Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Our tour in Israel put together by Joe Yudin was terrific. He was very patient and helpful in working with us to develop an itinerary that met our objectives in terms of cost, accommodations, and points of interest. Most importantly, the guide we had for our tour (Gil Haran) was absolutely the best! (Probably, the best guide we have ever had.) He was very knowledgeable, personable and helpful. We learned a lot from him and enjoyed our conversations with him concerning a wide variety of topics. The arrangements made for touring the Mahane Yehuda Market, the Western Wall tunnels, and Maktesh Ramon all were top-quality, very informative, and worked out very well. The highlight of our trip was exploring little-known UNESCO sites that many Israelis don’t even know about, where we were literally the only ones there. Joe and Gil delivered top-quality services. We had a great trip and will certainly recommend Joe, Gil and their team highly to anyone who asks our advice about planning a trip to Israel.

We have just returned from 12 days in Israel. What an experience! Jonathan listened carefully to us in planning our trip. From start to finish, Jonathan and his staff put together an itinerary rich in history, visits to classical and modern sites, and encounters with Israelis of many different backgrounds. Zvi Geva, our guide throughout, was wonderful—knowledgeable, friendly and full of energy. Special guides and various experts provided additional depth of knowledge and insight. It’s hard to believe that we could do so much, and learn so much, in less than two weeks. We are thankful to everyone in Jonathan’s office for helping to make this a trip of a lifetime.

The Israeli part of our trip was outstanding and our guide very knowledgeable and able to change things up at the last moment as she got to know us better. This was no ordinary trip, as our personal experiences were off the charts. I think the meetings we had with the Retired Colonel from the military who was in charge of Israel’s security was fascinating, the Arab journalist who worked for NBC and now the Jerusalem Post was enlightening, the Ethiopian immigrant was inspiring and uplifting, the lunch in a Druze family home and the Jeep tour of bunkers were the highlights for sure. In 2013 we attended a screening of the documentary Dancing in Jaffa at the Tribeca Film Festival and asked Jonathan to investigate it for us. We were so glad that they added the dancing classrooms in as part of our tour. In our opinion that needs to be on their list of options too, it was a very moving experience and a worthy cause that needs supporting and we absolutely loved being there.

This was an extraordinary trip for both Patrick Woerner and me, because meeting the people and immersing ourselves in the culture is always the best part of traveling and this ticked all the boxes. Loved ending in Tel Aviv; it’s a great city.

However at the start of our trip we spent 5 days in Jordan. This part of the trip was outsourced to Abercrombie & Kent, and the differences between the 2 tour companies was glaring. What we got from A&K was nothing special, there was no personal/private experiences. This part of the trip was not up to Joe and Jonathan’s standards. We did have a (very hard to understand) professional guide (who we thought may have been switched out at the last moment, as the guy that met us at the airport gave us a different name for our guide), and a driver with a nice SUV. It was a standard cookie-cutter tour that you could purchase on the internet, nothing special about it at all. Very disappointing.

We spent a full two weeks in Israel, going from Tel Aviv to the north, then down to Jerusalem, the Negev Desert and Dead sea. Of the two weeks we toured with Joe’s team and had an amazing time.

Now that we are sadly back home (sadly because we had such a great time), we wanted to comment on how great the experience was. The planning, itinerary and amenities chosen for us based on the initial conversation with Joe could not have been better. We discussed the purpose of our trip, the limitations of the group, as we were traveling with our aging parents, as well as some interests. Once we settled on the route and plans, Monika did a great job assisting us with hotel choices and remained flexible, allowing us to book some accommodations on our own to account for some personal time. Some of the resorts chosen included breakfast and dinner, and these were full buffet meals that really were closer to gourmet restaurant-grade than we expected. Locations of all places allowed us to be central, so whether in Jerusalem being able to walk to the old city, or in the Negev being central to some of the activities there, time was used wisely.

Our guide Tom was a fantastic guide — both knowledgeable and engaging — and made the time we spent touring with him fun, educational and very interactive. We learned a good deal of the very complex history, as well as having some discussions about current events, which helped give perspective.

The dining choices made prior to the trip by Monika, as well as during the touring by Tom, were a great sampling of local lifestyles, flavors and did not break the bank. We had an opportunity to tour markets and have samplings that we otherwise would have missed.

Igor the driver was calm, accommodating and very punctual, always picking us up at the exact agreed-upon place and time. We really could not have asked for a better vehicle; honestly we could not have imagined it would be like this. It was comfortable, spacious, always stocked with water, snacks, even a coffee machine, and really he did an amazing job driving us around the country.

Guided touring is a great and recommended way to see countries, and doing it privately makes the experience that much better. The most important part of a great tour company is having knowledgeable and friendly guides, which Joe is able to select, and picking Tom for our group was a wonderful choice.

We are really happy to have decided to use Joe’s office, and everyone agrees this was in fact a true luxury experience. We arrived and departed in style with an additional VIP transfer service that whisked us through security and the check-in process and saved a tremendous amount of time. If you plan a trip to Israel, definitely don’t think twice about speaking with Joe to help you arrange it.

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