A few weeks ago, I promised a recap of our family trip to Israel. So, here goes, but first, a huge thank-you to those who led our group.
Our Israeli tour guide David Roth was fantastic. His depth of knowledge on history, geography, religion, and even (dare we go there?) politics was awesome. He managed to keep fifty people amused and learning for eleven days, even though our ages ranged from eight-years old to fifty-something. Although he doesn�t have a website, he told me I could give you his contact info:
David Roth, Licensed Israel Tour Guide
email: rotdavid [at] 012.net.il
Similar kudos go to Tova Gilead, who arranged the tour and booked everything that was included such as hotels, dinners, tours, transportation, wake-up calls and more. The entire trip was executed flawlessly. The depth of her experience was evident in how smoothly everything went, and how kids, teens and parents all found something to enjoy every day.
We booked the trip rather late in June, and at the time the most important criteria for us was travel dates. My son found Tova Gilead on the Internet. The tour we chose was a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Family tour, and we soon learned that six other families had already booked. Although we didn�t know any of them, the group sounded perfect because half of them had kids my daughter�s age (13) and half had kids my son�s age (17.) On top of that, the dates were good, the hotels highly rated, and Tova provided pages and pages of references. So, we paid our money and booked the trip. Howard and I have both been to Israel many times, but this was our kids� first trip. As it turned out, most of the other families were in the same boat.
After arriving at Tel Aviv Lod Airport, we traveled by coach to Jerusalem, were we stayed at the King David Hotel (best breakfast in Israel) for five nights. Highlights of our stay in Jerusalem (in no particular order) were the Old City, a TourGame, the Western Wall Tunnels, floating in the Dead Sea, standing in the waterfalls in Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, and Friday night at the Western Wall.
Next overnight stop was Kibbutz K�Far Blum were we kayaked on Jordan River, and my daughter slid down a zip line into the river (brave soul!)
Next night was Haifa, and then onto Tel Aviv, where we stayed for three nights. Highlights of the last weekend of our trip was home hospitality with a Druze family, shopping the crafts fair in Tel Aviv, visiting Jaffa at night, joining an archelogical dig at Morasha, and exploring a Bell Cave.
Well, that’s it in a very small nutshell. You can see a few of our pictures here or read my Surfnetkids column about the History of Jerusalem.
Barbara J. Feldman says
The group didn’t seem big (it was just 7 families) and we all really liked it.
Like you, we had not been on a group tour with the kids before. (Years ago my husband and I did a group tour of Europe.) But both the kids really liked it.
In fact, they both want to look into group travel for our summer trip (hopefully to Italy!)
I think the key is finding a group that has like-aged kids.
I’m just in the beginning stages of trying to plan a family bat mitzvah trip to Israel for June, 2007, and Tova Gilead is one of the people I’ve contacted for information. Her two older sisters will be 19 and 21 then, so I’m concerned about finding a trip that will interest them as well.
How did it work being with so many other families — did you feel like you were part of a big group? We’ve traveled as a family before but have always rented a flat or villa and avoided organized tours.