Our Plus tours allow you to immerse yourself within a destination or culture whilst travelling and sleeping in comfort. They are packed with highlights to ensure you get the most out of your valuable time away yet are also slower paced allowing you time to savour the culture, traditions and sights of your destination – the perfect balance.
This document contains essential information that you need to prepare for, as well as information you will need during your holiday with Imaginative Traveller.
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.
Flights, meals unless specified, drinks, visas, departure taxes, travel insurance, tips (see below), spending of a personal nature, optional sightseeing, departure transfer.
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:
Please ensure that you have a current passport well before travelling. It also needs an accurate photo and should be valid for at least six months after you are scheduled to return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport.
Every Imaginative traveller is required to have comprehensive travel insurance. This covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. You can arrange your own insurance or we can recommend a policy for you. Remember to bring a copy of your insurance policy with you so your tour leader can record the details at the pre-tour briefing. If you arrive at your destination without travel insurance, you'll need to organise this before you can continue on your journey.
Apart from having travel insurance and being in generally good health, some pre-holiday health preparation is advised. We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations and in some places anti-malarial medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental checkup is also highly recommended before departure.
Vaccinations may be required or recommended for this trip so you should consult with your travel doctor to obtain the latest up to date information.
Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return
For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see www.traveldoctor.com.au or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at
www.traveldoctor.com.au/travelreport. Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.
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.
Remember - the lighter you travel the better! A lockable suitcase with wheels is ideal for this holiday. It is recommended that you keep your luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option.
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.
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.
Refer to 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. In general, please note that Jordan is significantly more expensive than Egypt and Syria. If you are planning to stop over in Oman or the Emirates, you will find them more expensive again.
Your tour includes breakfast each day and several other meals as indicated in the itinerary. You will need additional funds to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost.
We suggest you allow approximately US$250 for your extra food and drink requirements. Jordan and Israel are quite expensive, with the better restaurants charging European prices. Of course snack food purchased 'on the street' is more reasonable. Also you should carry sufficient funds for additional sightseeing/optional activities you may wish to undertake.
In Jordan there is a departure/border tax of approx US$7.50 per person.
Credit cards are increasingly accepted in the Middle East and North Africa both as a means of payment and also for drawing cash from ATM machines which are plentiful. Cash can be drawn on credit with Visa or Mastercard or directly from your savings account if it is linked into the Cirrus or Maestro network. Look for ATM's displaying either Cirrus, Maestro, Plus, Visa or Mastercard symbols. Although this is a very convenient and safe form of receiving local currency it is not always available when you most need it so it should not be your only source of money. You should have a backup supply of US Dollars in either cash or Travellers Cheques.
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$5 per person per day in Jordan and Israel.
If you are out on your own, for example at a restaurant, you should also leave a tip for the waiter.
Please note that 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$5 per day for your leader in Jordan and Israel.
On arrival at Amman's Queen Alia International Airport, you are met by a transfer guide (or our local representative) holding a sign with your name on it. You are then transferred to your start hotel. Please make sure you have informed us of your flight arrival details well before you travel. Please note that hotel rooms are generally only available after 1 pm, so if you are arriving early we recommend that you also book accommodation for the night before.
Generally, your room will be available on Day 1 between 12 noon and 2 pm. Sometimes it may be available earlier but this is in no way guaranteed. If your flight is 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' which will ensure that your room is ready whenever you arrive. Rooms must generally be vacated by 12 noon on your final day unless you have made prior arrangements with the hotel Reception. If you want to keep your room for longer you may have to pay an additional charge. Most hotels have a store-room should you wish to store your luggage after check-out.
If you want to take someone's photograph, please ask first . This is just 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, army barracks, 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.
To make the journey more comfortable for all tour members we request that you refrain from smoking in all enclosed areas including the tour bus and in your hotel room.
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.
Please note that the two days in Wadi Rum are quite active. You'll ride a camel, enjoy a jeep safari and Wadi Rum is a great place for walking. So, while you don't need to be particularly fit, there is a fair amount of activity. You also spend the night in a basic Bedouin tent. This is all a lot of fun and a great experience, but please be aware of the nature of the experience.
In Jordan there is a departure/border tax of approx US$7.50 per person. You will cross the border 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 leader. Your Jordanian tour leader 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 Peregrine has not charged you in the tour price the exit taxes, visa fees and bus/luggage tickets and they are therefore not refunded by Peregrine or any of its agents.
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
On arrival at Amman's Queen Alia International Airport, you are met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. This is simply an arrival day so you may arrive in Amman at any time. Note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday. The balance of the day is free to explore your surroundings, but normally a Welcome Meeting is held in the evening where you meet your tour leader and fellow travellers.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
After breakfast you are transferred to the bus station for the JETT bus direct to Aqaba. This is a very efficient service and the journey takes around four hours. On arrival you are met and transferred to your hotel and the rest of the day is free for you to explore the town and port. In the evening you meet your tour leader along with any group members arriving from Egypt.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner
With our guide we enjoy a brief orientation of Aqaba. We can visit the old castle (time permitting) before driving to Wadi Rum. After time for lunch we head into the protected area in rather rickety old jeeps, operated by the local Bedouin community. This is an attempt by the Jordanian Government to bring much-needed income into this region - an initiative we also support. We visit several interesting rock formations and enjoy the spectacular desert landscapes for which Wadi Rum is deservedly renowned.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner
It's well worth rising early and watching the cliffs change colour as the sun comes up. We enjoy a walk in the morning (the length of the walk will depend on how energetic we are feeling) and scaling one of the large dunes to enjoy sensational views of the surrounding area. Keen photographers will be delighted! We then take 4WDs from our camp back to the main entrance. The visitor's centre is also a great spot to buy some jewellery and knick-knacks, mostly made by a women's co-operative which is aimed at supporting traditional local industries. We then continue our journey to Petra. On arrival there is time in the afternoon to check out the town, withdraw or change money and just relax…ready for a big day of exploring Petra tomorrow. .
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner
A regular and fully justified contender for the '8th Wonder of the World' title, the iconic Petra view – the Treasury's glorious façade, glimpsed from the narrow cleft known as the Siq – is arguably the single most striking sight of the entire region. The first sight of the exquisite craftsmanship among such stark scenery is a moment that both manage to be eagerly anticipated and also be still an unlikely and almost surreal surprise. Petra's greatest surprise, however, is its size. With our guide we explore the old Roman road, amphitheatre and several old tombs. We also climb up to the Monastery – the site's second beautiful façade – from where we have a magnificent view of the entire site. This is a memorable day exploring a truly extraordinary destination and sure to be one of the highlights of our trip. There is a cafeteria on the site, where we can enjoy a light lunch. In the mid-afternoon we return to our hotel and our tour leader will try hard to persuade us to take a Turkish bath! It's perfect timing after a day exploring Petra, as well as being his a great experience - Petra is an excellent – and safe - place to try this tradition of the region. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
This morning we drive along the King's Highway, a road that dates back to beyond the time of the Old Testament. We reach Shobak Castle, originally built to protect the eastern flank of the Latin Kingdom and its trade routes to the sea before it fell to Saladin in 1189. We enjoy a walk through the site and continue to the ancient village at Dana, where local artisans sell attractive silver jewellery and charms. We then reach Madaba, where we visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George that houses an ancient mosaic map. This is of particular interest as it clearly depicts Palestine and Lower Egypt around 550 AD. We expect to arrive in Amman in the late afternoon, where in the evening we can try one of its several fine restaurants. (Please note that Kerak Castle is not included in your tour, as it is often very congested and busy. However, if there is sufficient interest among members of the group, your leader can also arrange an optional visit to Kerak Castle. Many travellers however prefer to spend extra time in Amman.)
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch
The Roman city of Jerash is in a fine state of preservation. Founded in the time of Alexander the Great, it had become a centre of considerable importance by the 3rd century AD. Today it is one of the grandest ancient cities in the world with an imposing collection of archways, theatres, baths, public buildings and colonnaded streets. We visit the site in the morning and later drive down to the Dead Sea. The afternoon is at leisure to experience the warm waters, which have an unusually high saline content, or to relax on the shore. We return to Amman for the night.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Today is an early start as we leave Amman and head for Israel, crossing into the country over the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge some 40 kilometres from Amman. It is important that you read the notes below regarding this border crossing. Once we have cleared Immigration and Customs, we are met by our driver and given a quick tour of Jericho – considered by some to be the oldest, longest inhabited city in the world - before being transferred to Jerusalem. In the afternoon we make the short journey south to Bethlehem, where we make our pilgrimage to Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity, built over the site that marks it as the traditionally-accepted birthplace of Jesus Christ and a sacred place for both Christians and Muslims. From the impressive Constantine mosaics to the colonnaded ancient basilica and the small grotto that marks Jesus' birthplace, visiting the church is a humbling, powerful experience. Afterwards we drive to Beit Sahour to visit one of the most sacred places for Christians, the Shepherds' Field, identified in the New Testament as the site where the Angel of the Lord visited the shepherds and informed them of Jesus' impending birth. At the end of a long day we return to Jerusalem.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Jerusalem has one of the great urban skylines – the serried buildings and ancient ramparts of the Old City, the churches adorning the Mount of Olives and the iconic gold of the Dome of the Rock. We start the day with a short drive to the Mount of Olives to take in a panoramic view of the city's extraordinary ensemble before driving to the Garden of Gethsemane. From there we walk to St Stephen’s Gate through which we enter the Old City. We visit the 'Cardo' in the recently restored Jewish Quarter, which was the old north-south axis in Roman times, then the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross) and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. When entry is permitted we also visit the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque. After lunch (not included), our tour continues with a short drive to Yad Vashem (Israel's memorial to the Holocaust). Please note that Yad Vashem is closed on public holidays, so on those days we visit Mount Zion, the Cenacle and the Dormition Abbey instead.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner
This morning we drive through the Jordan Valley, whose fertile lands were chronicled in the Bible, to Nazareth. There we visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, which incorporates, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the cave in which Mary received the news from Gabriel that she would give birth to Jesus. Passing through Tiberias, one of Judaism's four holy cities, we sail across the Sea of Galilee to Tabgha, where Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. We return to Tiberias to visit Yardenit - the new commemorative site of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River - and stop off at the site of the ancient settlement of Capernaum situated on the banks of the Kinneret, where Jesus once lived and Peter's house still stands. The day ends in Tiberias where we overnight in a hotel on a kibbutz.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
We leave Tiberias and head north to the ancient crusader port of Acre, a World Heritage-listed site and a place alive with an eventful history from the crusades and through the Napoleonic battles to the present day. We visit the massive complex of buildings occupied by the Knights of St John as well as the Knight Templars' secret tunnel. We then head down the coast to Haifa where we visit the spectacular Baha'i Gardens. The perfectly manicured gardens are one of the holy places for the Baha'i faith, one of the world's youngest religions. After lunch, we arrive at Caesarea which served as the capital of Israel during the Roman and Byzantine eras and which nowadays holds some of the country's finest classical remains, including an aqueduct and a graceful theatre which overlooks the Mediterranean. Afterwards, we arrive in Tel Aviv where we spend our last night in Israel's liveliest city. With its lively cafe culture and relaxed beach scene, Tel Aviv makes for the perfect end point to our adventure.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Your trip ends today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12 noon and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Tel Aviv.
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 keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!
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16 October 2013
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