What we learned from our tour

edited April 3 in Israel and Jordan

Part 1
We flew American Airlines, Philadelphia to Miami to Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv airport was busy with a lack of directional signage when exciting the plane.
As soon as you start walking you see large groups congregating with tour company leaders. Unless you know beforehand that you need to procure a small card which is your ‘Israel visa’, You can easily miss the small self kiosks that look like Global Entry kiosks. You lay your passport on the machine and have your picture taken and the machine prints out a business size card that has your passport photo on it. You then proceed further amongst the crowds and look for the ‘ mosaics’ where Tauck tells you the Tauck contact will be. These mosaics turned out to be quite small and bland above an exit area and not obvious at all, crowded with more groups and a couple of people holding signs. We were just about to call the local contact when we spotted a man holding two signs with four different tour company names on them, all black print , one said Tauck…not the usual proper green Tauck logo. One of the others was Viking. Seven people including us congregated by him. We were the only Tauck people. Three had not gotten their little Israel Visa cards so we had to go as a group and get those first. Then we bypassed the crowds in the general passport control which our funny guide Mars said he saved us a two hour line, and went thru I guess a VIP control with no line at all. More walking to a transport area and then another wait for our driver . It took us about 40 minutes through fairly heavy traffic to get to the hotel.


  • Thanks for the great review, British. Your summary brought back great memories of the trip I took in 2018. I’d take this trip again if my bucket list weren’t so long.

  • British - I just had to laugh this morning because the very same thing happened to my husband at Amman airport in 2016.   He was detained for nearly an hour because of binoculars. It certainly wasn't funny at the time because I was already on the plane thinking he would be  joining me any minute.   A lady in another row was friends with the pilot and she just walked into the cockpit and explained our situation with him.   He promised me that he would not leave without my husband but it was very scary at the time.  I guess things haven't changed.  We were on Royal Jordanian airlines.

  • Thanks for the review, British. We were there last May, and arrival procedures were different as they were still testing for Covid. I totally agree with your recommendation of the optional trip to Jerash—only half of our group went, but it definitely was a highlight. Although there are the 700 steps down at the Baha’i Gardens, it was totally worth it—the gardens are magnificent! I recall this tour having more walking than any of our previous tours. Great report from you, and great memories for me.

  • thanks for all the tips, British. We are going april 2024 and can't wait. Last time was 1997 with 350 people. Smiling Sam, are you from Tucson? This will be our 10 Tauck. Going to Paris-Normandy this fall (#9). Any tips on either tour would be greatly appreciated.

  • Thanks British - I am doing this tour in March 2024. I will keep this info in my file to refresh my memory. My best to Mr. British.

  • To Allankravitz: I just noticed your comment about the Paris / Normandy trip in the fall. I will be on the September 19 departure (small group). Will you be with that group?

  • allankravitz - Yes, we've lived in Tucson for about 25 years. Here are a few 'tips' for the Israel/Jordan tour, from a 2019 perspective.

    1) One day in Tel Aviv, for dinner you are on your own dollar. Get a reservation at a restaurant you like as soon as you can. If you wait and just show up at the restaurant you might be turned away. We liked (and I think British did as well), Manta Ray, on the beach across from the hotel. Some people in our group who didn't get reservations early were turned away at the Manta Ray.

    2) If you like markets, then spending some free time at the Ha Carmel market, near the hotel in Tel Aviv is fun

    3) Be sure to do the optional excursion to Jerash.

    4) If at all possible swim/float in the Dead Sea. It is a bit of a walk from the rooms to the beach, but the experience of it was worth it to me. In Antarctica they hold a sign indicating it's their 7th Continent, in Iceland you hold a sign that says I Crossed the Arctic Circle. Perhaps on this tour they should have a sign that says I Swam/Floated in the Dead Sea. :D

    5) Try the fresh squeezed pomegranate juice if offered. We were offered, by Tauck, both in Acco and Petra.

    It's a great tour!

  • Thanks again for the info. We are going on the September 23rd Paris to Normandy. Israel is scheduled for the April 4, 2024 tour. We are in Saddlebrooke for the las 13 years. Love Arizona.

  • I arrived early for my Israel & Jordan tour in 2020. One day, I walked from Tel Aviv to Jaffa, and on the way back, probably mid-afternoon, popped into Manta Ray for a late lunch. No reservation needed. That might be another option if you really want to try that restaurant. (I also poked around the HaCarmel Market.). When I was at the Dead Sea on that trip, we weren't allowed to go in the water because of high winds, but a kindly lifeguard, Hassan, let me swish my foot around in it and gave me a chunk of salt from the Dead Sea. The salt is on display in my family room, along with a chunk of salt given to me by the "Dyadya Moroz" character at the Wieliczka Salt Mines from another Tauck trip. (I did get to float/paddle around on my back in the Dead Sea on my recent "Jerusalem, the Red Sea & Petra" tour.)

  • Smiling Sam and AllanKravitz - We have lived in Tucson for over 43 years and just love it!  

  • Noreen, based on your avatar picture, then you must have been born in Tucson!! :D

  • Smiling Sam - Thank you for the nice compliment but I was born in Cork, Ireland and I am 73 years old but I am fortunate that I am in good health and walk four miles up and down hills in my neighborhood five to six times a week. This is the reason we are travelling a lot more and have four Tauck trips this year and four next year. Time is not on our side!

  • Noreen: You’re 73 years young; not 73 years old. 73 is the new 53! I make it an effort not to speak about getting older. If I dwell on that as many of my friends do, I’ll believe it. I’ve also had cancer at a young age when I was in my 50’s and I truly believe it’s how we take care of ourselves and attitude.

  • edited April 6

    Words of wisdom, OT34. I have a theory that works for me: have friends who are a wee bit older and try to keep up with them...

  • edited April 7

    Thank you for all of your comments and suggestions everyone!

  • British- My husband and I are heading to Israel and Jordan the end of April. This is our first Tauck tour as we have always been “do it yourself” world travelers in the past. We are keeping an eye on the news in Israel. So looking forward to our next adventure!

  • OurTravels34 -  I am 73 not 53 and this is the reason we are taking so many yearly trips.  I am so grateful and happy to be able to travel and will continue to do so as long as I am healthy.  We all age differently.  Unfortunately, I have some friends that cannot travel due to health issues and others that are a lot older than I am that are currently on a world cruise with Siversea. Just enjoy each and every day.

  • Goat24, how was your experience in Israel andJordan- pros/cons? Would you travel with Tauck again?

  • British, thank you as usual for your helpful advice! Allan K, there are reviews and lots of information on the Normandy trip over in the Normandy, Brittany, Paris & Loire Valley thread. We had a great trip there in 2021.

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