Israel Travel Tips. Just for you.
You’ve put so much thought, energy and time into picking your destination and finalizing your itinerary. Just as important as the big picture, the small details can make or break a trip. Select your destination and discover great tips, tricks, and hacks for making travel smooth and hassle-free.
Everything You Need to Know Before You GO!
VISA AND PASSPORTS
- Please check the expiry date on your passport: Travel outside of the United States requires a passport that is valid for at least the next six months.
- US citizens do not need a visa to enter Israel. If you are not a US citizen, please check with your diplomatic or consulate office about whether you require a visa for your trip destinations.
The US State Department provides Country Specific Information sheets for every country in the world as well as Travel Alerts and Warnings. For this information, call 888 407 4747 or 202 501 4444 or see travel.state.gov.
- Plan to visit your doctor or local travel clinic at least 4-6 weeks before departure to allow time for any vaccinations to take effect or to fill any prescriptions.
- We strongly suggest purchasing appropriate trip insurance covering medical, baggage, and trip cancellation as needed.
- In general, Israel does not require specific vaccinations. However, before traveling to Israel or any other destination, we recommend consulting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for up-to-date information on required and recommended vaccines and medications. Visit cdc.gov/travel or call 800 232 4636 for more information.
- For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO), which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
- If you received any vaccinations in preparation for your journey, pack your vaccination certificates in your personal carry-on baggage in case you are asked to show them on arrival.
- Make sure that any medications you require, as well as copies of your prescriptions, are packed in your carry-on luggage and not in your checked baggage.
- Special meals and allergies: If you require special meals for health or dietary reasons, please let your Da’at tour operator know at least 60 days prior to your departure.
We strongly recommend that you purchase your own travel insurance. Please discuss land, air, and health insurance options with your insurance provider or contact Travel Insured at 1-800-344-6226, ext. 257. Some insurance programs provide more comprehensive coverage when the policy is purchased in close proximity to the initial trip deposit. We therefore recommend that you secure insurance within 14 days of your initial deposit payment date.
CURRENCY AND BANK INFORMATION
- The currency in Israel is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS).
- Click here to obtain the most current exchange rates.
- Bank operating hours are (generally): Sunday through Thursday 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
- The most convenient way to obtain Israeli currency is through bank ATM machines. These are found throughout the country. Enter your 4-digit pin number and receive shekels debited in US dollars to your account. Exchange rates are generally reasonable at local banks.
- Exchange money only at authorized outlets such as currency exchange kiosks, banks, and hotels. Only exchange what you feel you will need while visiting. Save all receipts from any currency transaction. You may be asked to produce them when you leave the country, and these receipts are required if you intend to reconvert local currency.
- While traveling in Israel, we suggest you have some US money that can be exchanged, if needed, for local currency and at least two major credit cards. Major credit cards are generally accepted in shops, hotels, and restaurants. To avoid any concerns about fraud, notify your credit card company of your travel plans prior to your departure.
- We recommend that you contact your bank in advance of departing on your journey to determine whether you will be able to use your ATM and credit cards while traveling. When contacting your bank, notify them of your travel dates so that they will anticipate charges being made outside of your hometown and do not suspend your cards for what may appear to them to be “suspicious” charges. We also recommend that you make a photocopy of the front and back sides of your ATM and credit cards to leave behind with someone at home who will assist you in the event your cards are misplaced, lost, or stolen.
- For more information about money in Israel, click here.
Click here to see what Israeli banknotes and coins look like.
- The electric current in Israel is 220 volts AC, single phase, 50 Hertz. Most hotels provide hairdryers and virtually all hotel rooms have 110/220 volts electric shaver sockets.
- Electric shavers, traveling irons, phone rechargers, and other small appliances may require adaptors and/or converters, which you can purchase prior to your departure or at the airport.
- For more information, visit worldstandards.eu.
Israeli Standard Time is seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, US. To determine the current time in major cities around the world, visit timeanddate.com.
Tips to avoid international roaming charges:
- Use your existing plan – contact your local carrier to find out plans and prices for data roaming.
- Rent a device – Rent a phone, download your information, and use the borrowed device as if it were your own.
- Get a local SIM card – Make sure your phone is “unlocked” before purchasing a local SIM card in your destination and using your phone on the local network.
- Wi-Fi only – Turn off your cellular data, switch your phone to airplane mode, and enable a Wi-Fi connection to access Internet hotspots in your destination.
Because of the time differences between the United States and Israel, some advance planning is in order so you can call at a convenient time and when calling charges are lowest.
To make international calls from Israel, first dial 00, followed by the country code (1 for the US and Canada), area code, and local number. If you’re calling with a phone card the instruction card will tell you to dial 012, 013, or 014 for overseas; then dial your number starting with the country code.
One of the great features of Israel is the food. Here’s a recommended restaurant list to help you decide which of Israel’s many restaurants might suit you best. These are all popular places so we suggest that you plan ahead and make reservations in advance.
FACILITIES FOR THE DISABLED
- Israel is reasonably accessible for travelers with special needs.
- Airports, public transportation, and many tourist sites are wheelchair-friendly and most hotels have special rooms designed for disabled travelers.
- When making dinner plans, your hotel will be able to recommend restaurants that can accommodate your needs. Should you require specific equipment or facilities, please contact us.
- Should you require handicapped facilities please contact our office.
Hebrew and Arabic are official languages in Israel with Hebrew far more widely spoken. Many Israelis speak English and other European languages. Still, it is always worthwhile to speak a little of the local lingo so we recommend you click here for some useful Hebrew words and phrases.
Israeli summers are generally very warm and cloudless. Rain is uncommon in the spring (April and May) or fall (September and October) and temperatures are generally mild. The weather is also usually pleasant in early November and late March with occasional rain, especially in the coastal areas and in the north. Winter (mid-November to mid-March) can be surprisingly chilly, with sometimes heavy rain on the coast and frost in the highlands.
Use a website such as weather.com to find average temperatures and rainfall during your travel times.
THE JEWISH SABBATH (SHABBAT) AND HOLIDAYS
Shabbat and all Jewish holidays begin at sundown and end the following night when it gets dark. Banks, businesses, and public institutions are closed at these times while, in major cities, many restaurants, movie theaters, nightclubs, and shopping malls remain open. Please note that in Jerusalem, shopping malls and shops are generally closed in certain neighborhoods over Shabbat and the holidays although movie theaters and some restaurants remain open. Facilities in East Jerusalem are usually open on Shabbat. On Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), nearly all facilities are closed except in predominantly Arab areas while public transportation is not available, private cars are not used, and the roads belong to cyclists, skaters, and pedestrians.
Click here to view our list of recommended synagogues in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
WHAT TO PACK
Click here for our suggested packing checklist.
Confirm baggage limitations with your international carrier before packing. Remember that airlines can change their baggage restrictions at any time.
FLIGHT AND AIRPORTS
- Be sure to reconfirm your international flights with your airline 24 hours prior to your departure.
- Passengers must check-in for international flights at least three hours prior to departure time.
Security checks are carried out routinely for your protection and safety. Expect to be asked about the contents of your luggage, who packed it, whether anyone asked you to transport items for them, and whether your luggage remained with you before you arrived at the airport. Do not take any mail, packages, or unknown items from anyone either before or after arriving at the airport.
Israel’s Border Procedures: Passport Control
Upon arrival in Israel, visitors need to present their passports and entry forms. Entry forms will be provided during your flight. For more information about Israel’s border control procedures, please visit: https://www.israelwelcome.com/arrivingpassengers.htm
All our prices exclude 17% VAT. Israeli citizens are not exempt from paying VAT even if they have other citizenships.
Foreign nationals are NOT required to pay VAT. Hotels might require that you present them with proof of your nationality in order to show that you are not also an Israeli citizen. Please save the small permit slip that is issued to you at passport control upon entering Israel; it is all the proof that you will need in order to verify your nationality.
Tourists who purchased goods in Israel should visit the Israel Tax Authority website for information about a VAT refund.
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TRANSFERS
- If your package includes arrival and departure transfers, this will be detailed in your travel documents which will be e-mailed to you up to one week prior to your trip.
- If you deviate from the arrival and/or departure dates and time as specified in your travel documents, you will need to arrange your own transfers. Alternatively, you may request a transfer service up to three working days prior to your arrival and the cost of the transfer service will be added to your invoice.
- When requesting a transfer service, please provide us with your flight information. Your arrival transfer is guaranteed for up to one hour from your scheduled arrival time in order to compensate for minor delays.
- Da’at or the transfer company will not be responsible for delays, for any reason, beyond one hour from your originally scheduled arrival time. In case of a delay, it will be your responsibility to contact Da’at directly and/or to make other transfer arrangements, such as by taxi.
- Transfer costs are not refundable and any additional expenses will be your responsibility.
CHECKING IN AT YOUR HOTEL
If you arrive at your hotel before the customary 3:00 p.m. check-in time, your room may not be available. Store your luggage with the concierge and take the time to walk around, get a feel for your new city, or enjoy a cup of coffee at one of Israel’s excellent espresso bars.
PROTECTING VALUABLE ITEMS
- Hotel safes are usually provided and can be used to protect valuables such as passports, medications, jewelry, money, and electronics. If you must carry valuables, keep them on your person at all times, be mindful of your surroundings, and take extra caution in crowds.
- We recommend photocopying the personal information pages of your passport and leaving one copy with a family member or friend and packing another in a place separate from the passport itself. You can also scan your passport and email a copy to yourself for easy online access. This will help you to secure a replacement quickly should the need arise.
Where and whether to shop while traveling with Da’at is a personal choice and shopping is never compulsory. If at any point during your journey you feel pressured to shop or make purchases, please immediately discuss the matter with your tour educator.
We recommend the following for tipping (amounts in US dollars):
- Groups of 20 participants or more:
Tour educator $8 and driver $4 per participant per day
- Groups of 10-19 participants:
Tour educator $10 and driver $5 per participant per day
- Groups of 5-9 participants in a mini-van with a driver:
Tour educator $100 and driver $50 per group per day
- Groups of 4-5 participants with tour educator driving a private car:
$90 per group per day
- Groups of 3 participants or less with tour educator driving a private car:
$70 per group per day
- Hostess (when included):
$4 per participant per day or a minimum of $100 per group per day
- Security guard and/or a youth counselor (when included):
$1 per participant per day to each security guard or youth counselor
- Recommended restaurant tipping when lunch or dinner is “not included in package”:
10%-15% depending on your satisfaction.
Included in your package.