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Security: Valuables

Carry your valuables close to your person, in a money belt, pouch or inside pocket. Keep cash and credit cards separate. Keep your money, credit cards, traveler’s cheques and passport on your person or in the hotel security box (though you will need your passport on you if you...

Safety

A few common-sense precautions can avoid risks to personal safety:  Keep a low profile; don’t stand out in dress, speech or behavior; especially avoid wearing anything that identifies you with one side or the other in Middle East politics. When exploring on your own, go in pairs...

Time and Orientation

The time in is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in North America. Daylight Saving time lasts from approximately March to October. Pilgrims and tourists from the southern hemisphere have an extra reason to be disoriented in the...

Etiquette

Dressing and acting in a manner that shows respect for the host country’s social and cultural values should be the pilgrim’s aim. Some social rules to be aware of are: Avoid public displays of affection between people of the opposite sex. During Ramadan, the month when Muslims...

Photography

If you use a digital camera, take several memory cards rather than one big one (then, if your camera is lost or stolen, you won’t lose all your pictures). If you use rechargeable batteries, you will also need a charger (and a transformer if the charger cannot handle 220 volts)....

Communication

Cell Phones are becoming increasingly popular. Your service provider can advise about international roaming; other options are to buy a local SIM card, or rent a cell phone, on arrival in each country. If you take a cell phone, you will also need a charger (and a transformer if...

Business hours

Business hours and weekend closures are different from those in the Western world.  Most Jewish businesses are closed on Friday afternoon and Saturday (Shabbat); Muslim businesses on Friday; Christian businesses on Sunday.  In Muslim areas, working hours are reduced during the...

Money: What to take

A mixture of cash, credit card and traveler’s cheques is advisable for visiting the Middle East. It can be useful to take some local currency for each country, for use on arrival, but United States dollars are universally accepted. How much should you take? That is very much...

Money: Currency

The New Israeli Shekel (NIS) is divided into 100 Agorot. Foreign currency (especially United States dollars or Euros) are usually accepted, though change will often be given in shekels. Paying in foreign currency on items such as accommodation and car rental avoids Value Added...

Food

Nutritious breakfasts and ample dinners are usual in tourist hotels, though hostels offer simpler meals. Seasoned travelers usually eat a hearty breakfast, and perhaps take a piece of fruit or bread roll to eat at lunchtime (if lunch is not being provided). Falafel, a fried ball...
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