Trip to Israel
We have team members from all over the world, so we do not organize a group flight. We suggest online booking sites like Expedia or Travelocity. Start looking early–there are often good deals to be had with a little legwork. We will ask you to provide us with detailed travel information once you have it, and we will try to put people in touch with other participants who happen to be on the same flight.
Once you arrive in Israel, the dig will provide transportation from the airport to the monastery at the start of each dig week and will return departing team members back to the airport at the end of each week. The dig bus will leave the airport on Sundays at 18:00 for the site and leave the site on Fridays at 14:00 for the airport for those departing. Additional details about this bus will be provided closer to the season, such as meeting location and signing up.
Many travel guides mention the following wisdom: Take half the clothes and twice the money. This is good advice! You will almost certainly not need as much stuff as you might think. Israeli electrical current is 220/240V. Any electrical appliances brought from North America will require the appropriate converters (for the voltage), and/or an adapter plug (to fit in the outlet). For tried-and-true advice on packing for Kiriath-Jearim, see our upcoming facebook post!
Money and Security
Responsibility for the security of all personal belongings, including passports, cash, credit cards, clothing and other objects, rests with the individual Team Member. As always, when travelling anywhere, you should use common sense and take care of all your belongings. Team Members need enough travelers’ checks, cash and credit cards to handle additional expenses (travel, gifts, entertainment expenses, meals at restaurants, and so on). The Expedition will NOT cash checks or advance money on credit. In Israel, credit and debit cards can be used almost everywhere, but you should always check with your bank or credit card company about fees—some of which can be substantial when using your card abroad. You can exchange money at the airport upon arrival so that you will have some shekels on hand. It is inconvenient during the week to exchange money because of our work schedule. On weekends, you will, if you choose, be able to travel to areas with banks, post offices, etc.
Weekends begin Friday afternoon after lunch and end Sunday evening at dinnertime, following the schedule of the Monastery.
Your room fees include the cost of your room for the whole length of your stay, including the weekend. That being said, we highly recommend traveling over the weekend! Jerusalem is only 30 mins away, and Tel Aviv is only an hour by car. Note that many businesses and all public transportation will start to close Friday afternoon for Shabbat (the Jewish sabbath, Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) and only reopen Saturday night. But team members can get together and arrange a private taxi or even a bus after the beginning of Shabbat. We are happy to help you! We can suggest many travel itineraries throughout the country and places to stay. We have prepared a few small suggestions for travels tips to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the Dead Sea area. If you have any more questions or in need for a more tips just ask!
If you do choose to stay over the weekend, remember that the Expedition does not provide meals on the weekend— you are on your own for Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. Meals can be prepared in the small kitchenette. Stores and restaurants in neighboring Abu Ghosh will be open on Shabbat so there are lots of options! If you stay on site over the weekend, please also remember that Sunday is a holy day for the sisters who live at the monastery and team members will be expected to respect their needs by not making excessive noise, especially during their prayer services.
For those who are arriving or departing for a given week, we will provide a dig bus from the airport to the site on Sundays at 18:00 and from the site to the airport on Fridays at 14:00.
For those staying on in a given week, whether you travel over the weekend or stay on site, everyone will reconvene at Sunday dinner to begin the next dig week.