A vacation in Israel – priceless

August 17, 2011 - 7:54 AM by

In our family, we traditionally plan a week in August for a summer vacation. When the kids were little, and flying didn’t become so unaffordable, we used to faithfully travel to visit family in the US.

But our goals are more modest these days. A jaunt to a Greek island or a few days in Prague are more suitable substitutes for these austere times. But it’s always curious to me, how, even though we make grandiose plans during the year to vacation out of the country, we invariable end up staying in Israel.

It’s also curious to me how families set aside the funds to make such annual trips. Do they work it into their monthly budget? Do they go further into overdraft than they already are? Or do some generous parental benefactors provide the check for the vacation?

I spend the weeks before perusing the back pages of the Hebrew newspapers where companies like Daka 90 advertise flight and hotel packages to virtually every European and Mediterranean destination – weighing the options of the type of hotel, proximity to the beach, historical sites, etc.

But mostly, I look at the price. Many Israelis think that it’s less expensive to vacation abroad on one of these packages for three or four nights than it is to go to a local resort or hotel. Not true!

The travel sites use the bait and switch approach – splashing $300 per person packages to Crete and Rhodes in their ads – and then when you go to their site or call them, it turns out that either there’s no more room, or it’s not the accepted configuration of fliers (too many kids, too many people) for that particular deal. And what was $300 is now $589.

In the end, we couldn’t bring ourselves to spend that much on a four-day vacation, in which half of two of the days would be taken up with travel and flights. So, we’re staying close to home again, heading up North for a bed & breakfast on the Galilee-Golan border, complete with gourmet breakfast, Jacuzzi, hammock, pool and relaxation.

It may not provide the excitement of a Greek island, but it’s less than half the price, we’re stimulating our own economy, and I can still read the Hebrew papers every morning to see if there are any good deals to Crete.

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