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I love to travel! Prior to the pandemic, I was going on two big trips per year, one of which was a mission trip. This year, my church started sending people out on international trips again, and I was just waiting and watching to see if anyone got trapped. Good news! Everyone came back and there were no issues to report.

Time to start planning a big trip! Israel has been on my list for years and this seems to be the perfect foray back into international travel. I considered going on one of the many packaged tours, including the one my own church sponsors, but ultimately, I decided to go on my own for a couple of reasons.

  1. I wanted a longer trip: 20 days!
  2. I wanted the freedom to change my plans on a whim
  3. I love researching and planning trips

The internet provides a wealth of amazing information when you’re planning a trip. I’ve included a list of my favorite sites at the bottom of this email. I have to admit, though, that there is nothing like a really good guide book

My number one resource in planning my trip is The Holy Land for Christian Travelers (Amazon Link) by John Beck. If you only want one book, I highly recommend this one. The front of the book has a few different itineraries you can follow, depending on the number of days you have. Every item in the itinerary has a couple of pages of description in the book along with relevant history and bible verses. This book is well organized, concise, and well written.

If you need more detail, add Ultimate Guide to the Holy Land (Amazon Link) to your travel library. My only complaint about this book is that it is physically too small, and uses a really small font, but the book itself is an outstanding reference. It is a large collection of short articles about places, people, and cultural concepts of the biblical world.

I just finished Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus (Amazon Link) by Wayne Stiles. This is a terrific book to read even if you aren’t going to Israel. He tells Jesus’ story in the context of exploring the holy land on a tour. It’s very easy to read and both educational and entertaining.

In addition to planning my trip, I’m learning some Hebrew. Learning Hebrew isn’t necessary, but I do enjoy learning languages. I have a subscription to Rosetta Stone that includes all the languages. I tried the Arabic lesson and gave up. That was just too hard and I’m only going to be in Jordan for 3 days.

Other books that I’m using:

  • Barry Beitzel’s New Moody Atlas of the Bible (Amazon Link)
  • DeLancey, John, Devotional Treasures from the Holy Land (Amazon Link)
  • Holy Land, An Oxford Archaeological Guide by Jerome Murphy-O’Connor (Amazon Link)
  • Dyer, Charles and Hatteberg, Gregory, Christian Traveler’s Guide to the Holy Land, 2023 (Amazon Link)
  • Insights Guides Israel (Amazon Link)
  • Lonely Planet Israel (Amazon Link)
  • NIV Archeological Study Bible (Amazon Link)
  • Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Time Lines (Amazon Link)

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