10 of the best travel tips while in Israel.
Its easy to forget essential supplies when packing for a trip. While you are planning your trip to/in Israel here is a list of 10 essential items you need to pack.
- Tips for Israelis visiting Athens in the shadow of the coronavirus
- Tips for Israelis visiting Georgia during the coronavirus crisis
For international travelers, there are a few must-know basics about Israel;
- The work week is Sunday to Thursday. Shops and attractions are open for half a day on Friday, closing at 1 or 2pm. Check opening hours before you set out.
- In most cities and towns there is no public transport after 2pm on Friday. Public transport resumes on Saturday night after sunset (Sabbath end). Haifa is one of the cities that has some, but limited, public transport on the weekend.
- Another general tip – Jewish owned establishments are closed for Jewish holy days. Again there is no transport and most shops are closed. During the Passover holiday it is forbidden for Jewish owned establishment to sell bread. Bread will not be served in your hotel.
- Hotel accommodation is not cheap especially in the main cities; Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Consider a hostel, Airbnb or a field school or kibbutz guest accommodation.
- Israel’s summer months from June to September can be very hot – very humid in some places and very dry in others. April and May is spring and October is pleasantly warm.
- Clothing for Israel – all religious sites; Jewish, Christian, Moslem, Bahai or Druze require you to be modestly dressed.
- For locals traveling Israel: have your local Israeli driver’s license and your identity card – teudat zehut on hand.
- For foreigners visiting Israel or Israelis traveling abroad: your international driving permit where applicable, passports and booking confirmations. Make sure you have a photocopy of your identity documents in a safe place should they get lost.
- Results of your coronavirus test and copies (in English).
Camera, Telephone & Chargers
- These marvels of modern technology help us get more out of a trip; hundreds of memorable photographs and selfies, immediate telephone access as well as internet access to useful websites and apps. Pack the charger first and don’t forget your international plug adapters.
- A one meter extension cord is also a useful item to pack into your luggage.
Toiletries are often forgotten as we need them until the last moment. Buy a selection of small plastic bottles from your pharmacy or local dollar-shop which you can fill with travel-sized quantities of shampoo, conditioners and liquid soap. Don’t forget to place them in a zip-lock plastic bag to protect your luggage in case of spillage. Toiletries are not cheap.
Hand Sanitizers, Wipes and Masks
Always, and especially now during the coronavirus crisis, travel with pocket-size packages of hand sanitizers, antiseptic alcogel and wipes and keep them in your day-pack. They will be especially useful in public places. Use them to wipe the handles of supermarket trolleys, door handles and elevator buttons – lots of germs there! Wearing masks in public places, over your mouth and nose, is a Ministry of Health directive for Covid-19. We have a communal responsibility to protect ourselves and others around us. Pharmacies, supermarkets, shopping malls and neighborhood shops are all stocked with these items. A pack of 50 surgical masks costs around 10 shekels.
Credit & Debit Cards
No need to carry large amounts of cash and this alone will significantly reduce your stress levels. Make 2 photo copies of your credit cards (one to keep with you and one to leave at home) so that you have always have your credit card details on hand should they get lost or stolen. Don’t forget to record the telephone number of the call-center to report a lost card. Since Covid-19, shops have upgraded their credit card payment systems and minimal contact with the shop keeper or assistant is now the norm during the payment process. You must have your PIN number in order to facilitate a credit card transaction.
Don’t travel in Israel without a water bottle. Summer temperatures in Israel can reach as much as 40°C in some places. Dehydration is a real danger. Drink at least 2 liters of water per day per person. Make sure your children are well hydrated too especially when a “sharav” (hamsin) or heatwave prevails.
This almost goes without say – pack comfortable walking/hiking shoes or sandals. Lots of nature parks and trails in Israel. Good shoes that give you adequate support and protection and can also double for stony beaches, wading in streams or other water attractions. If you are in Israel and want to treat yourself to a good pair of sandals for outdoor activities, splurge on a pair of ‘Source’ sandals (or ‘Shoresh’ in Hebrew). They are well worth the 350+NIS price tag.
First Aid Kit
Never travel without a basic first-aid kit. Be prepared with pain-killers, plasters, anti-septic ointment, a tweezers and any other essentials you might need in case of an emergency. Don’t forget to pack any prescription medication you may require. During the coronavirus we suggest you pack a thermometer as well. Anti-pyretics (drugs that reduce fever) should also be part of your first aid kit. Bikur Rofeh is the place travelers to Israel need to go to get emergency medical assistance unless your travel insurance states otherwise.
If you suspect you have the coronavirus you must isolate and seek medical attention immediately. Contact the Ministry of Health. In the interim rest, drink lots of fluids and take pain killers if necessary. Drink lots of hydrating fluids and avoid caffeine and alcohol as these can dehydrate. If you have a fever take recommended doses of fever reducing medications.
Pack a pocket-sized but powerful torch or headlamp – you never know when this will come in handy. If you are a family of campers, check out our list of camping essentials.
Israel has a rich history so whether it is a travel guide-book or information sheets printed from this website or off the internet, you will find your information guides really useful. Don’t travel without them.