Escorted tours of Israel are popular with tourists from all over the world. With daily departures and a myriad of available itineraries, there is a perfect tour for everybody – one that meets both your wishes and budget. However, many tourists are wondering if an escorted tour is really worth it. Is it better to just travel independently and explore the sites alone following your own schedule? Whatever you choose, you’ll certainly have a great time in Israel, but the experiences will certainly be different. Let’s check the advantages and disadvantages of escorted tours, so you can decide if this is the right option for you.
The Simplicity of It All
Whether you want a senior tour or a Holy Land Christian tour, an escorted tour is not just about sightseeing. It’s also about a memorable and educational experience, meeting amazing people, and getting to know the true face of the country, not just its surface. Accomplishing all this when you are planning a trip on your own is certainly possible, but there is no denying that somebody else taking care of the details makes everything so much easier and less stressful. You’ll find that escorted tours to Israel include everything you need: the airport pickup, the accommodation, the best meals and drinks, a fully planned itinerary, and the airport drop-off. You’ll have your own group, your own bus, and your own expert who’ll take you to authentic places and make sure that every transfer, check-in, and queue bypassing goes off without a hitch.
People who enjoy the process of planning a trip on their own tend to avoid escorted tours, as do people who don’t like schedules but would like to sleep in and go wherever they decide at their own pace.
Meeting the Budget
Trying to organize a tour by yourself, especially if you wish to see a larger area, can quickly turn into a costly logistical nightmare. Take, for example, the 14 days/12 nights Classic and Eilat Non-Denominational Tour, which adds Eilat to the already amazing Classic Israel Tour. You’ll visit Tel Aviv, Caesarea, Haifa, Safed, Golan Heights, Galilee, Jerusalem, Qumran, Massada, Dead Sea, Eilat, Timna, and Ramon Crater – all these fantastic places in two weeks! So if you wish to see many sites for a reasonable price, then an escorted tour is the best option. No money or time is wasted. It’s important to note that tour operators generally arrange large volumes of hotel accommodation, so they are able to offer better prices. When we add to that the costs of excursions, transfers, and meals, all of which are cheaper on an escorted tour, the overall price will usually be significantly lower. Seeing how all of this is usually included in the main price, you pay only once and you’re done. And don’t worry, the tour operators will always take currency fluctuations into account.
There’s only one con here: unless you are going on an individualized, completely customized tour, perhaps there are one or two things included in the escorted tour, which you might not necessarily want to see or have, but are a part of the package.
Knowledge and Experience of the Guides
Imagine taking a 13 days/11 nights Grand Jewish Heritage Tour and visiting fourteen fantastic places, from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea. How amazing would that be? Or how about taking a Safed and Golan Heights tour to see the unforgettable sites and learn about their historical and contemporary significance. In addition to being in charge of your comfort and physical safety at all times, your guides are experts in the areas you visit. All you wish to know about – they’ll tell you. Curious about the plants, or perhaps the animals you’ve seen along the way – they’ll teach you. The famous sites next to which you’ve dreamed of taking photos – they’ll take you there. The small, authentic places off the beaten path – they’ll lead the way. You haven’t checked if that particular museum is opened on Wednesdays? Don’t worry, your guides have.
There is really no con here. Guides are amazing! However, everything depends on what you want to see and how you want to see it. Independent travel might be better for an immersive experience, where you stay at a family guesthouse, travel on public transport, and spend hours befriending locals in a café.
Solving a Problem
Wherever travelers go, they may run into problems. You might lose your luggage or wallet. Perhaps you’d like to buy a souvenir, but first, you need to exchange money at a fair rate. You might need to buy a travel adapter. You might catch a cold, or have a sudden toothache. At any moment of your trip, you can be relaxed, knowing that your guide, as well as the expert travel company running the tour, is there to help you, take you where you need to go at a moment’s notice, translate everything for you, and make sure you are well taken care of.
There aren’t really any cons here either. Independent travel, again, might be slightly better if you desire immersion and want to be forced to use the local languages.