How to Finance a Personal Trip to Israel?t
May 9, 2010 9:44 AM   Subscribe

I want to travel to Israel over the summer - visit family, explore the country, see the holy sites, etc. I intend it as a learning experience, however I won't be participating in an organized program because I want the freedom to determine how I spend my time. I know there are programs that help finance trips to Israel, however I don't know if any of them apply to personal trips. Additionally, my parents are secular, and I am not affiliated with a regional Jewish community or synagogue who could help support the cost of my trip.

I'd really appreciate help with this. I'm very excited to go, but it won't be possible if I can't find the means!
posted by howgenerica to Travel & Transportation around Israel (13 answers total)
 
There's so much money sloshing around to buy young Jews plane tickets to Israel (you don't say whether you're young, or Jewish, but I'm inferring this) that I think you ought to compromise on the freedom and let them buy you one. Maybe they'll let you stay beyond the length of the trip! I'm pretty sure they don't care if you're secular.
posted by escabeche at 10:05 AM on May 9, 2010


if you do a birthright trip (same assumption of you being young, under 27, and jewish) you can definetly etend you trip by any amount of time by paying a relatively small amount of money (you're paying the airline to move the date of your flight). So you'll get some structured activities, but afterward you can do whatever you like.
posted by pyro979 at 10:16 AM on May 9, 2010


Assuming that you are somewhere between 18-30 and have at least one Jewish parent, you'll be able to find free or low cost trips to Israel. Birthright Israel is the most well-known organization and has already closed applications for this summer. All of the trips, regardless of organization, will be highly structured, though most allow you to extend your trip for a nominal price, and will include some component of pressure to become more observant (I say this as a secular Jew) and/or to support Israel (I say this as progressive American Jew). If you can deal with this things (or embrace them), then google search: israel free jewish and enjoy!
posted by Pineapplicious at 10:17 AM on May 9, 2010


Or you could save up for vacation just as if you were going anywhere else, which is what most people do.
posted by Brian Puccio at 11:00 AM on May 9, 2010 [11 favorites]


From your previous questions, it looks like you're not going to be eligible for a Birthright trip - if you studied there and/or lived there for a while, that may count as an "organized youth trip" and disqualify you from Birthright. If somehow you can swing it - get accepted - I encourage you to go, and simply extend your trip. It costs $150 extra in the USA, and is worth it. I did this myself and spent an extra two weeks traveling, seeing/meeting distant family, and taking my sweet time.

There are quite a few programs of volunteering in Israel, most in fact let you extend your stay after your volunteering gig, which can last as little as one week. Google "volunteering in Israel" to see what's available to you. Other useful keywords are "post-college Israel."
posted by juniperesque at 11:23 AM on May 9, 2010


Ordinarily I'd consider a program, but I really don't have enough time to make that a good option. Additionally, I have a medical condition that makes it very difficult for me to keep up with a pace of a group. Also, my best friend lives in Israel, so I would already have a place to stay and a person to show me around - I just need to find a way to get there. I'm a college student, so I'm relatively broke as it is.

Brian Puccio - your comment was unnecessary and rude and I don't appreciate that. Why shouldn't I look for discounts if they are out there? I'm 20 years old and a full time, disabled university student. I don't know if you're an anti-semite or just a jerk.
posted by howgenerica at 11:31 AM on May 9, 2010


OP: Well, that gives us more information! Did you know that Birthright has trips for people with physical disabilities? Yachad is the trip organizer. You're right about timing, though. Summer programs for most Birthright trips are closed. Winter registration is happening soon. (Why not apply? If you can get to Israel this summer on your own, you can certainly go again with Birthright in the winter.)

Israel4All is a tour operator which specializes in tourists with special needs - mobility or otherwise. You might consider giving them a call; they could have some ideas!
posted by juniperesque at 11:43 AM on May 9, 2010


I'm 20 years old and a full time, disabled university student. I don't know if you're an anti-semite or just a jerk.

I don't think Brian Puccio is an anti-semite or a jerk, and in his defense, he didn't know you were a full-time disabled student because you made no mention of it in your question.
posted by kate blank at 11:46 AM on May 9, 2010 [14 favorites]


I had mixed experiences on my birthright trip, but even if you've missed the window to go this summer, you still have 5 more years to go and it sounds like precisely what you're looking for. Probably about half of the students on my trip extended theirs. I think the cost was something around $70, and it required a $250 deposit, which was refunded at the end of the trip.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:51 AM on May 9, 2010


Although, yeah, if you've already lived in Israel you'd be ineligible for birthright. (I had a friend who lived in the country as an infant, and managed to fudge her way into getting a free trip, but I don't know if you'd be able to swing that if you were there two years ago.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:53 AM on May 9, 2010


[Comment removed. howgenerica, please ease off on the anti-semite thing and just work with folks to help get you an answer to your question, going after other users like this is absolutely not okay.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:53 PM on May 9, 2010


Does your campus have a Hillel? You're probably past the deadline, but Hillel at some campuses sponsors students like you to visit Israel...and they'll know what programs are available.
posted by eleanna at 4:13 PM on May 9, 2010


Jeff Seidel, a little quirky and big on getting people to study at yeshiva for some period, is a great resource for knowing how to get you to Israel and what to do when you're there.
posted by holterbarbour at 1:45 AM on May 10, 2010


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