In a Nutshell
The essential material everyone on the trip needs in hand before departure: pre-trip logistics for participants; pre-trip administrative packet for trip leaders
Prepare these essential materials before departure:
- A pre-trip logistics and information packet for participants
- A pre-trip administrative information packet for trip leaders
In addition the tour company will provide participant and administrative information packets on arrival in Israel.
Pre-trip logistics information packet
At the final pre-departure logistics meeting, distribute a packet of critical information for the trip. It should contain at least this basic content:
- Information about landing in Tel Aviv airport
- Directions to the hotel where they will be staying the first night (remind them that if they are arriving Friday night or Saturday, buses will not be running)
- An overview of what to expect in terms of security passing through the airport and on the ground
- A brief, updated summary of the current state of security, including any US State Department travel warnings
- A warning that the itinerary is subject to change
- Reassurance that the tour group will be in contact with security personnel on the ground, should help be needed
- List of trip participants and their assigned roommates
- Detailed packing list
- List of travel and personal documents to bring
- Detailed schedule, including each day’s destinations, activities, and departure times, noting that the details are subject to change
- Hotel addresses and contact information for each hotel where the group will be staying during the trip
- Suggested list of books and articles to read and movies to watch to prepare for the trip
In addition, each participant should receive:
- A personalized immigration letter signed by the trip leader, attesting to the university connection and the educational purpose of the trip to be presented at airport security. See Immigration and Visas for an example immigration letter.
Optional, if time allows, obtain for each participant:
- A letter from the Israel consulate attesting that the participant is traveling as part of an official student-led group trip
Pre-trip book and swag
Giving participants a book about Israel is a great way to provide them with background information before the trek. Consider ordering bestsellers like Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land, Yossi Klein Halevi’s Like Dreamers, or Saul Singer and Dan Senor’s Startup Nation. Be sure to get them to participants with enough time to read them before the trip (e.g., by early February). You can also arrange to meet the authors in Israel.
Consider making trip mementoes like T-shirts, hoodies, or sunglasses, to give to participants before the trek. It’s a great way to keep track of people in Israel and a nice marketing tool back on campus. Your tour company can suggest vendors for making these items.
Israel & Co. offers funding to subsidize both books and T-shirts. Click here to learn more.
Pre-trip administrative packet for trip leaders
Before the trip, the leadership team should go through the itinerary together and assign specific responsibilities, from ensuring all the luggage is loaded on the bus to greeting a speaker. Defining responsibilities ahead of time will ensure that work is shared and prevents burnout. Print out a copy of that administrative itinerary for every trip leader.
TIP: Remember to distribute the trip leaders Israel cell phone numbers. Collect numbers from the participants as well.