Israel and Jordan March 24, 2020

We are booked on this trip. We are traveling from Los Angeles and we are arriving on March 22. We are looking forward to this trip and hoping that the Iran situation doesn’t change this.



  • I'm on this trip that is scheduled to begin March 3. A few years ago, I was scheduled to do a Turkey tour that Tauck cancelled about a month before it was supposed to begin. I'm confident that Tauck will not let the tour go forward if it appears to be unsafe. (Of course, anything can happen anywhere, even on the streets of my hometown, Boston. I've walked by the site of the Marathon bombing countless times.) On the other hand, I know that if you feel you have to cancel for personal reasons, Tauck's travel insurance plan (f you purchased it) will refund your money. A couple of years ago, my daughter, because of work commitments, had to cancel a trip a week before it started. She had no problem getting her refund.

  • We are also taking this tour in March 2021.

  • I truly hope both sides of our Governments genuinely agree to Peace...It's a wonderful trip and It would be so disappointing if it is cancelled due to security/safety issues. I'm concerned about my Petra to the Pyramids tour in December for the same reasons; however, time is on my side with the date being at year end.

  • This trip is simply amazing! We did this in October 2018 and loved every minute of it. On our list of completed trips it rates slightly behind K&T Africa but they are totally different in nature. A heads up. Our TD said the tour is 39 miles of walking (and much of it uphill and on cobblestone streets), but we estimate we did 50 because we arrived a day early and walked up and down the Tel Aviv Med beach and the Carmel market. We also spent some evenings walking around while others were having their dinners. Be sure to bring very comfortable walking shoes and enjoy!

  • We are arriving from Maine and CT March 22 and looking forward to a great trip. Confident that this part of the world will remain safe and the tour will be as wonderful as our previous Tauck adventures. Any thoughts on packing from previous tour participants appreciated.

  • REBlauer - it is a fantastic trip and you will not be disappointed. We felt extremely safe throughout the trip. Packing is always an issue. Don't know if you are flying Business or not. If you are flying Business you certainly are able to take some added weight and a second bag. Since it's a long way we flew Business and took an empty duffel bag we got from the African safari trip in our suitcase. On the return we used that duffel as a second bag to stash all our dirty clothes freeing up space in the suitcases for purchases and there are plenty on this trip. Once you get home all your soiled clothes are in one bag! If not flying Business you do have to be very careful about the weight. We bought a digital weight scale that we take everywhere. You are never surprised at the airport and using it allows you to move weight between suitcases to ensure weight is under 50.

    We bought "Cubes" sets a few years ago and swear by them. You can separate socks, shirts, underwear, etc. and it makes for easy packing and usage while on the trip. You pack each set of clothes separately and force the air out and it works great. You can find different cubes online. We do not travel without them. Definitely take very comfortable walking shoes, lightweight shirts from places like Eddie Bauer or Columbia and a good hat.

  • edited January 2020

    REBlauer Any thoughts on packing from previous tour participants appreciated.

    Expect the weather to be like Maine in July/August (except for the rain), so you'll need mostly light clothing. I assume you're flying from Portland or Logan, so you may be tempted to wear a winter coat to the airport, but it will just be a drag on your available space the entire trip, so try to grin and bear it, and layer a couple of lighter things for the trip to the airport.

    Unlike VA Travelers, I tend to buy almost nothing while away, as I'm in agreement with Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat.". Just about anything you see in your travels, you can buy online. On this trip, I was tempted to buy something I saw in a gallery in Jaffa that I ran across on my biking day prior to the tour. I decided not to buy, but contacted the gallery via email after I got home. The guy turned out to be a real jerk, so I didn't buy it. On another Tauck tour, I was walking down a street near our hotel in Oslo and saw a coffee table I couldn't live without. Went into the store, and even with the price in NOK, there were too many zeros in it. Sooo, when I got home, I did a little research and found it on the web site of a online furniture store in Sicily for less than half the price (it was mfr'd in Italy.) After some due diligence investigating the online store, I bought it. Even the Terracotta Warrior replicas available in Xian can be purchased on Amazon.

    Edited to add - another consideration for this trip is there will be no opportunity to get a VAT refund when leaving Israel, due to the "expedited" border crossing. Any pricey items would be cheaper if bought online or shipped.

  • BKMD -- Maine in July and August is perfect weather! (Warm puffy jacket will get stuffed in outside pocket of suitcase to be checked at Logan) . I'm expecting Petra to be much warmer. I've looked at the Western Wall tours you suggested (and my green book). I think it will be doable. Arriving in Tel Aviv March 2.

  • BKMD Your advice on buying is hilarious. In fact it reminds me of a member of our group on our last tour who told us he did buy a terracotta warrior on the China tour and it went in his garden and everyone loved it. On our INDIA tour several years ago, a couple bought two large tables inlaid with patterned stones, I think they were $2,500 each. I think the most I’ve ever bought so far was on the.China tour when I bought my bulky silk duvet and bedding.
    Virginia Travels, we always do packing tubes these days and also love them. But please remember that the luggage restriction for this tour is one suitcase weighing 50 lbs. it doesn’t matter whether you fly business or not, Tauck allows one suitcase which is plenty for this tour. If by the end of the tour it has spread out to an extra duffle, that is acceptable, but to start with two suitcases, that does not seem fair to everyone and I’m not sure how that many bags would fit on a bus and how much longer it would take hotel staff to carry all that extra luggage down from people’s rooms and so how much earlier we would all need to wake up to have our bags ready on travel days.
    We take this tour in 2021 and are really looking forward to it.
    RE and eo, please post tour impressions of the tour when you return.

  • British - wasn't meant to be funny. Unless it's a one of a kind item or the bargain of the century, why buy while on tour? I know some people have a need to shop. I don't :-)

    Speaking of Tour, that's actually the name of the table I bought. Being into cycling, I had to have it. here's a link:
    BTW, that's about the price it was in Oslo. I paid less than half, including shipping buying it online.

  • You have to call Tauck on this one to Discuss, maybe they can help you change flights. Although they have been more active reading the forum than they normally appear to do, there is no guarantee they will see your message here. But as we understand it, if you are just transiting through those airports and not entering the countries you are technically not coming from those countries, but I’m certainly not sure on this.

  • I’ve never had much luck talking to an embassy on the phone, but the Israel Embassy website should certainly have information about this.

  • This is from the U.S. Israel Embassy web page: "The Health Decree 2020 (The 2019 Novel Coronavirus ) (Home Quarantine) (Temporary Legislation)(Hebrew) mandates a 14-day home quarantine to any traveler from mainland China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Macau, South Korea, Japan, Austria, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland or Italy in the last 14 days prior to arrival in Israel or on any individual who had close contact with a confirmed patient in the last 14 days, and requires reporting it."

    There doesn't seem to be any equivocation in this statement about traveling through those countries (i..e. U.S. through France to Israel) as opposed to being from those countries.

  • edited March 2020

    It may only be semantics but there sure is a big difference between transiting a certain country's airport and being "a traveler from" that country. This really needs clarification. In my book, REBlauer is a "traveler from" the USA, who just happens to be transiting through a German or Swiss airport. He certainly (hopefully) won't have had "close contact with a confirmed patient." There is a big difference between the situations. What does Israel mean when they say "from?" I believe more research is needed before canceling or booking new air.

  • Israel would have no passport indication (entry stamp) of what countries you passed through (unless they asked) on your way to Israel. I would agree with AlanS's interpretation of 'traveler from'.

  • Israel Embassy just updated their website clarifying the above: "All travelers from Austria, Germany, Spain, France, or Switzerland must be immediately placed under 14-day home quarantine from the date of departure. The Home Quarantine Decree does not apply to connecting flights in these locations, only if you did not leave the airport."

    So AlanS and Smiling Sam's interpretation proved (thankfully) to be correct. Woo hoo! Trip still on.

  • :D Always nice to be right in a situation like this! Have a great trip!!

    For those with upcoming trips to that area of the world, it looks like it is starting to warm. I've been following temps in Jordan and Egypt for some time now. While the temps in Amman and Petra were looking like they might be a bit nippy, they are now regularly in the mid-60's or slightly higher- perfect for touring. At 10:00 pm Jordan time it is showing 60° F in Amman and 64° F in Petra. Daytime temps should be perfect though they may be warmer than I was hoping/expecting in Egypt. Today it got into the 80's in Luxor and Aswan- it is 75° F right now in both places at 10:00 pm!

  • For what it’s worth, we were booked on the April 23 small group tour to Israel/Jordan. Recent articles in the Jerusalem Post indicate that the Israelis are now considering adding the USA to the list of countries from which visitors may be quarantined. Additionally, it appears that a number of the tourist sites in Jerusalem and the West Bank are being closed to visitors. Given all of this uncertainty, we have postponed our trip until next year. The Tauck phone representatives were extremely helpful. From our perspective, the Coronavirus situation in Israel is a day to day thing; the Israelis are really clamping down on who is being allowed into the country. I would monitor this situation closely before getting on a plane for Tel Aviv. Just my opinion. Safe travels.

  • edited March 2020


    For what it’s worth if you’re transiting from airports listed in Terpfan’s post, there are no flights into Israel now on Lufthansa SwissAir Austria Air and limited on British Air. Our group’s Lufthansa and Swiss Air flights are cancelled yesterday.

    I'm sure you have already checked and know this, but Delta (and Delta + Air France) still have flights to TLV. Delta has a direct non-stop flight from JFK to TLV (DL468) leaving on the 21st and is showing about 2/3 empty in both business and coach! They also have additional flights with other routing (e.g. via LHR). Obviously, at this late date they are not cheap for business class! :o

  • Jay: What happened with your flights? Were those refunded? Thanks.

  • Terpfan — we were using points, so not a big problem with the airlines. We were on AA/BA. I would have to believe that since Lufthansa canceled your flights, given the circumstances, they would provide you with a refund. I am a Terp graduate school alum. Good luck. Just saw that Bethlehem and Church of Nativity are closed off to tourists, plus, cases of Coronavirus have been reported in the Palestinian Authority. I would guess that Tauck will be canceling these tours to Israel/Jordan. Somehow going there and not being allowed into Bethlehem/Church of Nativity would detract from the tour, in my opinion.

  • Jay: Agree. I was on the November Israel Tour and visiting Bethlehem & The Church of the Nativity was indeed the highlight for me. It was an overall great trip, but being in Church, witnessing an actual Mass in the Grotto and walking down those stairs to see the Star that marks the place where Jesus was born was everything to me. It was another Great Tauck Experience!

  • edited March 2020

    Hi REBlauer,

    I heard that someone from Tauck contacted you was able to address your concerns. Please feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions.

    Tauck Emily

  • They left a message. I wasn’t home. I’ll call Monday. Thanks for following up.

  • edited March 2020

    News about a quarantine in Israel:, including that travel to Bethlehem will not be possible for at least two weeks.

  • Tauck”s Dan Mahar has already stated that many customers including me, do not want their tours canceled until absolutely necessary.

  • Not referring to this specific tour, but why would you want to go on a tour where many of the historic sites, museums, etc. that you expected to visit are closed?

  • It's not just an issue of getting there but will there be limited access to sites that we want to see. And what happens if you are quarantined while in Israel or Jordan?

  • British

    Tauck”s Dan Mahar has already stated that many customers including me, do not want their tours canceled until absolutely necessary.


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