Trip Tips from Chris

Christopher Cross, KHS
(Knight of the Holy Sepulchre)
13328 Banner Court Lane
Huntersville, North Carolina 28078

1-888-727-5881
ChristopherXCross@gmail.com

1. Passport – I must remember to bring my passport. Check to see when your passport expires as you cannot leave country with a passport with 6 months left before it expires. Make a copy of your passport and give it to your friend who is traveling with you. I would like to get a copy of everyone’s passport.

2. Getting Ready for the Pilgrimage – Take it easy and rest up several days before leaving. From the time you leave home to arrival in Jerusalem, approximately 24-26 hours will have elapsed. Take a nap on the plane and/or take a sleeping pill to help you sleep. Drink plenty of water.

3. Bring very, very, very comfortable walking shoes. Sneakers or tennis shoes are the suggested shoes to wear. Most of the roads are cobblestone, which makes it difficult to walk. No leather sole shoes because your feet may slide. A comfortable rubber sole shoe or sneaker is best.

4. I must remember to bring my PASSPORT!

5. Sunglasses are a must. The sun is very bright. Wait till you see Jerusalem, the Golden City, when the sun shines on it.

6. Consider the climate. It all depends upon the season as to what the average temperature will be in Israel. You can see the normal weather patterns by clicking here. I would suggest checking out CNN weather on the web and get a current 5 day weather report for Jerusalem. Need to wear some layered clothing. Light coat in early morning which you’ll probably remove later in the morning. No formal clothing please. Slacks, pants, capris, are worn. No shorts or sleeveless blouses are permitted in the churches. Good rubber sole walking shoes are a must. Do a Google search on the weather in Jerusalem to determine whether it will be seasonally warm or cool.

7. Drinking water – There are signs in some areas “Don’t drink the water. The hotel water is fine to drink and most of the water used in Jerusalem comes from the Sea of Galilee. Bottled water is available everywhere and is usually one dollar. Bottled water will be available on the bus.

8. Umbrellas – You may want to bring a folding umbrella. Rainy season is January and February, but many times it doesn’t rain for one or two years. Then every once in a while it will rain for an afternoon in October.

9. Money – There is no need to exchange US currency into Israeli Shekels. Us currency is most welcome. The shekel is worth 3.9 to one US dollar. Everything seems to cost $1.00 so bring about 25 one dollar bills. How much to bring? Up to you and how much you will buy, but other visitors have told me to tell you to bring at least $600. in cash. “One Dollah” will be part of your language in Israel.

10. Credit Cards – VISA seemed to be most accepted along with Master Card. Travelers’ checks are okay. Notify your credit card company that your traveling to Israel and may have some charges on your card. This way it prevents the fraud unit from calling your family while your away.

11. Postcards and Stamps – At the beginning of our Pilgrimage we will be invaded by little Arab boys who will try to sell you postcards. There are sometimes 30-40 cards for $1.00. Feel free to say “No Thank You” or purchase them if you wish. Stamps are available at the hotel. Bring your own pre-printed labels already addressed for postcards. Save much time and energy. It takes 10 days or more for post cards to reach the US.

12. Language – There is no language problem. Just about everyone speaks English. You will be amazed at all the languages of the world you will hear.

13. Religious articles, souvenirs – We will visit many stores during the pilgrimage. One store opens just for us after the early morning Mass at the Holy Sepulchre Church. Another in Bethlehem and several in and around Nazareth. The price of the items means nothing. This is the Middle East and you really need to haggle with the seller to get the price down. Its fun once you see it works.

14. Medicines – Bring a list of any medications you might need to take, doctors’ names, and emergency home phone numbers. It might be a good idea to bring some Imodium or whatever your remedy is just in case!!

15. Fight jet lag. Get plenty of sleep before departing on our 10 hour flight. Before and during the flight drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol. When you arrive in Israel sleep according to the local time. It will take one to two days to adjust. It is easier to adjust going over then it is coming back home.

16. Telephone – It’s easy to make calls to the US. Just remember the time difference, which will be 7 hours ahead of the US east coast. I would suggest buying a calling card (ATT, MCI) with international usage. Don’t charge the phone to your room as the hotel will charge you extra.

17. Tips – The suggested amount is $6.50 per day for the guide and $5 a day for the bus driver. The tips will be collected at the end of the trip and someone will present them at our farewell dinner the last night to our driver and guide.

18. Film – Film seems to be available everywhere especially from the street vendors. To be safe bring enough film. Also make sure you have extra camera batteries for the flashes. You will be taking a lot of pictures inside and will need extra camera batteries. Difficult to find camera batteries.

19. Taxi Cabs – Before taking a cab anywhere, bargain with the driver before getting in. There are Jewish cabs and Arab cabs. Some Jewish drivers will not go into Arab sections of the city and vice versa. Jewish drivers have yellow taxi cab plates and Arab cabs have either green or blue license plates. Price for the cab is not per person, but for the whole cab, whether there is one passenger or 5 passengers. Travel in groups, which is safer and cheaper.

20. New Testament – You may want to bring a small New Testament with you as the Gospels will come alive. You might want to read these accounts in the quiet of your room at days end. We will using “Walking In His Footsteps” for all the readings at each of the holy sites. Walking In His Footsteps is now available at Amazon.com.

21. Tour Bus – Air conditioned, very clean and very comfortable. The driver stays with the bus at all times, so items and carry-on, or whatever you bring with you for the day can be left on the bus with confidence and not lugged around all day.

22. Meals in Israel – Breakfast, lunch, and dinners are buffet style and meals are good American food. (We have beef, chicken and fish for dinner). Remember that you will not be served pork sausage or bacon so get your fill before leaving.

23. Plastic bags – I would suggest everyone bring about five one gallon zip lock bags to put holy water, incense, olive oil, and wine in. This way the olive oil, water or wine won’t leak out into your luggage.

24. Holy Cards – I would purchase some inexpensive holy cards and bring them with you. You can touch them to all the holy sites and later give them to friends and relatives. It will be an inexpensive gift which you can bring everyone.

25. Luggage – You are allowed to check in 1 pieces of luggage per person with a maximum of 46 lbs. per suitcase. Check the weights of the suitcase before leaving home. Remember to put colored luggage tags (which you will be getting along with tickets) on all your suitcase. You are also allowed one carry on bag which needs to be small enough to fit under the seat.

26. The Daily Itinerary – On mornings in Jerusalem, I will lead, whomever wishes at approximately 5:30 – 6:00AM to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Mass is offered by our priests at the Tomb of Christ or the Altar of Calvary depending upon which day. It is an experience to walk through the cobblestone streets of Old Jerusalem at dawn from the Jaffa Gate to the Church. This should not be missed!!! I will give an extended talk inside the Holy Sepulchre. Hopefully, during the week will be able to get everyone in the Tomb of Christ for Mass.

27. Please remember to put your name tag on each day. The tour guide, bus driver and the rest of us want to know your name. If you forget the name tag I will remind you to put it on. If you wish your name tag to be different than your name on your airline ticket please let me know.

28. There is a lot of walking to some of the holy sites. The walking is mostly on cobble stones and uneven streets and paths. You should try walking at least two months prior to leaving and get used to walking a half mile. The bus will take us close to the holy sites, but there are a few holy sites in which one needs to walk 1/2 mile. Of course anyone can stay on the bus and enjoy the scenery and spectacular views.

29. Call your health insurance provider. See if your current health insurance provider covers you while in Israel and if not you should get travel insurance.

30. Pack wisely. Bring a few extra doses of medications with you. Store these in your carry-on bag in case your luggage is lost. Pack a first-aid kit, too, complete with aspirin or acetaminophen, bandages, an antihistamine, calamine lotion and travel sickness and diarrhea medications just in case.

31. Electrical Outlets: You will need to get a transformer which reduces the current from 220 to 110. You can get these transformers at Radio Shack. Make sure you get one big enough to run your hair dryer. The transformers come with the correct outlet connection. Remember you need a transformer and not outlet connector.

32. Telephone Cards to call home are best if your purchase them at the hotel in Israel.

The pictures and memories will last a lifetime. Life is but a journey, so enjoy the ride.
For more information call: 1-888-727-5881

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