Why visit with Travel2Palestine?
We believe that the best way – possibly the only way – to grasp what is happening in Palestine is to go there and see the checkpoints, the wall, the refugee camps, the settlements, and talk to Palestinians and Israelis. It’s not just a humanitarian crisis that can be solved by providing volunteers and international aid. It’s a political problem that can only be solved when people involved in politics go there to see for themselves and to understand what needs to be done.
We started Travel2Palestine to give people an opportunity to travel around Palestine in a way that would be extremely difficult to do as a lone traveller. It is also a chance to make new friends – Palestinian, Israeli and other political party members and learn from expert organisers and Palestinian and Israeli guides.
It is a political tour in several ways:
- Firstly, seeing and learning about the political situation in Palestine and Israel.
- Secondly, meeting politicians, particularly national and regional politicians.
- Thirdly, travelling with fellow politicians and people involved in politics so you can discuss together what the political response should be and how we should respond, developing and deepening your understanding throughout the trip.
What will I see?
Over 400 people have visited with us and we around a 98% approval rating for our visits from past delegates.
During the visit you will:
- See and visit checkpoints and the Wall
- Meet with Palestinian and Israeli politicians at national and regional level
- Discuss life with Palestinians whose lives are affected by the occupation
- See the impact of settlements on Palestinian businesses, farms and homes
- Hear from experts such as the UN, Defence of Children International and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
How much will it cost?
The cost will be the price of your plane journey (we usually fly Easy Jet to Tel Aviv) plus the costs of the visit. This depends on the length of time (visits vary between 4 and 8 days), but this is usually in the region of £590-800.
Included in the Cost:
- Accommodation for 5 nights
- Transportation for the official programme
- Transportation to and from the airport (at a specific time as advised – at other times it is not covered)
- One dinner
- Palestinian and Israeli guides for programme
- International airfare;
- Lunch (around £30 for the week) and dinner (from £15 to £90 for the week depending on choice – street food or restaurant food)
- Transportation in the evenings or off-programme (for example, taxis to restaurants)
- Postage costs (normally around £15)
- Health or travel insurance. All participants must ensure that they have health and travel insurance in advance.
- Some visitors like to give donations to organisations that they meet. If you wish to do so, please bring personal funds
How much spending money should I take?
Most of your costs – such as hotel bed and breakfast and travel during the visit – are included. You will need some money for lunches and dinners, though we are sometimes provided with lunch or dinner by host Palestinians. When we do go out to eat, you can choose between a falafel at a stall for 80 pence or a restaurant meal for around £10. Most people take about £100 worth of spending money but often find they don’t spend it all. If you want to buy presents there are many lovely gifts and it is worth taking extra.
Where do you stay?
We stay in Ramallah, with one night spent in Jerusalem. This allows you to experience life inside Palestine (including the night-life if you like) and helps to keep your costs lower, as hotels are generally cheaper in Ramallah than Jerusalem.
How do you travel?
We are driven by private bus by Palestinians from East Jerusalem. The travel costs are covered for the visit. If you want to take taxis during the evening, that will be an additional (small) cost, but we often walk to restaurants in the evening too.
Can I drink alcohol?
In Ramallah and Jerusalem many restaurants serve wine and beer and a number of bars that cater particularly for the NGO Europeans. Some shops sell alcohol too. You’ll not be surprised to learn there is not a ‘heavy drinking’ culture though.
What should I wear?
Dress code is pretty relaxed in Palestinian areas. Generally you will feel comfortable in shirts with a sleeve and you should avoid tops that show your chest area and upper arms (neither men nor women should wear vest tops). Knee length or below skirts and trousers are very suitable. Women may wish to take a shawl to cover their heads when visiting religious sites.
In some orthodox Jewish areas of Jerusalem, such as Mea She’arim, women are required to wear long sleeved shirts and skirts. Men are also expected to dress modestly. We don’t usually travel to these areas in our visits, but you may wish to visit on your additional days.
You should take smart casual clothes for meeting with politicians. You won’t be expected to wear formal suits.
Is it safe?
Although no guarantee can be given, we have never experienced any major security problems during any of our delegations in the West Bank. Of course when you are in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, you are in an occupied territory and there are clearly many tensions between soldiers, settlers and locals. But generally speaking, there are low numbers of incidents affecting internationals. The group most at risk are Palestinians. We travel with guides and drivers who are Palestinian or Israeli and know the area well and understand all the security issues. Please do follow their advice and the advice of our organisers all the time. The vast majority of our visitors have commented afterwards that they felt safe all the time.
You can read the safety advice from the Foreign Office here>
There are inherent dangers in attending demonstrations due to the tear gas, rubber bullets, sometimes live ammunition used by the Israeli Army. If you attend a demonstration you do so at your own risk. But we can offer advice on how to minimize that risk.
It is worth adding that street crime is very low.
What if anything goes wrong?
We will do our best to ensure that you have an interesting and enjoyable stay. We don’t expect anything to go wrong but if it does we will do our very best to help. But we can not cover the costs if you incur unexpected problems, for example missing a flight or becoming ill. Everyone who comes on our visits must take out travel insurance. Most insurance companies seem to cover the occupied Palestinian territory, but do double-check directly with the insurer before you buy.
Some insurance companies you could consider (although we are not in a position to recommend them)
www.worldnomads.com – recommended by Lonely Planet and partnered by Rough Guides
www.letsgoinsure.co.uk – judging by Which? reports may offer better pricing for older travellers
Are your visits ethical?
We do follow the Palestinians code of conduct when travelling.
It is very important to ensure that – whatever the nature of your visit – you make sure it is ethical and considerate. Read the Palestinians’ code of conduct for travellers and the travel business>
The official website on tourism in Palestine>
I’m young and/or Arab/Asian – will I be able to visit?
There is no doubt that Israeli airport security do employ ethnic and age profiling techniques, and if you are young, Asian, Arab and/or Muslim you are more likely to be asked questions than someone older/white/Christian or Jewish – though still not very likely. On the whole this will not prevent you visiting and will be an inconvenience rather than a barrier.
Most Muslim members of our delegations have entered without being questioned. A very small number of people are refused entry, but this remains rare.
We offer extensive advice on how to make your visit– including your entry into Israel and Palestine – as easy as possible.
I’m an older person – is the visit suitable for me?
We’ve had delegates ranging from 18 years old to early 80s. There is no doubt that it is a very intensive experience, physically and emotionally. Most people find the visit enormously rewarding …. and exhausting. We try our best to balance the wish to ensure you have a comprehensive overview with all of our needs for breaks and relief.Many of the visits are on foot and the terrain is not always flat. If you would like to discuss whether you will be able to cope, or whether you want a visit slightly tailored to you or to a group, then please email email@example.com
Is Travel2Palestine a charity?
We aren’t a charity but we are a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee. We submit our accounts to Companies House.
We make no profit from the visits. In fact our Directors and other donors make regular financial contributions to the running of the organization.
There are currently no paid staff, but we cover the incurred costs of volunteers and organisers.
Sounds great! What now?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your phone number and he will be able to answer any further questions and start organising your visit!
You can also join our mailing list – sign up to our emails about visits