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Customize Your Next Jewish Heritage Travel Like a Pro – What You Must Ask

A well-planned Jewish heritage travel experience can be a once in a lifetime vacation, as well as an opportunity to connect with your Jewish roots, explore family history and improve your knowledge of our precious Jewish heritage and culture. Gil Travel provides a unique luxury Jewish heritage experience with custom tours of dozens of countries with a Jewish history!

Planning Your Jewish Heritage Travel

Enjoy Your Next Jewish Heritage Travel

Every family or organized group has their own needs and preferences when they plan a custom Jewish heritage tour. The first decision can be as simple as which country to visit. Israel is obviously a hugely popular destination for Jewish travel, with Eastern and Central European countries also attracting a lot of US Jews whose ancestors emigrated from the regions. We’re also seeing a lot of interest in heritage tours of countries as far apart as Argentina, Mexico, the UAE and China, all of which have a surprisingly rich Jewish heritage.

Once you’ve chosen your destination, there are still a few practicalities that you need to consider. The most basic is when to travel. If you have elderly or very young members in your party, high summer may not be a good time to travel to a hot country like Israel or Morocco. Other considerations may be the timing of school vacations and the cost of air travel during high holidays like Pesach, Shavuot and Rosh Hashanah.. 

When you’re planning your tour, talk to Gil Travel about any personal cultural or religious requirements, as well as any medical issues. If you need kosher food, vegetarian or vegan food, or want to attend a particular religious or cultural event (even just a Shabbat service in a local synagogue) Gil Travel can offer you a range of options, as well as introductions to the local Jewish community.

One of the most important considerations when you’re planning a luxury Jewish heritage experience is what level of luxury and comfort you are looking for, and whether you are flexible about your requirements during each stage of your trip. You might want to fly business class and stay in the best luxury hotel in each city you visit, but also want to go on a nature trek and sleep in cabins for a few days. You can also decide in advance if you prefer exclusive private travel and private guides as you explore your list of Jewish heritage sites, or if you’d like to join other groups for a day at a time.

Create the Perfect Jewish Heritage Travel Itinerary

There are some amazing Jewish heritage destinations within (relatively) easy reach of the United States. There are also some amazing lesser-known places that appeal to seasoned travelers in search of adventure, as well as to people with a family connection to a particular location, or a historical or cultural interest in niche destinations. Most US Jews trace their lineage back to Russia or Eastern Europe. They are often amazed to learn that there were once flourishing Jewish communities in Saudi Arabia, India and Central Asia. Jews even left their mark in remote areas of China and in a small number of Japanese communities!

For someone who loves to travel, or is fascinated by Jewish heritage, the opportunity to visit a special historical location can be seriously exciting. When you’re presented with a list of unique cultural sites, landmarks, and traditional events, you can suddenly feel a bit like a kid turned loose in a sweet shop. Most travelers will need to balance their custom itinerary according to available time and budget, and agree on some compromises with other members of the group. 

This is when the expertise and experience of a professional travel company really kicks in. Gil Travel can plan your itinerary to take in the maximum number of sites with a minimum of local travel and can help you to strike a balance between the “must see” cultural sites like the Wailing Wall and Masada, or the Jewish quarter in Krakow, and a chance to get off the usual tourist path and gain some deeper insights through visits to “hidden gems” or opportunities to explore nature. 

If you have a clear idea up front about how you want to structure your tour, you’ll be able to create a custom itinerary that will allow you to really enjoy and gain something positive from each destination. Think about how you want to engage with local Jewish communities, and which cultural events e.g. a local seder, lag b’omer bonfire celebration or bar mitzvah ceremony, you’d be interested in attending. 

How to Plan a Genuine Luxury Jewish Heritage Experience

A jewish heritage luxury travel

Everybody has their own concept of what constitutes luxury and comfort – as well as exclusivity. All major European cities have a great choice of luxury hotels, including kosher hotels. If you’re traveling to smaller towns, or to the countryside (many of our Eastern European Jewish ancestors actually lived in small rural villages and shtetls) you may need to factor accommodation requirements into your planning. The same is true if you want to explore the Jewish history of Argentina. There were famous Jewish agricultural communities – Jewish gauchos or cowboys – in the rural Santa Fe region.

If you require 5 star accommodation, or kosher dining, you’ll need to talk to Gil Travel about the availability of luxury hotels in each destination. Gil Travel can also draw on their local knowledge and connections to create an up to date list of good quality kosher restaurants and dining options. It’s often possible to choose a luxury hotel and use it as a base for day trips to other locations. Your private tour guides can advise on creative travel solutions that use fast (and safe) private transport to get you from your hotel to your choice of Jewish cultural sites.

Shabbat is an important consideration for many US Jewish tourists. Again, it’s local knowledge and connections that will ensure that you book into hotels that offer Shabbat-friendly amenities. Gil Travel can also check that you’re staying within easy walking distance of a suitable synagogue and can suggest plenty of fun Shabbat activities for all the family. These could be as simple as a stroll through the park, or a social event with local Jews.

Plan Once in a Lifetime Activities for All the Family

When you plan a custom Jewish heritage tour in advance, you have a lot of freedom to choose activities and special experiences that the average vacationer will miss out on. There are almost no limits to what can be arranged, given a little time and creativity. If you have an older group, or you’ve come together through a shared interest in Jewish history and culture, or you’re part of a synagogue tour, it’s possible to take your exploration to a much deeper level. 

Options may include exclusive guided tours of archives, galleries and museum collections, lectures by historians or rabbis or structured meetings with local groups that share your interests. It’s often also possible to arrange specialist guided tours of historical and religious sites by respected academics or local experts. For some travelers, a custom tour can be the culminating highlight of years of interest in a particular subject. For others, it can open whole new doors and stimulate new interests in Jewish history – as well as modern Jewish societies and the challenges that they face.

If you’re traveling as a family group with kids, Jewish heritage travel can include all kinds of fun and offbeat activities. There’s definitely a limit to how many museums and historical synagogues the average teen can tolerate. If you need to let them burn off some energy, try snorkeling the coral reefs in Eilat, off roading in the Negev Desert, or hiking up Masada at dawn. If you’re in Europe, try hiking through Transylvanian forests – think Dracula – and fairytale mountain villages that have their own medieval Jewish heritage.

One of the greatest pleasures of foreign travel is the chance to sample local cuisine. If you’re looking for a unique gastronomical experience, a custom trip can include visits to the best local restaurants and a chance to try everything from street food, to home cooked meals, to gourmet dining. If you require kosher food, your local guides will adapt your itinerary to include the best kosher restaurants, delis and specialist food stores.

Take the First Step Towards a Jewish Heritage Adventure

Enjoy great places on your luxury trip

When you’re planning a luxury custom designed Jewish heritage tour, preparation is everything. To recap, there are a few basic questions that you need to ask in advance. If you get things clear with your fellow travelers – and with your tour company – you’re all set for a perfect vacation. 

  • What is the best country for a heritage tour?
  • What are our cultural, educational and religious goals for the trip?
  • What level of luxury, comfort and exclusivity do we require?

Gil Travel will help you to create a balanced itinerary and can suggest all kinds of fascinating and unusual sites and activities for any destination. We will also take care of all the administration, logistics and safety requirements and ensure that you have a stress free trip with plenty of time and energy to devote to the things that interest you most. Talk to us now to plan the perfect luxury Jewish heritage travel experience!

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