Mar 17, 2016 (From Trip Advisor)
-Ilene from Massachusetts
Our younger daughter had her Bat Mitzvah on an IDT 12 day tour last summer and I am just getting around to posting my review. In one word: AMAZING!
I did a ton of research into every tour company before deciding on Israel Discovery Tours (IDT) and I am so glad that we picked them. I'm the sole trip planner in the family and this was our very first experience with group travel. I cannot stress enough how wonderful it was to turn over all of the planning and logistics to IDT and just relax and experience the joy and wonder of Israel and my daughter's Bat Mitzvah.
One difference that I think mattered most was IDT's smaller size. We had only one tour bus with 7 families. We received extraordinary personalized attention both before and during the trip. Brad in the Chicago office answered every question and went above and beyond to make special arrangements to bring our older daughter from her BBYO teen tour in Jerusalem to the Bat Mitzvah ceremony and back again to her tour. In Israel IDT's dedicated staff made each family feel special and cared for. We had a wonderful tour guide Ami, a fantastic bus driver Moishe and a fabulous hostess named Muriel, whose job was to make sure that EVERYTHING ran smoothly -- including ensuring that all dietary concerns and allergy restrictions were considered at every meal. This was a big relief given my daughter's limited diet. No request was too big or too small for the IDT crew.
The Bat Mitzvah ceremony itself was held at sunrise in a private ceremony at Masada. The rabbi met with the children before-hand and the service was moving and individualized. While the families all attended together, each child read his or her own portion from the Torah accompanied by their family. It was beautiful morning.
The 12 day itinerary was simply jammed packed with a balance of historical, educational and just fun activities to satisfy kids, parents and grandparents. I feel like every inch of Israel was covered, with unique experiences sprinkled throughout. You will see all of the Must-See sites as on the other tours, but they also go a bit off the beaten path. You can visit the IDT website to see the wonderful itinerary; they stick to it and it is fast paced! You will be tired after this vacation and look back and wonder how they possibly fit it all in. You're up early and touring ALL day. This is a great tour for an active family. We loved the pace but some younger children or elderly might not be up for it.
The hotels were also top notch. IDT chose great options for accommodations in each location: Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem (King David on 15 day tour); Leonardo Plaza, Tiberias; Isrotel, Dead Sea; Hilton Eilat, Queen of Sheba; and Hilton Tel Aviv. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah banquet also took place at the Hilton Tel Aviv and it was a fun celebration.
My family carries amazing memories from our IDT trip and we feel a strong and lasting connection to Israel. We feel so lucky that we celebrated this milestone in Israel and I truly wish that everyone could be fortunate enough to partake in such an extraordinary experience!