Israel is a country of diverse landscapes, both geographic and cultural. From the conservative and religious Jerusalem to liberal and vibrant Tel Aviv, navigating the country can prove to be a confusing experience to many. So, here are some Israel travel tips to keep in mind before you visit. 

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1. Learn a little bit of Hebrew

While a large majority of Israelis speak English (especially the younger generations), like in most other countries the locals will greatly appreciate it if you learn a few phrases in the language. 

  • Ken – Yes
  • Lo – No 
  • Todah – Thank you
  • Bevekshah – Please
  • Lehitraot – Goodbye
  • Monit – Taxi 
  • Slicha – Excuse me/ Sorry; 
  • Eifo …? – Where is …?
  • Kama zeh Oleh? – How much does this cost? 
  • Ani lo medaber Ivrit – I don’t speak Hebrew
  • Atah medaber Anglit?(m)/ At medaberet anglit?(f) – Do you speak English
2. There will be heightened security

While most places in Israel are safe for travellers, it’s important to keep in mind that bus stations, train stations, malls, and other crowded places will have security guards. Prepare to have your bag searched and keep identification with you at all times. 

3. Don’t just stick to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

Many people who visit Israel only see Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. While the two cities undoubtedly have lots to offer, there is so much more to explore. You can visit the vibrant port city of Haifa; explore the incredible sights in the Negev Desert; go scuba diving with dolphins in Eilat, or see the many Druze villages and Bedouin communities. 

If you get the chance, also try to visit the West Bank and places such as Bethlehem, Jericho, and Ramallah that are under Palestinian control. However, consider travelling here with an organized group just to ensure that you don’t accidentally step into dangerous areas.

4. When you visit religious areas, remember to dress and behave appropriately

Israel is full of areas that are holy sites or home to conservative religious groups. When you’re visiting places of worship such as mosques, churches or synagogues, or other sacred spaces, be sure to wear appropriate clothing. Women should cover their arms, shoulders and legs and keep a scarf handy in case you need to cover your hair; while for men, no shorts above the knees or sleeveless shirts.

5. Don’t forget the sunscreen

Israel is a destination that is hot and sunny through most of the year, which is what makes it such an attractive travel destination for many. However, you should remember to wear sunscreen when you’re out and about to protect yourself from the sun. 

6. Water conservation is very important

When you’re in Israel it’s important to conserve water whenever possible. Avoid leaving the tap on while washing dishes or brushing your teeth. In most bathrooms you’ll find flushes with two handles – a small one for a small flush and a large one for a large flush – so decide which one to use wisely. 

7. Remember that most businesses will be closed on Saturdays

In Israel, Friday and Saturday is the weekend. Many restaurants, shops and places of business will close on Friday afternoons and reopen late on Saturday in order to respect the Shabbat (or day of rest). Public transportation also will not run on these days. It’s the same on Jewish holidays like Yom Kippur. 

8. Israel is the LGBT capital of the Middle East

Israel, and especially Tel Aviv, is proud of its liberal views regarding sexuality and gender. Israelis are also very open about sexuality, perhaps due to the country’s mandatory mixed-gender military service.  

9. Check before you take any photos

While taking photographs is not likely to be an issue in places frequented by tourists, it’s important to be considerate and ask for permission, especially if you’re photographing people. Ask before clicking pictures of holy sites like the Western Wall, and remember that military sites and border police are usually off-limits. 

10. Taxis and public transport

Israeli has an efficient and reliable public transportation system, including its railways and buses. There are also monit sheruts (or shared taxis) that run within or between cities and can carry up to 10 passengers. However, be wary of getting into unregistered taxis or on an unofficial bus. You can download the Moovit app to plan trips via public transport or use Gett Taxi for reliable cab rides. 

11. Don’t hitchhike

Hitchhiking is not a common practice in Israel. It is strongly advised that you try to avoid it and rely on public transport. Or you could consider renting a car or a bicycle. 

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Are there any Israel travel tips that we’ve missed? If so, be sure to share these Israel travel tips in the comments below.

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