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Please help me tweak my Israel itinerary
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harriet




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Nov 03 2019, 1:30 pm
Traveling in the middle of February for a week or so to Israel with 5 children, ages 6+.

I started making a tentative itinerary but I’m not great with time/place. I need a sense of how far things are from each other and how long they’ll take... I don’t want to pack too much in one day, my kids are not the type to enjoy being out from 8am-10pm.

I mainly want to know if any of the days have too much packed in a day and also if the things I put together make sense to go together or if location wise I should switch them around (ie instead of doing A and B on Sunday and C and D on Monday, it would make more sense to do A and C on Sunday and B and D on Monday. Or A, B, C on Sunday and D by itself on Monday)...

Monday (day we arrive, early in the morning): Kotel, tunnel tours, virtual reality
Tuesday: kever Rochel, mearas hamachpeila and dig for a day on one day?
Wed: masada, Dead Sea, aquarium in Jerusalem
Thurs: blind museum, candy factory, shuk, dinner out with relatives
Friday, chessed/volunteering, family photos

Any input/advice would be appreciated.

Thanks so much!
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STMommy




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Nov 03 2019, 1:44 pm
Monday looks good.
I would recommend swap tuesday and Wednesday so you can go Wednesday with the Hevron Fund and have Rabbi Hochbaum as your guide. That would be a full day.
I wouldn't do masada, the Dead Sea and the aquarium in one day. You should add Ein Gedi to that day and just do that area.
Can you do the aquarium and dig for a day on another day?
Where is the candy factory?
What chesed are you doing Friday?
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etky




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Nov 03 2019, 1:50 pm
You have to take weather into account too.
The Dead Sea area may not be accessible or attractive if it is cold and very rainy.
Ditto for Dig for a Day.
Maybe make some backup plans for those days - indoor things like the Science Museum, Israel Museum Youth Wing etc.
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DrMom




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Nov 03 2019, 1:52 pm
Where are you arriving from and how long is your flight?
Where are you staying? I assume you are basing yourself somewhere in central Jerusalem (for the first few days at least)?
How are you getting around when traveling out of Jerusalem? Car rental or public transportation? This is key to understanding how much time you have to allot.

Tues looks quite busy. Are you taking an armored Egged bus to Maarat HaMachpela? Then how are you getting to Dig for a Day in Beit Guvrin afterward?

Wed looks okay with Masada + Dead Sea. I'd keep the aquarium as optional only. Kids need time to wind down, and you'll need time to drive back and forth.

Thurs: Your younger kids will not be able to enter the heart of the Blind Museum. It is for ages 9+. Maybe move Beit Guvrin Dig for a Day to his day; Combine with the Beit Guvrin caves. OR, do the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

Remember that in February, (1) it gets dark early and (2) it may rain, which can cut your activity time.

In general, my style of travel is to pick 1-2 activities/day, and allow for lots of downtime, meals, etc. I find this is more relaxed schedule is more enjoyable and works best with little kids.
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harriet




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Nov 03 2019, 1:57 pm
Some responses...

We are renting a car (although I kinda assumed we’d take an armored bus to chevron).

We will be renting an apartment for a week in Jerusalem.

Dig for a day’s website says it can be done in bad weather because it’s in caves or something like that.

The candy factory is in ramat gan.

The aquarium is a non negotiable (so maybe I should take something else out, just not sure what).

Only one child is under 10 and won’t be able to go into the blind museum, either dh or I would figure something else out to do with him.

It seems (from your responses) that I have too many things planned 😢
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amother




White


Post  Sun, Nov 03 2019, 2:00 pm
Could you squeeze aquarium into your first day?
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etky




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Nov 03 2019, 2:05 pm
DrMom wrote:
Where are you arriving from and how long is your flight?
Where are you staying? I assume you are basing yourself somewhere in central Jerusalem (for the first few days at least)?
How are you getting around when traveling out of Jerusalem? Car rental or public transportation? This is key to understanding how much time you have to allot.

Tues looks quite busy. Are you taking an armored Egged bus to Maarat HaMachpela? Then how are you getting to Dig for a Day in Beit Guvrin afterward?

Wed looks okay with Masada + Dead Sea. I'd keep the aquarium as optional only. Kids need time to wind down, and you'll need time to drive back and forth.

Thurs: Your younger kids will not be able to enter the heart of the Blind Museum. It is for ages 9+. Maybe move Beit Guvrin Dig for a Day to his day; Combine with the Beit Guvrin caves. OR, do the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

Remember that in February, (1) it gets dark early and (2) it may rain, which can cut your activity time.

In general, my style of travel is to pick 1-2 activities/day, and allow for lots of downtime, meals, etc. I find this is more relaxed schedule is more enjoyable and works best with little kids.


Also, OP, traffic has become pretty bad all over the country. Especially in the morning and evenings. Take into account that it may take longer than you planned to get from place to place.
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amother




White


Post  Sun, Nov 03 2019, 2:09 pm
OMG. Trying to get through Gush Etzion late afternoon.... Can't Believe It
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etky




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Nov 03 2019, 2:10 pm
amother [ White ] wrote:
OMG. Trying to get through Gush Etzion late afternoon.... Can't Believe It


Exactly Rolling Eyes
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LovesHashem




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Nov 03 2019, 2:13 pm
Book the blind museum a good month or two in advance.
Or there won't be space.

The aquarium is nothing special. It's cool and all but if you're from the USA it will feel small, cramped, and quite pathetic. Everything is Israel is much smaller. I suggest doing family friendly stuff that are more unique.
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DrMom




 
 
 


Post  Sun, Nov 03 2019, 2:15 pm
harriet wrote:
Some responses...

We are renting a car (although I kinda assumed we’d take an armored bus to chevron).

We will be renting an apartment for a week in Jerusalem.

Dig for a day’s website says it can be done in bad weather because it’s in caves or something like that.

The candy factory is in ramat gan.

The aquarium is a non negotiable (so maybe I should take something else out, just not sure what).

Only one child is under 10 and won’t be able to go into the blind museum, either dh or I would figure something else out to do with him.

It seems (from your responses) that I have too many things planned 😢

I think you do... you need to edit. You can easily run yourself ragged with a schedule like you've proposed. You need to build some downtime into your planning. If nothing else, you'll need time to eat lunch, even if it's only sandwiches that you pack yourself. You have 5 kids with you.

Why davka the aquarium? It's nice, but does not compare with much nicer aquariums (aquaria?) in the US.

Also, traffic in Israel can be horrendous, esp when it rains.

I'd sort attractions into tier 1 (must-do) attractions and tier 2 (nice to do) activities and prioritize accordingly. Don't pack any day too full with tier 1 activities so that if things take longer than planned, you won't miss out on something you really wanted to do.
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harriet




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 04 2019, 10:10 am
DrMom wrote:
I think you do... you need to edit. You can easily run yourself ragged with a schedule like you've proposed. You need to build some downtime into your planning. If nothing else, you'll need time to eat lunch, even if it's only sandwiches that you pack yourself. You have 5 kids with you.

Why davka the aquarium? It's nice, but does not compare with much nicer aquariums (aquaria?) in the US.

Also, traffic in Israel can be horrendous, esp when it rains.

I'd sort attractions into tier 1 (must-do) attractions and tier 2 (nice to do) activities and prioritize accordingly. Don't pack any day too full with tier 1 activities so that if things take longer than planned, you won't miss out on something you really wanted to do.


Davka the aquarium because the trip is for DS's bar mitzvah and it's his priority.
We are going scuba diving in Eilat on Sunday/Monday and I wanted to do Masada/Yam Hamelech on the way there but DH thinks we shouldn't because he feels we need to have to have two full days in Eilat for scuba diving (which is actually the priority even before the aquarium).

What time would we be able to get to Eilat on Sunday if we stopped off at Masada and the Yam Hamelech? Or even if we stop off only at Yam Hamelech? I feel like if we remove Masada and Yam Hamelech from the previous week, we'll have a lot more time to play with
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harriet




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 04 2019, 10:12 am
DrMom wrote:
Where are you arriving from and how long is your flight?
Where are you staying? I assume you are basing yourself somewhere in central Jerusalem (for the first few days at least)?
How are you getting around when traveling out of Jerusalem? Car rental or public transportation? This is key to understanding how much time you have to allot.

Tues looks quite busy. Are you taking an armored Egged bus to Maarat HaMachpela? Then how are you getting to Dig for a Day in Beit Guvrin afterward?

Wed looks okay with Masada + Dead Sea. I'd keep the aquarium as optional only. Kids need time to wind down, and you'll need time to drive back and forth.

Thurs: Your younger kids will not be able to enter the heart of the Blind Museum. It is for ages 9+. Maybe move Beit Guvrin Dig for a Day to his day; Combine with the Beit Guvrin caves. OR, do the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

Remember that in February, (1) it gets dark early and (2) it may rain, which can cut your activity time.

In general, my style of travel is to pick 1-2 activities/day, and allow for lots of downtime, meals, etc. I find this is more relaxed schedule is more enjoyable and works best with little kids.


I am confused by the bolded. We did not anticipate spending a tremendous amount of time at kever rochel and maarat hamachpela. Should I really be allocating an entire day to them? We just envisioned going in to each of them and davening there for thirty minutes max each place... but everyone keeps saying I can't do more than those two on one day. What am I missing?

Thanks so much for everyone's input!
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DrMom




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 04 2019, 10:16 am
harriet wrote:
Davka the aquarium because the trip is for DS's bar mitzvah and it's his priority.
We are going scuba diving in Eilat on Sunday/Monday and I wanted to do Masada/Yam Hamelech on the way there but DH thinks we shouldn't because he feels we need to have to have two full days in Eilat for scuba diving (which is actually the priority even before the aquarium).

What time would we be able to get to Eilat on Sunday if we stopped off at Masada and the Yam Hamelech? Or even if we stop off only at Yam Hamelech? I feel like if we remove Masada and Yam Hamelech from the previous week, we'll have a lot more time to play with

Where will you be for Shabbat? Maybe you can do Masada/Yam HaMelech on Friday, stay overnight in the area, and then drive down to Eilat on Sun morning or Motzei Shabbat.

Switch your chessed/photo day to Wed. and do it the same day as the aquarium. Is the chessed activity in Yerushalayim?
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harriet




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 04 2019, 10:24 am
DrMom wrote:
Where will you be for Shabbat? Maybe you can do Masada/Yam HaMelech on Friday, stay overnight in the area, and then drive down to Eilat on Sun morning or Motzei Shabbat.

Switch your chessed/photo day to Wed. and do it the same day as the aquarium. Is the chessed activity in Yerushalayim?


We're going to be in Jerusalem for Shabbat and can't switch that Sad
The chessed will be in Jerusalem.

Still not understanding why we need an entire day for kever rochel and me'erat hamachpela
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etky




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 04 2019, 10:25 am
harriet wrote:
I am confused by the bolded. We did not anticipate spending a tremendous amount of time at kever rochel and maarat hamachpela. Should I really be allocating an entire day to them? We just envisioned going in to each of them and davening there for thirty minutes max each place... but everyone keeps saying I can't do more than those two on one day. What am I missing?

Thanks so much for everyone's input!


If you get an early-ish start then you can do it.
Drive to Kever Rachel, then go back to Gilo and drive through the tunnels to Elazar, park the car in the yishuv and catch the bus to the Ma'ara from right outside the yishuv on 60.
Return with the bus to Elazar, pick up the car and drive from there to Beit Guvrin via 367 instead of returning to Jerusalem, Traffic shouldn't be bad either at these times and going in these directions. You can also stop for lunch somewhere in the Gush if you want, on the way to Beit Guvrin.
You will run into traffic on your way back into Jerusalem though after the Dig for a Day so take that into account.
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ora_43




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 04 2019, 10:33 am
If you're going to Eilat, could you do the Eilat underwater observatory instead of the Jerusalem aquarium?

Or dolphin beach? Both attractions are really nice.

Other than that, I'd try to group stuff by location more. Are "shuk" and "dinner out" on Thursday in the Tel Aviv area? If not, could those be on the same day as the kotel tours instead? IOW have a Jerusalem day, a Tel Aviv day, a Hevron day...

I think the schedule looks tight but doable. I wouldn't necessarily give up on the activities in advance, just, play it by ear and be ready to let some of them go. People might get tired (especially on the first couple days, with jet lag), or might just have so much fun in one place that they'd rather stay an extra couple hours.
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harriet




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 04 2019, 10:34 am
If there's no time to do the aquarium the same day as masada and the dead sea, would it be possible to do it on thursday with the blind museum and candy factory (and drop the shuk? and/or move the dinner out to another night?)
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harriet




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 04 2019, 10:36 am
ora_43 wrote:
If you're going to Eilat, could you do the Eilat underwater observatory instead of the Jerusalem aquarium?

Or dolphin beach? Both attractions are really nice.

Other than that, I'd try to group stuff by location more. Are "shuk" and "dinner out" on Thursday in the Tel Aviv area? If not, could those be on the same day as the kotel tours instead? IOW have a Jerusalem day, a Tel Aviv day, a Hevron day...

I think the schedule looks tight but doable. I wouldn't necessarily give up on the activities in advance, just, play it by ear and be ready to let some of them go. People might get tired (especially on the first couple days, with jet lag), or might just have so much fun in one place that they'd rather stay an extra couple hours.


Seriously hoping to do all of them Can't Believe It
This child's "passion", as he puts it, is fish and marine life in general...

I think I might take your advice (and keep some activities on the schedule but just as tenative...)
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ora_43




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Nov 04 2019, 10:37 am
harriet wrote:
We're going to be in Jerusalem for Shabbat and can't switch that Sad
The chessed will be in Jerusalem.

Still not understanding why we need an entire day for kever rochel and me'erat hamachpela

It's mostly the travel time. I wouldn't say it would take an entire day, but even if you leave fairly early it could take most of the daylight hours. Since, as others said, it gets dark around 4:30 pm.

That would still leave you time for, say, touring the shuk back in Jerusalem, if everyone has energy. Or something else that can be done in the late afternoon/ early evening.
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