The best – possibly the only – way to grasp what is happening in occupied Palestine is to go there and meet the people, see the checkpoints, the wall, the refugee camps and the settlements.
Palestine is a hugely rewarding destination.
That is why many travellers return year after year. Because there is nowhere else like it in the world. And many travellers return as an act of solidarity as well as to maintain friendships made on their tour. But if you do visit, it is essential that you use your opportunity to learn from the people who live there, and share their stories when you return.
Travel is not possible at the moment, due to COVID, but we are planning tours in the Autumn, 2021. Read more about tours.
We hope you do visit – either with us or independently – so here are some answers to some of the questions you may have.
Should I visit Palestine?
Why visit Palestine?
it is a well kept secret that the Palestinian people are hugely friendly and welcoming; you can explore extraordinary history without being mobbed by crowds. And it gives you an opportunity to learn about one of the world’s longest running occupations. Find out more about what to see and do on your tour.
Most people who do so visit partly as an act of solidarity. And it is important to be respectful and sensitive to the historical and ongoing challenges faced by this occupied people.
Can you travel at the moment?
From the UK we currently (May 2021) are unable to travel to Palestine or Israel because of COVID. We hope and expect these restrictions will have eased in time for our Autumn tours, and we are so excited to start sharing Palestine and Israel with our visitors again!
You can see our planned tours on our tour pages.
Is it safe?
Our tours are run very safely because we follow the advice of the Foreign Office and benefit from the local knowledge of our guides and colleagues. Our visitors have commented afterwards that they felt safe and well looked after all the time.
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 there are a very low numbers of incidents affecting internationals. The group most at risk of harm are Palestinians.
Read our advice on how to stay safe during a visit to occupied Palestine, Is it safe to visit Palestine?
I’m young and/or Arab/Asian/black – will I be able to visit?
There is no doubt that Israeli airport/border security do employ ethnic and age profiling techniques, and if you are young, black, Asian, Arab and/or Muslim you are more likely to be questioned than someone older / of white European heritage. On the whole this will not prevent you visiting and will be an inconvenience rather than a barrier. We have an article with some advice of what to be aware of.
Most Muslim members of our delegations have entered without being questioned. A tiny number of people have been 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. Have a chat with us if this is of concern for you.
I’m an older person – can I visit?
We’ve had delegates ranging from 18 years old to early 80s. There is no doubt that visiting Palestine – due to the occupation – is an intense experience: physically, intellectually and emotionally. Most people find the visit enormously rewarding …. and exhausting.
On our tours, we balance the wish to give 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Will my social media be an issue?
One of the good things about travelling with us is we can give you lots of advice about this kind of issue. It is not as big a problem as you might imagine.
Can I visit Gaza?
We have personally visited Gaza in the past, and it is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with a wonderful climate, warm and interesting residents and sensational beaches. But unlike the other regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea it is unfortunately not open to general visitors. The only people who can get an Israeli visa into Gaza (who, along with Egypt, control the borders) are NGO aid workers and journalists. And often not even them. Politicians are routinely blocked from entering, which prevents proper international monitoring of the situation.
Most often we only hear about Gaza when violence occurs between Israel and combatants. But this coverage often ignores the fact that the vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza are not involved in the conflict, and the fact that the reason for continued flare ups is because the situation in Gaza is unliveable. Millions of people packed into a densely populated strip, prevented from leaving, given insufficient access to clean water and power, often unable to find jobs to sustain their families. More than a million of those living in Gaza are refugees who lost their former homes in now Israel.
We recommend finding out more about the situation in Gaza before you visit the West Bank including East Jerusalem. Because it is important to remember that Gaza is a part of occupied Palestine, and any solutions will need to resolve the situation in Gaza too.
Our hearts are with the people enclosed in Gaza, and we look forward to a time we can visit them again and – more importantly – they are no longer prevented from visiting us.
Over 450 people have visited with us.. And we have achieved over a 97% approval rating for our visits from past delegates.
When I get there …
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 and some establishments provide garments for visitors.
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.
On Travel2Palestine tours be sure to take smart casual clothes for meeting with politicians. You won’t be expected to wear formal suits.
Can I drink alcohol?
In Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem – the cities where we stay overnight – many restaurants serve wine and beer and a number of bars 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 if anything goes wrong?
Before you travel to Palestine – with us or independently – you should make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance in place that covers the occupied West Bank. Many insurance companies 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)
What about healthcare?
Visit your health professional before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. However, most people don’t need to take any health measures. The general advice is to make sure you are up-to-date with your routine immunisation. This includes vaccinations against COVID.
Detailed health advice about Israel
Detailed health advice about Palestine
You should drink bottled or sterilised water when you are there. And we normally avoid uncooked food, such as salads or fruits, as it is not much fun if you get a stomach upset.
You must make sure you have taken out adequate travel insurance, including health insurance. Healthcare is very expensive in Israel, and it is not worth the risk to your future finances.
What will I need when I get there?
We’ve produced a guide on what to pack and – as important – what NOT to take to Palestine!
About Travel2Palestine Tours
We started Travel2Palestine in 2011 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 fellow travellers – and learn from expert organisers and local guides.
Travel2Palestine have taken more than 450 people to see the occupation and conflict for themselves. We can organise visits for Labour, Conservative,Liberal Democrat, trade unions or other political groups. We also organise regular visits that individuals can sign up for.
Why do you call it a political tour?
It is a political tour in several ways:
- Seeing and learning about the political situation in Palestine and Israel
- Meeting politicians
- Travelling with fellow politicians and people involved in politics so you can discuss together what the political response should be, developing and deepening your understanding throughout the visit
If you are into politics it will be the right visit for you. You absolutely don’t need to be a member of a political party, but of course you are welcome if you are!
Are your visits ethical?
We 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>
What will I see on your Encounter Palestine tour?
Some of the things you will do on our Encounter Palestine visit include:
See the Wall and enter a checkpoint
Meet with Palestinian and Israeli politicians at national and regional level
Discuss the realities with Palestinians whose lives are blighted by the occupation
Learn about the impact of Israeli settlements, closures and ID system
Hear from experts such as the UN, Military Court Watch and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
How big are your groups on the tour?
Our visits are small, normally around 8-9 but never more than 16. They are run by experts, people with many years of experience of working on this important issue.
Is Travel2Palestine a charity?
We are not a charity but we are a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee. We submit our accounts to Companies House.
We rely on donations towards the cost of running of the organisation. We would welcome your support!
A very powerful experience. Completely exhausting, absolutely devastating, but incredible as a way of gaining knowledge and essential for understanding this part of the world today.Amy McDonnell
The cost will be the price of your plane journey which you book yourself (we usually fly Easy Jet to Tel Aviv) plus the costs of the visit. The usual cost applies of £750 (includes all hotels, lunches, and itinerary related transport inside Israel / Palestine). There is a cheaper rate of £690 for young people and a higher rate of £820 if you need a single roo
The finer details
Where do you stay?
For our Encounter Palestine tour we stay in hotels in Bethlehem, Jerusalem or Ramallah. On our tours of northern Israel we stay in hotels in Nazareth.
How do you travel?
We are driven in a 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.
How much will it cost?
The usual cost applies is £780, there is a cheaper rate of £690 for young people and a higher rate of £870 if you need a single room.
What is included in the cost?
- Accommodation for the duration of the programme
- Transportation for the official programme
- Transportation to and from the airport at Tel Aviv (at a specific time as advised – at other times it is not covered)
- Breakfast and lunch
- Palestinian and Israeli guides for programme
What isn’t included is:
- Your airfare
- 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 dinners. When we do go out to eat, you can choose between a falafel at a stall for £1 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.
Sounds great! What now?
If you’d like to consider joining one of tours have a look at our Encounter Palestine Tour and our Palestinian Citizens of Israel Tour. You can have a chat with us or send us an email for more information.
Or you can go right ahead and check availability on the tour of your choice. We will then get back to you with more details once we’ve received your request.
Join our mailing list
You can also join our mailing list – sign up to our emails about visits, which will make sure you know about and can sign up for all of our latest tours.
Look forward to meeting you!
Any other questions? It is not possible to cover everything so if you want to know about something we haven’t mentioned, get in touch!