Israel Travel Frequently Asked Questions
With such a momentous journey, there are of course many questions. We hope some of these frequently asked questions will assist you, but we are here to answer any additional questions you may have as well! If you need additional assistance, please call +972-8-9405123, email us, or Plan Your Tour Today!
Is Israel safe to visit?
Immanuel Tours invites you to visit as friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. If it were not safe, we would not invite you to visit us! Israel welcomes 4 million visitors a year with no major incidents. In addition, Immanuel Tours makes every effort to take extra measures in ensuring your safety.
Do I need a VISA?
For most countries, a passport is enough. Please review the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs for complete information, including a list of countries who only require a passport.
Are there any health/vaccination requirements for tours? Is there anything I should prepare for medically?
No vaccinations are required to visit Israel (unless you have recently been in an area where there have been epidemics of yellow fever, cholera or ebola). Before you travel to Israel, ask your doctor to write a prescription for any medications you may be taking with you in the event they are lost. Keep all of your medications in their original bottles or packaging.Israel is known around the world for its medical care, so if any need arises, you will be well cared for.
Is the water safe to drink?
Yes! While there is of course bottled water available as well, the tap water in Israel meets strict safety standards and is consumed by millions. We suggest you drink up, cause it is hot!
What is the weather like?
Israel has several climate zones, including a mediterranean climate in Tel Aviv, a semi-arid climate in Beersheba, and a desert climate in Southern Negev. Overall, you can expect long, hot and dry summers throughout the country, and cooler, rainy winters.
What should I wear?
Israel is a modern, westernized country, and casual, comfortable clothing is appropriate for sightseeing. We recommend good, comfortable shoes for lots of walking, and hats and sunglasses for protection. Pack cool, light clothing for spring through fall, and warmer clothing for winter visits. It is recommended to bring some nicer clothing for dinners. Some sites visited to require more modest dress, so it is advised to bring along a pair some long pants for men, and clothing that covers the knees and shoulders for women. Don’t forget your swim suit!
What are electric outlets like?
Most hotels and locations do use the standard european outlets (three-pronged). It is advised to bring an adapter for usage.
What is the internet and email availability like?
Most hotels will offer access for an additional fee, and there are cafes and businesses that offer complimentary access. Tel Aviv has free wifi throughout the city with 80 hotspots!
Will my cell phone work in Israel?
If you have an international usage plan with your carrier, it will work. Please contact your carrier to set up and ensure you have coverage before your arrival. We do suggest you carry a phone with you in Israel, even if you need to rent one for your stay for added safety and ability to keep in contact if you get separated from your group.
What should I expect with currency and purchasing while in Israel?
Israel’s currency is the Shekel and it’s worth about .30 US Dollars. It is strongly suggested to exchange some money into Shekels upon arrival. You can also withdraw from ATMs with your bank card. Credit cards are widely accepted, with VISA and MasterCard being the most accepted.
Do I need travelers’ insurance?
For a minimal amount of money, travel insurance is a must. Travel insurance can be purchased for a minimal amount of your travel investment, and can cover the following:
- Hospital and doctor needs. Many seasoned travelers don’t realize that their health insurance may not be valid outside of their home country.
- Cancelled trip coverage. If you need to cancel your trip due to an unforeseen emergency or serious illness, most of your trip may be non-refundable. This can help you save thousands of dollars.
- Travel insurance also covers lost baggage, and worldwide emergency assistance coverage.
What should I pack?
Packing is very personal, but there are things you should keep in mind while preparing for your trip.
- Plan to dress casually, packing clothes which can be layered if the weather changes. Choose comfort over fashion. If you plan on dining in exclusive restaurants, you may want to pack just one dressy outfit.
- Bring along a light-weight jacket which will not prove to be too cumbersome if you end up carrying it for a few hours.
- Bring along modest options for visits to certain religious venues.
- Do not make yourself a target by wearing expensive jewelry.
- A good way to conceal your valuables is by purchasing an inexpensive but light-weight travel pouch which attaches around your waist and is worn under your clothes.
- Do not over-pack…leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs.
- It is highly recommend to bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen as protection against the harmful rays of the sun.
- Women should bring wear a scarf to cover their head and shoulders at certain sites.
- If you are traveling with a companion, cross-pack. Put half of your items in your companion’s luggage and vice-versa. This will ease the frustration of lost luggage.
- Don’t forget these travel sized necessities: sewing kit, first aid kit, tissues, travel clock, toiletries, notebook and pen. Put all medication and necessities in your carry-on bag, not your checked bag, along with a few changes of clothes.
- Bring along your Bible! It could well be your best guidebook for Israel.
Before your Trip…
Leave your Israel travel information with a family member or friend, include a copy of your passport, your flight itinerary, travel itinerary, hotel names and phone numbers.
Most airlines restrict passengers to one piece of carry-on luggage (in addition to your purse, laptop, camera case). Sizes and weight of carry-on luggage are determined by airline, so be sure to check with airline on dimension requirements before you leave.
Keep important items and documents with you at all times. Medicines should be carried in their original packaging (if you have a copy of the prescription, bring it with you). Do not keep travelers checks, money, valuables or travel documents in your luggage.
Make sure your luggage is clearly tagged on the inside as well as the outside.
Check-in time for international flights is normally two hours prior to departure. When checking in at the airport, a US passport (valid for six months after your return date) is needed as proof of identification to enter Israel. No visa is necessary. Non-U.S. citizens are responsible to fulfill appropriate entry requirements of the destination country. Contact your local consulate for information.
Do not leave your luggage unattended for any length of time (no matter how short) or accept packages from strangers to carry on to the plane for them.
Clearing customs in Israel may take a little longer than in most foreign countries. Keep in mind that upon arrival Israel you will need to go through customs and exchange money. Therefore, it is wise to give yourself plenty of time between landing and connecting to another form of transport.
Your Flight to Israel
You’re at the gate, your plane awaits and you feel excitement for the adventure ahead! After take-off and checking out all the neat little amenities and freebies, the novelty will wear off. Depending on where your flight is originating, hours and miles of being confined on airplane are ahead of you. Below are some tips for the making your flight as easy as possible.
Dress comfortably for the flight. Wear comfortable clothes that allow freedom of movement as you will most likely be trying to sleep on the flight. Wear shoes that slip on and off easily and have warm socks for your feet. .
In order to avoid jet-lag, do not drink alcohol, caffeine or carbonated beverages. Choose natural fruit juices and water.
To avoid air sickness and more serious medical issues that can arise from air travel, stay hydrated, chew gum or ginger, and be sure to get up and move to prevent blood clots. Do not wear any type of restrictive clothing, to accommodate for any travel swelling that may occur.
Before you leave, choose a good book, or two, that will keep you occupied for most of the flight. Before your return flight, buy another – not only will it pass the flight time quickly but it will become a souvenir of your trip.
Store your coat and anything you are not going to use in the overhead compartment. You’ll be much more comfortable with a minimum of things to shift around.
Bring along a moisturizer as the air in the cabin is extremely dry.
If you find yourself extremely exhausted upon arrival in Israel, take a brief nap after check-in and plan on beginning your sightseeing in the afternoon after resting. Do not sleep too long, so you can adjust to the time zone.
Purchases can be made in Israeli Shekels, U.S. dollars or Euros. Tourists who have purchased items with a value exceeding $100 (including VAT) in stores that are registered with the Ministry of Tourism or in stores participating in the VAT-refund plan are entitled to a refund of VAT when they leave the country.
Stores that offer VAT refund service have a special sign.
To receive VAT refund, ensure that you get a receipt with a list of all the items you have purchased and details of the purchaser. The receipt and purchases must be put into a sealed bag.
Tourists must then go to the “Change Place” at Ben Gurion airport or other exit port. If you wish to send the items that you purchased with your luggage, you must declare the purchase at the security check, and present your passport, flight ticket, purchases and receipts at the counter. The attendant will open the bag, examine the contents, sign the receipt, and refund the VAT in any currency minus a commission. The VAT refund can also be sent to your address abroad for an additional charge.
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 here.
In Israel, it is customary to tip hotel personnel, guides and drivers. The following are good guidelines to follow:
- Give your guide $1.50 per day at the beginning of the tour. The guide will then pay the appropriate tips to the baggage handlers and restaurant staff.
- Please expect to tip your guide $5.00 – $7.00 per day and your driver $3.00 – $4.00 per day (amounts are per person).
- A 15% tip is the average in lunch restaurants that are not part of the Israel tour package.
- While tipping is not mandatory for taxi drivers, some visitors choose to do so anyhow. Remember that a tip or gratuity is earned for services rendered in a courteous and professional manner.
Israel’s airport security is probably the tightest in the world, so it is vital that you arrive in plenty of time to board your flight. Be aware that you will need at least two hours for pre-departure screening and even more time for check-in.
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