Planning a Trip to Israel

Planning a Trip to Israel

After meeting some basic Israel travel requirements, planning a trip to Israel can be easy with this simple Israel travel guide.

1. Israel Travel Requirements

The U.S. Department of State does not recommend any vaccinations before traveling to Israel. So, that is one less thing you will have to do before leaving. In addition, for U.S. citizens, a visa is not required for stays of up to 90 days. Therefore, if you are visiting for less than 90 days, you will only need to meet the following criteria in order to board a flight to Israel and enter Israel.

You must:

  1. hold a valid passport book.
  2. have a passport book that is valid for a minimum of 6 months from your scheduled departure date.
  3. leave the country within 90 days after your arrival.

The U.S. passport book is required for international air travel. Since a U.S. passport card is only valid for entering the U.S. at land and sea border crossings. [1]

Apply for U.S. Passport: [1] First-Time Applicant, or [2] Renew Passport

planning a trip to israel2. Currency (Israeli Shekel)

The currency for the State of Israel is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS) or simply called Israeli Shekel [2]. As shown in the image below, the currency or shekel sign is placed to the left as is the U.S. currency sign (i.e. $12,000).

planning a trip to Israel

All major credit cards are accepted at most places in Israel. ATM’s are available for cash withdrawals, however, be aware that there may be steep fees associated with the transaction.

U.S. Dollars are sometimes accepted in Israel, but there is no guarantee. Therefore, you should convert your U.S. currency to the Israeli Shekel before or after arriving in Israel.  There is usually a charge associated with converting from one currency to another currency. However, if you convert your U.S. currency before leaving the country, the currency exchange fee may be less than the cost to exchange currency at airports and foreign ATMs.

Most major banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Chase will order the needed currency for you before leaving the U.S. if you have an account with them [3]. However, you must allow the bank enough time to get the needed currency to you before your trip out of the country. So, do not wait until a day or two before your trip to get your currency exchanged at a local bank. Determine how much time your bank will need to get the currency in advance.

The current rate of exchange for $1 = 3.7 NIS. However, you can check the latest exchange rate here.

3. Hotel & Flights

With Israel being part of the Holy Lands, it is a popular destination for people all over the world. So, you can book your hotel and flight based on what you would like to see and do. However, when possible, I make accommodations within walking distance to food, markets, landmarks, and things to do. In this way, the need for transportation can be limited to tours and excursions.

4. Getting Around

Getting around in Israel may be challenging at first because you will have to quickly adjust to a new driving culture. While the verdict is still out, most visitors seem to agree that driving in Israel is a challenge at first because of aggressive driving, high-speed tailgating, and horn blowing being a common feature in some areas. Nevertheless, the perception of your driving experience will depend on where you are from and the area(s) in which you visit.

Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are more crowded than some areas. So, one local suggested that visitors use public transportation in the busier areas and get a rental car for the less busy areas. You can make your own decision once you get there, but you may benefit from reading through some of the “Driving Tips for Americans in Israel” on TripAdvisor.

5. Popular Foods

Some of the most popular Israeli foods are (1) Moussaka, (2) Sabich, (3) Shakshouka, (4) Challa, and (5) Falafel. However, you will not have to wonder what to eat in Israel on a low carb diet!

  • Moussaka is a good low carb diet food to eat in Israel depending on how it is prepared. It starts out with a meat base. However, it is then made with either potatoes or eggplants. So, find one that is made with eggplants to keep it low carb.
  • Sabich is a breakfast egg sandwich pocket. Therefore, you can just ask for a fork and eat the inside of the sandwich for a low carb meal.
  • Shakshouka is a healthy low carb tomato and egg dish. While tomatoes are naturally sweet, I would eat this dish occasionally for breakfast without eating all of the tomatoes.
  • Challa is just interesting information about a popular bread served in Israel, but it is a no-go on a low carb diet.
  • Falafel is made with chickpeas and fava beans. Therefore, this will not be your go-to food in Israel on a low carb diet either. Chickpeas are high-carb with 8 grams of carbs per 1 tablespoon.

6. Language

Hebrew is the official language of Israel. So, Hebrew is either the native language or the second language that is spoken proficiently by people living in Israel. However, English is spoken by most natives as a second language. Plus, English is used to label commercial products in stores and street signs on the roads and highways. Therefore, English-speaking travelers should not have a problem shopping and traveling in Israel.

Conclusion

This completes the first guide to planning a trip to Israel. When you are ready, you can book your hotel and flight. However, this does not conclude our Israel travel information. So, please subscribe to get more low carb travel ideas, low carb diet tips,  low carb recipes, and on-the-go low carb snack to help you continue planning a trip to Israel.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Just returned from Israel this morning. It was a wonderful trip. Thank you for writing this post. Hopefully it will encourage people to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lyn says:

      Hi Frieda! How nice – thanks for sharing your experience! I am happy to hear that you had a great trip to Israel. Feel free to share some of your advice about getting around in Israel.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jerusalem has a wonderful commuter train system called the light train. It only travels within Jerusalem but it’s very easy to use and convenient. One can also take the main train that travels the entire distance of the country. It’s cheap and easy to use as well. Taking the bus is another cheap and efficient mode of transportation. Last, Taxi’s can be easily hailed down, but their high cost can quickly add up.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lyn says:

        Hi Frieda! I hope to visit Israel next year, so this is very helpful! Thanks again!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Glad to help. You’ll love the country.

        Liked by 1 person

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