How to Choose a Private Tour Guide in Israel

By Petal Mashraki | Published on 12/1/2019
It is important to choose a private tour guide in Israel carefully to make sure you get the most out of your trip. Not all tour guides are created equally! There are many fly-by-nights, self-appointed “guides” that could charge exorbitant fees and ruin your holiday. Your time is valuable and on a trip to Israel, you’ll want to make the most of it. Private guides are generally more expensive than group tours but they are worth every shekel. With a private tour guide you’ll get one-on-one service; a trip tailor-made for you and luxury air-conditioned transportation. Having a private guide means you can make a personal connection with the guide and talk freely, asking any questions you may have without 30 other tourists in the group! Here are a few tips about how to find the best possible private tour guide for your trip to the Holy Land. 

What Makes a Good Private Tour Guide in Israel?

There are some qualities in a private tour guide that you can’t know in advance. Although by choosing a private guide from a reputable tour company and by discussing the trip ahead of time you can get a feel for your guide’s character. An ideal private tour guide should be punctual; organized; have enough energy to get you through the day; have a sense of humor and patience. The best private tour guides are local and have extensive knowledge of the country.

Unlike guides on group tours, Israel private tours should be flexible so that you can stay longer at a place if you want to or skip a site if you see something more interesting along the way. A good private tour guide knows when to give you room to look around by your selves (for example in a market, on a beach, while enjoying lunch, or at a religious site). You want a private tour guide that respects your space. Some tour guides never stop talking while others don’t say enough. A good tour guide knows just how much information to give you at each site and when to be quiet and let you soak up the atmosphere.

Choose a Professional Private Guide from a Reputable Company

Professional tour guides in Israel are trained and issued a tour guide license by the Ministry of Tourism. Israeli tour guides undergo lengthy training, they have to pass an exam and if they intend to guide children or drive a tour vehicle there are additional courses. With a reputable tour company, their credentials should appear prominently on their website. Israel has several well-established tour companies that employ only certified guides and supervise the guides to make sure they keep a high standard of work.

A private tour guide from a reputable company will have a whole support team to provide him with all the transportation, marketing, up-dates about attraction, customer service, an accounting department, and more. Your private tour guide will be able to concentrate on giving you the best possible tour without having to worry about accounting, marketing, and logistics which are taken care of by the tour company office. Using a reputable tour company will put your mind at rest as you will always have someone to contact if things go wrong.

Choose a Private Tour Guide Who Speaks Your Language

Israel is a land of immigrants; when the state was established Jews came from across the globe to settle here. The multi-cultural society means that you will have no problem finding a tour guide that speaks your language. Whether your native tongue is Russian, French, Spanish, English or even Mandarin there are private tour guides in Israel to serve you. If you are English speakers, then make sure your guide speaks a good level of English and will not have to um and ah looking for the right words when explaining things. Having a private guide that speaks good English will make all the difference to your trip. Your guide should also have a good command of Hebrew in order to talk to the locals.

Choose a Private Guide that Suits You

Your private guide’s job is to show you the things that interest you as well as a few gems that only a local would know about. Before arriving in Israel you should discuss your preferences with your guide and settle on a basic itinerary. Most private guides that work with larger companies already have recommended itineraries that they can offer you in order to make planning your trip easier. You can discuss the suggested itinerary and adjust it according to your travel style and interests. If you prefer to travel at an easy-going pace and stay longer at each site, then let your guide know in advance. If you are one of those travelers that like to move fast and see as much as possible the guide should be aware of that too. Tell your private guide your specific interests – do you want to see Christian landmarks; natural wonders; Jewish heritage sites; sites from modern history or perhaps a little of everything. Have a good discussion with your private guide and tailor-make your trip before the day of the tour. This will save time and make your tour day run more smoothly. 

Choose a Private Tour Guide that Will Give You Something Extra

So when you’ve found a private tour guide that meets all the above criteria there should still be something extra, something special that makes your guide stand-out. Hopefully, your chosen guide will be friendly and excited about showing you his country. Some of the best tour guides will share a few private anecdotes and insights into life in Israel. The benefits of a private tour guide in Israel don’t end when the tour comes to an end as your guide can recommend the best restaurants; local experiences and other sites in Israel that you might want to visit. Hopefully, your time in Israel will be magical and you’ll leave with good memories having been introduced to the Holy Land by an excellent private tour guide.