A visit to Israel is indeed a unique experience, however in some respects it is the same as every other trip. I’ve written a few suggestions and tips that will help you cover all the basics. I hope you'll find it useful.

Background Information:

  • Official Name: State of Israel
  • Form of Rule: parliamentary democracy
  • Capital: Jerusalem
  • Official Languages: Hebrew, Arabic (English is also spoken broadly)
  • Currency: New Israeli Shekel (Notes are in 20, 50, 100, and 200 NIS. Coins are 10, 5, 1 NIS, and 50 and 10 cents)
  • International Dialing Code: 972
  • Internet Suffix:  .co.il

Essentials:

  • Travel insurance: Make sure you have one and check if it covers lost baggage and emergency assistance.
  • In case you take regular medication, keep all your medication in their original packaging.
  • ATMs are very common, either next to a bank or a kiosk.
  • Almost every shop, mall, and even some trains and buses provide free Wi-Fi.
  • Plan ahead with a good international plan for your phone. However, you may also buy a sim card at some kiosk with internet surfing available and local calls.
  • Emergency Phone Numbers: Police (100), Emergency Medical Services (101), Fire Department (102)
  • Israel Power Supply is single phase 220 Volts at 50 Hertz.

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What should you pack?

If you are visiting for the summer, short-sleeves shirts, shorts, sandals, bathing suits and sunscreen. Bear in mind that at nights, in the mountains, it can get a bit cold. You should always pack comfortable shoes for your touring and it is important that you bring modest clothing (covering knees and shoulders) to respect the sanctity of some places.

If you are visiting for the winter, pack a coat (or a raincoat), a good pair of shoes, gloves and a scarf. Winter in Israel is not nearly as harsh as in Europe. 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.

If you enjoy hiking, a comfortable pair of shoes, sleeping bag, tent, and camping. Most youth hostels already provide you with sheets and blankets.

Tip For Traveling from Israel

If you are planning to travel on to Egypt or Jordan, you'll need a visa which is obtainable at the borders of these countries. Have your passport stamped on a separate piece of paper when leaving Israel.

Changing Money

Unlimited sums of local and foreign money may be brought into Israel as cash, travelers’ checks (passport is required when exchanging), credit cards or State of Israel bonds. The post office does not charge any commission, and the rate is usually good. 

Purchases, Payments and VAT Refund 

Major credit cards – American Express, Diners, Visa, Mastercard/Access/Eurocard are widely accepted in Israeli restaurants, stores, hotels, museums, etc. 

If you have purchased items with a value exceeding $100 (including VAT) in stores and are registered with the Ministry of Tourism or in stores; you are entitled to a refund of VAT when you leave the country. Stores that offer VAT refund service have a special sign. You will need to request a VAT form in any store that you purchase something with its signature detailing the items and price.

To receive VAT refund, make sure that you have the receipt and the form from each store. The receipt and purchases must be put into a sealed bag. If the amount to be reimbursed exceeds $1,000, it will be sent after the invoice is verified with the tax authorities. 

There is no VAT refund for the following items: food, drinks, tobacco products, electrical appliances, cameras, film or other photography equipment. 

Additional information about VAT refunds is available at +972-3-975-4020.

Banks in Israel

In Israel, banks have many branches in large cities, and small communities. Usually, banks are open from 8:30 AM, to 01:00 PM from Sundays to Thursdays. Some banks choose to also open some afternoons (roughly from 4:00 PM to 6:00PM) on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, in order to allow people working during the morning to access them.

Without exception, banks are closed on Saturdays. Depending on the bank, Friday morning may also be available in the early hours, i.e.: 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM.

Facilities for the Disabled

  • Every municipality in Israel invests a lot of time, effort, and resources, into making services more accessible regardless of disability.

    As an example, the fortress known as Masada (near the Dead Sea), is accessible via cable car. The amphitheater in Caesaria and the Knight Halls of Acre (Akko) can also be accessed without any issues.

  • Banks and other businesses have equipment for people with hearing impediments, and most corners in the streets have comfortable access for wheelchairs. Traffic lights have indicators for blind people, and in general, people with visual disabilities can touch and feel their surroundings thanks to the many adaptations the country has done to accommodate to their needs.
  • You may find additional information about accessible places by visiting: Access Israel. This site offers up-to-date, detailed information on different accessible touring sites, and accommodations, as well as tours, halls, cultural events, car rental agencies and more. This information is provided both in English and Hebrew and is free of charge.

Holidays in Israel

Here  you can find an updated list of National and Jewish holidays.

During holidays, public transportation and some tourist sites are closed. The same applies to every Saturday (Shabat).

More information and tips for disabled people:

Milbat:

The Israel center for Technology and Accessibility specializes in aiding people with disabilities when it comes to transportation, access to buildings, and much more. Milbat will also provide detailed assistance in case of any arising transportation issue.

Phone: +972-3-5303739

Yad Sarah:

Located mainly in Jerusalem, but has branches all over Israel, is a volunteer organization that lends wheelchairs, crutches and other aides without charge requesting merely a small safety deposit.

Phone: +972-2-6444555

About Me

My name is Dina Horn. I was born in Israel and live with my family in a beautiful village north of ancient Acre, on the Mediterranean coast.

My career as a tour guide began with my army service as a guide in the Education Corps and it was an enriching foundation. Later on, I graduated from Haifa University with degrees in Political Sciences, Geography, Archeology and History. After having completed additional two years of studying and training at the university, I was certified as a tour guide by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism in 1999. In addition, while living in the U.S.A. I attended a course in American History. Since I have a deeply rooted interest in these fields, while touring, you can always hear me talk about them passionately.  

My experience is very broad and covers almost all of Israel. I have escorted large groups as well as private individuals, families and couples, Jews and Christians, day tours and long-stay, and will gladly adapt to all your requirements.

An important part of my service as your tour guide is that I do my utmost to ease the long process of planning - the details, booking, and verifications, as well as assist you in everything you need concerning your journey. My Goal is for you to enjoy the trip from the first moment.

At Enjoy Israel, you are not only provided with tour guidance of the highest quality, but also, any special need that you may have will be taken care of, making for a unique and satisfying experience that you will not forget.