For travellers willing to step outside their comfort zone, who don’t mind being thrown in at the deep end. Just the ticket for those aged between 18-35 or anyone young at heart with an open mind, an eye on the budget & a nose for adventure.
Our Basic tours offer superb value and are ideal for those who are happy to forgo some creature comforts in favour of an authentic and fun experience. Under the leadership of a fully trained tour leader, you will enjoy all the highlights and freedom of independent travel with the convenience, security and companionship of a small group.
We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.
International flights, arrival and departure transfers, visas, airport taxes, additional meals, drinks, optional sightseeing tours, insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Americans, Australians, British, Canadians and New Zealanders are currently issued with a ‘tourist visa’ on arrival free of charge. All other nationalities should check with the Israeli Embassy or Consulate in their country for up-to-date visa information. It is important to be aware that many Arab and Islamic countries deny entry to any person that has evidence of a visit to Israel. Syria, Iran, Libya and several other countries are included in this list. If you are planning to visit any of these countries with the same passport you must request that your Israeli ‘tourist visa’ be stamped on a loose leaf ‘Form 17 L’ instead of in your passport. Likewise, if entering Israel through the land borders with Jordan please ask the Jordanian officials not to stamp an exit stamp in your passport. If you have evidence in your passport of visits to certain Islamic countries, Israeli border officials will scrutinize you regarding the purpose of your visit to Israel. They can sometimes appear difficult and the delay can be lengthy however patience and a friendly demeanor are advised.
Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, British and Canadians require a visa for Jordan. All other nationalities should check with the Jordanian Embassy or Consulate in their country for up-to-date visa information.
Visas are available on arrival at the airport in Amman for approximately US$30 however this must be paid for in Jordanian dinar. As the process can sometimes be time consuming, you may wish to consider obtaining your visa prior to arrival.
If you are arriving in Jordan by ferry at the port of Aqaba it is possible to obtain a Jordanian visa on board, either as an individual or as a group. There is normally no charge for this visa.
For those continuing on to Israel after Jordan please ensure that you obtain an individual
visa only. Do not enter Jordan on a group visa, as you will find entry to Israel at the Allenby Bridge border difficult. If you obtain your Jordanian visa on the ferry boat from Nuweiba keep your passport separate from your group and obtain the visa individually.
Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
U.S. Department of State New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended
We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy, traveller’s cheques and credit card. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you in case of additional visas, permits or other unforeseen paperwork.
Some people find the ascent of Masada quite arduous. It gets very hot in the summer. There are steps all the way. A decent pair of shoes is recommended. It takes about an hour to reach the top. It is also possible to catch a cable car to the top (optional and at own expense).
Remember - the lighter you travel the better! A backpack is the ideal form of luggage. It is recommended that you keep your luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A suitcase is also suitable although there will be times when you have to carry them on railway platforms and up and down stairs.
When you pack your clothing, consider the climate at the time of year you are travelling and any specific requirements for your trip as at certain times of the year some of the items suggested in the list that follow may not be necessary. Bear in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place. Laundry facilities are available in some destinations.
Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.
It is a good idea to take a small medical kit with you, and you should consider packing the following items:
Antibiotics, Lip-balm, moisturiser, sunscreen, headache tablets, antiseptic (e.g. Betadine), anti-diarrhoea tablets (for changes in diet and water), laxatives, band-aids/moleskin/dressing strips for blisters, small scissors/tweezers. Note that moleskin is particularly good for blisters and can be obtained from any pharmacy.
It is also recommended to carry a letter from your doctor explaining any less common prescribed medications that you may be carrying.
Stomach upsets are not uncommon when travelling through new destinations (usually a 24 - 48 hour 'bug') and this may cause diarrhoea, leading to dehydration. Should you develop a stomach upset you should eat only in moderation and drink plenty of fluids. It is a good idea to carry a couple of sachets of rehydrants with you (such as Gastrolite). We also suggest that you carry one of the common anti-diarrhoea tablets such as Imodium.
It can be quite easy to get sun burnt when you are not accustomed to the sun in new climates. You should take sensible precautions such as wearing a hat and using a good UV sunscreen. Finally, drink plenty of fluids - preferably water.
In general, water is not safe to drink in the areas through which we travel. Bottled Water is widely available and most travellers prefer to drink this. Your guide can assist you in regards to the relative safety of tap water and the availability of bottled water on each tour. When walking, or in hot conditions, you must make a conscious effort to maintain your hydration, drinking as much water/tea as possible to offset fluid loss.
The sheqel (aka shekel), with sub-denomination being the agora.
The currency of Jordan is the dinar (JD), divided into 1000 fils. Credit cards are widely accepted in hotel and shops. There are also ATMs in Amman, Aqaba and Petra which accept Visa, MasterCard and cards connected with Cirrus.
Check out www.xe.com for current exchange rates.
Israel is not as cheap as many other countries in the Middle East. It’s on par with western Europe in fact. ATMs are widely available and a good option for getting cash. Bring some hard currency as well to be safe.
Money is safest carried in the form of traveller's cheques; however, these are difficult to change outside of major cities. With the introduction of ATMs in most areas more and more people are bringing a combination of cash and credit cards. Some ATMs, belonging to smaller banks, will not work so occasionally you may need to try two or three before you are successful. Look for ATMs displaying either the Maestro, Cirrus, Visa or MasterCard symbols. ATMs will allow you to access cash (in local currency) from your credit card and possibly from your savings account if it is linked to Maestro or Cirrus network. If you do decide to bring traveller's cheques then we recommend a combination of the two - half cash and half traveller's cheques. Traveller’s cheques can only be changed in large cities. If you are bringing cash, then the best currencies are US dollars, euros or British pounds. If you are purchasing visas, then US dollars or British pounds (notes only) cash are required. Be aware that most insurance policies will not cover for loss or theft of cash. Credit cards are useful for large purchases such as carpets or gold from a large store, but generally speaking they are not accepted in many places. Local restaurants, markets, and many hotels will only accept cash as payment for goods or services. Please ensure you only use banks, licensed money exchangers or hotels. We also suggest you keep your receipts. Do not change money with street touts. This is illegal.
You will need to take money with you to cover any additional meals and drinks not included in your tour cost. Other costs to consider are tips, laundry, souvenirs, additional sightseeing and possible delays. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short! It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies, which could happen en route. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the source and reimbursement will be made later by your insurance company. This is the situation where having a credit card may be useful.
How much money? It is impossible to determine how much money you will need. We survey all our customers and the amounts vary enormously. Please take this information in the spirit in which it is given. We recommend you try to take more rather than less; you can always take it home.
Your tour includes breakfast each day and several other meals as indicated in the itinerary. Most major entrance fees are included as well. You will, however, need additional funds to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost.
In our brochure we have indicated an appropriate allowance for additional meals (US$130). This is for FOOD ONLY and does not include drinks and snacks. We therefore suggest you allow between US$200-US$240 for your extra food and drink requirements. Beer and imported spirits are expensive in Egypt (US$4 for beer and up to US$8 for spirits) so you might want to consider bringing a bottle with you. Note that prices in Jordan are about 30% higher than those in Egypt, so it will seem expensive by comparison. Credit cards are accepted in most good shops but restaurants will generally only take local currrency. In both countries, US dollars or UK pounds can be easily exchanged.
In addition you should carry sufficient funds for additional sightseeing/optional activities, camera charges, taxis etc. On average people spend between US$50-US$100. Many spend less.
Shopping is a personal thing that, again, varies enormously. Gold jewellery is a popular choice. On average, our clients spend between US$100-US$150 on jewellery and other souvenirs.
In Jordan there is a departure tax of US$7.50 per person.
In most countries you must pay an airport departure tax. The departure tax for Jordan is currently 5 Jordanian dinars. The same tax applies for those travelling overland from Jordan to either Syria or Egypt.
Throughout the Middle East, tipping is part of the fabric of life. The local word is 'baksheesh', which when translated into English falls somewhere in between 'tip' and 'bribe'. Everyone constantly tips everyone else and foreign travellers are expected to comply with this system. It is part of everyday life and is a form of remuneration for doing something, regardless of the standard of service. This is quite confusing for those used to the western concept of tipping as a way of showing appreciation.
Over the years we have found that most of our customers find this constant need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if you don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a very successful tipping kitty system. At the beginning of the tour, your tour leader will suggest collecting a set amount from each tour member. He/she will then distribute all tips along the way, on behalf of the group, to the local guides, drivers, porters and anyone else who provides services along the way. We have surveyed thousands of our previous clients and the vast majority clearly prefer this procedure. We hope that this system will also work for you. The amount will vary from trip to trip, but it usually works out to be about the equivalent of US$3 per person per day. If you are out on your own, for example at a restaurant, you should also leave a tip for the waiter.
The tipping kitty will NOT include a gratuity for your tour leader. They work hard for you and if you are happy with their service it is appropriate to tip them as well. The normal amount expected is US$3 (or equivalent) per day from each member of the group.
Please make your own way to the joining hotel (refer to your itinerary for the relevant name and address) unless you have pre-booked a private airport transfer, in which case you will be met near the baggage carousel. Look out for a Gecko's sign and/or your name. If you have not pre-booked a private arrival transfer you will find taxis available outside; make sure you agree the price before you set off into town!
You can arrive at any time on Day 1 but note that rooms are generally not available before 1pm. If you are arriving very early we suggest you pre-book an extra night's accommodation. The tour briefing usually takes place tomorrow morning, after breakfast. Check the Gecko's noticeboard in the hotel lobby for details.
Hotel rooms in the Middle East and North Africa are generally available from midday, although this can vary a little from hotel to hotel. If you are scheduled to arrive in the early morning you may have to wait until your room becomes available. Alternatively you can book one night's 'pre-tour accommodation' that will ensure your room is ready whenever you arrive. Cruise boats in Egypt are generally available for check-in from midday, although it maybe possible that your room is available before this time. If you arrive early you can normally leave your luggage on the boat and return later in the day to check in. Hotel check-out is typically around 10.00am. If you have a later flight you may be able to negotiate a late check-out with Reception. If the hotel is not busy the front office staff tend to be flexible and they may or may not choose to levy a charge (normally 50% of the ‘walk-in’ price). It is your responsibility to vacate your room by the stated time. If you ignore the hotel policy you may return to find that your belongings have been removed and put into storage.
Please ask first if you want to take someone's photograph. This is just a normal courtesy and if you are refused permission please abide by that person's wishes. At certain ancient sites, and in most museums, photography (video or still) may be forbidden, or may incur an extra charge for camera-use. Do not take photos of buildings, structures and personnel of potential military significance (including airports, bridges, and police stations).
Travelling with us can provide you with some really rewarding travel experiences. Our tours visit countries where travel modes and lifestyles are often not as sophisticated as our own. There is also a laid-back attitude amongst workers and there will often seem to be huge amounts of red tape and bureaucracy when doing the simplest things. You will enjoy your trip much more if you slip into the rhythm of local life and are prepared to take things as they come.
In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.
Israel is generally on par with western Europe, pricewise.
Food in Jordan is more expensive than in Egypt. Breakfast is included every day along with some other meals as indicated in your Trip Notes. You will need to budget for additional meals and some guidance on how much to bring is given in your Trip Notes. There is not always a huge choice of places to eat, and we suggest you allow US$5-US$8 for lunches and around US$8-US$12 for dinners. Soft drinks will cost around US$1.50-US$2 and a beer will set you back about US$2-US$3.
Ramadan occurs in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is an interesting (although
sometimes frustrating) time to travel in the Middle East. In the evening there is a celebratory atmosphere as people break their fast, and to witness all this is a real highlight. However, during the day, people must refrain from eating, smoking and drinking so if you encounter someone who is a bit grumpy, be sympathetic! Tourist sites are generally unaffected although some places may close early, but your leader will plan around this. Most hotels bars and tourist restaurants will remain open. Ramadan lasts for one month and the exact dates for each year can be found on the web at www.holidays.net/ramadan/dates.
You cross between Jordan and Israel at the Allenby Bridge. This border is about 40kms (approx 1 hr) from Amman and about 30kms from Jerusalem. Here you will say goodbye to your Jordanian tour guide.
Your Jordanian tour guide is not allowed to travel into Israel just as your Israeli leader is not allowed into Jordan. . You will need to purchase a bus ticket and pay for the pieces of luggage you are carrying, and then continue to pay the exit tax (approx. $6.00 per person), before boarding the JETT bus or taxi to cross the bridge. The bus will drop you off at the Israeli entry point. Proceed through Israeli immigration. After completing formalities you will receive an entry stamp. Although this stamp does not present a problem when entering Jordan or Egypt, if you wish to visit Syria, Lebanon or any Arab country which has not signed a peace treaty with Israel, you should explicitly request that your tourist visa be stamped on "Form 17 L" instead of your passport. This will ensure that you will gain all the benefits of holding a tourist status while in Israel. Likewise, you should ask the Jordanian authorities to stamp your exit and entry from any crossing point connecting Jordan with the occupied West Bank or Israel on a separate sheet of paper as well.
When you have finished at the Israeli entry point. You will be met by your driver and guide outside the immigration point near the taxi rank. Please keep an eye out for our sign. Please allow up to three hours for crossing the actual border. If you are to return to Jordan after Israel you must have a valid Jordanian visa, you cannot obtain this at the Allenby bridge border. You will also be required to pay an exit fee of approx US$38 which is paid on the Israeli side of the border. A bus ticket does not exceed US$3.00.
Please note that exit taxes, visa fees and bus/luggage tickets are not included in the package and are not refunded by Peregrine or any of its agents.
The locals are friendly, but they don’t really understand the concept of personal space. Keep these phrases under your belt: Imshi baeed (Go away), La'a Shukran (No, thanks) Bass! (That’s enough, mate).
Meals included: 1 breakfast
It won’t take long to see the best bits of Aqaba, and then you’re free to swim, snorkel and dive in the Red Sea. How many of the 100 species of fish can you spot?
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Keep an eye out for the Wadi Rum Desert Patrol in their spiffing khaki and red uniforms. Then live out your Indiana Jones fantasies at Petra, the 2000-year-old city carved into pink sandstone.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
We like to make a dramatic entrance to the legendary Al Khazneh (The Treasury), so we take you through a narrow gorge, past tombs and rock formations, before you eventually get your first glimpse. Pick your jaw up off the ground, there are flies everywhere.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
By now you should be addicted to hummus, ara'yes (oven-baked sandwiches filled with spiced mince) and mansaf (Google it, then wipe your drool of this page).
Meals included: 1 breakfast
A guy we know took a packet of chips to the Dead Sea. After swimming he grabbed a bunch of the chips, wiped them on his arm to make them salty, then at them. We just wanted to mention that somewhere.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Best bits: Garden of Gethsemane, Manger Square and Church of the Nativity (the birthplace of Jesus Christ), Western (Wailing) Wall, Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross) and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. If you're not feeling the biblical vibe, you're not trying hard enough.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Make sure you try knafeh - shreds of filo dough drenched in syrupy sugar water and filled with gooey, salty, warm, soft goat's cheese. Wash it down with a classic Israeli iced coffee. Heavenly.
Meals included: 3 breakfasts
Visit the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes. Abbreviations didn't exist back then, clearly.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!
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15 November 2013
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