Practical Advice Before Leaving For Israel

Traveling Israel is a unique experience indeed. In this case, a guiding

hand, proper touring experience, and a proper idea of what places to

see are key to make this experience truly unforgettable. Below you will

find a few tips and suggestions I find have gathered that helped a lot of

tourists make their way into the Holy Land an enjoy the most of it.

The first, and simplest of advices, is to start relaxing before even leaving

your country. If you think you’ll forget to pack something, worry not,

Israel has many things to offer, and is not short of shopping malls for you

to buy clothes, make up, hygiene products, or even sunscreen.

 

What should you pack?

Mainly, this depends on what time around the year you’ll be arriving. If

you are visiting for the summer, then short-sleeves shirts, shorts,

sandals, bathing suits and sunscreen are essential. However, it is

always wise to pack a sweater or jacket, given that at nights, in the

mountains, it can get a bit cold.

If you are visiting for the winter, pack a coat (or a raincoat), a good pair

of shoes, gloves and a scarf and you will be good to go. In short, winter

in Israel is not nearly as harsh as in Europe. Bare in mind though, it can

still get cold, and rain is sometimes heavy. Nevertheless, even in Winter,

cities such as Eilat and the Dead Sea remain warm, and so bringing a

bathing suit is always a good idea.

Finally, if you enjoy hiking, a good pair of shoes, sleeping bag, tent, and

camping equipment will provide you with almost anything you may need.

We recommend you bring small bags for your day trips, and in case you

didn’t know, most youth hostels already provide you with sheets and

blankets.

 

Travel Insurance

This is always a must. Make sure to check if your health plan covers

your trip. If not, we recommend you get one as being sick in an unknown

environment can be frustrating and daunting. If you need to cancel your

trip, for example in the event of an emergency or serious illness, check if

the remainder of the trip is refundable. Another advantage of travel

insurance is that it often covers lost baggage and worldwide emergency

assistance.

 

Medications

This can be especially tricky, but an easy way to take care of this is by

asking your doctor for prescriptions if you take any medication, to have

as safety net if anything goes missing. We advise you to keep all your

medication in their original packaging.

 

Pre-Flight

First and foremost, it is always useful to have a friend or family member

with a copy of your travel information (flight details, itinerary, and as

such) in case you need to be contacted.

Check with your airline for their regulations regarding size and weight of

your hand luggage. As a rule of thumb, you are usually allowed to take a

carry-on suitcase in addition to a laptop bag, or purse.

Always keep your valuables and travel documents with you. For

international flights, the check-in time is usually two hours prior to

departure. You should also contact your consulate for information

regarding the requirements to enter Israel (for example, for U.S. citizens,

a passport valid for six months after your return date).

Finally, customs in Israel may take longer than expected. That being

said, you may want to schedule things with a bit of extra time for going

through customs or exchanging money.

 

Advice for long flights

• Since you’ll most likely fall asleep on the flight, we advise that you

dress comfortably. An example of this can be wearing shoes that

slip on and off easily.

• If you want to avoid jet-lag, try not to drink any alcohol, caffeine or

carbonated beverages. In this case, it is recommened to have

some natural fruit juice or water.

• In case you have trouble falling asleep on flights, you may prefer to

take a good book to pass the time.

• Try to be as comfortable as possible while sitting down. You may

store your coat and bags on the overhead compartment to free up

some space if needed.

• The air cabin is usually very dry, so you may opt to bring along a

moisturizer.

 

ATMs

ATMs in Israel are very common, whether it’s next to a bank or a kiosk.

Some local venues offer to withdraw money, however there may be

additional fees for the service.

 

Internet

Almost every coffee shop offers free Wi-Fi. Moreover, the train and

some buses provide free Wi-Fi as well. You should, however, check with

your hotel if the internet they provide comes with a (sometimes daily)

fee. Regardless, you will not have any problem finding an open network.

 

Cell Phones

Coverage in Israel is not a concern, however you should always be

informed about your local operator’s fees for international calls as

roaming charges tend to be very high. Finally, a few kiosks provide sim

cards with internet for an arbitrary amount of internet surfing (1GB, 6GB,

etc.) for a comfortable fee so make sure you know what size your sim

card show be. The latter may be a more viable option given the

increasing technological development the world has been experiencing

(with applications to call your relatives and text based on internet

connections).