You Can't Afford NOT to Go

I hear it all the time.

Next March, the lovely Robin and I will be taking our fifth trip to the Holy Land, to which some friends and family often react with longing and regret and words such as, "I wish I could afford a trip like that."

But that's not how we have made those trips--even though I am as cheap as they come (my last name is Hostetler, after all).

Robin and I were still in our twenties when we determined that time was a-wasting, and we wanted to see Israel as early as possible in our ministry, because we knew it would enrich our teaching and living for many years to come. So we actually took out a loan to make that first trip, in 1987. Today, I can't even tell you how much it was for or how long it took us to repay it, because neither of those things was important once we had experienced that first life-changing trip. To this day, I consider it the best money I ever borrowed, and the best money I ever spent (slightly beating out the money I've spent on Krispy Kremes and better by far than college tuition).

We also wanted to take our kids with us to Israel, though we couldn't really "afford" it. But we scraped and saved and planned and prepared, and they traveled there with us in 2001. Looking back, I honestly can't imagine having foregone that blessing for any amount of money (and in the company, not only of our children, but--as pictured in the photo above--our niece Elissa and Robin's dad, Dick). In fact, I'm already making plans to take my children again--with their spouses--as well as (in ten years or so) my grandchildren.

That's not to say we haven't postponed trips or rearranged plans for money reasons; we have done so many times. And we take advantage of every possible way to cut expenses and make trips more affordable. For example, since our Holy Land fare always includes breakfast and dinner each day, we've been known to pocket foods from the ample breakfast buffets instead of spending money on lunch while touring; we also buy souvenirs very strategically, and since we remove our phones' SMS cards before leaving the country, we use them as cameras and wireless devices when wifi is free--thus saving on both space and expense).

My point is, we are NOT travel spendthrifts. But we have long prioritized life-changing and mind-expanding experiences over many other expenses, and nothing fits that bill like a trip to the land of the Bible. We plan and prepare far in advance. We register early to take advantage of discounts. We scrimp and save in every possible way. And we share the money-saving tips and techniques we've developed with our fellow travelers.

Really, a trip to the Holy Land is a trip you can't afford NOT to make. And you couldn't travel with better people than us. Okay, than with the lovely Robin, but I come as part of the package.

See the full-color brochure for our trip here, and email me here if you have any questions.

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