We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“SABABA”

Touring Israel Luxury Day Tours
Ranked #29 of 240 Tours in Jerusalem
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Touring Israel offers luxury, privately guided tours for individuals and groups. Our guides are some of the best in the counry (if not THE best) and all speak English at Mother Tongue level, have Masters degrees in relevant fields and drive late model air conditioned vehicles. We can also organize your hotels, transfers and special arrangements such as Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“SABABA”
Reviewed July 11, 2013

Sooo, when I decided to post a testimonial, the first thing I did was look through other testimonials on the TI website. Lo and behold, everyone who was posted there seemed to have the exact experience that the Hirsch's did. However, I believe that the Hirsch's had a most unique YTI experience not only with touring, but with the entire company!

Towards the end of 2012, we decided that a trip to Israel was to be planned for mid to late June of 2013. That was probably the easiest decision of the whole process. The last time I was in Israel was 1972 so my recollections, although vivid were rather limited. This was my wife Shelley's and my daughter Jess' first tip to Israel and I wanted them to have a fun filled, yet historically accurate and politically stimulating experience! We decided that private touring was the best choice for us, so I asked around for recommendations... friends, friends of friends, etc. For various reasons I kept coming up empty; I NEVER felt comfortable with ANY of them!

Flights were booked in March and now the pressure was on. So many questions to be asked and answered. How would we get from city to city? (rent a car, bus, tour group (not a chance). Hotels? Restaurants? Sites? (pre purchase or on site purchase of tickets). and of course a general itinerary. Everything was so so confusing to me!

Then, one day a search of the internet turned up a company recommended by Conde Naste Traveller, JOE YUDIN'S TOURING ISRAEL, "Luxury Tours"! Ok, the Conde Cast reco was cool, but we ALL know what "luxury" is code for... EXPENSIVE! However, we have always been a family that believes you get what you pay for, but still must "do your homework and tread carefully. Well, at first glance I noticed an 800#! Fantastic, I can speak with a human being... I called and got Jonathan. Very pleasant guy who explained the basic process and prices (a bit pricey... but I was still treading). We talked for perhaps 30 minutes. He also explained that he was in the sales and marketing department (cool, they HAD a sales and marketing department!) and the next step would be to chat with the Director of Guides and touring, Gil (I love speaking to Directors! <smile>). The next day Gil called me! (I love when directors call ME!). We talked for almost an hour. I believe that THIS was the most important step of all (I was wrong). During the hour, I was being "interviewed" as to my likes, dislikes, hopes and dreams for this trip! Gil said the next step would be for me to leave a deposit and he would get me a "1st draft itinerary and select a tour guide for us (we wanted to be on our own for a bit, guided for a bit, needed some down time as well as some time with Israeli friends in Tel Aviv.

Gil suggested Mordi to be our tour guide (altho he kept saying it would be OUR decision if we read bios and even contacted Mordi and were not comfortable... I liked that a lot!). The itinerary was a bit challenging (probably because I am challenging!) but was finally worked out (again with Gil saying... NOTHING is "written in stone", I liked that a lot and we did make changes along the way... <we later found out on an Archeological dig at Maresha that this was sort of a biblical expression, because most important things were REALLY written in STONE!>).

The next step was actually the most important! I was sent an email telling me from that point on, my contact person would be someone named Roni, and she would email me soon! She called me! (you KNOW how I liked that!). Roni became more than just a contact person, she became first our "handler" and now, I am sure is a friend! (we have never met face to face!) Every question from me in an email was answered within 15 minutes... in a professional, and friendly manner! If she did not know an answer, she would tell me she would find out and then got back to me within 24 hours! As you can tell from this testimonial I am not easy and yet Roni never cracked! The emails numbered in the hundreds, I am sure! Roni was ALWAYS there for us. Even calling DURING our trip to ask if we needed anything, and also to wish me and my wife a happy birthday (on the actual days of our birthdays!). Roni purchased site tickets (when necessary), suggested and made restaurant reservations, printed itineraries and reprinted when changes were made... and generally made me feel absolutely comfortable giving a large sum of money to an internet company that was based 6000 miles away from home!

The tour went without a hitch! Mordi was a FANTASTIC tour guide, offering incredible historical knowledge, political insights into this "very complicated" country as well as personal asides! Oh yes... he even personalized music in the van! ("Jessica" and Tom Waites <smile>). Again... a member of the company becoming a friend! When Mordi had a family event to attend we were given a second guide, Dror. This turn of events was a little unnerving at first, but in stepped Roni to make me feel comfortable. "you will LOVE Dror" she said. I believed her... and she was right! Dror, who was actually a friend of Mordi and Joe Yudin (they did guide training together), was a sweetheart! Although different than Mordi in style, he was just as knowledgeable and personable! As a matter of fact, while in Haifa we actually had to stop, pull over and greet his mom who happened to be driving by (one of the highlights of our trip!... what a moment!)

In conclusion, this trip was SABABA... for those who do NOT know this expression you need to learn it and use it appropriately during your trip! Earlier I said that we were a family who believed that "you get what you pay for". All things considered, I believe the value we got considering the price we paid was phenomenal. I would recommend this company to ANYONE thinking of taking a trip of a lifetime... to one of the most incredible and unique destinations in the world! When Jonathan followed up our trip with a call, and asked how our tour went, I told him he asked the wrong question. It should have been, "how was your experience with Yudin Touring Israel since March... the answer.........

SABABA!!!

Larry, Shelly and Jessica Hirsch

Suffern, New York

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Larry826
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

237 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    233
    1
    0
    1
    2
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
NY
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Fantastic experience”
Reviewed June 6, 2013

In April four of us had a private, unbelievably great tour of Israel with Gil as our guide. It had been organized by Maria, Gil and Joe and was executed perfectly. Gil's encyclopedic knowledge of every event that has occurred in Israel over the past 7,000 years was incredible. Gil's, and the staff's, attention to every detail on the trip made it most pleasurable. Gil's patience and always helpful attitude with our sometimes annoying questions and desires to tinker with the itinerary as we went along was unlimited. We could not recommend Touring Israel or Gil more highly.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank NicktheGreat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Personalized, seamless service”
Reviewed May 23, 2013

We are a family of two parents and four adult children who coordinated a trip to the Middle East. For two of our days in Israel, we hired Touring Israel. Originally we were attracted to them for the benefit of having their guides do the driving and transport of the days we were visiting a wide range of sites, but quickly realized they were more than drivers. Marie in the office was accurate and thorough, providing helpful general information on travel in Israel, customs and travel tips. Upon arrival in Israel we were contacted to double check all our information to insure our contact with our guide a few days hence would run like clockwork.
Our guide, Daphne, was prompt and ready to begin our ongoing education the moment we entered her vehicle. On our two days with her she taught us volumes on the history, culture and political situation of Israel. She is extremely knowledgeable, and though she is coming from an Israeli Jewish perspective, she tries hard to also introduce other viewpoints. She was attentive to the list of sites we were interested in visiting, yet was not shy about suggesting alternatives or additional locations. These additions were some of our most memorable stops. We are so glad for her suggestions, as it enriched our experience.
Our afternoon pass off to our Palestinian guide, Samir, was truly delightful. His welcoming to his hometown of Jericho and his pride in sharing its beauty and history was a joy. Upon entering the village, he jumped out of the van to purchase us some local bananas, “the sweetest in the world”. Jericho is small enough, he seemed to know everyone in town and all were so welcoming and friendly, we felt like we must be long lost cousins.
We organized our own Middle East itinerary, and overall had eight private guides through different connections during our trip. I am very comfortable recommending Touring Israel Luxury Tours as being professional, dependable, knowledgeable, easy to work with and good value. Thank you Marie, Daphne and Samir!

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank SB-Home
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Everyone loves their tour guide, but these guys are REALLY great”
Reviewed April 6, 2013

It's funny, I have found that when you talk to people about their tour guides in Israel, they generally tend to rave. I think it is something in the air in Israel - it is such a wonderful place and that you have an overwhelming propensity to "fall in love" with the man or woman guid who is chaperoning you around. I must say that Joe Yudin and his staff at Touring Israel are truly a notch above the rest. I am a serious traveller (more for business than leisure unfortunately) but I know good service and frankly in previous trips to Israel that was my only complaint. My past trip was with my wife, two kids, and two grandmothers (Bubbie and Nana). Joe helped me think through how to architect our 11 days in Israel - what to see, when to see it and how to get there. He supplied us with one of his guides (I hear they are all terrific, but Inon was awesome). Inon spent three days with us, one in Jerusalem, one in the desert and one in the north, and we did things and saw the countryside and experienced Israel like I never had before and don't feel I would have with another guide. Also - we did a number of days of touring on our own and Joe and his team helped by making great suggestions and scheduling and booking things for us and made everything very easy. They even called us a few times on the days we were on our own to check in on how we were doing and to see if they could be helpful. I know Touring Israel has received high marks from others as well as from places like Conde Nast (who are usually spot on from a travel recommendation perspective from my vantage point) and they really do deserve the accolades. I highly recommend them.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Aaron511
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Touring Israel”
Reviewed April 4, 2013

I wanted to add to the accolades posted by others for the company Touring Israel. Joe contacted me within just a few hours of my initial inquiry about our trip and he was helpful right from the start. He was very patient as we worked through the details of the itinerary. He then handed it over to Maria who did a terrific job of finalizing the details and booking terrific hotels even though we planned the trip on rather short notice at a very busy time of the year (Obama’s visit, Passover and Palm Sunday all took place while we were in Israel). Maria also booked our hotels for the portion of the trip when we were on our own without a guide. Our guide Yoni was extremely knowledgeable but also had a fun sense of humor and was able to keep our teenage children engaged. His Chevy Traverse was really comfortable and he was a great driver who knew how to get around (again, this was critical since we were in Jerusalem at the same time as the Obama visit). Highlights of the trip included the hike on the Arbel cliffs (Yoni’s recommendation), the Jeep tour in the Golan heights and visit to OZ77, and of course all of the sites in Jerusalem (enhanced by Yoni’s knowledge of history, religion, and politics).

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank TKONY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Touring Israel Luxury Day Tours also viewed

 
Jerusalem, Jerusalem District
 

Been to Touring Israel Luxury Day Tours? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing