Look, I have been living happily in Israel for over 50 years, so I feel that I have the right to lend you my advice and 9 tips for a trip to Israel. If you your own tips to offer, send them to IsraelandYou and we will pass them on to all our readers.
1. Water: The water in Israel is healthy and tasty. Feel free to drink potable tap water in the entire country. This is not India or China. But, we do recommend that when away from your hotel, get used to taking a small bottle of mineral or natural water with you. Bus rides can be long and dry.
2. Sun: Israel during the summer, especially the Negev and Eilat can be very hot and dry. Shorts and short sleeves for long treks could lead to sunburn. Take a hat to wear on your outings and pack lip guard and a solar radiation shield. You may want to bring sun glasses.
3. Snacks: Those long bus rides between tourist attractions can be tiring. Take some candy or snack with you on the bus to give you a pick up if you feel that you need some energy. You may want to experiment with the very popular Israeli peanut snack called Bamba.
If you want to stay with potato chips, then ask for “Tapuchips” because in Israel plain “chips” are french fries! Which reminds that my “uncle-in-law Irving”, was the American potato expert who set up the potato industry in Israel. He invited me to be his guest at the opening of the Tapud factory back in 1972.
4. Comfortable clothing: This is a good rule for touring anywhere. You have to ensure your comfort both during the ride and on foot outside the bus. Check with you guide or Israel Weather Station to what to wear. Generally, the higher elevations have lower temperatures than the Mediterranean and much lower than Eilat. Israel has two seasons: In the winter it is rainy and in the summer it is dry. So in the winter you may want to pack a winter coat and an umbrella.
Walking shoes – NO HIGH HEELS. Make sure you have worn in your comfortable shoes before your trip. Check with your guide if you will off pave roads or trails. Chose shoes to fit your planned itinerary: water, sand, rocks or just plain concrete sidewalks and asphalt streets.
5. Modest clothing: This a requirement for religious sites of all denominations. Perhaps put a light shawl in your bag. The sign below expresses the sentiments of the ultra-ultra Orthodox Jews in one neighborhood in Jerusalem. I recommend you visit there. It is worthwhile to dress as they request in order to experience the unique atmosphere where they live.
6. Backpack: You may find that a small backpack is more comfortable than holding a bag and/or a purse in your hand. Of course as in all other countries, don’t flash your cash. This will leave your hands free for your camera.
7. Camera: Nowadays you can use your smartphone camera for most of your photography needs. Create a “Whatsup” group for your tour group. Share photos with your friends on the bus and back home just as you take them. Also, as my Mom, may she rest in peace, used to say, “Just to be on the safe side,” don’t leave your camera, i-Pad or portable computer laying around.
8. Driving: In Israel one drives on the right side of the road as in the USA. Israeli road signs conform to the European standards and are multi-lingual: Hebrew, English and Arabic. When driving in Israel you can depend on Waze or GoogleMaps to get you where you want to go. Many rental cars have a standard GPS. Still, we recommend you have a road map both for driving or to understand where you are on a bus. The main highways are very modern, but even so during rush the hour, before or after work, you can be stuck in what they call in Nigeria a “no-go”. Route 6 and the Carmel Tunnel have automatic billing, so check out with you rental agent about using this highway.
Of course you can always hitchhike with me.
9. Toilets: As veteran tour guides say, “Go when you can and not when you have to.” As soon as the tour bus stops go to the toilet. The rule is “Coffee in, Coffee out”. The filling stations in Israel have been remodelled to include a convenience store with clean rest rooms. You don’t even want to know what it was like in the smelly, oriental kiosks that were here two or three decades ago. All museums, malls, restaurants and national parks (however not nature reserves) have toilet facilities.