*Israel Travel Blog: Scroll to the bottom to head straight to my Tel Aviv detailed guide*
Disclosure: This Israel travel blog may contain affiliate links. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post. As always, all opinions are my own and I would never post about something I have not personally used/verified.
I lived in Israel in 2015 on an international program while working at a tech startup in Tel Aviv. Israel is my happy place and will always be my second home. I visited numerous times before living there and have extensive knowledge to the main cities, territories, day trips and rural areas covering the entire country. I could talk about Israel all day everyday but have tried to condense what to do in Israel as well as I could into efficient guides! Israel is a very eclectic, special country and I urge you to read up on the facts in this Israel travel blog before visiting Israel.
Israel Travel Blog: What To Expect When Visiting
- SO MUCH HISTORY IN ISRAEL: Israel and its land has so much history behind it it is unbelievable. Each time I visit, even the same places repeatedly, I learn even more. Be prepared to visit historical spots and really try to listen to the stories. Even for non-cultural and non-history trip lovers, I really believe there is so much to learn about Israel, the people, and the land, and it has such an interesting and different past, present and future.
- A ZEST FOR LIFE: Despite the past and current political and religious tensions that the Middle East, and specifically Israel, faces, Israelis have a zest for life unlike anyone else. I have never seen a group of people, in all of the countries I have visited, truly LOVE life and give meaning to “live life to the fullest”. Israelis are adventurous, open-minded and all around happy humans, and these characteristics truly radiate off of them. I am always my happiest most adventurous self anytime I go to Israel while being around Israelis. They also truly embody the idea of a “home” and will literally invite you to come to their house for any holiday even if they don’t know you. They want everyone to feel welcome and at home in Israel and it is an amazing quality.
- SOLDIERS AND GUNS: There will be soldiers walking by you all the time and everywhere. They will have guns larger than you wrapped over their body. The first time you see this, it will be a little weird. After a while, you realize how normal it is and how amazing it is. These soldiers, many of whom are younger than 24 years old, are living their life and protecting their country at the same time. It’s an amazing sight and aspect to daily life in Israel that has become second nature to me.
- WEEKENDS ARE FRIDAY & SATURDAY: The world runs a little different in Israel. Shabbat, the day of rest, is Friday night to Saturday night. As such, their weekend is actually Friday and Saturday, with the work week starting on Sunday. Almost everything is closed on Saturdays, especially in Jerusalem. Take the day to really rest…go to the beach, hang at one of the amazing parks, hike around the desert or mountains. There is so much to do! My biggest Israel travel blog tip: on a Friday, I urge you to go to one of the popular Shuks (markets) in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem – they are BEYOND hectic and crowded every Friday morning and shut down at 3pm. It is amazing. Make sure you plan what to do in Israel around their weekend days.
The Israeli shekel (ILS) (symbol: ₪)! The shekel is pretty strong right now also so there isn’t a better time than now to visit Israel!
Hebrew! Good luck with being able to read any signs unless you know the language. Hebrew is a gorgeous language and I could listen to Israelis talk all day, however it is SUPER confusing (took me forever to even get through a Level 1 class) and definitely not easy to learn for a quick trip. Luckily, Israelis are taught English from an early age (for the most recent generations) so you will find that younger Israelis all speak great English, however the older generation speaks very little English. In Tel Aviv, English is very prominent, but in Jerusalem it is a little harder to get by with no Hebrew – just keep this in mind when you are planning out what to do in Israel – but it shouldn’t stop you!
Israel Travel Blog: Other Tips on the Media And Safety:
- DON’T BELIEVE THE MEDIA: I can’t stress this enough. No matter your religion, your beliefs, your political views, Israel is for everyone. There is so much history in the holy land that has affected all of our history no matter what. I truly urge you to visit Israel with an open-mind because it is the most remarkable, happiest country I have ever experienced.
- SAFETY: Everyone always ask: “Is it safe to go to Israel right now?”. YES! Do believe the saying “Israel is the safest country in the world.” This is the truth. I feel exponentially safer in Israel than I do in my own city of NYC. I cannot explain it, no one can, but you will feel it the minute you land in Israel and are walking around the amazing country with the amazing people. Israel is beyond safe and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Do not let a fear of safety be the reason you don’t go to Israel. This is the most foolish, naive and inaccurate statement I have ever heard.
- That being said, make sure you are up on current events before you go. The stability is always changing in the Middle East region, including in Israel. As long as you are aware of what is going on around the area and in the country, you will be fine. You can avoid certain borders/areas if need be. I promise you there is never a bad time to go to Israel.
CITY/AREA POSTS FOR THIS ISRAEL TRAVEL BLOG: MORE COMING SOON!