When you leave home, make sure you take with you your valid passport. You can forget anything else, but you can never forget your passport. A person without a passport, is a person without a country. Please ensure your passport is signed in the correct place. Do not pack your passport in your suitcase. Carry it with you at all times. Certain hotels might require holding your passport for duration of time during registration. (Special tip: Make two copies of your passport. Leave one copy at home and pack the other one in your suitcase).
If you are taking any prescription medicine, take it with you (ample supply). More importantly, do not pack it in your luggage but carry it with you.
Make sure to take your camera and/or video camera as well as a good supply of film. You could buy film anywhere you go but it is more expensive than home. You will have an ample opportunity to take as many pictures or movies as you’d like. Back home, they will help relive your travel experiences over and over again.
Enclosed is a list of all hotels along with addresses, telephone numbers and fax numbers. Make sure a copy is left with your relatives back home, in the event they want to get in touch with you during the trip.
HOW TO PACK:
Pack in layers – start with the heavy and odd shaped items. Fill in any empty spaces with small objects. Then work up to the top, finishing with the lightest items. Place tissue paper between garments to eliminate the necessity of pressing.
Liquids have a tendency to expand at high altitudes. If you can not transfer your liquids to plastic bottles, make sure your bottles are only three-quarters full and caps are screw-on types instead of corks. For still greater safety put all liquid and cream containers in ziploc bags. Plastic bags are also useful for your damp washcloth or bathing suit and are ideal for your shoes.
Formal clothing is not required, however for certain occasions, especially if taking a cruise, formal clothing is a good possibility (for example, tie & jacket). We recommend that you travel as light as possible by taking “wash and wear” items.
The Middle East has a temperature climate similar to Southern California’s; Western Europe has temperature similar to most areas of the United States. Choose your wardrobe according to the kind of climate you would expect to find at similar times of the year in the United States. If you plan to take a cruise, keep in mind that temperatures are always cooler on board ship. Be sure to take an extra shawl along, as it is necessary to cover bare arms when entering religious places. “Wash and wear” dresses, blouses and undergarments are best.
Do not buy anything new for the trip. Bring only clothes that have been worn and washed and in which you feel comfortable. If you must buy some new clothes, buy them well before the trip and wear them a few times. Under no circumstances buy shoes just before the departure.
If you are going to the Holy Land and plan to be baptized at the Jordan River or if you have a chance to take a dip into the Dead Sea, make sure you bring with you a bathing suit and sandals.
If you are a couple traveling together, do not pack “his” and “hers” suitcases. Split each suitcase in two and pack clothes for both of you. Suitcases do occasionally get lost or “miss-routed” and by packing in this manner you reduce the possibility of one of you being left without any clothes.
Porterage will be limited to one checked luggage, not to exceed 50 lbs, (H+W+L) 158 cm (62 in). Plus one carry-on not to exceed 20 lbs, 55X40X20 cm (22X16X8 in) as well as 1 accessory (e.g. handbag, laptop computer, or camera). Due to security reasons, especially through port and airports, customs require that you carry your own suitcase. These procedures are strictly enforced. Please note that no porterage is available in certain Tourist Class hotels.
Make sure you are at the airport no later than 2 hours prior to departure. There is no pre-assignment of seats for groups. While every effort is made to have the entire group seated together, this is not always the case. Any special requests such as meals or any other special assistance must be made to TriStar Tours no later than 30-days prior to departure. Approximately 2 hours after the flight takes off, you will be served dinner.
Upon arrival at your destination, go through immigration and then proceed to the luggage area indicated for your flight. Wait until everyone has his/hers luggage and then proceed as a group through customs. As soon as you get out of the customs, our representative will direct you to your bus where you will meet with your guide/escort and driver. Before you get on the bus, make sure your luggage is placed underneath your bus.
Make sure your luggage has a proper identification tag from TriStar Tours and you wear your nametag at all times. This will give everyone in the group a chance to get acquainted and will help us keep track of the party and facilitate the group’s passage through the various customs points.
Since most of your local travel arrangements are included in the tour price, there is no need to carry a large amount of money unless you are planning to do a lot of shopping.
Do not obtain too much local currency in any country, as it may sometimes be inconvenient or difficult to reconvert. In each country, please check with your local escort/guide if hotels, restaurants and shops, prefer to get paid in US $ or local currency. Most of the European countries are now using Euros. Please check with your Escort/Guide as far as the exchange rate VS the dollar.
Remember also, you can use credit cards such as American Express, Master Card, Visa, etc. in most cities overseas. If you plan to do a lot of shopping, using your credit cards, it is a good idea to advice your credit card company, prior to your departure, of your intentions. Due to the credit card fraud, companies follow more closely any special activities on the credit cards. You might also be able to obtain local currency by using your ATM card. Please check with your bank.
The voltage overseas and on board ship is not always adaptable. If you use electric razor or travel iron, be sure you purchase an adapter plug and converter (easily obtainable at department or hardware stores) before leaving the United States which can be used with 50 cycle – 220 voltage (in the US it is 60 cycle – 110 voltage).
Check with your provider if you will be able to use your cell-phone overseas. You might have to tell them the countries you will be visiting for them to activate your phone for those countries. You might also want to check the cost of this service as it tends to be much higher than local calls.
In some of the countries you might be able to buy phone cards. Check with your local Tour Escort/Guide. If you are able to buy them, use them, they are the most reasonable.