Zyara, a personal journey of discovery          Frequently Asked Questions

Q1:  Is it safe to travel to Palestine?

Most, if not all, Palestinian towns, cities, and villages are safer than many of our cities in the west (certainly safer than Manchester..!!). you are less likely to be mobbed or attacked in Palestine by comparison. People are generally very friendly.

Nevertheless, Palestine is under an Israeli military occupation, where the sight of a military jeep or a checkpoint is a common occurrence. You may spend the full 2 weeks without experiencing any incidents of clashes or an obvious military presence, on the other hand, tanks can enter any city -usually during the dark hours of night- or you could hear shooting in a distance. 

Even if not personally witnessed, the effect of a military occupation is evident on an occupied nation. We hardly met a man who hasn't been imprisoned at some stage during his life.

Q2:  What should we budget for the trip?

We suggest a minimum of 1600 US dollars for 2 weeks, this will include food, transport, lodging, entertaiment, etc.., but excludes your flight fare (either to Amman or Tel Aviv).

Q3: Where do we stay throughout the trip?

Once we have a clear estimate of the number of people joining a specific Zyara, we start booking in guest houses or hotels depending on the route we're planning for that trip. We usually select an economic destination, but rates vary according to seasonality and location, i.e. Fares increase during holiday seasons and accommodation in Jerusalem or Haifa is higher than that in the West Bank for example.
Sharing rooms will minimise your cost. 

We may be offered to stay as guests with families, especially when we're volunteering. Please consider leaving a donation for the family if this happens to us on a Zayra you're taking part in.

Q4: Do we have to commit to two full weeks? 
      Can we divert from the Zyara group for personal day trips?

As much as we'd like participants to wonder about as they wish, our circumstances make it harder for us to offer such options. 
As explained in the previous question, we make reservations based on the number of people attending. It is very hard to accommodate the wishes of a few who may have other plans. 

Zyara prepares a full programme of touring and activities to enable the group to see as much as possible of the country. During this period the group will go through a collective experience, as well as a personal and very private one. Leaving the group and re-joining it will disturb the harmony of emerging bonds between us; an outcome we'd like to avoid. 

Having said all that, let us know your specific circumstances and we'll try, when possible, to accommodate them.

Q5: What is the minimum age requirement?

The minimum age requirement is 18 years of age unless you are accompanied by a guardian.

Q6:  Do I need to get a visa to Palestine and how?

Being a country under occupation, entering Palestine is controlled by Israeli authorities (immigration, customs, and intelligence).
Holders of most western countries passports can get their visas at any entry point (i.e. bridge crossing or airport).
Unfortunately, it is not as easy for Arab countries (among others) passport holders to visit Palestine. If you are a holder of an Arab country passport, please check with your country regarding visa / permits or if it's acceptable to enter Palestine without stamping your passport. This is possible upon request from the Israeli authorities, but not guaranteed. You need to be prepared to return in case your request is rejected.

As much as we'd love to help in this process, Zyara is a private initiative with limited resources. It is beyond our means to assist in obtaining visas or inquire on your behalf with local or national authorities.

Q7:  Will I have problems reentering my country of residence?

As explained in the question above, you will need to check with authorities in your own country. 
Q8: What mode of transport will we be using ?

Bus depots are available in every town and city in Palestine. They operate a service (i.e.mini 7-seater buses) as soon as they're full. This is the cheapest way to move within the West Bank. As our trip includes visits to cities within the green line, we will on occasions hire private buses, sometimes for a full day. Logistically, this may be a better way to save time on selected tours. Those are more costly.

Killing time waiting at Allenbey Bridge (crossing between Jordan & the West Bank)

Jenin bus depot.

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