I got an message from the contact page here on the site of a large family, who wanted to have a low-budget tour. They were straight and told me their budget of $900 per person and they wanted to stay in Israel for 10 days and see everything. The family was from New York and they had 23 people who wanted to tour. Additionally some of them wanted to re-baptize at the Jordan river, they wanted to celebrate three people’s birthday and of course they wanted to have a guide. All all of that under the $900.
I set to work, and just like the Catholic tour 8 days, $455 p.p. tour, I asked them if they don’t mind public transportation, guesthouses and apartments. They didn’t. FYI for the reader, read this (touring with public transportation in Israel) and Vacation on Limited Budget too if you are interested in cheap but good tours in Israel.
After intense email exchange and talking with Skype, we agreed upon a good, but intensive itinerary for them and I found places for them to stay.
Because they took a guide, there was no need for emailing and faxing their detailed transport schedules, because the guide took care of that.
I arranged a welcome at the airport for them when they arrived (they didn’t know that, so it was an happy surprise) and they took the train to Tel Aviv. That went smoothly and we arrived at their apartment for two days. The apartment was more expensive then normal (season time) and paid $180 for the apartments (that’s still almost $24 per person). They found the food waiting for them when they all arrived there. The evening went fine, because they went out for some events and strolled Tel Aviv in the evening, which is amazing, especially for the family!
They visited all the touristic sights in and around Tel Aviv and enjoyed several events, like dancing, playing, movies and theater.
After two days, the family moved to Tiberias and they rented a very luxurious apartment/house with Jacuzzi, thermal bath, large garden (they rented a luxurious house and two apartments next to it, totaled $23 p.p. per day).
From Tiberias, they had their baptizing, their cruise on the Sea of Galilee (they rented the whole Jesus Boat for $300 for 1.5 hours, had extended lunch on the boat (which they prepared before in their apartments)), and from there they visited all the interesting sights near the Sea of Galilee, several National Parks, Nazareth, Haifa, various trips to the Golan and Northern Galilee, they spend half a day sipping wine at a winery and they celebrated birthdays and had a romantic candlelight dinner on the Sea of Galilee for the parents. They visited all the sites from Tiberias in four days.
How strange it sounds, but they liked my Cemetery tour the most (in Tiberias there is an ancient cemetery thousands years old) and I made a special tour for that in the past. They said “… the stories behind the graves were the most interesting …”.
Then everyone (the ladies though) were really ready to do some serious shopping, so we moved from Nazareth to Jerusalem, where they rented three apartments very close to each other for $135 per day ($18 p.p.). They spent four days in their apartments in Jerusalem and visited all the major tourist attractions, all possible shops, markets, several events, Dead Sea, Masada and Ein Gedi.
There was a small problem with the group, because two people got not well, and they recovered for one day in their apartment. Using apartments for this tour was an excellent idea. Everyone felt at home.
Their tour took 10 days and it cost them totally $637 p.p. all in.
This 10 days tour brings you from Tel Aviv to the north of the country (Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Tiberias, Haifa, Golan), followed by Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, Masada and Ein Gedi, using apartments and public transport and had a luxurious vacation for $637 per person, including guide. Just another example of a low-budget tour.