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Holy Land Tour with Egypt

Hello, fellow travelers!

We are planning a trip for the Middle East for May 2018. As I begin looking at the options for trips or planning on our own, it feels a bit overwhelming. Normally, we plan our itinerary on our own accord but due to safety concerns I feel we are leaning more toward a guided group tour.

Would anyone be able to give input on opinions of our desired destination with planning it on our own vs going with a designated group? If you feel it is best to travel with a group, any recommendations would be much appreciated. I have searched similar posts but am just hoping for the right trip with our needed dates from May 25th and returning by at least June 10th.

Thank you in advance!

Posted by
238 posts

I went to the Holy Land in July for five days with two friends. We stayed in Tel Aviv at the Embassy Hotel (located right across the street from the U.S. Embassy and about a five minute walk to the beach) and would stay there again. We did a couple of days in Tel Aviv (arrival day and one full day) on our own. We did three "day trips" with Bein Harim Tours (Masada/Dead Sea, Jerusalem/Bethlehem and Nazareth/Tiberias/Sea of Galilee). There were several long shopping stops which were tedious (especially since after a while, pretty much all of the stores started to look alike). The food was alright - we prepaid for lunches but in retrospect, I'd probably just buy ala carte at the restaurant stops. On the positive side, we did see a lot of amazing places that I would have never dreamed that I would actually be able to visit. While my friends and I don't go on guided tours when traveling in Europe, we felt much safer going with guided tours in the Holy Land, especially being females on our own. If I ever go back, it would be with a faith-based tour group, but for our purposes (a quick, inexpensive trip to the Holy Land), the day tours were fine.

Posted by
14917 posts

If you have toured in Europe on your own, you can tour in Israel on your own just as easily. If you give me an idea of the kind of things you want to see and do, I can give you suggestions for an itinerary and planning resources. As long as you obey traffic signals and look both ways before crossing the street, you be at least as safe as most anywhere in Europe.

Air Sinai, a subsidiary of Egypt Air, operates regular flights between Cairo and Tel Aviv. That's the only reasonable way to travel between the two countries. You can easily travel between Israel and Jordan overland or by air.

Posted by
5488 posts

I lived in the Middle East for five years during the 80s and visited Israel and Egypt in 1985. It was safer then, but my Egyptian friends advised me to take a guided tour for Egypt. Israel, you can easily do on your own, it you wish to do that. Jerusalem is amazing and suggest at least 3-4 days there.

Since living in the Middle East, I keep abreast of what is going on there. I am not an expert on the area, but have studied the history and culture quite a bit. I do not recommend going to Egypt on your own. If you insist on doing so, stay in at least a 4 star hotel and eat only in restaurants at four or five star hotels or the equivalent. Never eat the street food. Always drink bottled water that you open yourself. Never go in a taxi alone unless you are at a hotel and the taxi is called by the hotel and they register the taxi driver and your destination.

As for visiting Egypt, it is loaded with ancient history. Egyptian history was old when the Romans took over in the 1st Century BC.

Suggest 3-4 days in Cairo and a river cruise in the Luzor-Aswan area of at least 5 days. There are many tour companies that offer a package that include a river cruise. Do your research for the cruise in your price range and itinerary.

Egypt is still a bit more dangerous than it was when I traveled, but all tour groups are protected by armed security guards.

Posted by
1117 posts

If you decide to travel through Israel on your own, I think the most important thing is to keep your eyes and ears open and listen to security advice from the locals. They will be up to date and know best what the current situation is.

We have been there several times, and each time the security situation was very different. We sensed that the locals felt very different about it too. So just keep asking locals, get their advice on where to go and where not to go, and heed that advice.