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Coming to Israel? You NEED these comprehensive travel tips! (guest post)

Summer tourism and aliyah season is almost here, and whether it’s your first trip to Israel or your eightieth, don’t you wish you could have a list of all the little things everybody else wishes they’d thought of? 

This comprehensive travel guide was written by Debra Nussbaum Stepen.  She’s a Licensed Tour Guide in Israel (no mean feat, as it takes years of study and deep historical and geographical knowledge!) and you can find out more about her and her services at

Comprehensive Travel Tips for Tourists

1. Do not throw out the little slip of paper that they give you at the airport. This is your entry visa and entitles you to exemption of the 17% VAT tax on rental cars, hotels and certain shopping venues.

image2. All the children (and adults) need a hat with a brim. I cannot stress this enough. It really keeps you cool. It is very hot and everyone needs one. A baseball cap is ok, but one with a full brim is better to prevent sunburned necks.

3. Bring your sunscreen favorites (spray, lotion, etc) reapply throughout the day.

4. Bring water shoes for the City of David tunnels, rafting and Ein Gedi. No flip flops

5. Buy water for your apartment and Air B and B. Make sure people start drinking water BEFORE you leave for the day. Buy some of the hand water bottle cooling things. They hold a liter or liter and a half of water. You can refrigerate your water the night before and place them in those things to keep chilled.

6. Make sure you know all your passwords for your ATM cards and call all credit card companies and tell them you are going to Israel, so charges are not denied.

7. You should have a good data plan on at least one cell phone because if you are driving in a rental car and you will definitely need to be able to access WAZE and What's App.

image8. Buy a driving map of Israel. The rental car companies are not so good about giving one. It is great for the kids to see where they are going and the outline of the country as you guys drive around.

9. Shop for snacks and bring daily. Best to have at least one or two persons carry a regular backpack. That way, it will fit water, snacks and souvenirs if you buy

10. Take good pictures of the rental car before you head out.

11. Bring medication for everyone and if needed, bring a prescription from your doctor if you run out. Bring your favorite over the counter meds in small quantities. You need a prescription here for neosporin!

12. Buy travel insurance and also check your insurance policies to see what is covered overseas.

…And here are a few more great tips from Facebook travellers:

  • Buy a road map!  This isn’t my personal experience, but several people recommend this, both for kids or for those awkward moments when Waze/GPS/Google fail.  The Yellow convenience stores at Paz gas stations apparently stock road atlases.
  • Bring prescriptions!  You can’t buy Benadryl here without one, and many travellers suffer from pollen allergies even outside of the regular “allergy season” because plants here are different.  While pharmacies here can’t fill foreign prescriptions, you can visit a local doctor with the prescription to get a new one written more easily.image
  • Gluten intolerance?  Allergies?  Bring a letter in Hebrew to show at restaurants just to be on the very safe side.
  • Steer safe!  When using Waze, make sure the “avoid dangerous areas” setting is on.
  • Don’t worry!  This isn’t a third-world country, and even if you forget something, most items can be easily obtained once you land.

Do you have any Israel travel tips you found valuable – or wish you’d known?  Share them in the comments below!

Thanks again to Debra Nussbaum Stepen for this very thorough list, a very helpful and active contributor to an Israel travel Facebook group I belong to.  Again, you can find her at

(pills photo credit © Marco Verch via Flickr)

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה

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