Ultimate Guide: 40+ Things to Know Before You Travel

September 30th 2015

 

A trip to Israel can be the fulfillment of a lifetime dream for many people. Regardless if the travelers are going for the religious significance of the nation or just for the historical aspects of the region, traveling to Israel can be a memorable, exciting vacation.

The following information is a list of articles to help the first-time visitor as well as the returning traveler enjoy their trip to the fascinating nation of Israel.

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Before You Go

Getting Familiar with Israel’s Weather Ahead of Your Trip

The fall and spring months are the best time to visit Israel if weather is a consideration. These months are the rainy season and the winter months have mild temperatures. The summer months are dry and very little, if any, rain falls.

If you travel to the higher elevations, expect cooler temperatures than the lower coastal areas. Pack clothing that can be easily layered to accommodate temperature variations between night and day.

Getting Familiar with Shekels Ahead of Your Trip to Israel

You will want to exchange your currency for shekels, the Israeli form of cash. You may get a better exchange rate using an independent exchange station rather than your hotel. The exchange rate you actually receive may be slightly lower than the rate posted at the bank of Israel.

There are ATM machines that are global banking enabled. You can have the transaction deducted from your personal account and receive the withdraw in shekels. Beware of international transaction fees and check these sometimes inflated rates with your bank or credit card.

How to Deal with the Metric System when Visiting Israel

Dealing with the metric system can initially be confusing but here are a few simple tips to help calculate the value and meanings of metric readings.

You can convert a Celsius temperature to Fahrenheit by doubling the Celsius figure, subtracting 10 percent and adding 32. You can also recall the rhyme “30 is hot, 20 is nice, 10 is cold and 0 is ice.”

One kilogram equals 2.2 lbs. When estimating speed, miles per hours equals 2/3 of kilometers per hour. For example 100 kph equals 60 mpg.

Getting Familiar with Jewish Orthodox Garb Ahead Of Your Trip

Orthodox women may dress in a modest manner with long skirts and at least ¾ length sleeves or longer. The neckline is likely to be at the level of the collar bone or above. Their hair is covered if they are married.

Men often wear black hats and some wear long black coats all year. Different variations can indicate which subset of Judaism the individual practices.

Why a Trip to Israel Isn’t Just Another Travel Adventure

A trip to Israel can offer the same amenities and activities as many other destinations. But Israel offers so much more. As the birthplace major religions, both Jewish visitors and Christians may feel closer to their faith when they visit sites that saw significant events for their religion’s history.

3 Reasons Traveling to Israel is Safer Than You Might Expect

Crime statistics in Israel reveal a much safer nation then many nations around the world, including the United States. Gun laws are stronger and murder/violent crime rates are significantly lower per 100,000 citizens.

Experiencing Israel’s 3 Newest Holidays

Although Israel is rich in historic celebrations for both the Jewish and Christian faiths, the young nation commemorates events the occurred in the 20th century.

Learn about the significance of the Holocaust Remembrance Day along with the Israeli Memorial Day. They also celebrate their independence and the establishment of the nation of Israel.

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History

Landmarks from the Controversial Life of Moshe Dayan

Learn about locations that played a pivotal role in the life of Moshe Dayan, former Israeli Defense Minister. You can learn about his birthplace, where Dayan fought to defend the nation of Israel and where this noted but controversial leader is laid to rest.

Experiencing Lag BaOmer in Israel

Celebrating Lag BaOmer while vacationing in Israel may very well become the most memorable event of your trip. Lag BaOmer is known as the festival of mysticism and campfires. The holiday occurs 33 days after the first night of Passover to mark the death of Rabbi Shimon BarYochai. This man was considered one of the leading Torah scholars of his generation.

Many parents wait until their son is 3 years old to have his first haircut on Lag BaOmer. This ceremonial grooming practice is known as upsherin in Yiddish and halakah in Hebrew.

3 Places to Experience the Life of David Ben-Gurion

David Ben-Gurion was the first prime minister of Israel. He officially declared the establishment of the state of  Israel on May 14, 1948 and a museum in Tel Aviv’s Independence Hall is dedicated to this historic event. Learn about other places that were the sites of other events in the life of this man who played a key role in the formation of the State of Israel.

Touring the Legacy of Menachem Begin

Menachem Begin was the 6th prime minister of Israel and visitors may learn a great deal about this great leader by visiting the Menachem Begin Museum in the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. Visitors may learn about other locations where significant events in the life of this great leader took place.

Visiting the Burial Places of Israel’s Prime Ministers

For those with deep feelings of respect for the Israel struggle, visiting the burial places of the nation’s prime ministers will add a humbling experience to your tour of Israel.

Connecting with Heritage at Israel’s Four Holy Cities

The Holy cities of Israel are considered by many to be scared ground. Discover the ancient cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, Tzfat and Tiberias  as you learn about their history and what they are like in the present day. Learn the significance of each city in the formation and growth of different faiths.

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Family Fun

Hands-On Activities in Israel that Your Kids Will Love 

Traveling with children can be fun but takes planning to find suitable, fun activities for them. Learn about activities for children that will make your trip to Israel memorable for every member of the family.

Top Activities with Toddlers in Israel

Toddlers are more dependent on parents and other caregivers that special consideration must be given to find appropriate activities for them to enjoy. This article will provide ideas on places and activities that are to delight toddlers in your family.

Is Yad Vashem Appropriate for Children?

A visit to the Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem is often a must-see for visitors to Israel. However, there are exhibits that graphically depict the horrors of the concentration camps and atrocities committed during the war. This may be too emotionally difficult for children to handle. Children age 10 years or less are forbidden to enter the main museum. Given this practice, parents may want to reconsider a family visit to this site.

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Getting Around Israel

Tips for Renting a Car in Israel

While public transportation is abundant in Israel, there are some travelers who may prefer to drive a personal vehicle. Learn some insider tips on renting a car is Israel and discover the best way to get the a great deal on a vehicle rental.

Everything You Need to Know to Ride a Taxi in Israel

Many vacationers will take a taxi while on a trip much more frequently than they would at home. Taxis offer the pleasure of enjoying the ride instead of navigating unfamiliar roadways in a foreign county.

Learn about the common methods of hailing a cab in Israel along with the expected rules of etiquette.

Everything You Need to Know to Ride the Jerusalem Light Rail

The Jerusalem Light Rail system began operation in 2011 and has been providing a quick, enjoyable way to travel across the city. The rail system is convenient to use and provides a comfortable alternative to taxis, buses and individual vehicles.

Everything You Need to Know to Ride a Public Bus in Israel

Public buses are a popular mode of transportation in Israel with 20 bus companies in the nation. Some companies operate regional route while others serve riders across the country. Most major cities have central bus stations.

5 Attributes that Make a Tour Guide Great

Some may say “A tour guide is a tour guide”. But the government of Israel takes the role of the tour guide very seriously and requires such individuals to be fully educated in the field and pass national licensing requirements.

While these are important regulations, some intrinsic qualities make certain tour guides shine above the others.

5 Things to Keep with You While Touring Israel

You want to be as safe and comfortable as possible when touring Israel. Keeping certain items with you will not only help and protect you, but can also enhance your experience in this fascinating nation.

Where to Volunteer When You Come to Israel

A trip to Israel can be considered a mecca for some travelers. They may come for religious reasons for the historical or cultural significance. Regardless of their reasons for coming to Israel, some choose to honor this nation by volunteering their time and energy to a local cause.

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Culture and Arts

3 Great Jerusalem Museums You Haven’t Heard Of

Touring museums is a popular vacation activity. Such venues offer glimpses into the rich history and culture of the host country and Israel is no exception. Be sure to include visits to the Menachen Begin Heritage Center, The Museum of Underground  Pioneers and the Ticha House as part of your travel plans.

Why the Palmach Museum Is Different from Other Museums

The Palmach Museum takes visitors on a multi-media experience that tells the story of this elite military group. Visitors will leave with a clear sense of what the Palmach went through to help establish the state of Israel.

Israel’s Greatest Modern Poet

Tehuda Amichai is considered to be the finest Israeli poet of the modern era. His works have been translated into 40 languages and he is thought to be the nation’s most popular poet since King David.

Israel’s Top 7 Annual Live Music Festivals

Live music festivals are a popular activity in Israel that attract music fans artists from around the world. The Ared Music Festival originated in 1982 and features local singers and bands.

The Jacob’s Ladder Folk, Blues and World Festival combines music with storytelling, Tai Chi and yoga classes. Visitors may also participate is music and dance workshops. The Red Sea Jazz Festival features 4 days of the performances by local and international jazz musicians. The festival began is 1987 and its popularity led to the establishment of a winter jazz festival in 2010.

Where to Check Out Israel’s Thriving Dance Performance Scene

Israel has a thriving performing arts community and the realm of dance is very popular across the nation.

The Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance hosts performances throughout the year and residents and visitors alike frequently patronize the Israel Ballet. The Karmiel Dance Festival has been drawn thousands of patrons since its inception in 1988.

Israel’s Film Scene

Israel is building a reputation as a gathering center for the international motion picture community. The Jerusalem International Film Festival and the Haifa International Film Festival are held each year and draw visitors from around the world.

Seeing a movie in Israel is a unique experience as many films have sub-titles, kosher candy is sold at concession stands and many theaters have assigned seating. The Lev Smader Theater actually has a small bar in the lobby.

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Eat, Drink and Enjoy Your Visit

Israel’s Top Agricultural Farm Tours

Israel is known for their rich farming. If this is an area of interest to you, plan to visit Agricircus, Bershit Fruit and Mazkeret Batya. Each of these locations has their unique features and activities that are sure to make your visit memorable.

Jaffa Flea Market

Vintage European clothing, items from India along with antique furniture and jewelry can be found at the Jaffa Flea Market. This venue has merchandise that cannot be found in the most modern retailers in Israel and is open 6 days each week from morning to evening.

Visitors may visit one of the several café’s located among the shops to take a break from shopping and bargaining with merchants for the best deal.

When Various Fruits and Vegetables are In Season in Israel

Learn what season is best for your most favorite fruit or vegetable, grown fresh on Israeli farms.

5 Amazing Israeli Brew Pubs and Microbreweries to Check Out

Adults in your travel party may want to sample some locally brewed beer and ales. If this is the case, be sure to visit the Dancing Camel, Shapiro’s Beer and the Lone Tree Brewery.

Spending a Day in Gush Etzion

Visit Gush Etzion and experience several aspects of Israeli life in one location.

Gush Etzion is a group of 20 Jewish communities in the Judean Hills. It is the home of Kfar Etzion, one of the oldest kibbutzim in the area.  Visits to the JNF Forest and the Herodium National Park are recommended as King Herod is possibly buried there.
Herodium is the highest point in Gush Etzion. Visitors may opt to explore Haritoun Cave or engage in paintball, zip lines and several other activities at Deer land Adventure Park.

Tzfat’s Pedestrian Mall

The Tzfat Pedestrian Mall links modern Jerusalem, the Old City and the Atrists’ Quarters. It is a pedestrian marketplace where almost any type of merchandise can be found.

Those seeking a break from shopping may select from pizza served at a sidewalk café to a full table service restaurant. There are also parks where visitors may relax and enjoy the scenery.

Patrons are encouraged to take public transit or taxi to get to the Tzfat Pedestrain Mall. Tour a number of shops that sell almost any type of merchandise.

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Israel’s Natural Beauty and Wildlife

Eilat Dolphin Beach

If you love to see dolphins, make sure to visit Dolphin Reef Beach on Israel’s southwestern coast. Visitors may choose to scuba or snorkel as their method to interact with these intelligent animals. Each human/dolphin is closely monitored to ensure safety for all involved.

Visitors may take scuba lessons at Dolphin Reef Beach. These lessons are open to visitors aged 8 and above. Dolphin Reef Beach also offers many opportunities for relaxation and an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of this location.

Israel’s 3 Best Zoos

Zoos offer something for people of all ages. If you enjoy such an activity, be sure to visit the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, the Safari Ramat Gan in Tel Aviv and the Haifa Educational Zoo. These three facilities take great pride in building exhibits that allow animals to be observed in realistic habitats.

Where to See Israel’s Most Exotic Plant Life

Utopia Orchid Park and Neot Kedumim are two places to go to see the most beautiful plant life in Israel. The hot summers and mild winters help create an optimal environment for plant life to thrive.

Where to See Israel’s Most Exotic Animal Life

The Negev Desert is home to the Alpaca Farm and the Ostrich Farm. The recreation area of Nachal Alexander is one of the best places to observe sea turtles. Learn more about visiting these and other locations to view Israel’s most exotic animals.

Top Sites for Bird Watching in Israel

Israel’s location makes the nation an ideal site for bird watching. The Hula Valley Bird Festival is an event each fall that draws people to the area to see the migration of hundreds of birds. Spring time visitors may enjoy seeing the spring migration in the Arava Desert.

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Outdoor Adventures

Tel Gezer: Crossroads of the Via Maris

The Way of the Sea is the translation of Via Maris and the area once served as hub on the trade route from Egypt and Syria and Mesopotamia. Archaeologists have explored Tel Gezer and discovered relics dating to the Middle Bronze Age and the time of King Solomon.

Today, visitors to Tel Gezer National Park can learn about the rich history of the area while enjoying the beauty of the natural landscape and the spectacular views.

5 Hikes in Israel Perfect for Summer Visits

The cities of Israel are vibrant, modern metropolises. However, Israel offers stunning natural beauty that can best be enjoyed while hiking. Adventurous travelers may enjoy Luzit Caves, Nahal Amud and Nahal Zatitan.

3 Reasons to Visit Petra from Eilat

Not all destinations of interest to tourists are located in Israel.

Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Jordon near the border city of Eilat. The area has an abundance of archaeological history and visitors can hike the Sharah Mountains and Umm al-Biyara, the highest point in Petra.

Walking through the Siq is an amazing experience. This stone passage way once led to an ancient city. The Siq is formed by very tall rock formations and takes about 30 minutes to transverse.


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