There are two main ways to do professional tours in Israel. One is to plan a tour, and then fill a bus with passengers and split the costs among them. The other is to hire a guide and transportation specifically for your smaller group, such as your family, friends or colleagues that you’re traveling with.
Choosing whether to join a group tour or to get a private tour is not just about money. It’s about what kind of experience you want. Both types of tours have their pluses and minuses. We’re going to go through some of those here to help you decide what’s best for you.
There’s no question that a private tour is more expensive. When an agency can spread out shared expenses over 40 or 50 people, the cost per person comes down significantly. With a private tour you could find yourself paying as much as 1.5 or 2x the price of a group (bus) tour. So this has to be your first consideration. But if you can afford it there are big advantages to taking a private tour.
Time and Control
On a private tour you don’t waste time. Doing anything with 50 people takes longer than with 5 people. If a bathroom break takes 20 minutes instead of 3 minutes, you can assume you’ll see a lot less on a bus tour than a private tour. Also, on a bus tour, you are not in control of the itinerary. Usually the itinerary is set in advance and you may be stuck spending too little time at the places you care about and wasting whole days at sites you would have chosen to skip.
The flexibility of a private tour can allow you to make changes ‘on the fly,’ according to how you’re feeling that day, the weather, or anything else that comes up. If it rains one afternoon you can do a museum that day and reschedule your hike for the next day. That flexibility is usually not possible for a group tour.
As with much of life, planning your Israel trip will be an exercise in tradeoffs. You’re going to have to pick between quality and cost at every step of this process. My advice is to save on hotels and food, spend on a good guide and good sites/activities, because after all, the point of the trip is the experience. For example, if you need to stretch your budget, you might be able to afford a private tour by staying at 3 star instead of 4 star hotels.
Whatever you decide, you need to make sure you have a professional experienced team helping you create your Israel tour. Please consider being in touch and letting InSite Israel be part of your trip. Get started by filling out the contact form below.