Before You Go
most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still
a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure
your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information
before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be
Passports and Visas
each traveler's responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months
after the date of travel and a visa if required. Please check with the nearest
consulate or visa agency for the specific country/region you are visiting for
more details. IMPORTANT: Passengers who are not U.S. citizens must check with
the respective consulate or a visa agency to determine what personal
identification is required. Passengers who enter, leave and then re-enter the
same country on their itinerary should check if they require a double-entry
visa. Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices, as well as
at regional Passport Agencies. Passengers requiring visas, whether obtained in
advance or locally upon arrival, should ensure that their passport has
unstamped visa pages.
pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your
trip, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Make sure your
personal documents (passports, visas, and driver’s license) are in order and
that you have enough prescription medications to last throughout the trip. We
suggest that you make photocopies of passports, visas, personal ID and any
other important travel documents and pack them separately from the originals.
Pack a list of medications including dosage and generic names. If you lose the
originals while traveling, you'll have copies for easier reporting and
replacement. You may consider bringing a small supply of over the counter
medications for headaches and/or anti-diarrhea pills (especially when traveling
outside of the USA and Western Europe). We recommend that you pack a portable
alarm clock. Avoid placing valuables such as cameras in your checked luggage.
Airplane pressure can cause similar pressure in your body, most notably in
ears, as well as liquid tubes and bottles. Your physician can suggest
medication for decongestion. As for the liquid containers, we suggest that you
squeeze out excess air from those containers and place into Ziploc bags to
catch any leaks.
Phones & Calling Cards
wish to carry a cell phone while traveling. Check with your cell phone provider
if your phone will work in the destination(s) you are visiting. U.S. service is
dominated by the CDMA technology standard, while most of the world uses the
incompatible GSM standard. Some U.S. providers do offer GSM, but you may incur
high international roaming fees. With GSM, however, you can often choose to
have your phone unlocked and then add a local SIM card for lower fees. If you
can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a
Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value. Alternatively, you
may investigate renting a cell phone before you leave or buying an inexpensive
calling the U.S. from a foreign country, you may also use a prepaid calling
card; normally, the only additional charge (besides the prepaid long distance
charges) is a local fee of a few cents and possibly a connection fee if you are
using your card at your hotel. It is best to check with the hotel’s reception
desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges.
traveling with WiFi enabled devices (such as a personal computer, smartphone,
tablet, or digital audio player) may be able to connect to the internet via a
wireless network access point (or hotspot). WiFi access in hotels and/or cruise
lines often involves a fee which, in some cases, can be very expensive.
Passengers requiring internet access can often locate free WiFi hotspots such
as libraries or coffee shops. Hotspots can often be located and planned in
advance via an online search. Planning ahead may help avoid unnecessary fees.
Healthy While Traveling
travelers should familiarize themselves with local conditions, such as high altitude
or required immunizations, which could affect their health. We recommend you
consult with your personal health-care provider, the Centers for Disease
Control (www.cdc.gov) and/or the World Health Organization
(http://www.who.int/en/) for their recommendations.
several easy steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling which may help
prevent contracting an illness while away from home.
- Watch what you eat. Try new foods
in modest quantities, and depending upon your destination, you may want to
avoid street foods, salad bars, raw vegetables and fruits, unless they
have thick peels like bananas or grapefruit.
- Stay hydrated. Drink bottled water
and avoid consuming ice cubes made with tap water.
- If you have allergies to foods,
medications or insect bites, or have any other unique medical issues,
consider a medical alert bracelet and/or a physician’s note detailing
required treatment should you become ill.
- Wash your hands regularly and
carry hand sanitizer.
- Where appropriate, pack sunscreen
and insect repellant (for both active and warm destinations).
- You may also want to bring a small
first-aid kit with band aids, antibiotic cream, pain killers, bug bite
cream, digestive aids like antidiarrheal or anti-bloat medications,
antacids, and cold medicine. This is in addition to any prescription
medications which should be adequate for the entire trip.
Aircraft Cabin Insecticide Treatment
note that some countries may require aircraft cabin insecticide treatment for
in-bound foreign flights. A list of such countries is available at:
60°F-85°F, Summer: 70°F-90°F, Autumn: 60°F-80°F, Winter: 45°F-70°F. Bring
comfortable walking shoes, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather
coat. In the heat of summer, bring sunscreen and a hat. Bring a bathing suit
for tours visiting the Dead Sea. Some religious sites do not allow shorts or
courtesy service, airline seat assignments are requested on your behalf and,
when available, are displayed in order of Passenger #1, #2 and so on.
Assignments reflect the best available seats at the time of booking. Some
airlines and/or fare types do not allow for pre-seating and require this be
done at airport check-in only; in which case the display shows “N/A”. Seats are
subject to change by your airline(s) including, for example, when there is a
schedule change or equipment change after your initial booking; this may cause
seat assignments to be changed or even cancelled. In the event that you change
seat assignments directly with your airline, changes will not be reflected on
this display. At the time that Intrepid Vacations documents are issued, the
currently assigned seats will be listed based on the assignments stored in your
airline reservation at that time. Even when seats are pre-assigned, we
recommend that you contact your airline directly to reconfirm your seats
approximately 72 hours prior to departure. Should you have questions regarding
your assignments, please contact us at 800-505-5497
luggage sizes are now fairly standard, each airline does have specific
requirements based upon the route and aircraft size. Please contact your
airline for specific requirements.
Vacations land only tour packages allow for one piece of luggage per person
plus a carry-on bag. Intrepid Vacations is not responsible for loss or damage
to luggage and personal belongings. Therefore you must report any loss or
damage immediately at the time of the incident and obtain a written report from
the local authority for submission to your insurance provider. Avoid placing
valuables in your checked luggage. If your luggage is lost or damaged by the
airlines, a baggage claim form must be filed with the carrier before leaving
the airport. Any cost to retrieve luggage will be your responsibility and you
should retain receipts to submit to your insurance provider.
flight itinerary displays a flight as “Operated By” another carrier, you should
check-in at the desk of the “Operated By” airline. When you arrive at the
airport, check the airport monitors for updated check-in desk listings.
check in at least three hours prior to the scheduled departure time for
international flights and two hours prior for domestic flights. Many airlines
do not permit check-in less than one hour prior to the scheduled departure
connecting from another point within the USA should check their luggage through
to their final destination. Although problems with lost luggage have been
minimal, it is a possibility. Certain carriers do not allow baggage “interlining,”
and luggage must be checked separately for each flight. When you check your
luggage, please verify where your luggage is being sent. If you are connecting
from a domestic flight which is delayed for any reason, causing you to miss
your international flight, ask the airline for assistance in getting you to
your destination. Since all airline tickets are issued on special fares which
carry restrictions and penalties if changed, you must have the airlines
responsible make alternate arrangements on your behalf as Intrepid Vacations
has no authority or control over airline activities and policies. Do not leave
the airline check-in desk until an alternative itinerary has been confirmed.
Transportation and Safety Administration
has increased security measures drastically since September 11, 2001. Plan to
arrive no fewer than two hours prior to a domestic flight and three hours prior
to an international flight. Check the TSA website www.tsa.gov. to find out the
current list of acceptable items you may bring on a plane before packing.
tour program includes foreign domestic flights, and those tickets are not
included together with the e-ticket itinerary in these documents, a separate
voucher(s) confirming those services will be included. You will receive those
tickets at your destination from an Intrepid Vacations representative.
to minimize fatigue and general restlessness caused by jet lag, there are a few
steps you may take including switching to your destination time zone when you
board the plane, by sleeping and eating according to the new schedule, avoiding
heavy eating, caffeine or alcoholic beverages before or during your flight, and
by drinking plenty of water and/or fruit juice while flying. Try to sleep on
overnight flights and then, upon arrival, avoid the temptation to nap until
are responsible to contact their airline directly regarding mileage eligibility
and accrual. Airline frequent flier programs determine whether to award miles
in part or total based on their own rules which are updated frequently. Some
discounted or promotional airfares as well as some code-share flights are not
eligible for mileage accrual. Some private airfares are not eligible for
mileage or may qualify for reduced mileage, even if the same airline class of
service is eligible for full mileage when sold as an “Instant Purchase”
published airfare. Not all published airfares are eligible for mileage. Intrepid
Vacations will record frequent flier numbers when provided by the passenger
prior to travel documents being issued. However, the addition of frequent flier
numbers to airline records does not guarantee mileage eligibility which is at
the sole discretion of each airline. Airline schedule changes may result in
flights which were originally eligible for mileage accrual no longer being
eligible. We highly recommend passengers to provide their frequent flier
account information whenever checking in online and/or at the airport check-in
desk. After travel has commenced, it is often not possible to apply for
frequent mileage credit. Passengers are also responsible to determine whether
previously earned mileage may be applied to flights to secure upgrades.
& Departure - (Israel Entry Fees/Departure taxes are required of up to
$40 when crossing Jordanian/Israeli border)
arrival, please complete immigration formalities if necessary and claim your
luggage. If your program includes airport arrival transfers, check your voucher
for specific instructions, as they vary with every destination. In most cases,
you will be met after collecting your luggage or passing through Customs by the
local representative who will be holding an Intrepid Vacations Travel sign
and/or a sign with your name on it. In some instances you will be instructed to
walk a short distance to a transportation counter. The company's name and
location will be printed on your voucher. If for any reason you do not connect
with the Intrepid Vacations transfer personnel, go to the Tourist Information
Desk and ask them to page the Intrepid Vacations representative or phone the
number on your voucher.
Do When Your Flight Is Delayed
do not share flight manifest information. Therefore, the only way we may learn
of a delay or schedule change while you are traveling is from you, the
traveler. The sooner you are able to contact one of our offices, overseas or in
the USA, the better we can respond. Intrepid Vacations is only able to guarantee
pre-reserved arrival transfers for up to one hour from the scheduled time, no
matter the cause. In case you are delayed for any reason, and are unable to
follow the instructions on your voucher, please make independent transfer
arrangements and retain your receipts. Unused tour services, including
transfers and hotel nights are not refundable. Upon your return home you will
need to contact your airline and/or insurance carrier to investigate the
possibility of reimbursement for any unused tour services.
program includes departure transfers, instructions will be stated on your
voucher or provided locally. Due to local traffic and other extenuating
circumstances, we ask that you allow 30 minutes from your scheduled transfer time
for our representative to arrive. This includes hotel, airport and cruise
transfers. Such possible delays are taken into consideration in scheduling
transfers and you should therefore have no concerns about arriving late for
your tour, flight or cruise. For transfers from a hotel, let the hotel
reception desk or concierge know that you are waiting for a transfer. In the
case of a missed transfer, reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses will
be considered provided you obtain a written statement from the hotel's front
desk verifying the length of time you waited, and the time you left the hotel,
and a receipt for your transportation with time and date.
tour programs include transfers, providing you have purchased airfare from
Intrepid Vacations to arrive and depart on the scheduled tour dates. If you are
traveling independently, you may purchase the transfers from Intrepid Vacations
or contract your own method of transportation to the hotel or cruise ship.
of an Intrepid Vacations transfer is more expensive than hiring a taxi.
Often the places of call (airports, seaports, hotels) demand entrance and
parking fees, where drivers may have to wait for up to an hour. Passengers
comfortable hiring a taxi on their own and do not require assistance will save
Vacations has carefully selected each hotel based on overall quality, location,
price, food, service, and cleanliness. All rooms are standard twin-bedded (two
single beds) rooms with private facilities, unless you have specifically
requested and paid for an upgraded room category. Special requests such as bed
types, smoking preference and connecting rooms are subject to availability.
Room selection in all cases, unless otherwise reserved, is strictly at the
discretion of the hotel's management on a run-of-house basis. Triple rooms
consist of standard twin beds or one double bed plus a sofa/folding bed or cot
for third person except in the U.S. and Canada, where triple rooms often
consist of two double/queen beds for three persons; a fee may be charged by the
hotel for the addition of a cot/rollaway. The number of persons accommodated
does not dictate the room size.
time is usually 4pm or later. Check-out time is 12 noon. If you will be
arriving early in the day or departing in the evening, hotels will usually
allow you to store your luggage in their luggage room. Ask at the front desk if
the hotel can check you in earlier, or let you stay later.
the many benefits of tourism is the shared cultural knowledge and ultimate
elimination of negative behavior through education. We rely on your good
feedback to enable this element of symbiosis. As you travel to and learn about
foreign cultures, we ask first and foremost that you practice tolerance and
respect for local customs.
a pleasant and fair experience for passengers on our escorted tours, there is a
mandatory seat rotation policy on our motor coaches which will be organized by
your Tour Manager. When travel dates coincide with religious holidays and
national celebrations, some monuments and sites may be closed, sometimes
without prior notice. On these occasions, escorted touring itineraries may be
amended to reflect these closures. Occasionally, during holidays and certain
periods, and/or due to other unforeseen circumstances including weather
conditions, there may be last-minute changes, sometimes after arrival, which
may affect the sequence of the tour and locations visited. National monuments
and tourist sites regularly undergo renovations, which can obscure the
monument's view. No tour will be canceled due to renovations; however Intrepid
Vacations will decide based on the conditions whether to amend an itinerary.
Passengers (Escorted Tours)
manager will contact you after your arrival at your hotel. Passengers who have
not purchased arrival transfers from Intrepid Vacations should proceed directly
to the hotel for check-in. The details of the hotel can be found in your
escorted tours, the guides will generally sell optional tours to passengers who
have not pre-purchased them. Payment can be made by cash or credit card, unless
otherwise noted below. This does not apply to Independent packages. Please see
Intrepid Vacations Terms & Conditions for more information.
Activities - Intrepid Vacations itineraries may contain suggestions for
activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a
recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the
decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently and
with due consideration. Intrepid Vacations is not responsible for any
activities not expressly included in its programs. Caution should be exercised
when selecting certain activities that may require physical strength,
coordination or exertion. Particular care should be taken when considering
animal rides, such as on camels, mules or horses
is the currency of Israel.
suggest getting a small amount of currency for the first country you're
visiting before you leave the U.S. It is a good idea to carry a chart with you
to help you convert U.S. dollars to the local currency. It's also a good idea
not to carry too much money. Many countries have ATM machines that accept most
U.S. ATM cards, but be sure you know your ATM password in numbers-the keypads
on foreign ATMs don't always have letters. ATM machines will only dispense cash
in local currency. Check with respective consulates to learn current currency
allowances and requirements. Use your credit card whenever possible. Should you
decide to carry cash or travelers checks, exchange them at banks where the rate
is more favorable than at hotels or exchange bureaus. Please note that many
banks and most vendors will not accept or exchange $100 bills. We suggest to
carry $20 bills or smaller. In many destinations (except Western Europe), we
suggest to bring $50 to $100 in $1 bills which may be used to pay gratuities.
credit cards are accepted in most destinations, it is advisable to carry local
currency. Inform your credit card company that you are traveling to avoid your
card being blocked for security reasons.
US-issued credit cards rely on magnetic-strip technology rather than embedded
microprocessor chips which are increasingly common overseas. These
“chip-and-PIN” cards require users to punch in a personal identification number
(PIN) instead of signing for a purchase. For example, many automated ticket
kiosks, such as those commonly found at train stations, gas pumps and parking
garages, don’t accept cards without a chip and PIN. Most cash registers are
equipped to handle American cards but if you encounter difficulties, offer an
alternative credit card or politely insist that the cashier keep trying to
swipe the credit card. ATMs typically recognize and accept US issued debit
cards. For travel to Europe, should you anticipate using ticket kiosks or
purchasing train tickets locally, you may consider buying tickets and other
basic purchases prior to departure.
people enjoy bringing home at least one souvenir from the countries they visit.
However, some find any amount of shopping to be too much while others never
find enough opportunities.
built into our Escorted itineraries a few shopping stops at recommended spots.
These stops are designed to enhance your experience by providing an opportunity
to see first-hand quality locally-crafted merchandise which you may not be able
to find alone. Shops are checked to ensure the quality and authenticity of the
products they offer, and we limit guides from visiting other locations. In some
cases, we plan these stops to provide an opportunity to use clean bathrooms and
to stretch your legs.
shopping independently, we advise you to exercise care and common sense when
making any purchase. Always get a formal receipt. And remember that, just like
in this country, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!
hours: From Sunday to Thursday from 9:30 am to 7 pm. Sabbath is from sunset on
Friday to sunset on Saturday. Because of this, most stores and businesses are
closed on Saturday.
Most hotels and many restaurants throughout the country keep kosher (observe
Jewish dietary rules) which means no mixing of meat and milk products in food
preparation and not serving pork or shellfish. Non-kosher restaurants are open
on Friday night and Saturday.
Customs & Shipping Charges
carry items with a fair retail value totaling $800 into the U.S. Taxes may be
applied to the next $1,000 worth of merchandise. U.S. Customs determines the
value of your items, often honoring a genuine sales receipt. Items which are
shipped home are always subject to duty when received in the U.S. (in addition
to shipping charges). Some shops may offer to include shipping and duties in
the price but this typically means shipping only to the customs facility
closest to you and payment only of the export duties; you would still need to
collect the item and pay U.S. import duties. Please be aware that it is illegal
to import products made from endangered animal species. U.S. Customs &
Border Protection will seize these items, as well as most furs, coral, tortoise
shell, reptile skins, feathers, plants, and items made from animal skins.
Safety is Very Important
- Prior to your trip, if you are traveling
overseas, we strongly recommend that you visit the website of the U.S.
Department of State atwww.travel.state.gov, specifically the section which
addresses International Travel. You should read the tips for foreign
travel and travel warnings for the country or countries that you plan to
- It is also important that you do
not allow your common sense to take a vacation while on your trip. Here
are several tips which, if followed, will save much potential hardship:
- Be aware of potentially dangerous
places and situations as you would be at home. Avoid wearing expensive
jewelry and carry your valuables concealed in inside pockets or hidden
pouches. Your objective is to avoid drawing attention and to blend in with
- Don't put all your valuables
(money, credit cards, passports, etc.) in the same place (in case one
wallet is stolen, you should have other valuables and identification in
another safe place)
- Do not leave valuables lying loose
in your room. Use the hotel safe. Keep copies of your passports, credit
card numbers and travelers’ checks numbers in the hotel safe
- Credit cards are generally
accepted everywhere and are safer than traveling with large amounts of
- Do not pack valuables (cameras,
computers, jewelry, etc.) in your checked luggage. Keep hard-to-replace
valuables with you in your carry-on bag
- Keep wallets safely tucked into
front trouser pockets and/or wear a money pouch inside your clothing
- Carry handbags close to your body,
shoulder bags the cross-body method with the bag in front of your body.
purchased an escorted tour program, your travel documents will include
telephone numbers of local Intrepid Vacations Travel representatives who will
do their utmost to assist you in the event of an emergency. The numbers are printed
on your Intrepid Vacations Travel vouchers. Please copy the numbers. Once you
relinquish the voucher, you will not have this information. Passengers
traveling independently should employ the services of hotel concierges and
incidence of pick-pocketing in Athens has rapidly increased over the past few
years, and is increasingly professional in nature. These crimes are rarely aggressive;
however, this warning should not be underestimated. Pick-pocketing typically
takes place in crowed shopping areas, tourist attractions and while riding
public transportation. Pickpockets and thieves can destroy an otherwise
wonderful holiday. Be mindful of these precautions to help avoid being scammed
- Remain alert and cautious. Be wary
of any unusual contact or commotion in crowded public places, including
train stations, markets, subways and tourist sites;
- Be especially careful when
traveling independently, or leaving your tour group to explore on your
own. Try not to travel alone, especially at night. Avoid narrow alleys and
poorly lit streets;
- Use only official taxis and check
the change you receive from all taxi drivers and vendors;
- Beware of pickpockets often
working with an accomplice who will distract you by spilling something on
you, dropping a wallet or other seemingly valuable object, or tripping and
falling down in front of you;
- Beware of aggressive street
vendors who may approach you offering a demonstration which may end with
you being pressured to purchase an item or act as a distraction for
- Don’t tip beggars;
- Wear the shoulder strap of your
bag across your chest;
- Carry modest amounts of cash (US
dollars) in small denominations so that you can avoid flashing large bills
when paying for small items;
- ATM machines can be a convenient
way to carry less currency. However those machines too can be used for
robbery. Be wary of anyone who can look over your shoulder when inputting
PINs. Another scam involves rigging the machine with a plastic insert
which makes your card retrieval difficult; the thief then removes your
card after you walk away;
- If you are confronted, do not
fight back - give up your valuables. If your possessions are lost or
stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police and keep a copy of
the official report for insurance claims.
Emergency Phone Numbers
101 Fire: 102 Police: 100
Hebrew and Arabic is the local language. English is generally spoken in tourist areas.
note: The U.S. uses 120 volts and you can purchase a converter and transformer
at most hardware stores for your 120V appliances.
The voltage used is 230 volts. Israeli sockets are usually 3-pronged, and foreign-made appliances
generally require an adapter.
is always a matter of personal discretion. For your convenience, please use the
summary below as a guideline for recommended gratuity amounts. Gratuities may
be paid in U.S. Dollars or local currency equivalent. Please be aware that
tipping is considered by many locals to be a part of their normal remuneration
and some may approach you for additional "compensation." There is no
need to be intimidated by the request, nor should you feel pressured to pay
more than recommended. If you become uncomfortable by any behavior you
encounter, please advise your tour manager or phone our local office. Numbers
are provided in your documents for your convenience.
Tipping: Escorted Tours
Manager (Coordinator; may or may not act as a guide): $7 per person per day
(Provides chauffeur services and limited assistance with luggage): $3 per
person per day, $2 per half day
Guide (Offers in-depth information at specific locations. There may be one or
many guides along a tour program): $3 per person per day of sightseeing, $2 per
$3 per room per day
porters and wait staff: Included
are appreciated and expected for good service in restaurants and other places
that cater to tourists. Restaurant bills often include a service charge. 5-10%
is customary for good service.
specified in each itinerary. Meals are based on the hotel's or restaurant's
buffet or set menu. In general, beverages are not included, unless specifically
stated. Although Intrepid Vacations cannot make guarantees, every effort will
be made to honor special dietary requests submitted at the time of booking.