Here's a list of questions our travelers ask most frequently. We want to make sure you have the best time in Israel, so if it's not on here, don't hesitate to ask.
When is the best time to visit Israel?
With comfortable weather year round, there is no bad time to visit Israel. Israel’s weather is generally very mild and calm with warm summers and a rainy season stretching from November to March. The Dead Sea region and Jordan Valley will be hot, while the mountain areas stay dry and cooler.
Is Israel safe to visit?
Israel is a modern country with excellent hygiene and health services comparable to the Western World, with safe drinking water and food services. You do not need any vaccinations to visit Israel.
What clothes to bring?
Israel is very casual, especially when traveling as a visitor, so stay comfortable. Be sure to pack good walking shoes, hat, sunglasses, sun protection, light jackets and sweaters for the cooler seasons, and swimwear. The hotels in Israel offer laundry services if needed and you can always pick up a needed item of clothing on the run.
Do I need a visa to enter Israel?
Citizens of the USA, Canada and most western nations do not need a visa to enter Israel, only a valid passport with expiration date at least 6 months beyond your travel dates. Citizens of other nations need to inquire with the Israeli consular services in their country.
Are places open on the Jewish Sabbath?
Your upcoming trip to Israel will probably include at least one Shabbat Day, and possibly a holidays. The Shabbat Day and all Jewish holidays are celebrated from the evening prior and end on the evening of the day itself. On those days most government services, public transportation, businesses and banks are closed, while some restaurants and places of entertainment remain open. You will be able to receive specific information from your tour guide or the hotel concierge.
Will my electrical appliances work in Israel?
The electric current in Israel is the same as in Western Europe, 220 volts, C, single phase, 50 Hertz. While most Israeli wall sockets are three-pronged, they often accept European two-pronged plugs. Most four and five star hotels provide hair-dryers as well as low-wattage American-style sockets for electric shavers, cell phones or tablets. If your appliance does not work on 220 volts, you will need an adapter or a converter.
Do they speak English in Israel?
While Hebrew is the official and spoken language of Israel, all your service providers will have full commend of English, and your tour leader and tour guide will speak your language if it is other than English.
What currency do they use in Israel and do they accept other currencies?
The local currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS). Most Israeli businesses will accept Credit Cards, but it will be a good idea to exchange some cash to the local currency, which can be done at any of the Money Exchange offices throughout the country. Traveler checks are usually not accepted in Israel, and you can use the many ATM machines available everywhere in Israel.
Tipping while your out on the town
It is customary to tip your tour guide, bus driver and hotel staff (when traveling with a group) at an average rate of $10-$15 per day per person. The cash is usually collected by your tour leader and is divided between your service providers before the journey’s end. It is common to tip staff at restaurants at roughly 10-15% of the bill.
What are the emergency numbers in Israel?
Your tour leader and SAR-EL’s guides and operators are available to address every need. When necessary, local emergency numbers are: • Police: 100 • Emergency Medical Services: 101 • Fire and Rescue: 102 • Dialing 112 from a mobile phone will connect you to the emergency services
What kind of food will I eat?
The Israeli cuisine is delicious and nutritious, and food is safe and clean. Most hotel dining rooms and restaurants conform to the Jewish dietary Kosher laws and will not serve un-kosher foods or mix dairy and meat products.
Will I have access to WiFi and calling?
Israel is a modern nation featuring excellent internet coverage in most areas, but you will need to secure an international data and calling plan from your service provider. Most hotels in Israel offer Wi-Fi service, as well as many coffee shops and restaurants. The City of Tel Aviv actually offers a citywide free Wi-Fi network with 80 free Internet “hot spots” across the city. Many of our SAR-EL buses also provide an onboard Wi-Fi service. A local phone can also be rented upon your arrival. Israel’s country code is + 972.
Will I need to pay Tax (VAT) on my purchases?
Foreign visitors are exempt from paying Israel’s VAT of 17% when paying for hotel services. Many stores and businesses where you might shop will provide a VAT detailed receipt, and the tax amount can be refunded at the airport upon your departure. Be sure to keep your receipts.
Shopping in Israel
Throughout your touring days, you will have plenty of opportunities to shop for gifts, souvenirs, and personal items in safe and recommended outlets. Department stores and shopping malls are open all day, but not on Saturdays.