Tour Planning FAQs

Holy Land Tour Planning Frequently Asked Questions

Once a request for a tour or tour quote is received by Immanuel Tours, it is assigned to a Tour Operator, who’s responsibilities include working with you to provide you with the best suitable Israel tour itinerary to meet your group’s expectations. They will also provide you with a selection of hotels at the standard you expect and provide you with a detailed quote, which will include everything on the itinerary.

The tour operator will continue working with you throughout the tour planning stages, providing you with information and answers, organizing special visits, local contact or special needs for your group.

On arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, your tour operator will welcome you and introduce you to your guide and driver and answer any of your questions or concerns, if any will meet you. They will remain in contact with you throughout the tour; ensuring that everything runs smoothly, managing hotel check-ins and any special arrangements made.

If anything goes wrong, such as a tour participant falling ill or needing to return home due to an emergency, your tour operator will assist with providing the help needed, leaving you with the peace of mind to continue leading your group.

You will get to know your tour operator well and consider them a friend by the end of your journey as they attend your farewell dinner. Our tour operators’ jobs are very challenging, however they are also highly rewarding!

The Internet has revolutionized many industries and the way we buy and obtain certain products or services. In many ways, it has provided an opportunity to buy the same product for sometimes much less, but this is not suitable for everyone and puts more responsibility on the buyer!

When planning a tour to Israel you need to choose between arranging the tour and booking it though a local travel agent, or booking it directly with an Israeli tour operator. There are multiple things to consider:

Using a local Travel Agent:

  • It’s a local relationship, so you know who you’re talking to.
  • The agent will do the shopping for an Israel tour.
  • In most cases, the agent will handle all or most of the logistics such as printing brochures, provide an on-line registration form, collect the payments from my participants directly, sell travel insurance, follow up with participants, provide air tickets and sometimes more…or less.

Booking directly with an Israeli Tour Operator:

  • You will mainly communicate by e-mail with the possibility of phone communication daily considering the time difference. Our tour operators will make phone contact with you.
  • You will work with the tour operator directly to get the tour customized to your needs and satisfaction. You will also receive your detailed quotation based on the hotel grade you chose and other trip choices you made.
  • We do not offer flight tickets and upon request can connect you with a local partner in your area with whom we cooperate and who can offer you both air travel and insurance.

Like with most purchases, it is good to compare and shop around. The problem is that unlike a home appliance which you can compare model to same model, a tour is very different and sometimes difficult to pick up the differences or discrepancies. Most quotations will be detailed, but sometimes too many details make it difficult to pick-up on the hidden traps.

The three main areas you need to observe are:

  1. What hotels are being offered? Do not follow the grade or level (stars) described by the agent. Do some research, read reviews on sites like Expedia and Tripadvisor, and if you know someone who has been in Israel before, ask for their thoughts. At Immanuel Tours, we select the hotels in your quotation carefully and can provide you with detailed information on why we selected this hotel based on your wishes and/or budget. Hotel choices will make a major impact on the quote you receive.
  2. What entrance fees are actually included in the quote? Some quotes you receive may appear like they are a bargain, charging less for what seems like the same itineraries, however you may not be getting the same experience. For example, a visit to Caesarea should include entrance fees to Caesarea National Park. Some tours will include Caesarea on the itinerary, but the stop will actually be by the Caesarea aqueduct, which is outside of the park and excludes the entire experience of the real site and costs nothing! All Immanuel Tours itineraries and quotes include full admission costs to every location listed in the itinerary. We will never surprise you with extra costs and never provide you with less than the full experience!
  3. Check the itinerary for “free days” or half days. How many full days of transportation and guides are included? Free days mean less expense for the tour operator and more expense not included in the quote for tour participants.

There are of course other things to look for like, “Does my visit to “Abrahams tent” include a camel ride? Will my bathing experience in the Dead Sea include towels? Will each group member receive a wireless headset to be able to hear the guide? What size bus will my group have?”

Make sure you read and fully understand every quote you receive. You should not be asked to add any extra expense while on tour. This tactic used to underbid quotes is frustrating and can be embarrassing to you as a tour leader when you have to ask participants for money on the tour.

Some agents may include different site names in their quotation but do not include an actual visit to the site itself.

For example, a visit to Caesarea should include entrance fees to Caesarea National Park. Some tours will include Caesarea on the itinerary, but the stop will actually be by the Caesarea aqueduct, which is outside of the park and excludes the entire experience of the real site and costs nothing!

Another example is when the itinerary includes the term “drive by”. The itinerary will say it includes Megiddo, for example, but in reality they will simply stop by the side of the road or just slow down long enough for the guide to mention the site as you try to get a picture of it from a distance. Sad, but it happens.

All Immanuel Tours itineraries and quotes include full admission costs to every location listed in the itinerary. We will never surprise you with extra costs and never provide you with less than the full experience!

Ask for a detailed list of entrance and if in doubt – ask.

A typical tour package will include breakfast and dinner, both served at the hotel your group is currently checked-in to. If a group should arrive in Israel in the afternoon, the meal arrangement will begin with dinner at the first hotel the group is staying at. Sometimes, dinner on the day of departure may be served at a restaurant rather than the hotel as it may be at the end of a touring day and en-route to the airport.

Farewell dinners are generally held in restaurants, special locations, or a special dining area in the hotel.

For your reference while comparing quotes:

B/B = Bed and Breakfast, only breakfast is included.

H/B = Half Board, breakfast and dinner are included!

F/B = Full board, you’re getting it all! Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.

For a minimal amount of money, travel insurance is a must. Travel insurance can be purchased for a minimal amount of your travel investment, and can cover the following:

  • Hospital and doctor needs. Many seasoned travelers don’t realize that their health insurance may not be valid outside of their home country.
  • Cancelled trip coverage. If you need to cancel your trip due to an unforeseen emergency or serious illness, most of your trip may be non-refundable. This can help you save thousands of dollars.
  • Travel insurance also covers lost baggage, and worldwide emergency assistance coverage.

The payment terms may vary depending on how far in advance the booking or the confirmation is made, or the season (peak, regular or low) the group will arrive. In any case, the terms follow the same schedule of:

  • Deposit. At this stage we confirm the entire arrangement and provide you with final confirmation of number of rooms held for your group in particular hotels.
  • Down payment. This happens 60 days prior to arrival and includes payment of up to 50% of the total cost of package.
  • Full payment. Full payment is due 30 days prior to arrival.

Your money is always safe with Immanuel Tours! We keep detailed record of all money received as well as all money paid out so you understand exactly where your money is going.

It is customary to tip the following persons: Tour Guide, Bus Driver and Hotel Staff (covering Front Desk, Dining room staff, Housekeepers and Bell Boys).

We are happy to provide you with customary tip rate suggestions upon request.

Your tour guide and bus driver begin their day’s work after breakfast and spend the day with the group as per the detailed itinerary. In many cases, they too spend the night at the same hotel with the group and will join you for dinner. They may choose to not do this every night if they live close by and wish to return home and see their families.

The farewell dinner is a great opportunity for the entire group along with the guide, bus driver and your tour operator to get together for a special meal during which the tour leader (Pastor or other) can address the group and reflect upon the tour. It is also customary that the guide, driver and the tour operator say a few words before tour participants get a chance to share their favorite moments of the tour. This is a memorable evening, and we at Immanuel Tours try to make it a special one with attention to detail, and selection of a suitable venue. Ask your tour operator for suggested locations.

The tour buses you may expect to find in Israel are mostly the latest generation of luxury touring buses, all of which are air-conditioned and many of which are equipped with free Wi-Fi. There are three basic bus sizes available:

Full size bus – 53 or 55 seats

Midi size bus – 42 Seats

Mini bus – 18 Seats

Please confirm with your Immanuel Tours tour operator what is the best bus size for your group. Be sure to not only consider the people in the bus, but the luggage below it! It is not unheard of for some tour companies to not consider this and end up having to bring in an additional truck to transport the luggage from hotel to hotel, and adding these additional charges to you while on the trip.

In an unfortunate event of a participant falling ill or having an accident, Immanuel Tours staff will provide you with the necessary help and coordination and in needed cases, the amendment of flights to return the participant home. It is of course important to ensure all tour participants have the adequate travel insurance.

Throughout our fifty years of service, we have handled groups of all sizes and from all corners of the world, ranging from groups as small at 10 people to groups in the thousands.

Do you have questions about what to expect on your trip to Israel? Find many answers you may be looking for on our FAQ page about travel to Israel. CLICK HERE. 

What Do Our Clients Say About Us?

  • Bob Lutz – San Clemente, CA

    I want to thank you for accommodating our group since we were only 14. And for giving us Yoni as a guide. You are fortunate to have him. He was so knowledgeable and entertaining. We LOVED him. And Dabash as our driver was excellent as well. Thank you for all your efforts. It was a memorable trip.

  • William AttawayWilliam Attaway

    I've taken groups to Israel with Immanuel Tours since 2009, and have been overwhelmed with their impressive operation. They take such great care of the groups that work with them, and I've never thought of talking with anyone else. They are, quite simply, the best! I highly recommend them to you!

  • Stephen GentryStephen Gentry

    We unfortunately did not get to take our tour with Immanuel tours due to the closing of Israel's border due to Coronavirus. However, you need to know that I have NEVER been treated as well by ANY company as we worked through the problem. Outstanding communication, always looking to take care of us and our needs. They legimately could have charged a cancellation fee, because they did all the work, but they waived all fees. Phillip ,Susan, and Carine are a delight and we WILL use them we we are able to reschedule. Thank you Immanuel. Tours, you truly out the hospitable in hospitality.


    Thank you so much for the life changing experience. Our guide Yoni Simmons made all the difference. I believe Yoni is made for this. He made his narration so interesting! He was so knowledgable, patient, humble and caring. We could tell he loves what he is doing. He is a real minister of the word of God. If I have the opportunity I will recommend Immanuel Tours to other people and Yoni as a guide in particular.

  • RonnaRonna

    This was the trip of a lifetime! From start to finish everything ran smoothly and was so well organized. Israel is a beautiful country and I can’t imagine seeing it for the first time with anyone other than Immanuel Tours. Thank you so much for making our pilgrimage to the Holy Land such an incredible experience.

  • Marlene PeachyMarlene Peachy

    I can’t begin to thank you……..I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  I know I already have a larger group of people for next year, but these ones that came are forever changed.  They laughed, they cried (for joy) they were deeply moved and Matti and Abbott were spectacular.  They won’t stop thanking me!!!  They know you are the best!!!!  I was just a ride along and encourager.  Of course, they weren’t just  holiday travelers, they knew their Bible and were sincerely making a pilgrimage.  They just had no idea how wonderful it would be.  Thanks so very much!!!  I don’t know how to write Matti and Abbott to thank them, but please convey that for me.

  • Sandra Luttrell, Zola Tours ManagerSandra Luttrell, Zola Tours Manager

    Zola Tours has been hosting pilgrims in the Holy Land for over 35 years, teaching and revealing the Bible from a Messianic Jewish perspective, and Immanuel Tours has been our land agent for almost 20 of those years. Immanuel Tours staff and services are over-the-top excellent and professional; yet at the same time they treat their clients like family, with a personal touch! They oversee and ensure each part of our tours is handled with perfection and that we and they provide an everlasting, monumental, never-to-be-forgotten Holy Land experience for each of our pilgrims! We cannot sing their praises enough, and we give them the highest and most honored accolades and recommendation possible! If you are in need of the BEST land agent in Israel, PLEASE give them a chance to prove everything we say and believe about them!

    With warmest and sincerest blessings,

    Sandra Luttrell
    Zola Tours Manager

  • Pastor Doug ByrumPastor Doug Byrum

    My wife, Glenna and I have traveled to Israel 13 times, 11 of those with Immanuel Tours. They are simply the best. Reasons, they are family, they care about every aspect of your tour. If someone is hurt they will sit at the hospital. I consider everything they do to be first class. It truly is if you ask and it is possible they will make it happen. It is the only group my tours will travel with, I have used others, none this good. Give them a try, you won't be sorry, I promise...

  • Matt StoneMatt Stone

    Just got back from a Zola Levitt Israel tour and my wife and I couldn't be happier with the experience. Dror was our guide and Charlie was the driver. They both performed above expectations. We couldn't get enough of Dror's observations and knowledge. Charlie made the transportation logistics seem effortless, he was applauded multiple times navigating us around. A++

  • Lina OliverLina Oliver
     Thank you so much for a very well organized tour/pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Our guide, Asher, and our driver, David, were very nice & they were so great. Very knowledgeable too! It was a wonderful experience.  We hope to visit the Holy Land again with Immanuel Tours.
  • Maria SisonMaria Sison

    I was fortunate to join the Holy Land Pilgrimage provided by the Immanuel Tours and sponsored by Father Joel Lopez of Illinois, USA on November 6-14, 2013. I have to say that it is a once in a life time experience that has strengthened my faith and helped me grow spiritually and the memories of which I will treasure for the rest of my life. Father Joel was as good as it gets—so much fun to be with. I think that he will attract many pilgrims in the furure just by his personality.

    But of course the wonderful experience would not have been possible were it not for the presence of our driver David and out guide Asher Vaza. Asher has such love and passion for the history of Israel and the Jewish Faith and it showed whenever he spoke which was so captivating and always transformed us all to that amazing time. He has a vast knowledge of history which was very impressive. I’m old and have worked hard all my life and have gone to so many places and participated in many tours and have not encountered a guide as good and as moving as Asher. He is an asset to your company. Many in the group said that they will only recommend Immanuel tours of the Holy Land if Asher and David are on it. and We loved David and Asher. I do not think Father Joel will like another driver and guide aside from those 2. They work so well with each other and have such respect for each other that the whole group commented on it. Of course, that fact just added to make the experience even more enjoyable. Father Joel, David and Asher is a combination that is hard to replicate.

    On our last evening in Jerusalem I met The CEO of Immanuel Tours and his daughter Susan. It was very nice that they both came to meet us. We all appreciated that very much. The whole company and especially those 2 seem like the people I will want to have travel dealings with even in other places. You have a very respectable/trustworthy company and I will pray for your continued success. I know that you will bring more pilgrims to the Holy Land and beyond.

  • Greg and Katie HollowayGreg and Katie Holloway

    Our first experience with Immanuel Tours was over 10 years ago in 2006.  We have been using them ever since and can say the service level has never wavered.  They offer impeccable customer service, with such personal attention given to every detail.  We consider them not just our tour company but they have become our Israeli family.  We have been so blessed through them and highly recommend them.

  • Linda ArnoldLinda Arnold

    My first pilgrimage to The Promised Land was with Immanuel Tours and the entire trip exceeded my expectations. I liked it so much that my husband and I signed up for another tour the following year and took 5 family members with us! Okay, so if that wasn’t enough we signed up again this year and took 4 more friends! Yes, that is three years in a row!

    When I go back to Israel, I will only travel with Immanuel Tours. Outstanding guides, exceptional drivers, and first rate service. Immanuel Tours is truly excited to be a part of your incredible, experience in the Holy Land and care about every little detail.

  • TeresaTeresa

    We had the trip of a lifetime!!

    Thank you and our wonderful guide, Ilan! He is a fantastic guide. So knowledgeable and hard working. We learned so much from him. We are so very grateful to him!

    We thoroughly enjoyed our trip!! Many thanks to you and Ilan!

    We will continue to lobby for Israel here in the U.S. And will recommend Immanuel Tours to anyone going to Israel!



  • David ChaversDavid Chavers

    Immanuel Tours provided very personalized service to us. Two of our group flew in from Egypt ahead of the others by about 8 hours. The two were settled into the hotel, picked up by car by Susan herself and driven to the airport to meet the rest of the incoming group and ride the bus back to the hotel as a group. No extra charge, ''just part of it'' they told us. There were six employees on hand to meet us at the airport to make sure everything went smoothly.

    I could continue, but this email cannot do justice to the service and accommodations Immanuel Tours provided us. I guess the strongest statement I can make is that we are returning with another group this coming year. The thought of using someone else has not even crossed our minds. These people took care of business, and became our friends in the process.


  • GinaGina


    I must tell you I give both Immanuel Tours and Mordi my highest recommendation – Donna and I had an amazing trip. The personal service, hotels, attention to detail and most of all the flexibility of Mordi (he learned I like frozen coffees – so there was always a stop somewhere) to change up the itinerary when timing/location deemed necessary.

    Now a special word about Mordi – his knowledge and passion for Israel is so evident in his spirit it is a joy to spend time with him. He has a great sense of humor (which I’m sure he needed with us) and loved sharing his Jewish faith and Israeli heritage during our unending questions.

    Yoav – a note of thanks for all your help with our pilgrimage – I know you did all the legwork for the sites, hotels and details. It was flawless and we appreciate all your hard work. You’re the best!

    Again, thank you Immanuel Tours – it was a life changing experience and you made it happen.

    Next year, in Jerusalem!