Slave Haven: Underground Railroad Museum

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gold star

A Diamond in the Rough!

Putting it mildly but true in so many ways nestled  in the suburbs about a mile from the heart of Memphis, and closer to two miles away from the famous Beale Street.  What this precious place lacks in aesthetics it more then makes up for in charm and authenticity.  This historical gem eloquently and visually displays the history of slavery from Africa to Ohio with emphasis on Memphis’ role in it.  This three hour visual tour is riddled with visual displays, that is not left to the viewers personal interpretation, but a very well informed historian guides you through every detail from the pictures to the furnishings, and not only that but provides encouragement as you don’t only hear our story of slavery, but you also hear a story of a resilient and determined people willing to do whatever it takes to be free.  Whether that is physically or mentally and often both.

Who should visit?

All great and small whether you’re black, white, hispanic, or other, knowing the history of slavery is liberating for all, but most importantly knowing how we overcame it.  While the Burkle house doesn’t have the beauty of the renovated Lorraine Hotel, it definitely has the authenticity and the personal touch that doesn’t just engage you for the day, but leaves a lasting impression and a hunger for learning history.  This Underground Railroad shows you what a people endured to be free and takes you visually through the experience in a way that I have never experienced as this is an actual house that was used.  While it shares of our history it also shares of the history of a family who came here from Germany.  Having witnessed the ugliness of racial discrimination there they came here and had the courage to do something about the atrocious treatment of African Americans; risking his own life and the lives of his family he secretly took part in an act of compassion that has set captives free.

By far this is hand’s down the BEST museum I have been to so far concerning the history of the transatlantic slave trade and the underground railroad.   While many boast elaborate and beautiful displays, interactive self guided multimedia tools, its nothing like having someone share the oral history with you personalizing every artifact.  It is a must see in the city of the dead, which is the meaning of Memphis.  It is my most recommended location and would be well worth visiting for schools, ministries, individuals, and families.  It may not be fun for all ages, but it will be encouraging for all ages.  Learning the trials, tragedy, triumph, and perseverance of any people is liberating for all people.

If you would like to visit Slave Haven here is the official website.


Please Take Me Away

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So you want to take a trip, somewhere, anywhere!  Anywhere beyond the four walls of your home, your job, and everything else familiar to your life, but there is only one fatal flaw, EXPENSE!  More affordable then ever you can travel not only nationally but internationally to see new things and experience something other then your surroundings.  Sometimes a fresh prospective requires a fresh environment to explore.  Tap into your creative side by sprinkling a little inspiration in your life.  Nothing is more inspiring then traveling on new adventures and experiencing life abroad, afar from your daily worries or concerns.

Grab a sheet of paper and right down at least  5 places that you would like to visit.  It can be anywhere in the world.  You have played it safe your entire life don’t choose now to be the time that you play it safe, take a risk.  There is nothing that removes the mundane in life quite like taking a leap of faith in stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone.  Allow the place you want to go to be your motivation that will propel you into the extra hours you will work to get just a little bit more spending money as well as get in good favor with some of your fellow workers when you need to switch days off so that you can take this trip of a lifetime.  If you’re not married then create a traveling friends club.  Remember you are looking for someone adventurous not the person who will spend the kind of money you will spend on a trip across the waters only to want to stay in the hotel room watching t.v. all day.  The appropriate companions will be essential.

Perhaps a cruise is more your speed?  Join the Critique travel advisor to find out how you can save a ton of money on cruises, even for balconies and suites.   But the tip of the day will be on cheap flights.  This too is a great option for travel and with the right resources can be done at a steal of a deal.  Bottomline, is get ready, get set, and most importantly go!

Now that you have where you want to go locked in, the next step is to know from where you are leaving.  if you are leaving from a major city then you should be ashamed you didn’t think of this sooner, however, if you live quite a distance from a major city then you have to broaden your horizons because some driving will be involved.  If you are a distance from a major cruise port this too means a few extra steps may be required but do not fret the tip I am providing you in this article will help you to get on course.

Once you have narrowed down your list of exotic places you would like to explore, or if you are real adventurous and just want to get a way then your opportunities have just expanded as Airfare Watchdog is a website that is based on bringing endless opportunities to your mailbox, email box that is.  Find out real time information and rules of engagement for booking your once or twice, or three in a lifetime dream vacation.  Participating is as simple as:

1) Whether your adventure starts in the air or on water for many of us an airplane trip will be the most convenient mode of transportation. Shouairfarewatchdogupdatesld you find the need to use this mode of transportation then these updates in your mailbox will prove to be most beneficial.  While I know, I know, many of us are inundated with junk mail coming in our inbox on a regular basis if you are a travel or potential travel explorer trust me seeing the fabulous deals that come about fresh off the press this e-mail update will be much like receiving a gift in your inbox.  It is not unexpected that one can find flights as low as $49 round trip, and the very first bill that must be paid and to take advantage of the good sales it will require that you have the lump sum available all at once so depending on how far your adventure will take you try to save at least $700 and anything that comes in for less consider the balance as a travel gift card because trust me it will be used.  So getting these updates will get you started. Also you are not bound by your dream vacation should you find a round trip ticket to Bora Bora for instance for $500 or less make that the next spot on your hitlist.

2) Pick the nearest major airports near you, or at least the ones you’re willing to drive or take a bus too.  Airfare watchdog allows you to customize your search based on the airports you are willing to leave from.  The great news is when you get your e-mail updates they will also throw in at the bottom any hot sales available from other airports near you.   flightout

3) Found what you like?  Pick dates around the rules required to get that price.  Unfortunately, if you are going to get the good deals you are going to have to be flexible.  So if this is your plan for travel then I wouldn’t put in for vacation just yet, wait until you have found your flight and if you have a job that limits your travel time then also keep that in mind whenflightfound reserving your plane ticket as these are nonrefundable especially if you do not have insurance.  But for sure you won’t have a lot of time to lock in that favorable price so as much information as you can find out about vacation days available to you from your job the better.  Because once that deal comes in you have just enough time to book it.  All the information you need to get the price you are looking at is provided for you including when travel must start, when it ends, and the airline providing it.  Also as you can see this particular deal is sold out.  So the best I can say is as soon as you see an update in your e-mail make it a priority to scan the offerings and pick your trip.  If everything meets your qualifications then a space is provided for you on the site to take you directly to your deal.

If Israel is your dream vacation then sign up with The Critique to find out how you can travel like a native in the Holy Land.  Save a bundle and experience Israel through the people and like you are a resident and my video documentary is like a how-to video that will show you what you need to do from beginning to end.





Gett Taxi – Israel

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gettaxiA must have app to have in areas that the train doesn’t go in after 7pm.  Straight forward, pay before they arrive and you can schedule in advance.  A safe, and excellent way to meet people indigenous to the area.  The rate is much more reasonable then haggling with regular taxi drivers.  I want to be charged a fair price for fair work and that’s what I got.  Depending on where you are traveling Get Taxi also provides you the option of paying a flat fee or “by the meter”.  In remote areas usually the only option available is “by the meter”.  Personally, this is a wild card for me because if you aren’t sure what the distance is from the location you are picked up at to the location you are going to you cannot estimate whether or not you are getting a good rate or not.  Sources online state that “by the meter” is best because Israel has a set rate that they can charge so this is allegedly regulated.  However, depending on the distance you could come out better using the flat fee.  Besides which if you’re like me I like knowing before I go what I am going to pay.  It gives me peace of mind and I can already have the money available in hand before we exit.  Don’t like surprises.  Also, I do like the fact that the money is taken out automatically with Gett taxi from your account through the third party vendor.  This means you can just get out, get your things and leave.

Also in Israel it is not customary to tip, so you pay in advance and go, and if you would like to pay a tip Gett taxi offers you that option as well. That’s what I call a sweet ride.

Beware, however the cons to this is if you are in an area with too few taxi services which we found to be the case in Nazareth. We never got a taxi even though we booked two hours in advance.  In Yeruham (pronounced Yerocham) service appeared to be available coming from larger areas only like Dimona, but the problem is Yeruham is virtually a new community area that doesn’t have street addresses properly posted so you run the risk of not being found. This is only a problem if you are carrying lots of luggage and traveling to a bus stop roughly a quarter of a mile away. Moral of that story if staying in Yeruham I suggest car renting or travel lite. Bus system however in Yeruham is regular, convenient, and is ALWAYS cheaper no matter what city you are in in Israel or Palestine. Also beware Gett taxi does have a lot of hidden fees to consider. If purchasing in advance there is an additional cost, 4.80 shekel, if you are late to your pick up additional cost, and if you have lots of luggage requiring assistance with additional cost. Biggest issue these additional fees other than the advance set up is not made known to you upfront. However when traveling in Israel/Palestine this is a convenient option, while again not most inexpensive, but you have lesser margin of error then you do if you travel public transit. As traveling outside of Jerusalem area by bus insures greater possibility your bus driver won’t speak English. This could mean you missing your stop if you’re not able to find signs in English, which is more frequent the case if traveling beyond the city.  These factors, plus the ability to pay in advance via credit card and know in advance the main fee by Gett taxi made this a great option where available.

Overall, where available Get taxi is an excellent tool to use even with the hidden fees.  It’s customized features include deciding what type of taxi service you use along with the ability to take a private taxi or a shared taxi also called in Israel a Sherut.  Shared taxi’s with get taxi will be based on availability and clearly will be a more affordable option where available. Due to the complex nature of renting a vehicle this may be the next best option where public transportation is not available.


Paris App Review

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parismapI know it’s been a minute, life happening stops a sole proprietorship in its tracks.  But don’t fret I have not neglected my travel business despite the craziness.

Our layover in Paris consisted of wanting to see one place and we had 6 hours only to make it happen.  Did as much planning as I could with all the possible apps I could and none were helpful.

Be sure when choosing apps going overseas that they are functional offline.  The main thing I needed was transit instructions on how to use public transportation to get around.  Travel or tourist by taxi or tour guide is ridiculously high.  Over $60 round trip for two travel from CDG airport to Tour Eiffel by transit would have cost me over $400 by private tour and by taxi at least double.  Though public transportation and traffic ate up the bulk of our time in Paris the ultimate goal was met, we made it to the tower.  I must admit it wasn’t what I expected, but it was amazing seeing how huge the city is.  One could easily walk in circles and we were almost one of them.

Reliable WiFi would be needed or an international phone to function overseas.  Unlike Jerusalem WiFi on the streets was not as easy to come by and GPS service unavailable without it.  The best thing you can use in the 21st century to maneuver the Parisienne streets is a good ole fashion street map.  Paris map allowed you to download maps, but make sure you know where it’s saved to and you have ample space on micro sd card to save it.  Sorry Apple users without extended space this could eat you up and if your phone is your camera space is gold for high quality videos and photos.

So with limited time to figure out how to maneuver offline and with one battery for my phone it was a race between finding the Eiffel and having enough juice on my phone which was also my camera to take pictures once there.  At the end of the day the app gets an “A” rating for organizing useful information for tourist, especially while you are in your home area, but a “F” for use when you need it once there.  It’s functionality becomes useless once you’re there, without WiFi, and let’s face it, being able to walk the streets of Paris from your home area with your fingers is not quite as useful as being able to maneuver around Paris once you’re there.

This app allows you to get general information when in your home area concerning attractions, currency converter, points of interest with GPS coordinates, maps, and history of the city.  Mostly information found online such as Wikipedia, centrally in one place.  An app with much promise, but not quite there yet.

Okay so, if you have been on my website you know that I am working on a documentary sharing how we traveled in Jerusalem as a native and saved a bundle.  The purpose of this documentary is to empower, encourage, and inform those interested in traveling abroad on your own terms with my personal reviews, tips, and resources to help you overcome the international travel phobias that may hinder you from taking the plunge.  If you would like to be kept abreast of when the documentary is available or to stay tuned for more useful reviews encourage you to follow the Critique and begin your adventure today.

Looking to make extra money for your trip but you don’t have much time to work another job?  Click here to find out how you can save money on your regular purchases and begin saving money for your next adventure.

Medgar Evers Museum

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I always enjoy learning about history and especially my history.  Museums are popping up all over to share amazing facts about our past and I must admit I prefer the Tour Guide assisted ones the most.  There is nothing quite like a well prepared curator to transport you back in time and recreate the treasures of history that is lost from the pages of textbooks.

Located in Jackson, MS it is truly something different about standing in the space that this man who gave his life for fighting for the freedoms I now enjoy that renders you speechless.  In his own words he lived with the fear of his inevitable demise his stand for freedom would take.  He left behind three young children and a young wife who would have to continue on in the fear of being targeted.  Indeed as scripture says, you must first bind the strong man if one is to take a house. (Matt. 12:29)  His death was a tremendous blow to the cause and delayed justice of his murderer was a slap in the face.  Mississippi is one of the most ruthless places for the atrocities of those of us of color in the land. For that cause it’s fitting that it would house within its borders so many museums that preserve that fact. Of course not to its complement though unfortunately many people would consider it’s distasteful treatment of its own citizens to be otherwise, nevertheless I am thankful the accurate history is made available for those of us desiring to discover it.

The window that has preserved the bullet hole still visible and the furniture and walls where a bullet ricochet through still visible to reveal the horror a family had to endure for refusing to apologize for their existence and demanding equal treatment for a system that is receiving equal pay through taxes and patronage from his hard earned money.

His daughters room, Reena, now holds the wall with his life’s story as a beautiful collage and honorable tribute. When decent and humble people can’t raise their family in peace it is a tragedy.  The struggle had never been about being treated better or receiving something for nothing, but being treated equal. Being treated as you want others to treat you.  Such a simple biblical principle that all people should be able to have access too and be willing to live by.



Me with Minnie Watson our Tour Guide

I am often amazed at how peaceably those who are blessed to be historical orators are at sharing such a profound history.  To be trusted to pass on such valuable information is like having ownership of a trust.  The most important thing about a trust is what will you do with it? How will you keep the legacy, how will you preserve the treasure of such a name? I was happy to hear the family is continuing the work. Reena is actively working to make a difference in the African American youth of Mississippi and her brother and Mother helps her in that work.  I am equally glad that they have chosen to make their home a landmark that will stand for future generations so that they never forget what love looks like and the devastation hate can cause.

Young Living Bon Voyage Travel Kit

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Are you packing and getting ready to jet set in some fancy place outside of your own space?  Looking to preserve your healthy lifestyle even when back tracking through the everglades of life?  Well it is possible.  What this little pack lacks it makes up for in quality products and compact convenience.  I would only add a few more things to this bag of treats to make it complete, and thankfully the bag that it comes in leaves room for just that.  Always remember however, what ever you add must meet the travel guidelines of TSA or you will be leaving it behind on your adventure.  It doesn’t come with deodorant and DSA is liquid mineral salt completely safe and I will be adding the recipe for how I make my own with oils available to all those interested on my essential oils website and on the oil cafe.

So here is what you do get with your kit:

  • Thieves® AromaBright Toothpaste, 60ml
  • Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier, 29.5ml
  • Thieves Dental Floss
  • Thieves Fresh Essence Plus Mouthwash, 60ml
  • Young Living Toothbrush
  • Lavender Shampoo, 60ml
  • Lavender Conditioner, 60ml
  • Cinnamint Lip Balm
  • Morning Start™ Bath & Shower Gel, 60ml
  • Genesis™ Hand & Body Lotion, 60ml
  • ART® Light Moisturizer, 10g

Retail: $72.37

Wholesale: $55.00

If you would like to sign up to get your kit for $55.00 along with making the switch to a healthier home then join me to a healthier you and take advantage of a host of free resources that I make available to all of my team members to help them maximize the most of their investment.  This is not an investment in just wealth acquisition but in health accumulation.

In Search of the Mysterious 458 Bus Etiquette For Israeli Travel

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The busing system in Jerusalem is quite intricate. Many buses doing the same thing and going the same places. However for those interested in traveling to other further away areas of Israel you will find few buses and their locations further away from main bus station. Any English speaking person will be able to maneuver at most stops as they are in Hebrew and English. The problem comes in with special buses in that there arrival and departure points vary drastically. They also travel less frequently so you can easily tie your whole day up waiting as we did for our bus to Dimona. Now of course only God can make lemonade out of lemons and he did so. Special note English speakers if you see the word “alighten” next to bus number on bus stop this is for drop off not pickup. This mistake cost us valuable time in our day. Having started at 7:30am in Bethlehem from taxi to bus to train with 5 pieces of heavy luggage to the central bus station waiting till 2:16pm for a bus stop that neither information or any other person could correctly guide us to proved to be a futile effort. After missing the 458 bus we opted to go through Beersheva rather then wait on the 8pm 458 bus to appear in Jerusalem and lose an entire day. But again Yah orchestrated all, so after getting to Beersheva we met a couple who are attending the same event at the bus stop and they being English speakers have guided us as well. By the way after two hours of ministering to a young man from Canada even our six hour delay produced fruit for the kingdom of Yah and taught us something else, when you are delayed sometimes it’s on purpose.
Getting even closer to finishing the informentary on traveling as a native in Israel.  This will be a must have guide to getting the most out of your trip.  The more you go the more you learn.  We have made three trips now in less then 365 days and the knowledge and tips we acquired will be well worth purchasing this informentary and its accompanying workbook.

International Travel: Bed and Breakfast or Hotel

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Thus far my overseas travel portfolio as far as overnight stays only applies to one nation and that is Israel.  However, I have experienced traveling there staying in a hotel and staying in a bed and breakfast.  This review is just my personal view as well as travel tips concerning both.  On our first trip to Israel our entire stay with the exception of one overnight stay in a Kibbutz in Dimona was in a hotel.  The location was perfect as this hotel was literally only a few feet from the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem.  This made traveling the land as a native extremely easy and so for the location I would say this was a pretty good choice.  This is basically where the buck stops as it relates to staying in a hotel versus a bed and breakfast.  The cost to stay in the hotel was roughly $89 a night and to stay in a bed and breakfast $25 a night.

Our hotel suite provided us more space then the average hotel room would as we did have a miniature refrigerator, a living room and dining table area which is an excellent space for guest with a beautiful view of the city.  These amenities were nice to have, and staying in Israel means that any spot you stay in will be beaming with character, fortunately this is a trait that either a hotel or bed and breakfast will provide.  Having said that the benefit of a bed and breakfast is that you have access to a kitchen, which will include some sort of cooking surface apparatus, a full size refrigerator, and occasionally laundry area both of which are excellent amenities if you keep the Sabbath or plan to stay for more than a few days in the country.

The other bonus to staying in a bed and breakfast is the personal connection you get to make with the host.  Having a host that is dedicated to a few customers will always be more valuable than a hotel concierge who must see about the needs of potentially hundreds of guests.  Not to mention a host is an invaluable resource to not just helping you get around affordably as a native, but helping you learn how to maneuver the area safely and can help you truly understand the culture from the eyes of a local.  Especially if they speak both English and Hebrew or Arabic this means you have a translator just within a few feet of view, and all this for a price of between $25 and $39 per night.  No hotel in Jerusalem will be able to compete with a deal that good or provide that personal touch.

Living in the U.S. bed and breakfast has a different meaning.  We are used to victorian style homes which are beaming with character, but usually consists of uniquely designed rooms which may or may not include a private bathroom, and also means sharing the home with other strangers while the host makes you breakfast downstairs.  Well, my experience overseas has been somewhat different as no one has made us breakfast and occasionally you’ll find fresh eggs in the refrigerator and home made bread that may be dropped off outside your door, but you will be cooking the eggs yourself and you have your own private apartment that you don’t have to share any of the common area with others.  Obviously, the second image is usually more desirable then the first and unless you choose to share a space with strangers will be the likely accommodations you will receive.  For the reasons mentioned in the U.S. bed and breakfast is not quite as popular yet as resort and hotel accommodations.  However, in my albeit limited experience I was pleasantly delighted with the value and the security I felt living in the residential area of the land.  Staying in a bed and breakfast is not as easy to choose as perhaps a hotel will be.  Admittedly you do probably take more of a risk choosing this option as they will not come with the plethora of reviews that one will find for hotels which have been usually established for years and decades.  However, there are a couple of reliable websites that will give you some reviews that are usually very thorough and provide lots of pictures and details so that you can make an informed decision about where you choose to stay.

There are two companies that we used in order to secure our bed and breakfast, and although there are others available online and I plan to write reviews on the other I mentioned in this article I will only give a review of the ones I actually used which includes:

airbnbFunctions much like a social media community that focuses on everything traveling accept flight purchasing.  While securing accommodations is its primary purpose it also provides you with information and options to purchase experiences along the way.  I have yet to purchase any tours from there so this review will be mainly on my experience using them for accommodations.  I just recently booked a room for national travel, but will have to update you about that experience later on.  Airbnb is a good place to start because it is like a well established neighborhood, it has been in this space for a while now and as a result have lots of options for you to choose from.  The pricing is fair just make sure that you read the sites thoroughly the price for the actual room is one thing and that can be alluring but these services also include other fees that can drive your overall price up higher then the per day quote.  However, you will know before you pay what you will owe.  They also take the money out immediately after you reserve the location.  Another excellent feature of using this platform is you have access to the host before and obviously after you secure your accommodations to ask them whatever questions you need.  This operates much the way e-mail does so it is fairly self explanatory.  Get updates through the Airbnb app on your phone.  As soon as your host has sent you a message it will come directly to your phone.  Giving you real time information as needed for your trip.

Recently Airbnb has made some changes to its privacy policy as well as security policy.  Host’s can request pictures of your personal information such as government issued identification (i.e. drivers license).  In my opinion this information should not be required, however, you have to decide for yourself whether or not this is a deal breaker.  Not all hosts require this additional information so shop around and you may find some that don’t, with a price you’re willing to pay.

A note on security, like ebay and any other platform that relies on positive feedback to continue to thrive, Airbnb operates much the same way.  People typically leave feedback when they have stayed in these places and rest assured if its not a new listing and people have stayed there with a complaint this spot will be the first place they make known their problems.  Be mindful when you read though of the age or purpose of the visit if this information is provided by the one giving a review.  For instance, a couple may be looking for different things then a few college students on vacation backtracking through Israel.  Their assessment of a property will not necessarily measure up to the experience you desire to have.  So try to find reviews if available that are very detailed and specifically take in consideration the date of their stay especially if multiple reviews are listed, and details like if this was a couple, a family, or a college students review.  This will help give you a balanced view of the review so that you can book with your eyes wide open.  I personally won’t stay in a place that has no photos available for me to view.  I also will not book if the only pictures are pictures of the surrounding area, you will find pictures of what might be views from the property, but none of the property.

Also, always be sure to read the cancellation policy and the house rules before you book. Another important point to consider is make sure that when searching criteria that you specify if you have a preference concerning sharing a space, renting a private room, or entire home.  There are some really good prices out there no matter which you choose but if you are looking for a space that will accommodate two people and it is a 6 bedroom apartment for $20.00 for instance then more then likely this is for a private room in a house rather then you having the entire house.  This is not necessarily a problem, just be aware that this may mean sharing a bathroom with someone else, and if you don’t have a private key to your room could also be a security concern.  Whenever we have booked we have been sure to look specifically for properties rented as “entire home/apartment” and my review is based on renting an entire space.

ebc3273565b5e682ccaf01872d2e046749306442If you’re not completely sold out on doing a bed and breakfast then is an excellent resource to consider.  This will not limit you to bed and breakfast properties, but will allow you to shop a whole host of different properties from hotels, resorts, airbnb’s, or whatever is available to be rented you can pretty much get.  Functioning more like Expedia or like many commercial online travel sites this website allows for you to see all the options available in a given area with whatever your criteria is from price range to ratings.  Another great feature is many of the properties that you search from here do not require payment for reservations and typically will offer more flexible cancellation policies.  Booking also unlike Airbnb does not provide an option for renting a room for an apartment as far as I have seen the entire space was rented out which means you don’t have to concern yourself with the possibility of renting a space that has unexpected strangers sharing your common areas.  However, as far as bed and breakfast properties go you won’t find quite as many as you will with Airbnb so I would highly recommend that you shop both before making your final decision.

Also, also offers a phone app that will help you to keep track of any of your reservations and make changes as necessary with your own secure account much like Airbnb your personal information is kept safe and secure.  Rest easy knowing that your vacation is booked and there is nothing left for you to do but to pack and go.
The Critique is working on a comprehensive video that will give you step by step instructions and is available with workbook that will show you how to get the most out of your Holy Land trip at an affordable price.  Under The Jerusalem Sun will be a must have item for planning a trip to the Holy Land and with a video download price of $20 you can’t beat it, or purchase a bundle and get the downloadable workbook that includes fill in the blank checklists and worksheets to make each step of the process easy to follow, order the bundle for only $39.99.  Unfortunately, the documentary is not ready, but will be soon.