In a Nutshell
How to select the tour operator and tour guide that can fully address the unique requirements of your trip.
Picking a tour operator and tour guide is one of the most important planning decisions you will make. Take your time; be thorough, and look for a tour operator who:
- Understands what you want from the trip (trip goals, narrative takeaways)
- Provides the level of support that your trip needs
- Provides a top notch guide who is willing to work with you and do what it takes to deliver your itinerary and educational content on the ground
- Provides good value for the price (quality counts: cheaper often is not better)
To help you make your decision, experienced trip leaders have rated and reviewed several tour operators. You can find the reviews at the end of this page.
TIP: The tour company is likely to be of limited help in lining up speakers. The best way to find and reach out to speakers is through the personal connections of the trip leaders.
Solicit price proposals
Ask several tour companies for price proposals. Be specific about what the bid should include:
- For example, a price range for ground costs, a specified number of speakers, locations, all inclusive meals, and so on
- How much help and support you are going to need during planning and on the ground in Israel
Overall ground costs (excluding airfare) per participant are typically between $1,500 to $2,500, depending on factors like quality of hotels and quality of meals. Larger groups cost more overall but the pro-rated cost is lower per person.
What a complete price proposal should include
- Arrival and departure dates
- Transfers from and to the airport for the group
- Level of hotels (0 to 5 stars) and prices based on double occupancy
- Wi-Fi in hotel
- Meals, restaurants (all inclusive)
- Busses for the entire week
- Tour guide
- Tips for tour guide and bus driver
- All activities spelled out
- Entrance fees to sites
- Limited liability insurance for the group
- Speakers – 2 to 4 speakers incorporated in the itinerary
- Placards for the group at every hotel and for the front of the bus
- Itinerary and information booklets
- Name tags
- Extra rooms for speakers and processing time at the hotel
- Group cellular phone
- Water on bus
Evaluate proposals from tour operators
Compare the price proposals you receive, keeping in mind budgets from previous trips. In selecting a proposal, price differences should be secondary to the quality of the proposal.
Evaluate each proposal:
- What are they offering? Read the fine print.
- Does their proposal fit our needs?
- Does the price seem fair for the group size and trip details?
- Does it feel as if they will have the right chemistry to work with our group?
- Talk to the tour operator: Is this is a company you will feel comfortable working with?
- Talk to other groups like yours who have worked with the tour company: Have other trip leaders been satisfied with their services?
Interview the tour guide
Every group is unique, but no single individual is more important to the success of your trip than the tour guide. Before finalizing your commitment to the tour operator, ask to interview tour guides. Video interviews are recommended (in-person would be ideal). Pick the guide that will provide the right mix of educational content, sightseeing, and fun for your group.
Your criteria might include:
- Knowledgeable, especially about the themes that are the focus of your itinerary
- Able to articulate complex ideas and engage in dialogue in English
- Expert in a specific content area
- Entertaining, well informed
- Flexible; can come up with backup plans
- A team player who will work with you to deliver the trip you want
- Doesn’t have a big ego
- Lighthearted, easy, and likeable; a people person with good chemistry
- Past experience with similar groups
- Insider knowledge of Israel and fluent in Hebrew and English
- Recommended by other trip leaders
Don’t agree to a price proposal until you have commitment from the tour operator to provide the tour guide you feel is up to the job.
If you are not logged in, please login to view the recommended speaker links and ratings below. If you do not see a tour operator that you are looking for on this list, please contact itrek and we will investigate.