- We have compiled these tips for you based on our more than 20 years of experience as Jewish travel and Passover program industry leaders.
- Steer clear of Passover reviews websites
- Don't book your trip before reading our tips!
Check out our latest YouTube video summarizing our best tips for choosing a Passover program for 2023 - what to look for and what to definitely avoid. Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with the latest news and updates.
TJT's tips for choosing a Passover program for 2023
You’re ready to plan your Passover vacation but don’t know where to start. Maybe this is the first time you are going away to a Passover program or you have been in the past but didn’t have a good experience. You might think it’s a good idea to start with a Passover reviews website. Passover reviews listing websites have popped up on the internet in the last few years but we strongly advise against consulting them. We all seek out and rely on reviews as long as they are reliable and verifiable. We always look at the reviews when buying a product on Amazon, we make sure to check that Italian beach resort on Tripadvisor before booking, or go to Yelp before hiring a mover or a plumber. This doesn’t work in the Passover programs industry.
Passover Programs Reviews are Misleading the Kosher Travel Niche Market
Over the past 20 years, TJT has listed thousands of Programs, yet we have stayed away from offering Passover program reviews. False and manipulative reviews are a big issue in the Passover travel niche market and specifically on these sites and social media groups. These websites are misleading and manipulating their users, under the guise of offering a Yelp-like service. All of the programs at the top of the page have 5 star reviews and none of the programs have any negative reviews. This just isn’t possible. There is evidence from Passover programs reviews Facebook groups that negative posts from disappointed clients are being censored and deleted because those program operators are advertising or are in partnership with the admins of the group.
One of the things that makes Yelp and Tripadvisor great platforms is that they provide a forum for both positive and negative reviews. This offers users a more accurate review of the business, allowing users to make an informed decision. In our experience, this doesn’t work in the kosher travel niche market. TotallyJewishTravel.com is the biggest Jewish travel site on the internet and the leader in Passover Program listings and advertising. We have been in business since 1999 and have over 145+ Pesach hotels advertising with us each year. We have carried advertising for thousands of Passover programs as well as other kosher listings and programs over the past 20+ years. We learned that reviews are extremely problematic in the kosher travel niche market because of false reviews, both positive and negative. In order to avoid fake reviews, our motto is: No reviews or ratings; only listings, with no manipulations.
While we don’t have reviews, we do have a list of tips, based on our years of experience, to help you book a successful Passover program.
1. Guest references: If you are unsure about a particular program operator, ask them to provide references from previous guests. Reputable programs will have no problem connecting you with previous guests who (with their permission of course) can vouch for the program and send you a review of their Passover experience.
If it is a new program, there will obviously not be any past guests to ask or reviews to be read. In that case, ask the operator if they have been involved with any previous Pesach programs, other types of kosher programs or caterers. Previous guests are the BEST way for you to review a Passover hotel.
2. Program reviews and manipulations: Some websites and social media outlets claim to offer reviews of Passover listings by previous customers. We strongly advise you to be VERY careful as often these Passover programs reviews can be the subject of manipulation for both good and bad by either disgruntled clients with an ax to grind or by the social media admins themselves who have a commercial relationship with the program operator. Lastly, these same commercial relationships have seen genuine negative Passover listing reviews removed in return for payment.
3. Language and communication: If the program is run by an operator that comes from a country with a different language then ask if there will be activities such as kids clubs, shiurim, entertainment and the like in your language. If the program is mainly Sephardi ask if there will be an Ashkenazi minyan and vice versa.
4. Kashrut Supervision: If you are unsure about a Hashgacha, ask the program operator for the contact details of the supervising body and contact them. They will be more than happy to explain the level of Kashrut. Also ascertain the situation regarding Kitniot and Gebrochts - most Passover programs are Kitniot free. If you have any doubts or questions then contact the Kashrut supervision organization directly.
5. Payment, safety and insurance: Before the COVID pandemic, we always recommended paying for your vacation by credit card whenever possible. This gave travelers some protection in the rare case that the program fails or cancels but this probably isn’t enough these days. We also recommend that travelers buy travel insurance as soon as you book a program so you can be covered by that as well and make sure to check the coverage offered.
Before COVID, most people didn't get travel insurance for their Pesach vacation. In the post-COVID world, most people learned their lesson the hard way and now buy travel insurance for all their vacations but especially when spending a large sum on a Passover Program.
Policies that include CFAR (Cancel for any Reason) coverage are more expensive but definitely worthwhile when considering the cost of the Passover program. There are agencies that specialize in Passover Program coverage and can advise you on these matters.
6. Independent Research: Look into the quality of the hotel, its rooms and facilities. Make sure to use a non-biased platform or marketplace. There are plenty of resources out there, i.e. Google reviews, Tripadvisor, Booking.com etc. Use other means of research on the internet to read reviews and see what the rooms, pools and communal areas are like. Again - we strongly recommend avoiding niche and dedicated Passover reviews platforms, as they are often biased and manipulated.
Remember that the vast majority of Pesach programs and hotel operators are of good quality, run by decent people and companies. There will always be a few that fall short of the honest and decent standards everyone expects. If you are unsure about anything when booking your Pesach vacation then use the tips above as a guide
Wishing you a safe & enjoyable vacation!
Happy and Kosher Passover!