Friendly Planet Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Holy Land’

Follow in the footsteps of Jesus on a customized tour of Israel and Jordan

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One of the best things about working in the group travel business is the ability to put together customized trips for specific groups who are looking to experience the world in a new and exciting way. And a popular request for trips are customized tours of the Holy Lands. We often have churches, youth groups, pastors, and parisioners reaching out to us to help them plan a group tour that will bring them closer to the experiences they’ve always read about in the Bible.

The Friendly Planet Travel office sent out this press release last week, and I thought I’d share the news with you here too. Of course, we don’t only cater to Christian groups. You are talking to the traveling yenta, after all. We offer an array of customizable options for any group looking to get back to their religious roots or experience their faith in a new way. Just ask!

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Friendly Planet Travel Makes it Possible for Christians to Follow in the Footsteps of Jesus on a customized tour of Israel and Jordan
 
Tour leaders or accompanying pastors can often travel free as part of the group tour
 
JENKINTOWN, Pa.—October 1, 2009—Christians throughout the world do their best to figuratively follow in Jesus’ steps every day. Now discount tour operator Friendly Planet Travel is making it possible for Christians to literally follow in Jesus’ footsteps in ways most relevant to their beliefs.
Friendly Planet Travel, the Internet’s leading group travel site, can help Christian groups plan and enjoy customized tours of the Holy Lands at tremendous savings when churches, congregations, or Bible study groups travel together. Customized by destinations, sites, and length of travel, these tours are led by carefully selected teacher-guides who deeply understand and appreciate the religious significance of each location. Tours include as many destinations and as many days of travel as a group chooses.
            “Every denomination has different beliefs and traditions,” says Peggy Goldman, President of Friendly Planet Travel. “Our specialty Holy Lands tours embrace these differences and wrap them within an itinerary that blends the breathtaking natural scenery, incredible historical sites, and awe-inspiring religious significance for the perfect journey of Biblical discovery and spiritual renewal for each group. It is the true definition of pilgrimage, where travelers experience the land of the Bible, and literally watch it come alive through the tour—because those places where the events of the Bible took place still exist, and travelers get to experience them in context.”
Friendly Planet Travel’s most recent Israel and Jordan tour featured nine days of touring for just $2,380. Costs can be less or more, depending upon the itinerary and number of countries visited. And as with every Friendly Planet Travel vacation, the tours don’t skimp on the details. They include roundtrip airfare, fuel surcharges, great hotels, transfers, many meals, touring, expert guides, and more. Tour leaders and/or accompanying pastors can often travel for free as part of the group tour.
            Popular sites visited on these customized Israel/Jordan tours include the four distinct quarters of Jerusalem with the Way of the Cross, the Western (Wailing) Wall, St. Anne’s Church, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Garden Tomb, the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Upper Room, and many other sites. Most tours also visit the Dead Sea region with Masada and Ein Gedi; as well as Qumran, where the dead Sea Scrolls were found; the Galilee region, including a crossing of the Sea of Galilee by boat; Capernaum; Tabgha (site of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes); the Mt. of Beatitudes (site of the Sermon on the Mount); Beit She’an, one of the best preserved and comprehensively excavated Greco-Roman cities in the Middle East; and Caesarea, the amazing Roman City built by Herod, on the shore of the Mediterranean. Other sites, such as Bethlehem and Mt. Carmel, are also often included. In Jordan, the most popular sites visited include Mt. Nebo which, according to tradition, is the mountain from which Moses saw the Promised Land before he died; Madaba, where the oldest known mosaic map of the Holy Land is found; and of course, Petra, that mystical lost city built by the ancient Nabateans as a commercial and cultural capital.
For individual travelers who want to go to Israel on their own, Friendly Planet Travel also offers a nine-day Classic Israel vacation with set departure. It includes airfare, fuel surcharges, great hotels, transfers, most meals, comprehensive touring, and more for just $2,199 when booked by October 9th. Every hotel has been selected for its location, comfort, and service, and every day of the program has been carefully designed to ensure travelers’ Israel experience is the very best. Friendly Planet Travel’s comprehensive itinerary features the most important Biblical sites throughout the country, such as Mount Carmel, Mount of Beatitudes, Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea.
As with all Friendly Planet Travel packages, prices includes airfare from New York City, fuel charges, all group transfers, superior hotel accommodations, many meals, touring, and more. Other gateway cities are available upon request. To book or for more information on any Israel/Holy Lands tours, please visit the Friendly Planet Travel Web site, or contact us.
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A step through time: Classic Israel

Last week I told you about our customized tour options through the Holy Lands. Well, we also have a set tour through Classic Israel. On this nine-day vacation, travelers can see, touch, and experience the land of the Bible, as it was in ancient times, and as it is today.
This trip’s itinerary features all of the most important Biblical sites. And unlike many of our other vacation packages, there aren’t any optional tours on Classic Israel, because everything “must see” is already included in the program and part of our low price of $2,199.
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Every tour is escorted throughout by a certified Friendly Planet Travel teacher-guide who knows and loves the land and will make the Land of the Bible come alive. Every hotel has been selected for its location, comfort, and service. And every day of the program has been carefully designed to be sure that our vacationers’ experiences in Israel is the best.
The journey begins in Tel Aviv, and travels north along the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea, the Roman capital of Judea. There, travelers have a chance to explore the beautifully restored theater and extensive and ongoing excavations of the ruins of the ancient town, its harbor, and aqueduct.
Next is Megiddo, Biblical Armageddon. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, Megiddo’s 20 major strata contain the remains of around 30 different cities and holds a central place in the biblical narrative. Continue to Mount Carmel, where Elijah defeated the priests of Ba’al then on to the Sea of Galilee.
The next morning, set sail through the Sea of Galilee aboard a wooden fishing boat built to represent vessels used during Bible times, and arrive at Capernaum, once a simple fishing village, where Jesus was often a guest of his disciple Peter. Here, vacationers can visit the ruins of the ancient synagogue and house of Peter, then continue to Tabgha, site of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and the Mount of Beatitudes, site of the Sermon on the Mount.
Travelers will drive south via the Jordan Valley to Beit She’an, an extraordinary excavation of an ancient Greco-Roman city. Located some 30 kilometers south of the Sea of Galilee, Beit She’an was one of the major cities in the land of Israel, due primarily to its location at the intersection of the road to Jerusalem and the road to Transjordan. Next is Qumran and the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947.
Next, travelers can enjoy a cable car ride over the historic fortress of Masada. After a tour of the extensive excavations at Masada, continue to Ein Gedi, David’s waterfall and a pristine nature center.
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On to Jerusalem and everything the fascinating city entails, including the Mount of Olives, Mount Scopus, Mount Zion, the site of the Upper Room, the Kidron Valleyn and the Garden of Gethsemane. Within the walls of Old City lie the Via Dolorosa, the restored Jewish Quarter, the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Rabbinic Tunnels under the Wall, the Temple Site on Mount Moriah, and the Garden Tomb.
The final destination of the nine-day journey is the new city of Jerusalem, outside the walls of Old City. Here, travelers will find the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed, the Memorial to the Holocaust at Yad Vashem, and a model of the city during the Second Temple period.
If you’ve ever dreamed of understanding and experiencing more about the origins of faith — whether that be Christian, Jewish, or Muslim — this journey of Biblical discovery and spiritual renewal in Israel, Land of the Bible, will be an unforgettable adventure. For more information or to book now, please visit the Friendly Planet Travel Web site.

Where did Jesus really walk?

If you’re a spiritual person, you understand how deeply religion permeates the lives of people throughout the world. Imagine then, being given the chance to put down the Bible and physically experience the sights, smells, and sounds described on those very pages.
In addition to our popular international destinations that sell out quickly, an equally popular traveling experience is our journeys to the Holy Lands. Christian groups in particular contact us to help them design the perfect trip for their congregation or church group, to experience the lands where Jesus once walked and ministered.
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As you probably know, every Christian denomination has its own unique way of observing its faith. For example, Catholics believe Jesus was resurrected from Calvary, which is now within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Many Protestant denominations want to visit the Garden Tomb, widely considered to be Jesus’ burial place. Seventh Day Adventist groups schedule their worship services on the Jewish Sabbath, rather than on Sunday. And so on.
Every denomination experiences Jesus’ life in the Holy Land differently. That’s why, while we’ve carefully designed our tours to include the all relevant places to Christian travelers, we also give our pilgrims the chance to customize their trips. We understand completely the commitment and emotional investment a traveler makes in choosing a pilgrimage, and we go to great lengths to design and operate our tours so that they provide an experience that is at once deeply spiritual and rewarding, as a vacation should be.
At the same time, we calculate prices with a razor sharp pencil, knowing that we must be excellent stewards of our passengers’ resources. A Holy Land group tour that is booked with Friendly Planet will be as inexpensive as it is rewarding. That’s a commitment we’ve kept for 30 years, and we’ve got plenty of pastors and their congregations who’ll vouch that we keep our commitments.
Our specialty Holy Lands tours center around a nine day itinerary that typically begins in the north with a night in Tel Aviv or vicinity upon arrival, then continues through the Galilee and then up to Jerusalem, usually the highlight of the trip. The program encompasses the perfect blend of breathtaking natural scenery, incredible historical sites, and awe-inspiring religious significance. A perfect journey of Biblical discovery and spiritual renewal is the goal for every group, where the Bible comes alive for all.
Here’s how it works. We help each group plan its ideal itinerary. While nine days is the most popular tour length, the itinerary can be extended to include more of Israel or other countries in the region, such as Jordan, with visits to Petra and Mt. Nebo, and Egypt. Once the details are clear, we will prepare a costing based on all the desired features, including the most convenient gateway for the group. Once everything is agreed upon, we’ll create an attractive web page which we post on our website, so that the group can easily provide information to everyone who is going and for those who are just considering.
Pastors and tour leaders typically value this free exposure, and they use the Web page as a promotional tool to help recruit travelers. A special, personalized registration form is provided for every group, and group members have the option to book on line, by mail, or by telephone.
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Our group tour leaders especially appreciate our service to them in every phase of the tour. We collect deposits and final payments, arrange for everything from flights, transfers, hotels, meals, special requests, even tipping. Group leaders can look to us to take care of all the details, so that they have plenty of time to recruit their group and then enjoy the tour.
The most recent Israel and Jordan tour took advantage of nine days of touring for just $2,380. And as with every Friendly Planet Travel vacation, the prices don’t skimp on the details. They include roundtrip airfare, fuel surcharges, great hotels, transfers, many meals, touring, and more.
Destinations and tours for a personalized Israel/Jordan tour include Bethlehem; the Church of the Nativity; the Church of the Visitation; the Church of John the Baptist; Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found; the Shrine of the Book, and the newly restored model of Jerusalem from the Second Temple Period; Mount of Olives; the Garden of Gethsemane; the Church of All Nations; the Old City of Jerusalem; the Western Wall; the Byzantine Cardo; St. Anne’s Church; the Crypt of Mary; the Church of the Holy Sepulcher; Mount Zion; the traditional burial site of King David; the Room of the Last Supper; the Garden Tomb; Calvary; the Dead Sea; Galilee; the Church of St. Peter; the Mount of Beatitudes, the site of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount; the Heptagon Church at Tabgha, where Jesus performed the Miracle of Loaves and Fish; and many, many more
As with all Friendly Planet Travel packages, prices includes airfare from the group’s gateway city, fuel charges, all group transfers, superior hotel accommodations, buffet breakfast and dinner daily, comprehensive touring, and more. To book or for more information on any Holy Lands tours, please visit the Friendly Planet Travel Web site, or contact us.

Customer testimonial: Walk where Jesus walked

Customer feedback is always important to us at Friendly Planet travel. But we received a customer testimonial over the weekend that simply tickled us pink, because it came from a group leader.
This particular group wanted a custom tour to Isreal with an added Egypt extension to the program. We managed to route the tour for them so they could also visit Jordan, while keeping the price at less than the best price they were quoted by other agencies for the Holy Land alone.
We worked with them to create an experience that I hope they’ll never forget, and judging from the feedback from the tour leader, they were a very happy group. Here it is, verbatim:
"The best travel tour I had so far. Friendly Planet made it so easy for all of us 53 tourist. The way they put it together with all the connections between countries, the hotels, buses and different tourist guides was so impressive and we felt pampered the whole time. We really had a grand time. Thank you very much for making it an experience of a lifetime.
– Emmanuel Lacson, Group Organizer, Hinsdale, Ill."
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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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