Egypt, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan
Summer 2024's Flagship Excursion
20 Days - $14450 USD all-inclusive (when booked by Dec 1, 2023)
July 1-20, 2024
Experience a Middle East No One Else Can Share
The Epics of the Nile Valley. The Complexities of the Holy Land. The Wonders of the Ancient World in Jordan.
Educational Travel Collaborative strives to build relationships in every corner of our planet to enhance and deepen the learning of our clients, but this is the place we have been working with for the longest and most deeply. We have been traveling to these countries for more than a decade, before, during, and after coups and revolutions, and our relationships with the communities along this itinerary, as well as our understanding of this part of the world, is a product of this investment of time and passion.
If you engage in only one travel opportunity with us, this should be it. Whether your interest is in the ancient sites of past civilizations or the technology and innovation hubs of Tel Aviv, political conflict or sustainable development, data collection or linguistic immersion, this part of the Middle East offers a welcome, and a challenge, that you'll never forget. Our team is better prepared than any other to help you to engage meaningfully with this misunderstood part of our planet.
July 1-2 - Travel to Egypt
Depart New York or other International Gateways on Group Flight, Transfer to Aswan
Our group will meet in New York City and fly to Aswan Via Cairo, finally arriving at our hotel around 4 PM. Those traveling from outside of North America may join us in the Cairo airport for our group flight to Aswan. Orientation conversations and an evening walk on the Nile.
July 3 - Sights of Aswan and Around
Abu Simbel, the Temple of Philae
Today offers us a chance to dive deep into the history of Ancient Egypt, as well as the rugged terrain and geopolitical tensions around control of the desolate region between Abu Simbel and Aswan. We meet our team of Egyptologists early to travel to the temple of Philae and Abu Simbel, one of the greatest surviving temples on the Nile today, meant to serve as a southern boundary of the region. Upon our return, we will visit some additional sites in Aswan and enjoy a relaxing evening on the Nile.
July 4-6: Luxor and its Temples
Modern Life in Luxor, the Historic Relics of Thebes, City of the Dead
Luxor is a modern agricultural and trade hub, as well as being home to many of Egypt's main tourist draws - the Valley of the Kings, the Mortuary of Hatshepsut, and Karnak, to name a few. We travel overland from Aswan to Luxor on the 4th, spend the 5th and 6th exploring this modern crossroads and historical heart of Egypt, and travel to Cairo by night train the evening of the 6th.
July 7-8: Cairo and Giza
An Eternal Capital. One of Africa and the Middle East's Most Important Cities.
Waking up in Cairo is an assault on the senses, even after a week in Egypt. 21 million people in the world's largest desert city, from across Egypt and the region. Students will have opportunities to experience the Pyramids of Giza, the Egyptian Museum, Al-Azhar mosque and the centrality of the Nile to every day urban life.
July 9-11: A historic arrival in Tel Aviv
The Middle East's Youthful and Energetic Technological and Cultural Hub
On the Mediterranean Coast, Tel Aviv embodies the energy, dynamism, and capacity for reinvention that is so central to the modern Israeli identity. We will arrive by nonstop flight on Air Sinai - a product of the historic peace treaty normalizing relations between Israel and Egypt. Travelers will experience Tel Aviv's beaches, world class museums, and get a taste for Israel's historic identity on a day trip to Masada. The evening of the 11th, we transfer to Bethlehem - our base for the next five nights, and a chance to unpack for a bit and collaborate carefully with our logistical partners in the local community!
July 12-13: Jerusalem and Hebron
The Heart of the Holy Land
Jerusalem's influence on this region and on the planet is impossible to overstate - a seat of power and point of conflict for millennia. We will explore the city on the 12th and 13th with both Israeli and Arab guides, as well as visiting Hebron (with a special government entourage), a city divided between Israeli settlements and a Palestinian Arab population to see the realities of the conflict up close from a variety of perspectives. We remain based in Bethlehem during this period for ease of access and to allow us freedom of movement as checkpoints open and close.
July 14: Nablus
A Market Town Steeped in History
Nablus is a town that leaves an impression - under full control of the Palestinian Authority farther from the lines of conflict that surround Jerusalem, as well as off of the region's traditional tourism circuit, Nablus's agricultural, culinary, and traditional handicrafts market offers a chance to understand the region in a way reserved for a select few. As a day trip from our base in Bethlehem, we'll visit the sites are covered markets of this beautiful town, as well as Mt. Gerizim and its residents (who have controlled the area since biblical times) and the Sabestia Archaelogical site.
July 15: Bethlehem and United Nations Relief and Works Agency's Aida Camp
An Immersive Service Learning Experience
Today, our cohort will see another side of Bethlehem as we visit Aida refugee camp, which provides housing for those displaced from what is now known as Israel. Students will work with local community organizations and schools on a variety of projects suited to student interests, from visiting and co-teaching in local schools to engaging in community beautification and infrastructural improvement, our cohort will work side by side to build relationships with the community and gain a deep perspective of life in the UNRWA camps.
July 16: Jericho, Dead Sea Swim, Amman
A Travel Day With Major Highlights
Today we leave our Bethlehem base and say goodbye to the expert Palestinian ground crew which guides us through the West Bank. We visit the historical city of Jericho en route to the Allenby Bridge crossing, exit Israel, and enter Jordan. This process takes some time, and gives the cohort another chance to see some of the realities of the situation on the ground. After crossing, we will have the chance to stop and swim in the Dead Sea, where the extreme salinity and density makes swimmers abnormally buoyant, an excursion highlight for many! After showering and getting cleaned up, we travel to Amman, and overnight in a hotel there where we rest, eat a nice dinner, and prepare for another day of exploration and travel.
July 17: Amman City, Mt Nebo, Madaba
Traveling Jordan's Kings Highway
Yet another day on the road as we travel to Jordan's south. Our local Jordanian guides will provide context as we stop at Mt Nebo and Madaba, key religious and historical sites on this, the east bank of the Jordan River. We will arrive in the early evening outside of the Petra archeological site, meet for orientation and an evening walk around, and spend the night near the site gates.
July 18: Petra, overnight Wadi Rum
A Grand Finale to the Trip of a Lifetime.
Today combines two of Jordan's most famous attractions, and provides us with a great opportunity to end on a high note, as well as to gather together and reflect. We will spend the day with bedouin guides exploring the ancient Nabatean city of Petra on horseback and on foot, visiting hundreds of temples and exploring the stunning geography of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon, we will travel to a Bedouin camp deep in the desert of Wadi Rum to spend the nights under the stars and unpack our experiences, analyses, and reflections from this epic adventure.
July 19: Wadi Rum Exploration, transfer to Amman
The Wilds of the Desert, A Return to the City
We will spend time exploring the Desert of Wadi Rum on foot and by 4x4 in the morning up until mid-day, as the heat reaches its peak. From there, we will begin the drive out of the desert, and back up the Kings Highway to spend our last night in the region in Amman. We will dine and say goodbye to our Jordanian ground crew, prior to a last night of sleep and a trip to the airport.
July 20: Return Home!
Bringing our Learning Home
The cohort returns to countries of origin - the group flight to New York will land on the afternoon of the 20th (we are going back in time on our return flight) as will those headed to European destinations. Those returning to Asia will land on the 21st due to time zone changes.
Who is eligible to attend ETC's Middle East Excursion?
This excursion is open to travelers aged 15-23 at the time of travel who are in sound physical and mental health. Be able to spend a day on your feet, and be aware that the Middle East in July is hot. Our school aged and university aged travelers will undertake many activities together, but 18-23 year olds will have some opportunities for night time exploration that differ from those of our school aged travelers.
Travelers should ensure they are authorized to travel to the countries in question - Israeli Citizens are not able to travel on parts of our itinerary in the West Bank under Israeli law.
Who will be going on the trip with me?
Our excursions are open to travelers from all over the world who are interested in building an understanding of the regions to which we travel. Our admissions interviews serve to help us to ensure a strong cohort dynamic - differences in experience and perspectives are what make our cohorts function, and what deepens our learning as a community.
Elite international educators who are also veteran travelers will serve as trip facilitators on this trip, at a ratio of 4 young travelers to 1 trip facilitator. In addition, we will work with various teams on the ground to provide deep local knowledge - Egyptologists, local scholars, community leaders, and professional logistics teams, as necessary.
What will a day on the road look like?
The Middle East is one of those destinations in which the journey is as much a part of the experience as our primary destinations. A typical day sees us waking relatively early, around 7 AM, breakfasting at our hotel or guest house, exploring for most of the day, free time in the evening, a group dinner, and debrief. independent exploration will be possible in most of our destinations in the evening as well. Most days we will do our exploring as one large group, but our low traveler to facilitator ratio means that we can split up into smaller groups when beneficial to the diversity of interests within our cohort, or with regards to the situation on the ground.
When should I plan to register by?
Our application process is rolling, generally closing in late winter or early spring with full enrollment.
The nature of our business means that we can offer better rates the earlier travelers register - it allows us to make staffing decisions for our excursion, secure air travel, and begin holding accommodation at rates that can only be secured far in advance. As such, rates increase by $750 USD for those submitting deposits on or after December 1 2022, and an additional $750 USD on or after February 1 2023 in order to offset these costs. All in all, it makes sense to register as early as possible. Payments beyond the initial deposit can be staggered at no additional cost.
Pricing and Registration
Our intimate cohort-based model of running this excursion means that there are limited spots available. Full terms and conditions are published here, but the first step of our admissions process is the submission of a deposit, which allows us to schedule our initial admissions conversation! Upon acceptance, you'll have a variety of options for the payment of program tuition, which can be paid upfront or in three installments due on the first of December 2022, February 2023, and April 2023.
Note that the total price of attending the Middle East excursion, including all food, lodging, activity costs, guide fees, and transportation from a major international airport of our choosing is US$13,885 for those registering prior to December 1st, US$14,635 from December 1st to January 31st, and US$15,385 from February 1st onward.
Your deposit will be applied towards the total cost of the trip upon completion of the admissions process. Should you change your mind prior to admission, the deposit is refundable less a 50 dollar administrative fee. After the admissions process is complete, the deposit is non-refundable. Should ETC determine that the traveler is not admissible to the program for any reason, the deposit will be refunded in full, without any administrative fee. Our Terms and Conditions and Cancellation and Refunds policies apply to each of these payments or transactions.