Why You Should Hire a Tour Guide in Israel – Part 2

Car in front of our jeep in the Golan Heights
Even when you go off-road in this country, you might hit traffic!
In Part 1 of this post, I highlighted two of my top five reasons you should hire a tour guide for your visit to Israel. I spoke about a tour guide’s ability to take you to places off the beaten track — places you would probably never have visited on your own, but which were still well worth the visit. I also mentioned our constantly up-to-date knowledge of what is happening in this country. Furthermore, articles written on websites like this one https://www.riderslodge.net/2021/01/top-benefits-of-hiring-a-local-tour-guide/ shows how many advantages there are to hiring a local tour guide.

Here are three more types of added value that tour guides in Israel can offer you.

Time is Money

When tourists come on vacation, they want to enjoy themselves during their time here. Whether they come to learn the history, experience the culture, or just lay on the beach, wasted time means their vacation won’t be all they want it to be.

As professional tour guides, we take our responsibilities to our tourists seriously. When we agree on certain sites to see, we make sure we actually get to all of them. And not just a “drive-by” visit; one of the most frustrating things for a tour guide is being unable to adequately guide a site due to time or other constraints.

Licensed Israel Tour Guide Joel Haber at the Makhtesh HaGadol / Large Makhtesh
Guiding during Sukkot at the Makhtesh HaGadol / Large Makhtesh, in the northern Negev desert.
Luckily, since we travel the length and breadth of this country for a living, we get to know it with greater depth than the average resident (and certainly more than most tourists). We know which roads tend to have worse traffic (as well as alternate routes). We know the times that certain sites will be more crowded, and thus will take longer. This means we can use this knowledge to ensure that your time isn’t wasted while you’re here.

Just a week ago, I guided two different days where we specifically went to places that were a bit less popular to avoid the traffic and crowds that throng most sites during the Sukkot holiday in Israel. My clients were happy we did so.

Of course, sometimes things still happen that are out of our control. But even then we can be of use. We’re better equipped to think on our feet and come up with alternate plans. And we might even be able to do some guiding on the spot, telling you about the area we’re in or the sites nearby.

“We’d like a day in Rosh Hanikrah, Tzefat, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.”

Most tour guides in Israel are happy not only to guide you, but also to design an itinerary that suits your needs. Often, in my initial conversations with tourists, I find that their first requests are unrealistic, insufficient or redundant.

A map of the regions in Israel
Despite Israel’s small size, it isn’t as small as you might think… (image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Sometimes a tourist simply hasn’t taken a good look at a map of Israel, and really just doesn’t understand what sites are close or far from each other. Or maybe they don’t know how long it takes to adequately explore a specific site. The heading of this section is not far off from an actual request I once received, and if you look at a map, you’ll see how unrealistic it would be.

Sometimes, two or three sites they say they want to visit are actually quite similar to each other; a visit to a different site might be a better use of their time. And often there are sites that fit in beautifully with an itinerary (both in terms of location and subject) that the tourists simply had no idea existed.

Additionally, many guides can also book accommodations and make other reservations for you. We know which hotels meet your needs and may also be able to get better deals for you.

Let us tour guides use our expertise! We can make suggestions about your itinerary based on your specific wants and needs. And if we tell you that some sites are just too far apart to do in a single day, trust us. You’ll enjoy your vacation more!

Connecting the Dots

Perhaps the greatest added value that a professional tour guide can bring to the table is the ability to put everything you see and learn into a greater context. Most tour books are great at supplying the details of specific sites, and some are also quite good at adding flavor and character via stories. But they’re written for a general public and cover a lot more ground than any single person will see on a trip.

A tour guide, however, can remind you about things you saw or did earlier in a trip that relate to something you are doing now. We can highlight themes in the day’s tour, rather than simply taking you to a bunch of disconnected sites. We can highlight the aspects of the sites we visit that relate to your specific areas of interest, background and lifestyle.

* * *
While tour books and advice from friends (or Internet sites) are all great, and offer amazing value and information, none of them come close to paralleling the value of a good, professional tour guide. And in a country with as much diversity as Israel has, a tour guide is even more important here than in many other places.

I am honored to be able to show this great country to so many visitors. Thus, I always focus on what value I can provide to my tourists that is beyond what they can get on their own. I hope to have the opportunity to do the same for you in the future!

3 thoughts on “Why You Should Hire a Tour Guide in Israel – Part 2

  1. Yossi Silverman says:

    This should also be titled ‘Why you should hire an Honest Tour Guide’, I was once given a tour from another guide who has promised a customer Nazareth, Caesarea, Tiberias, Jerusalem, Masada and the Dead Sea, IN ONE DAY! They were very angry when I had to explain to them that this simply could not be done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *