Why do I need a private car and guide? What's the weather like? Here are some answers to the most common question I'm asked

Is it safe to travel in Israel?
It is safe for you and your family to travel in Israel. The Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have a vested interest in encouraging tourism. Israel is experiencing a period of calm and it is safer to walk the streets of Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa at night than almost any western capital. The most dangerous thing in Israel is the Israeli driver. This is another good reason to have an experienced Israel Tour Guide who knows the roads, to do the driving for you instead of renting a car.

Why do I need a private car and guide?
When traveling with a group and bus, you are dependent on others. You don’t have to wait for that family which is always last on the bus. You design you itinerary! You won’t go to places that you have already been or to places you don’t want to see. If you want to get that extra half hour of sleep or leave earlier than 8:30, you can!

Why not just rent a car with a good guidebook?
Renting a van or SUV in high season can cost more than $250 a day, not including gas. Gasoline costs more than $8.50 a gallon! Roads are not clearly marked in English and a lot of new roads are not even on the map. New sites and places that require advance booking (sometimes months in advance like the Western Wall Tunnels).

Because of these constant changes, an experienced guide can make a real difference in the enjoyment of your travel experience.

How much cash should I take with me?
Walking around with a large amount of cash isn’t advisable anywhere. Fifty to a hundred dollars in local currency (the Israeli Shekel – IS) is more than enough to cover small purchases and meals. Change your currency in Israel. You can do it almost everywhere, but taking a little time at the airport upon arrival is always a good idea. As of June 1st, 2014 the dollar is worth about IS 3.45.

Are major credit cards accepted in Israel?
Absolutely! Most of your purchases, hotel and restaurant costs can and should be made with any major credit card. ATMs are almost everywhere and local currency can be obtained from them.

When’s the best time to make my trip?
High season is June through August, Christmas week, Passover and Easter Holidays. Low season is September through December 20 and January through May. January or February is a great time to visit as this is low season and prices are lower than the rest of the year during this time.

What’s the weather like?
Israel has two seasons. It is warm to very hot from late March to October. It usually doesn’t rain then. From late October to March, it can get as cold as a Chicago spring day. It rarely snows, and if it does, lasts for a few days only in Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Mitzpe Ramon (the Negev).

What clothes should I bring?
In the warm season, light cotton clothes are best. Men are best off in slacks; shorts can be problematic. Modest dress is always a good idea. Women should have their shoulders covered. Good walking shoes or hiking boots are a must. Of course, always bring a hat, sun screen and sunglasses. Get used to have a water bottle with you always. Drink often and a lot!