The following are some health and safety tips to help you prepare for your time in the Holy Land. Many of these items are simple common sense reminders, other have specific bearing to the region. Questions? Contact us.
Protection from Sun – The intensity of the sun in the Holy Land from the spring to autumn is quite strong. For fair-skinned individuals, it is important to wear lightweight clothes that cover arms, shoulders and the neck. Bringing a pair of high-quality sunglasses and a brimmed hat is strongly recommended.
Drinking Water – Tap water in all of the hotels that you will be staying in during your pilgrimage is clean. However, it is always a good idea to drink bottled water.
Dehydration is one of the most common health concerns for pilgrims coming to the Holy Land, especially those from northern, colder climates. The combination of travelling in hot, dry heat and adjusting to a new diet can often lead to dehydration. Drink water frequently and when needed, and consider bringing along salt tablets if you.
Adjusting to Food – Food served in most restaurants in the Holy Land is similar to that served in Western countries. However, those with sensitive stomachs should consider bringing along over-the-counter medication to offset any digestive discomfort that may occur.
Jet Lag – Planning on rest as much as possible during the first two days of your pilgrimage will help overcome jet lag to help prepare you for the rest of the pilgrimage. Remember that you will be flying into the next day enroute from North America, meaning that you will lose a full day to time adjustments along with the actual hours of travel, and then will fly into the current day on our return home. Your pilgrimage tour leaders will work with Nativity Pilgrimage to work as much time for rest into the schedule as possible. Remember to give yourself time to adjust to being at home once you return from your pilgrimage!
Bathrooms and Public Restrooms – Bathrooms in the restaurants and hotels will be of a similar standard to those back in your home. There are relatively few public restrooms in the Holy Land, but every church with the exception of the Holy Sepulchre will have a restroom. It is recommend to bring wet wipes and anti-bacterial gel with you at all times.
Passport – You will need your passport with you throughout the pilgrimage. It is a good idea to keep it on your person at all times, or to keep it in the lockbox of your hotel room if the guide tells you that it is permissible to not have your passport with you on a certain day of touring.
Protection Against Theft – There are a few locations in Jerusalem where pickpockets are known to operate. Keep your wallet or purse fastened, and close to your person, and be careful of anyone who appears to be trying to make physical contact with you in an unusual manner. Tell your guide or group leader immediately if you suspect someone is trying to steal items from you, or if you have lost an item to theft.
Lost Items – It is extremely difficult for lost items to be recovered by their owners while on pilgrimage. If you have lost insured items that need reports, please inform the guide and group leader directly. There are tourism police units working in all districts of the Holy Land.
Regional Safety and Security – The Holy Land is a safe place to visit. Even during periods of conflict, tourists and pilgrims have come to the Holy Land and returned safely to their homes without the slight concern. Your tour organizer and Nativity Pilgrimage will monitor the security situation at all times and let you know should any changes in the pilgrimage itinerary should need to be made. When you arrive in the Holy Land, you may be surprised to see the amount of armed police, soldiers and security forces in the country, as well as the existence of military-styled fortifications and walls. Do not be alarmed by this; while unfortunate it is part of the daily life of the Holy Land.