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 Travel FAQs/ General Information

General Information

What are the buses like?

  • The deluxe touring motor coaches are air conditioned, and will accommodate approximately 45 passengers.


Are there restrooms on the buses??

  • No, but sufficient stops will be made for the comfort of our passengers.

May I reqeust a special diet?

  • We will try to satisfy requests for special diets if furnished in writing at least 90 days prior to the departure. However, it should be understood that the dietary requirements of passengers suffering from disabilities or health problems, as well as children, are the responsibility of that passenger's escort(s).


How much money should I bring?

  • Most everything has been included in your tour cost with the exception of lunches, shopping, optional tours (where applicable). A gratuity will be collected for guides and drivers. The suggested amount depends on your destination.


What type of currency is used?

  • The answer to this question depends on your destination. Prior to your departure, we will send this information to you.

Should I exchange some money before departure?

  • Again, the answer to this question depends on your destination. Prior to your departure, we will send this information to you.

Will the hotel provide money exchanging services?

  • All exchanges will need to take place in the airport (please do this in the US so you do not delay the group upon arrival overseas) or at an overseas bank. US dollars may be exchanges on board ship and at most hotels; however, a higher fee will be charged for doing so.


Will ATM machines be available?

  • ATMs are available at local banks. The money you receive will be in the local currency.

What about travelers checks and credit cards??

  • We do not recommend the use of travelers checks as you may experience difficulty using and/or cashing them. In addition, banks usually charge a significant handling fee when cashing travelers checks. Credit cards are recommended for larger purchases. Visa and Mastercard are much more prevalent than Discover and American Express. SPECIAL NOTE: Be sure to contact your credit card company prior to departure to let them know you will be traveling. Those who do not take this step may find their card frozen after the second swipe!

Will US currency be accepted for extra expenses?

  • The answer to this question depends on your destination.


Will I be able to shop during the trip?

  • Time will be allotted for shopping. While some will feel that too much time is spent for shopping, others will think it is not enough. Remember that ours is not a shopping tour. Also, any purchases made are at your own risk. We are not responsible for your dissatisfaction with any items purchased. Guides are not authorized by ETS to recommend any store or shop.


What is VAT or Value Added Tax?

  • VAT (Value Added Tax) is a sales tax that is charged for most goods. This amount is part of the price - not added on at the cash register. VAT can run as high as 20%. It is possible for you to claim back most of this tax. The best way to do this is to see if the retailer you are buying from is affiliated with “Tax Free” shopping. If so, they will give you the instructions for your refund. Generally, all you have to do is collect a completed form from the store which lists your purchases. You MUST have the form stamped by customs when you leave the country. Look for the TAX FREE SHOPPING symbol.Note: Specific procedures may vary by country, so look for forms and instructions at stores or the airport. ETS is not responsible for refunding you any VAT that is not claimed overseas prior to your return to the US. In addition, VAT cannot be recovered once you have returned home.


What are the US Customs Regulations?

  • A returning US resident is allowed $800 in purchases duty free. Gifts may be mailed to the US duty free, but are limited to $50 per person/per day.


What about tips for our guides and drivers?

  • The answer to this question depends on your destination but most locations will be $6 per person per day for the guide and $3 per person per day for the driver.


What about other tips?

  • Prepaid gratuities have been collected for the following staffpersons: hotel dining room staff, hotel bell man/porters, hotel housekeeping. You will not need to tip for standard services as all tips will be distributed to these staffpersons by ETS. If, however, you request any special services from the staff, additional gratuities is expected.


What will the weather be like?


What type of clothes should I bring?

  • The answer to this question depends on your destination. (For all destinations, comfortable shoes are a must!) Click here for a list of what to pack for most destinations.


Should I bring my prescription medicines?

  • Bring your medicine in the original bottle. Also bring a copy of the generic names for each. If you have medications which need to be refrigerated, you must inform our office at least 90 days prior to departure so we can make the appropriate arrangements with the airlines, hotels and cruise line. An ID bracelet or a note from your doctor regarding any special treatments you are receiving will prove invaluable in the event of an emergency. Always carry medication that is needed on a daily basis in your carry-on.


I have limited mobility.  What special facilities are available?

  • Due to the lack of handicapped accessible facilities, persons needing wheelchairs or ambulatory assistance will find travel on overseas programs quite difficult and many sites will be inaccessible.Please Note: Due to liability,  staffmembers are not allowed to assist passengers who are using wheelchairs or other mobility devices.


What about travel protection coverage?

  • If you have purchased the travel protection plan listed on the brochure, medical and trip cancellation coverage, etc., is provided. It is important to remember, however, that all medical bills and other services must be paid for at the time service is rendered. Upon your return to the US, a claim will then need to be filed directly with the insurance provider. Please review the protection plan that has been included in your pre-program literature.


What if I lose something on the trip?

  • Leave valuables, including items of sentimental value, at home! Put your name, address, departure date and bus color on all belongings so that any recovered items will be returned as quickly as possible. Shipping costs will be your responsibility. We suggest you make a list of all the items you take along with their perceived value. Double-check before you leave the hotel, bus, airplane, etc. We cannot assume responsibility for lost items.


What about pre-paid phone cards?

  • If you decide to purchase cards here or overseas, you will need a card or access for each country. (Make sure your prepaid card is for international use.) If you have a cell phone you can check with your local provider for international service.


Is there any free-time during the trip?

  • Each day is quite full with sightseeing but you can notify your guide if you wish to miss a day of touring (itinerary permitting).


What airlines will be used?

  • We have used many airlines, including EL AL Airline, Royal Jordanian, and Swiss Airline, etc.


What are the restrooms like in the Holy Land?

  • Be prepared for a culture shock (especially in Jordan and Egypt)! Men and women will find porcelain-rimmed holes in the floor. You should travel each day with tissues and/or wipes. You may also be required to pay a small fee to use the rest room.


Any last minute items I shouldn't forget?

  • Study guide, Bible, sunglasses, a sun hat, sunscreen, camera (and extra film/memory stick and batteries) and sundry toiletry items are must haves. You may wish to bring a calculator for exchange rates while shopping. Passengers bringing video cameras are advised that museums and archeological sites frequently charge a fee for their use. In the event of inclement weather, bring a light waterproof jacket or an umbrella. If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, you should bring an extra pair "just in case"


Any other tips?


  • 1) be on time for the bus and be prepared to rotate seats on bus

  • 2) settle personal charges the night before checking out of the hotel and/or disembarking the ship

  • 3) notify your tour leader or guide if you will not be on the bus for sightseeing

  • 4) no smoking allowed in dining room, on bus, or in lecture hall

  • 5) remember you are a guest in another country... be gracious... expect that customs and food will be different than at home.

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