Visiting the Holy Land

photo 1We leave for Tel Aviv this evening and arrive tomorrow at 2:40 p.m. local time. Weeks ago, we began mapping out must-see and do attractions to ensure there’s time to accomplish them all; although it’s never set in stone, a loose itinerary is a handy thing. We’re in-country for only 2.5 days, so our timeline is aggressive. I’m confident that it’s possible to achieve a comprehensive trip, considering the close proximity of sites in Israel.

Safety first!

Regardless of where I go overseas, my pre-departure checklist includes registering with State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Documenting travel plans this way helps the U.S. government assist during an emergency. And I appreciate receiving State’s country-specific updates via text and email, before and during a trip.

U.S. government employees are more restricted and possibly more likely targets of violence than average American travelers in high-risk regions, but everyone should be vigilant – especially at conflict-prone religious sites, in congested areas and near street protests. Gaza is controlled by terrorist organization Hamas and U.S. officials cannot provide timely assistance there, so we will not attempt to explore that area. There is no central number for police services in the West Bank, so we’ll be extra careful in Bethlehem.

Bottom line: don’t you worry, Mom! I promise to share a blog post daily so you know we’re all good.


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