Passover cleaning is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Passover is now associated with spending time with family, stress-free. Why should we slave away like our ancestors did back in Egypt? Instead, we could be celebrating the freedom we have today. Congrats, you’ve made it to the definitive guide on how to choose a Passover program.
Pesach vacation is the time to spend with family, not the time to spend in the kitchen. So when you have an opportunity to be surrounded by your children, without work or school, you shouldn’t spend that time working and worrying about hosting them. That is why Passover programs are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to spend the chag.
For many moms, Passover vacation is the hardest time of the year. Months of cleaning and food preparation is something you dread year after year. Today, there are so many Pesach programs out there! But then comes the big decision- which Passover program is right for my family?
Let’s get started. There are almost 100 Passover programs to choose from. That’s a rough start for anyone. How do you know where to start? How do you find a place that has the same religious level as you? How do you find a resort that is equally beautiful and luxurious? Or maybe you want to go somewhere new, like China, Thailand or Europe. Do you want to be by the pool? By the sea? Do you want to be in a large resort or a boutique program? Do you want to see Shwekey? Is the chef going to make you the best food possible? All these decisions are so overwhelming, you might decide it’s easier to just cook and clean at home. If you’re going to spend the money, you want to make sure you get what you’re paying for.
Things to think about when choosing a Passover Program:
There are several important factors to consider before choosing a Pesach program. Let’s go through them so by the time you finish this article, you’ll know exactly which program is the perfect fit.
Here is everything you need to consider when choosing a Passover resort.
What’s your budget?
The first thing to consider is price. You need to have a budget in mind before talking to the programs that interest you most. Almost every program lists prices on their websites, and if they don’t, it’s likely on the higher end. The highest priced programs have top-notch service and guaranteed exquisite dining.
However, you can also have incredibly high-end experiences on lower priced programs, if it in a cheaper location. For example, programs on the beach are generally more expensive than inland programs. You see, there are many factors that price is based on. In the end, every program wants to deliver some level of luxury, so you’re not going to find ‘bad’ food anywhere. Simply know your budget and know what’s truly important to your family. With this in mind, you’ll definitely find the right one!
Where do you want to go?
Once you have a budget in mind it’s time to consider the second-most important factor, location. Here’s some questions to ask yourself:
- Would we rather drive?
- Do we need to be on the beach?
- Do we all have passports and don’t mind waiting in customs lines?
- How much are the flights?
- How’s the weather at that time of year?
If you decide to stay in the US, which in many instances is much more convenient then getting your family all the way to Europe, then you have a choice of three areas. The East Coast, The West Coast, or Florida. All these places have amazing programs to choose from. You don’t even have to go on a plane to feel like you’re truly on vacation for Passover in 2019.
If you, on the other hand, are craving an adventure, there’s also amazing Kosher for Passover resorts around the world that will feel like a trip of a lifetime. There’s China, Thailand, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, etc… If this piques your interest, you want to look at the day trips they offer. If you’re traveling all the way to these places, you’ll want to take advantage of your surroundings. You can see and learn about amazing new cultures from the other side of the world.
If you want to hear the waves and feel the sand beneath your feet, there are plenty of beach resorts to choose from. Ranging from Mexico to the Caribbean, you could be moments away from a Passover vacation that truly will feel like a vacation.
Or you might decide that the only place you’d like to spend Passover is in Israel, because Israel… There are some top hotels with highly renowned chefs in Israel. In eretz Yisroel, with it’s amazing variety, you could eat at a different restaurant every night and never be served the same dish twice.
How religious is the program?
Another thing to consider is how religious you would like the program to be. Often, it’s hard to know exactly how religious a program is just by looking at their website. The best way to know for sure is to ask about the pools. Are the pools joined swimming or separate swimming? That is the question you have to ask. Also, it is important you look at the Kashruth level and make sure it is right for you.
What entertainment will they have?
Look at is the list of activities. When you are spending 10 days in a single place, it’s important to know that you will be entertained every day. Look at the speakers or the musicians that the resort has organized. Are there any day trips? Fun activities? You’ll need to find a program whose activities best suit you and your family.
Then, you have to think about the food. This will be an important thing to consider. Ask the program if there is one or more chefs, find out which food will be served and also how. Ask about the Kashruth. Will dinners be a buffer or served to the table? Is lunch available every day? When a program runs for 10 days it’s easy to get very sick of the food, so make sure their menu changes or some programs have several restaurants to choose from.
How big is the program?
You need to think about which type of program you would enjoy the most. Would you like to spend your Passover in a huge resort with activities around every corner, where the family will never get bored? Or would you prefer a boutique trip where you will feel more connected with the other people? Do you want a communal seder led by one chazan, a seder with just your family in a joint room or a private room where you can have your own seder (most suitable for a big family?). Not all programs have all these options available, so make sure to check that your program will be able to provide the seder options you require.
Get in touch with this Passover program using the pre-written message or customize your own by adding specific questions.
Is it a five star resort?
Each resort is more beautiful than the next. Most Passover resorts rent out entire five star hotels and offer elegant rooms and unbelievable pools. Make sure to look up pictures of the resort not only on the website of the Passover program, but also on Google. Sometimes they will look completely different to how they seem at first. Some resorts really are mesmerizing but others can seem good at first glance but may be outdated in real life.
The kids club
And last, but definitely not least, if you have children or grandchildren, you absolutely have to ask about the kids program available. You want this to be a trip that they remember. Ask if they have a babysitter service available. Is there a kids club? What ages are the kids activities suitable for? You want to be sure that there’s something on the program for everyone.
Once you’ve considered all the above, you need to learn about how to actually find the the right program! We suggest you go through the list of programs first by price, then by location, unless you’re totally set on where you want to go. Once you’ve narrowed it down to just a few Passover programs, it’s time to reach out. Send them an email with all your questions and don’t be shy to ask things more than once. If the program isn’t willing to answer your questions, you probably won’t be happy on their trip. Don’t be shy to ask specific questions. Most of these programs speak to thousands of people every year and have heard every possible question you can think of. They won’t get offended, they are there to make sure you enjoy the vacation.
Questions to ask the Passover Program
We have compiled a list below of the most important questions to ask before you choose which 2019 passover program is right for you. Feel free to copy and paste the list below or only choose the questions that are relevant to you and send to the passover programs of your choice.
- How many years have you been running?
- How many years have you been running in this hotel?
- Do you offer discounts? Room upgrades?
- Approximately how many other people will be on the program?
- Do you include flights?
- Do you include transportation from airport?
- What does all-inclusive include? (Breakfast, lunch, dinner or also other times of day)
- What is the Kashruth certification? Who supervises?
- Who is/are the chefs?
- Will dinners be a buffet or served to the table?
- Which type of food will you be serving?
- Which entertainment will you have every night?
- Is the seder communal?
- Can we have our own seder?
- What praying style is available (Ashkenazi/Sephardi etc)? Is there prayer every day?
- Do you organize any day trips? If so, where?
- What is the average weather at this time of year in the location?
- Are the pools separate or mixed?
- Which kid activities are available?
- Is there a kids club?
- Are there babysitters available? Prices?
- Is the resort reserved entirely for the Passover Program?
We really hoped we helped make the decision a little easier! There are so many things to consider when choosing a Passover program right for you in 2019. We’ve tried to compile a list of all the programs and write some comments on what we think about them.