We just returned from a 14 day tour with Shalom Israel Tours for our son’s and daughter’s B’nai Mitvot. There were 5 of us initially and then my parents and sister joined us for our second week. From start to finish, working with Shalom was wonderful. He planned out an itinerary and was very open to making changes based on interests and family needs. He included lots of sites, museums and attractions each day and also built in time to relax and process everything we were seeing. He created a trip that took us all over Israel, so we were able to see and do so much in the time we were there. He was mindful to include kid-friendly activities (like zip lining) and also a volunteer opportunity at a food packing pantry. Shalom worked with us to include an IDF base visit through Israel Connections (highly recommend doing that!). He was able to work with me and my father to develop a plan that worked for everyone after my parents and sister joined us mid-trip.
Shalom personally answers every email within 24 hours, if not sooner. He is very professional and helpful and willing to answer any question you may have. He is able to read between the lines of your emails and make you feel that everything will be handled perfectly.
From the minute we landed at the airport, everything was, indeed, handled perfectly! The transportation through the airport and to the hotel was seamless. Shalom was even kind enough to send a huge assortment of kosher cookies to both us and my parents for the B’nail Mitzvot and her personally called us during the trip to ensure everything was going well. He also worked with our rabbi– who travelled over to perform the ceremony and spend time with us– and handled everything for him just perfectly. We did not have to think about anything but enjoying ourselves and taking in the history and beauty of Israel!
Our tour guide, Eli, was beyond AMAZING! He *made* our trip. If it was great due to Shalom’s planning, it was elevated to spectacular because of Eli. His heart and passion for Israel are so evident and his knowledge of every aspect of every place we visited (and even those we didn’t get to) is remarkable. He interacted well with all of us and our kids LOVED him! He went above and beyond what I would consider “normal” tour guide duties. For example, our 9 year old couldn’t go to Yad Vashem, so Eli spent two hours with him (riding trains and going for pizza and candy!) so the rest of us could go. Eli made us all feel secure, he gave us his number to call if we needed anything when he wasn’t with us, and he shared his love of country in such a beautiful way. After spending every day with him for almost two weeks, he became like family and we miss him much!
Our Shabbat guide Emmanuel was also very nice and also incredibly knowledgeable. He made our first time seeing the Western Wall very special and was good at reading our group and keeping everyone happy (not an easy feat)!
My advice, if you’re considering a trip to Israel and are considering Shalom Israel tours, is to stop looking around and book with Shalom! From start to finish, your experience will be better than anything you could imagine. We hope to return in four years for our 9 year old’s Bar Mitzvah and we will definitely be using Shalom Israel tours!