3 Things that Make Touring in Israel Surprisingly Easy

December 25th 2014

When you’re traveling to a country across the world where the locals speak another language and use a different currency, it’s natural to be a bit nervous. Israel is especially friendly to tourists, though, and you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised by how easy it will be to accomplish day-to-day tasks like withdrawing cash and keeping in touch with people back home while you’re in Israel.

You Can Use Your American Credit Cards

Your American credit card will be accepted at nearly every point of sale – restaurants, shops, hotels, museums and more.This means you don’t have to carry so much cash, and, if you use a rewards card, you can get points for your vacation-related expenses. Jerusalem Western Wall

Additionally, you’re likely to get a better exchange rate using your credit card, since your bank gets a better exchange rate than you’d get at a changepoint kiosk or even a proper bank. Do double check with the bank that issues your credit card, though, since everyone’s fee structure is different. And while you’re on the phone with them, be sure to notify your credit card company that you’ll be traveling to Israel, so they don’t erroneously block your card when international charges begin to appear.

You Can Use Your American ATM Card

Your American ATM card will be accepted at nearly all of the cash machines in Israel, making it easy for you to get shekels at a favorable exchange rate. Again, check with your bank before you travel, to find out about fees for withdrawing cash from a machine that’s outside your bank’s network.

And keep in mind, ATMs that are located at Israeli bank branches don’t add fees, but private ATMs at convenience stores do.

There’s Plenty of Access to Wireless Internet

Obviously, having an unlocked smartphone with a local SIM card and a data plan offers the most options for staying connected. But even without, your smartphone from home can be used to connect to Wi-Fi at restaurants, cafes and hotels. The city of Tel Aviv evenI Love Tel Aviv recently launched a free wireless network that spans the city’s more popular areas.

You can email, send text messages using WhatsApp or Viber and make calls via Skype. For many travelers, this is sufficient internet and phone access. More and more Israeli hotels offer free Wi-Fi access from their lobbies, and some even from the rooms. If this is important to you, ask your booking agent for hotel options with free Wi-Fi.

Not So Different After All

We’re not going to tell you that Israel is just like your home town – it’s a foreign country that’s across the world from what you’re used to. But you may be surprised by how straightforward it can be to get along here, even without making any special arrangements ahead of time. Regardless, your tour guide will be able to advise you about any of these types of logistical concerns, so don’t hesitate to rely on his or her expertise.