General Information

Thank you for booking with the Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT)We promise to do all within our power to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have.
Please feel free to contact us, please note should any problems arise during your trip you should first contact your local emergency contact, and then Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT).We pray that your pilgrimage will meet and exceed all of your expectations.
Please share with us your positive and constructive feedback upon your return!

Thank you for your desire and readiness to visit these Holy places of grace and prayer. May the Almighty God, through the intercession of our Heavenly Mother, reward you for all the efforts you undertake to come! As we would like your trip to be as pleasant and helpful as possible. It is important to note that Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT)pilgrimages are packed full of spiritual activities and sightseeing. We do not include much free time for recreation, such as shopping. This is because our desire is to offer you the most comprehensive pilgrimage possible. However, all tours/activities are optional, and if you feel you are unable to keep up with the pace of the tour, manage the terrain, or would like free time for your own interests, you are welcome to refrain from participating in any aspects of the program you desire (of course, no refund can be issued for any aspects of the tour which you choose not to participate in).

It is also important to note that the amount of walking is significant, and the terrain varies greatly throughout our tours. You will encounter hills, mountains, unpaved streets, cobblestone streets, etc. Please prayerfully consider whether or not you are up to such physical activities prior to registering. For this reason, we would like to offer you some recommendations, and we ask you sincerely to read them carefully.

A couple of weeks before your pilgrimage, one should begin preparing physically as well as spiritually.
1 – If not accustomed to physical activity begin walking “briskly” 1-2 times a day; build up to 2-3 miles with no discomfort.
2 – If possible attend daily Mass or attempt to spend quiet time in church during lunch or after work.
3 – Pray for Jesus and His Blessed Mother to open your heart and mind to be responsive to new perspectives, ideas, their words laid on your heart, etc.
4 – Begin praying the rosary daily (Learn How to Pray the Rosary) or at least the Apostle’s Creed, 7 Our Father’s, 7 Hail Mary’s & 7 Glory Be’s as Our Lady has requested; this takes about 5-7 minutes.

All liquids, gels and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller.

All liquids, gels and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. Each traveler can use Only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag.

Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items.

Visit the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) for complete details.

General Info About Your Documents, Flights, Arrival & Travel

:

Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT) will ship your final documents to the address provided on your reservation application approximately 2-3 weeks prior to your scheduled departure date.

The package will be delivered by FedEx (can not be delivered to a PO Box). Your final documents will include your airline tickets, hotel confirmations, emergency contacts, general trip information, luggage tags, portfolio of travel documents and more. Carefully review your tickets to ensure that your name on the tickets are an exact match to that of your passport.

Please note that the name field on your tickets is Only * 19 characters long, therefore names exceeding this length will be cut off (this is not a problem, as your actual reservation contains your full name). Please also carefully review the itinerary provided to ensure that all departure and destination cities, as well as dates, are correct. Please contact Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT) immediately should any discrepancies be found.

* Please note that late payment/bookings can cause delay in the shipment of your final documents.

We recommend that you check in for your international flight three hours prior to the scheduled departure time. Passengers must personally check their luggage at the airline counter.

Please advise the airline representative of your final destination upon check in so that you will not need to claim your baggage and recheck it during flight connections. Please note that our pilgrims travel from across the USA. You will be traveling independently for all flights until your arrival at your final destination. You will not have a tour escort with you during your flights. Please be advised that Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT) attempts to centralize as many pilgrims as possible on the same flights, so you may arrive/depart on the same flights as many of your co-pilgrims (for additional information see “Arrival Procedure” below).

Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT) must book your airline reservations based on the routings provided to us by the airlines, including connection time, cities for connections, and partner carriers. Airlines determine the standard for the required minimum connecting time to transfer from one gate to another for each specific airport. At times, the connection times provided by the airlines are quite tight (i.e. 45 minutes) and require passengers to make haste during their connections. At times the airline connection times are quite long, due to the flight availability at the time of booking. While we wish we could determine the connection times for each of our clients, we are subject to the rules, regulations, and availability of the carriers we work with. We also must ensure that all reservations correspond so that each participant is able to meet the group transfer to/from the airport to hotel and hotel to airport.

We promise to do all in our power to provide you with the most convenient flight schedule available to us at the time of your booking, however, we must still follow all appropriate airline rules and regulations.

Most airlines now require that we provide e-tickets in place of paper tickets. At check-in, you should be ready to provide your flight itinerary and passport to the agent. In a few cases where e-tickets cannot be issued, you will receive your tickets in a paper form. Please note that paper tickets, and boarding passes, must be present in order to check in, and or board the plane.

Please contact the airline directly to open a mileage account and to obtain credit for the miles flown on this trip.
Health Precautions:

No inoculations are necessary when arriving Europe, Israel or Egypt from the US. But consult with your health care provider before traveling. Although the water in Israel is completely safe in order to prevent “Montezuma’s Revenge”, avoid the tap water, including ice cubes. Your stomach may still become upset due to the change in diet. Bring anti-diarrhea medicine just in case. For the latest overseas travel health information.

US State Department Travel Advisories: For up to date US State Department travel advisories you may visit: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html

After disembarkation from the plane you will clear immigration, and proceed to claim your luggage. You will exit the baggage claim into the arrival lounge where you will be greeted by driver and/or your Tour Escort displaying a board or sign with your Group (Trip) name and/or “Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT)”, and then you will be transferred to your hotel where you will meet your guide and the rest of your group. Please remember to look for the sign!

If your plane arrives late, or you are re-routed you will probably miss the group transfer which is included in your package. In such circumstances you will need to pay for your separate private transfer, which you may submit a claim to the airlines for reimbursement upon your return to the USA.

t is suggested that you attempt to travel with Only * one piece of checked luggage and one carry-on. International air carriers are becoming stricter about the size and weight of baggage and carry-on luggage. Please contact your air carrier or travel agent for specific information prior to departure as size and weight limitations vary from airline to airline and even according to destination. For your own comfort and that of fellow passengers, please limit the size of your hand luggage to 17x14x8 in. (43x36x20 cm) for easy storage on the motor coach. Porterage for one suitcase on tour is included in the tour price. Due to limited coach capacity, this single bag should have dimensions not exceeding 62 inches in overall dimensions (length+width+height) and weight not exceeding 50 lbs (23 kg). A charge of USD 3 per traveling day will be collected by the Tour Director if a second piece of baggage is carried, or if the suitcase exceeds the established weight and/or dimensions. For health reasons, porters may refuse to carry very heavy suitcases.

Carry all documents and money on your person but not all in the same place to limit the inconvenience in case of loss; do not keep money, important documents, medicines or jewelry in your suitcase; please leave valuable jewelry at home. We recommend a money belt worn inside your clothes, while touring. On departure from your hotel, remember to double check that you have your money belt with you, and that you have collected any items left in the hotel safe. Please, at all times, be as vigilant as you would be in any major city, especially in crowded places such as subways, squares or churches/cathedrals. Never leave your hand luggage unattended or out of sight in public areas, including airports, hotel lobbies or dining rooms.

Be sure to keep ALL medications in your carry-on bag during your trip in case your suit case should be lost. Keep a separate list of important numbers, i.e. passport, traveler’s checks, and credit cards, in your luggage, together with photocopies of airline tickets and the relevant pages of your passport/visas.

Keep a separate list of important numbers, i.e. passport, traveler’s checks, and credit cards, in your luggage, together with photocopies of airline tickets and the relevant pages of your passport/visas.

The same common-sense rules of safety and security apply here as to anywhere else:
Avoid excessive displays of jewelry or cash (Only * carry sufficient for daily needs)
Use room safes or leave items with the hotel manager
Make certain that any valuables are insured against theft
Avoid exploration on your own of unfamiliar streets or areas
Be especially cautious if gypsies approach you begging

Please note that traveler’s insurance is STRONGLY recommended for all Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT) pilgrims. Be advised that traveler’s insurance can not be purchased after you have paid in full for your trip. For those who have purchased Tripmate Travelers Insurance through Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT) a pamphlet will be included in your final documents. Please refer to this brochure for specific stipulations or questions.

American Express can fill most banking needs. Most banks in Israel are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 4:30pm, and a few are open Saturday; ask at your hotel for the location of the one nearest you. USD will be used throughout your trip, make sure to bring lots of $1.00 bills. Currency exchanges are also at most airports and train stations and along most of the major boulevards. They charge a small commission. Make sure to bring along a credit card for convenience and security.

Credit cards offer a very reasonable exchange rate and can be cancelled should it be lost. Visa or MasterCard, and American Express are the best options and accepted in many stores. Please be aware that Discover Card is not accepted in European countries. We recommend that you exchange some US dollars (USD) at your local bank prior to departure if possible. It is also practical and cost effective to withdraw local currency using your ATM/Debit card during your trip. ATMs are available in most of the destinations we service, and are very similar to those in USA. Most offer English as a language option. It is recommended that you contact your local bank and credit card companies before departing on your trip to advise them of your itinerary. We recommend that you refrain from exchanging money at your hotel or local change booths, as the fees are extremely high.

We are frequently asked, “How much money should I bring with me?” This is an impossible question to answer as each person is different. The type of lunches you prefer can make a big difference (restaurant vs. cafe). Are you planning on purchasing mementos for yourself or loved ones? We recommend that the minimum spending money you should bring with you / budget for, in addition to the suggested tips, is the equivalent of $ 50.00 (US Dollar) per day. Remember, you can always spend less, or bring money home!

The basic unit of currency is the Israeli New Shekel (ILS). Fluctuating exchange rate stands now approximately at one 1 US Dollar = 3.70 Israeli New Shekel. For up to date currency exchange rates please visit www.xe.com. Please note that the currency flocculation has been particularly volatile in the last year, so we strongly urge you to check the current exchange rates prior to departure.
Currency Exchange: Dollar / Euro Converter: www.xe.com

ATM machines (distributeurs /guichets automatiques) can be found at most bank branches, post offices, train stations, airports, shopping centers, etc. and are accessible 24 hrs/day. Most banks charge a commission when you withdraw money, especially if it is from the network of another bank. You should ask your bank for information about where you can use your card and what commissions are charged for withdrawing money. Note: You need a four-digit personal identification number, or PIN (six digits won’t work), to use ATMs in Isreal. If you have a six-digit code, you have to get a new one for your trip. Be sure to find out your daily withdrawal limit before you depart. Also keep in mind that many banks impose a fee every time a card is used at a different bank’s ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions (up to $5 or more) than for domestic ones. On top of this, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. For international withdrawal fees, ask your bank before you go. You can also get cash advances on your credit card at an ATM. Credit card companies try to protect themselves from theft by limiting the funds someone can withdraw outside their home country, so call your credit card company before you leave home. And keep in mind that you’ll pay interest from the moment of your withdrawal, even if you pay your monthly bills on time.

There is 16% value added tax on most goods and services in Israel. At retail stores, this tax is always already included in the price. Upon making a purchase of $50.00 or more at a gift store that has an agreement with the VAT authorities, you should fill out a form at the store and have it stamped there. You will be eligible, upon presenting the form and the item, for a 16% refund at the airport prior to departure. Do not pack these gift items in your luggage. They should be kept in your hand luggage. By the way, tourist services, such as hotel accommodations and meals taken in hotels, paid with foreign currency are exempt from VAT tax.

Israel’s sales tax, or VAT (value-added tax), is 16%, but you can get most of that back if you spend the required amount or more at any participating retailer. You must be over 15 years old, and you must present a passport. The name of the refund is détaxe, meaning exactly what it says. You never really get the full 16% back, but you can come close. After you spend the required minimum amount, ask for your détaxe papers. Fill out the forms before you arrive at the airport for departure. Be sure to have the forms stamped at the airport customs desks. The customs official may ask to see your purchases so it’s best to have them in your carry-on bag. Mail the stamped forms at the airport (the store provides an envelope) and the refund process has begun (note – this is Only * if Israel is your final point of departure back to the U.S.). For additional information on the VAT refund http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VAT All refunds are processed at the final point of departure. Mark the paperwork to request that your refund be applied to your credit card so you aren’t stuck with a check in Israeli New Shekel (ILS). Even if you made the purchase in cash, you can still get the refund on a credit card. This ensures the best rate of exchange. You can get cash in some airports, but if you don’t take the cash in Israeli New Shekel (ILS), you’ll lose money on the transaction. If you’re considering a major purchase, ask the store policy before you get too involved — or be willing to waive your right to the refund.

Tips are an important part of earnings for your escorts, guides and bus drivers. Due to devaluation of US dollar, we noted that general tipping for this year has changed to as follows (for budgeting purposes we recommend that you follow our tipping guide below:
We recommended the following tipping schedule for Group Travelers:
• Guide: $5 per person per day
• Driver: $3 per person per day
• Hotels: $2 per person per day
• Restaurants: $1 per person per restaurant

We recommended the following tipping schedule for Individual Travelers:

• Guide: $10-$20 per person per day // Driver: $10-$10 per person per day
Tip envelopes are enclosed for your convenience. Almost all restaurants include tax and a 15%service charge (service compris) in their prices. If a meal or service has been particularly good, leaving another 1 Israeli shekel (ILS) per person per day. (or 2) is customary, as is leaving the waiter the small change from your bill if you pay in cash. If service is not included a 15% tip is appropriate. In hotels, tip porters is included of 2 Israeli shekel (ILS) per person per day. for each bag and chambermaids. If you are using a Taxi, drivers should be given 10-15% of the metered fare. Tip hairdressers 10%, assistant 5%. Small tips are reasonable for cloakroom and washroom attendants, ushers and museum tour guide. When and if your group has a completely free day(s) and escort sees them Only * for a couple of hours or during the dinner time, then it is really at your discretion what amount you should tip them. As normally most clients calculate a total amount of tip for escort for total days serviced – when, escort does less hours it normally compensates the days with longer hours, which often happens when escorts are touring.

Rooms may be smaller than you are used to based on The Holy Land standards. Mini-bar items and access to pay TV channels are at your own expense. In some hotels, key cards operate the room lighting systems and/or the elevator. Fixtures in bathrooms and bedrooms are not standardized. While most hotels do offer a hair dryer in the bathroom, we recommend bring one if it is essential to you. Most hotels do toiletries (shampoo, lotion), we strongly recommend that you bring an adequate supply with you.
Please note that while we do request non-smoking rooms for our clients, European and The Holy Land hotels are less stringent about enforcing these rules.

Remember to frequently check your hotel bulletin board for important information, suggestions, or any last-minute changes from your tour escort.

The voltage used is 220 volts AC, single phase 50 cycles (the U.S. uses 110/120 volts). Unless you use a good quality electric current converter, the heavier voltage will instantly burn out any electrical equipment you wish to use abroad. Before leaving home, you will need to purchase an international adapter so your two-prong plug will connect to the various local electrical supply outlets (check that it is sufficiently powerful for your appliance), and a converter to convert the 220 volts to 110 volts. Adapter/converter kits that include the entire range of plugs can be purchased at better electrical supply stores. Stores such as Radio Shack, Walmart, K-Mart, Target sell adapter/converter kits readily. Buying electrical devices in foreign places is not recommended unless you are sure that the current they use is compatible with the current at home. It will likely cost you more than the original price to have an appliance converted.

Telephones:
The telephone country code for Israel is +972 (from US 011 + 972 followed by the city code and telephone number)
Cell Telephones: You may bring your cellular phone, but make sure to contact your wireless phone provider and inform them, that you will be traveling out of the country (giving them destinations). Most have an “international plan” if not get one for the trip. This will allow you to make calls to the United States while you are out of the country using your wireless phone.

Hotel Telephones:

While telephones offer convenience, they do tend to cost substantially more than public phones. You may choose to utilize a calling card to be more cost efficient, however, be advised that most hotels charge a connection fee which ranges from 1.00 – 5.00 Israeli shekel (ILS) for such calls.

Public Telephones:

Public phones are found in cafes, restaurants, Métro stations, post offices, airports, and train stations, and occasionally on the streets. Finding a coin-operated telephone in Israel is an arduous task. A simpler and more widely accepted method of payment is the télécarte, a prepaid calling card available at kiosks, post offices, and Métro stations and costing 7.50 Israeli New Shekel (ILS) – 15 Israeli New Shekel (ILS) ($9.75-$20) for 50 and 120 units, respectively. A local call costs one unit, which provides you 6 to 18 minutes of conversation, depending on the rate. Avoid making calls from your hotel, which might double or triple the charges. To make a direct international call, first dial 00, listen for the tone, and then slowly dial the country code, the area code, and the local number. The country code for the U.S. and Canada is 1. A reasonable way to communicate.

Known as WC, and available in most tourist locations. Be prepared with tissues in your pocket at all times. Also, be aware that some public toilets are manned/ woman-ed by attendants who ask for a small “user’s fee”.

if you are bringing a digital camera, make sure to bring extra batteries. If not digital, remember to bring plenty of film (200 or 400 speed is recommended for outdoor and indoor-flash photography). Photography is not allowed in some museums and in some security-conscious facilities.

Be wary of any person approaching you offering unofficial taxi services. If you do not have an airport transfer included and you need transportation, make your way to the official taxi desk or to the regular taxi line outside the terminal; choose Only * those vehicles with a meter and a taxi sign. We recommend you pre-negotiate the fare, as taxi drivers in some countries may attempt to overcharge unwary travelers.

Shopping Hours:

Department stores are open Mon-Sat 9:00-6:30. Some shops close 12:00-2:30. Food shops open 7:00-6:30 or 7:30. Some food shops (particularly bakers) open Sunday mornings, in which case they will probably close Monday. Many shops close all day Monday or Monday afternoon. Hypermarkets are normally open until 9:00 or 10:00.

Shopping:

Many stores in The Holy Land are also closed from sundown on Saturdays. Stores are open daily from Monday to Saturday. Some observe a “siesta” from 1pm to 4pm, re-opening until 7pm. Some malls close later in the day and are open Saturdays after sundown. Ask your tour escort for regional specialties products which the countries/cities in your itinerary are known for.

Enjoy some stress-free Christmas shopping during your travels; small, light items that you can easily carry home make splendid and festive gifts. Don’t forget to buy something nice for yourself too, to take home to evoke pleasant memories of your vacation abroad.

If you purchase a video or DVD, please check very carefully that it is compatible with your home viewing system (for USA and Canada – VHS NTSC and DVD region 1.

Sales tax or VAT (value added tax) is already included on price tags; VAT refunds, if applicable, may sometimes take up to three months to process.

Whenever traveling abroad, be aware of your personal belongings when shopping in crowded areas.

U.S. citizens who have been in The Holy Land and Europe for more than two days may return to the United States with up to $800 worth of merchandise duty-free. For those who wish to bring more home with them, a flat rate of 3% duty is levied on the next $1,000 worth of purchases. It’s a good idea to retain the receipts from your purchases should they be requested by a Customs Inspector upon your return to the United States. For details visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel.

Most European and The Holy Land countries tend to dine later than we are accustom to. Please expect that your dinners will be scheduled around 7:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Most breakfasts are buffet style. Unlike in the USA, it is frowned upon to take food out of the breakfast room. Most dinners will be served “sit down” with a pre-determined 3 or 4 course meal. Your meals include iced tap water and coffee or tea. All other beverages, including bottled water, will be at additional cost. While some restaurants may be able to provide for a special diet, such as vegetarian or salt-free, there is no way for us to guarantee this. Please note, vegetarian meals tend to lack variety and imagination.

Check with your tour guide or concierge for a list of good restaurants. Food is generally safe to eat. Should you want to feel “at home”, many American franchises now operate in Portugal and France: Burger King, McDonalds, Subway, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and more.

What If...& Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I lose my ticket?

If you should lose your ticket prior to your departure date please contact Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT) immediately. We will fax a copy of your original ticket to the airlines. You will need to arrive at the airport extra early and sign a Lost Ticket Indemnity Form, and pay the airlines a $100 reissuing fee. If you should lose your ticket during your trip please immediately inform your tour escort who will advise us, so that we may follow the same procedure.


What should I do if my flight is cancelled or delayed?

If your flight is cancelled or delayed it is imperative that you work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights or protection. Please note that once your tickets have been issued or you have check-in for your flights, Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT) can no longer make any changes to your flight itinerary. This can Only * be done by the airlines. In such case, remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so be persistent. However, it is important to remember that it is not the airline agents fault, so try your best to remain courteous to them, as you may find that you receive more assistance this way. Please be advise that the airlines are not required to offer reimbursement for personal expense or overnights when delays/cancellations occur due to weather. We strongly recommend the purchase of Traveler’s Insurance for this reason. However, if you find that you have no luck with the airline personnel, please contact Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT) and we shall do all in our power to assist you.


What should I do if I miss my flight due to my late arrival at my departure airport?

If you should miss your flight, due to your own late arrival at your departure airport, it is imperative that you work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights. You will incur additional costs (minimum of $200 per person) for such changes. Please note that you should contact Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT) once your alternate arrangements have been made so that we may arrange for a private transfer (at your expense) if necessary.


What should I do if I miss my flight due to my late arrival at my departure airport?

If you should miss your flight, due to your own late arrival at your departure airport, it is imperative that you work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights. You will incur additional costs (minimum of $200 per person) for such changes. Please note that you should contact Nativity Tours and Travel (NTT) once your alternate arrangements have been made so that we may arrange for a private transfer (at your expense) if necessary.


What happens if I have a problem or complaint during my trip?

If you have any problems, concerns, or complaints during your trip, please communicate them IMMEDIATELY to your tour escort. Your tour escort is at your disposal to assist you with all your needs including issues with your hotel room, meals, etc. Remember, there is very little that can be done to undo a problem once you have returned home, but, most of the time your tour escort can address any concerns you may have swiftly. However, if the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction by your tour escort, then please contact our office.


What should I do if I want to change my ticket?

If you would like to change your ticket for any reason once it has been issued you MUST work DIRECTLY with the airlines. You will incur additional costs (minimum of $200 per person) for such changes.
For more on our general terms and conditions visit www.206tours.com/terms
Note:
Though every effort will be made to follow the itinerary, it should be considered as an indication of the tour, rather than a contract of places to be visited. Occasionally local religious holidays, national days, traffic conditions and other events may necessitate changes in the sequence of visits or the missing of certain visits.

We will have daily Mass and strive to be in places as indicated. However, sometimes this is not possible as the site may not be available for Mass or itinerary changes are forced upon us. In this case an alternative site for Mass will be arranged.

Our intention is to operate all Pilgrimages to Israel, as listed below, however, from time to time, due to the state of affairs in the area, departure may be cancelled, in which case, all money would be refunded.

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