Interested in bringing a group to Israel? Traveling as a group to Israel is a blast! And it can also be more cost effective. Here are some helpful tips for arranging your trip to Israel. These tips are helpful if you are arranging a large group or even for a small private group.
Step 1: Choose the dates you want to travel
Figure out what time of year works for you and your group to travel to Israel. You can read my post here about the weather in Israel. It is usually more expensive in Israel during the holidays such as Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. The low season is from mid November to March during the rainy season.
Also you need to think about how many days you want to be in Israel. A typical tour is on average about 7 - 8 days. But figure out what is best for you and your group.
Step 2: Finding a Tour Operator
There are a couple ways you can find a tour operator. One way is through your local travel agency; they might already have a connection to a Tour Operator in Israel that they work with. But you can always ask your travel agency to work specifically with a certain tour operator that you might know about or was referred to by a friend. Then there is also google who can provide you with several options. There are a lot of tour operators in Israel because there are a lot of tourists that come to Israel. I recommend looking for a tour operator that is flexible and is willing to customize the tour to your interests.
Step 3: Planning an itinerary
The way we work is once we know a group is interested in bringing a group to Israel, we create an itinerary that covers the locations that interest the group. Check out some sample itineraries here. There are so many places to see in Israel. The majority of the stories in the Bible took place here, thus there are countless places to visit and is pretty much impossible to cover in one trip! And if you try to see everything it means you will be jumping on and off the bus a lot. Many groups say they wish they had more time at different places. So you need to decide on whether to try and see as much as you can in the time allotted or spend quality time at certain key places. Then it is also fun to not just see places but meet the locals. You can ask your tour operator to set up a speaker or arrange a shabbat meal in some Israeli homes, and you meet some of the local ministries or organizations in the country. So once an itinerary is basically figured out, we move on to the next step.
Step 4: Proposal/Quote
A tour package usually includes the cost of a tour guide, transportation, entrance fees to sites, hotel accommodations. Prices can fluctuate upon the size of the group, the season you travel in Israel, and the type of hotels you prefer. The fancier the hotel, the more expensive the tour; and if you have have a group of about 20 - 30 people, it will be cheaper than a group of 10 people. So you need to be clear to your tour operator about what kind of accommodations you would like to expect and how many people you would like to base the tour quote on. Also you can add a 10 + 1 deal, so that as a tour host, your costs will be included in the cost of the participants that come on your tour.
Step 5: Promote
So as your Tour Operator is making things happen for you in Israel: arranging hotels, guides, schedule, buses, etc... You will need to promote your tour and have people sign up for the tour, make sure they have their passports are ready and set for traveling! Stay in touch with the Tour Operator, they can help you with any questions you might have.
Hosting a tour to Israel can be a lot of work, but made much easier by having a trustful Tour Operator. And the rewards of traveling around Israel far outweigh all the money and efforts spent!