalem. Bus 32 runs from Jerusalem to Hebron as do Egged buses that go to Hebron and Qiryat Arba.

Jordanian Border Crossings

Traveling from Israel into Jordan is quite easy.  Below is a brief description of each border crossing as well as useful web sites.

1. The Jordan River/Sheikh Hussein Crossing (near Tiberius)

This crossing is just east of the Israeli city of Beit She’an.. You can take the 961 bus from the Tiberius bus terminal to the Israeli border city of Beit She’an in approximately one hour or the 962 bus from Jerusalem (approximately a two hour ride).  Should you have time, make sure to include a visit to the archaeological site of Beit Shean prior to departing  From Beit She’an, it is a five minute taxi drive to the border crossing and costs NIS20 (approximately $5.50)

Once in Jordan, you can take a bus or hire a taxi for the 90 Kilometer (56 miles) to the capital city of Amman. The border is open 363 days a year from 6:30 AM until 8:00 PM Sunday to Thursday and 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays.  The crossing is closed on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur and the first day of the Muslim New Year.

Jordan requires a visa for all American passport holders. A single-entry three-month Jordanian visa is issued on the spot at the Jordanian Terminal for 88 NIS (approximately $23).

A small exit fee is charged at each border crossing. An Israeli exit tax is $15 payable in Israeli, foreign currency, travelers checks and most credit cards at the “Change Place” branch in the terminal. A commission is also charged. The Jordanian side charges 5 Jordanian dinars (approximately $7)

Please note that Palestinian-Americans are unable to use this crossing to enter Jordan.

2. The Yitzchak Rabin/Arava Crossing (near Eilat/Aqaba)

This is the southernmost crossing, and you can take a taxi from Eilat, approximately a five minute ride.  No other public transportation goes to the terminal.  There is an opportunity to change money at the crossing.  As with the Sheikh Hussein crossing, you can purchase a three-month visa for NIS88 to enter Jordan (approximately $23).  This terminal is 324 kilometers (201 miles) from Amman. However, it only a few miles to the Jordanian port city of Aqaba (the Jordanian side of the Red Sea) and a 2 hour taxi ride to the spectacular ancient Nabatean city of Petra.  A taxi ride there costs JD25 (approximately $35).

The hours of operation as well as visa and exit fees are identical to those at the Jordan River/Sheikh Hussein crossing.

Please note that Palestinian-Americans cannot use this crossing to enter Jordan.

3. The Allenby Bridge/King Hussein Border Crossing into Jordan (near Jericho)

The Allenby Bridge connects Jordan to the Palestinian Territories,and it is, therefore the bridge that all Palestinians must use.  It is also the crossing most used by diplomats working in both countries.  As a result, this crossing is very crowded and tourists can experience delays of several hours waiting to cross and therefore tourists are recommended to use the northern or southern border crossing. Moreover, unlike the northern and southern border crossings in Israel, Jordanian visas are not issued at the Allenby border crossing and travelers planning to cross into Jordan at this crossing must already have a Jordanian visa on hand.. However, if for some reason, you need to cross the Allenby Bridge, it can be reached either by taxi or the 961 bus which you can board either in Tiberius or the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. From Tiberius, the bus ride is just under 2 hours long and costs NIS22.5 (approximately $6).  From Jerusalem, the bus ride is between 30 and 40 minutes long and costs NIS12.5 (approximately $4). The bus stop is on Road no. 90, next to the upper entrance gate to the terminal. From this gate entrance is by taxi only.

At the terminal, you will need to present your passport, a visa for entry into Jordan and pay a passenger fee of NIS157 (approximately $40). The ride to Amman, the capital, is just under an hour.

Why should I travel with Breaking Break Journeys?

Breaking Bread Journeys is the only cooperative tour project that offers balanced, multi-day travel programs to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Our combined 50 years of experience in travel and tourism have enabled us to create engaging programs that give travelers the opportunity to not just see the amazing sites but meet the people and enjoy a shared experience with them each day. By partnering with a   number of local non-profit organizations combined with our own vast on the ground contacts we’ve created unique experiences  that directly sustain the local communities that we visit along the way. With Breaking Break Journeys travelers will have the unique opportunity to not only explore the behind-the-scenes reality of one of the world’s most fascinating and complex regions but they will be able to break bread with the real people living in this diverse land.

Is this a dialogue or co-existence trip?

Breaking Bread Journeys is apolitical and does not endorse any type of political agenda. Our trips provide travelers with both interesting sites and experiences combined with the opportunity to be immersed in local culture through daily ‘breaking bread’ experiences. . You might spend a morning learning about traditional cooking with a chef in the Galilee followed by an afternoon at an Arab market in Nazareth. The fact is, a multitude of cultures, religions, and communities co-exist amongst one another in the Holy Land, and it is our goal to provide travelers with a unique insight into many of their traditions, beliefs, and lifestyles.