Your Year in Israel
Flight Reservations and
When to Arrive
We suggest that your arrive at the beginning of the week and that, if
possible, avoid arrival on Friday or Saturday, when HUC, banks, stores,
supermarkets, and most of the city's businesses are closed. Students are
strongly urged to arrive in Jerusalem at least two weeks before the start
of classes. This will allow sufficient time to find an apartment and
Average round-trip ticket price, from New York, as of 1/1/99, was $1250 for
high season. Children over 2 years of age generally pay 75% of adult fare.
Older students may find that airplane tickets are more expensive. Try to
check your baggage from your hometown all the way through to Israel.
There are many inexpensive ways of traveling to Israel, some of which are
Your Local Travel Agent
Check on the possibility of joining a group or charter flight. Check if TWA
and El Al are continuing their special fares for students below the age of 25.
Tower Air operates flights that may be cheaper than other regularly scheduled airlines.
Consider the advantages and disadvantages of buying a round-trip ticket and the option
of a free stopover in Europe. KLM offers a less expensive flight with a stopover in
Amsterdam and British Airways often has inexpensive student fares. BA also offers
"missionary fares" for clergy (and those in training) to study in the "Holy Land".
The Council on International Exchange
The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) arranges low-cost
travel for students through its Council Travel Offices. To find the
Council Travel office nearest you, write or call Council on International
Education Exchange, 205 R. 42nd St., New York, N.Y. 10017;
Telephone (212) 661-1414 (ask if there is an age limit for receiving a
student ticket). Council Travel may be $100-200 less than the airlines.
Before you purchase plane tickets through a Council Travel office, you will
be asked to purchase an International Student Card, for which you will need
a passport photo, your acceptance letter to HUC, and approximately $10.
Please note that the International Student Card and flight tickets
purchased through CIEE may entitle you to certain types of insurance. Ask
when you make your reservations.
If you do not have to purchase an airline ticket through CIEE, it is
recommended to purchase an "ISSTA Card" (an IAU/AIU International
Association of Universities Card) when your arrive in Jerusalem. The ISSTA
Card is more widely recognized in Israel, Europe, etc. than the CIEE Card.
Volunteer for a few weeks with Sar El (working on an Israel Defense Forces
Army Base) and take advantage of their cheaper flights. Contact:
Tnu'at HaAliyah; North American Aliyah Movement
Check with the national NFTY office about the possibility of chaperoning a
NFTY Summer Tour participants.
110 E. 59th St., Third Floor
New York, N. Y. 10022
Wholesale Travel Agents
Most of the companies listed below are run by expatriate Israelis and
advertise in the Hebrew newspaper Israel Shelanu. Our listing a company
does not constitute a recommendation.
Note: Wholesale airline tickets usually offer significant savings, but may
have restrictions. Be sure to check if the quoted price includes all
taxes, handling fees, etc.
Express Travel 5021 13th Ave., Brooklyn (718) 436-3500
Fame Travel 107-14 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills (718) 263-5636
M & M Travel 104-70 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills (718) 275-0700
B & D Travel 60 E. 42nd St. Suite 1033 NY (212) 953-3300
Carmel Tours (818) 763-8527
All Reasons Travel (818) 705-2810
"Lowest Fare" www.lowestfare.com
Online Consolidators www.tiss.com
You are usually allowed two checked bags on your flight. In addition, you will be
able to carry on board one piece of hand luggage. Check with the airline
with which you plan to fly for details as to permissible size and weight of
luggage and carry-on baggage. All airlines impose an extra charge for
excess baggage which must be paid by the passenger upon checking in at the
airport. This fee is cheaper than sending a bag air-cargo. Some airlines
are more lenient than others in permitting overweight. Guitars and
oversize bags are considered extra luggage and may be subject to additional
charges. Students suggest sending belongings in giant duffle bags. If there is
a group on your flight to Israel, ask when you are
checking your luggage if you need to pay extra. In some cases, your
luggage can count as part of the group's luggage.
We strongly recommend that students pay the overweight fee and bring all luggage,
rather than ship. Though costly initially, this will save you the time and expense in dealing with postal and customs
authorities in Israel.
We all know that the plane ride will be long and tiring. Here are a few
ideas suggested by students that might make the trip more comfortable.
* Wear layers since you will feel colder after you sleep
* Bring a toothbrush, toothpaste, and hairbrush to freshen-up
* An extra shirt and pair of socks to change into before arriving in Israel
* Bring reading materials
* All important documents, i.e., wallet, passport, credit cards, list of
items packed, bill of lading (if you shipped by sea), and this booklet
should be carried with you or placed in a travel pouch
* Musical instruments and other valuables (camera, radio, etc.) should be
carried with you.
It is important for clearing customs as well as for lost baggage claims or
appraisals that you bring in your carry-on baggage a list of what you
packed in your luggage, parcels, or trunks.
Upon arrival, vehicles, electrical appliances, video cameras, musical
instruments, computers etc., which you bring into Israel, may be subject to
duty. (It is not necessary to declare regular photo cameras, etc., if they
are for personal use, and you intend to return to the States with them.)
If you bring in appliances or merchandise worth up to $250, you may go
through the "green line" at Ben Gurion Airport and bring your merchandise
into the country without paying custom duties. Otherwise, you may have to
go through the "red line" and declare your merchandise.
officials may register your merchandise on your passport and may require a
large dollar deposit, which can be charged to a VISA card. The deposit
will be returned to you when you leave the country, provided you leave with
the items and produce your original deposit receipt. This applies to large
items like electric keyboards and home or laptop computers as well as
smaller items like radios, tape recorders, binoculars, etc.
If the above-mentioned items are not made in the United States, you may
want to register them with United States Customs before your departure in
order to prevent paying duty upon return.
If your baggage is lost when you arrive, and you do not yet have a
permanent address, have it sent to Hebrew Union College, 13 King David
Street, Jerusalem, telephone 02-620-3333. HUC is open from 8:00 a.m. to
5:00 p.m., Sunday through Thursday.
Transportation from the Airport
>From Ben Gurion Airport, you will be able to get to Jerusalem by taking a
sherut, which is a seven-seat taxi that one shares with other passengers.
The rates for transportation from the airport are government controlled and
are posted at the airport terminal. The sherut should cost roughly
40NIS per person (approximately $10), and will take you straight to
your door or hotel at no extra charge. Tips are not required unless you
want the driver to carry your baggage to your door. You can pay the driver
in dollars rather than change money at the airport. In addition, you should
know that your driver may want to leave the airport without a full cab. If
you do not want to pay for the empty seats, tell him you will wait until
the cab is full. If you want to leave right away, you will have to split
the cost of the empty seats in the cab among the other passengers. If you
have a lot of luggage, you may be charged an extra fee. A private taxi from
the airport is considerably more expensive, about 200 NIS (approximately
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