Frequently Asked Questions
Get the answers you need for your trip to Israel.
Before You Go
Do I need a Passport?
Yes. Proof of citizenship is required for all travelers, and passports are required (must be valid for at least six months beyond the completion of travel). All non-citizens of the U.S. must have passports, visas and other documentation normally required for entry into the country of destination. Do not pack your passport or travel documents in your luggage. To find out if you need to apply for a VISA prior to your trip, view this document.
What should I make copies of before I leave for Israel?
In case documents get lost or stolen, make two photocopies of the following: the first two pages of your passport, credit cards, airline tickets and itinerary and travel insurance details. Leave one copy with a contactable friend at home and take the other with you (separate from the originals) or give it to a friend traveling with you.
How safe is travelling to Israel?
While Israel is a very safe country to visit and tour, your safety is a top priority. We use various measures to ensure the safety of participants, but we also encourage participants to take precautions they normally would when traveling to another city or country.
What time zone is Israel in?
Israel Standard Time (IST) is the standard time zone in Israel. It is 2 hours ahead of UTC and 7 hours ahead of EST.
Can I drink tap water in Israel?
Tap water is safe to drink in Israel, but bottled water will also be available for purchase.
What is the weather like in Israel?
The temperature will be around 15-27°C (60-81°F) in Jerusalem and 17-35°C (62-95°F) in Tiberias and the Dead Sea area, so please bring sunglasses, a hat and appropriate clothing for this weather.
What clothes should I pack for Israel?
Bring clothing for warm weather and a jacket for the evenings. Also bring your ‘holywear,’ something to cover your shoulders and knees, as this is required at some of the sites we will visit. Please plan to bring comfortable shoes or sneakers, as there will be a lot of walking.
How much walking do I need to be prepared for?
Most activities will include walking so participants will be walking approximately 2-3 miles per day. We would recommend wearing comfortable shoes or sneakers each day. Most walks will be light to moderately strenuous and there will be breaks throughout the day as you travel to and from sites. Please keep in mind that walks can typically include steps and uneven terrain.
Can I use my cellphone in Israel? Do I need to get a different SIM card or prepaid phone?
Most cell phone providers offer international plans; check with your carrier before your trip to see what international options they provide. If your phone is unlocked you can purchase a prepaid SIM card at a fairly low price.
What currency does Israel use & how should I exchange my money?
We suggest you bring US Dollars, British Pounds, or Euros, which can be exchanged for the Israeli Shekel. There are locations throughout each city in Israel to exchange currency, including most hotels; you may also obtain Shekels prior to departure. Rates vary from place to place and some charge commission.
What about my debit card? Do shops and restaurants accept debit/credit cards or do I need to bring money to convert to local currency?
Most shops and restaurants accept foreign debit/credit cards. Exchanging some money for Israeli Shekels is a good idea. You will need Shekels for there are a small number of shops that may only take cash (especially when outside of tourist areas or in the markets).
Is there any access to a laundromat or do I need to pack enough clothes for the entire trip?
Most hotels will do your laundry for you (for a fee), but there are also laundromats around the city where you can drop your clothes off for washing (you will need shekel coins for this).
Should I bring a backpack or bag on the tour days?
A back pack is always a good idea. Water bottles, cameras, money, and souvenirs will be harder to manage if you do not have something to put them in.
Will I be able to plug in electronics in Israel?
Most hotels in Israel will have 220 volts AC 50 Hz. You will need to bring along necessary converters and adapters to operate any 120 volts, 60 Hz appliances such as hair dryers, electric razors, etc. Some small electronic devices are dual-voltage and will adjust automatically for other countries. If your appliance’s charger has a manual switch, you’ll need to change it back and forth before plugging in your appliance. For dual voltage electronics, you’ll simply need to bring an adapter to plug the charger in to the outlet. Before leaving on your trip, check the manual or power cord for the device to know if it will work with 220 voltage without a converter. Be aware that U.S. electronics that are not dual-voltage should never be used without a converter in countries with a voltage of 220.
Can I travel with liquids?
Any liquids in your checked-in suitcase should be in tight (preferably plastic) bottles. Fill them only three-quarters full to allow for expansion.International security regulations require that liquids, aerosols and gels in carry-on bags must be in containers of 100 ml or less and carried together in one transparent plastic bag (20 cm by 20 cm or 15 cm by 25 cm) with a resealable (zip-lock) top. Among these are cosmetics, sun block, perfume, shaving cream, insect repellent, anti-perspirants and toothpaste.
What do I do when I land in Israel?
On arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem Encounter staff will meet you in Arrival Hall and take you to your bus (group arrival only). If you are arriving individually and have sent us your flight information 30 days in advance (firstname.lastname@example.org), we will have a tour representative in the arrival hall to assist you to your transportation. If you prefer, or have not sent your flight details, you may take a taxi to the hotel at your own expense.
As you arrive in Israel you will be allocated a bus in which you will travel all week. A bus captain will accompany you throughout the week. He/she will be there to assist you throughout the daily touring.
Will we have a tour guide for our tour?
Yes, Israel’s best licensed, hand-picked tour guides will be provided during the tour.
Other Important Tips
We will spend much of our time during the tour outdoors therefore ensure you bring sun care lotion to protect your skin each day.
Even if you don’t feel thirsty, you will need to drink plenty of water as we tour together. This is to avoid getting headaches from dehydration. You can drink the tap water in your hotel room but many prefer bottled water.
Basic gratuities for the hotels, guides and drivers are included. You are always free to give an extra gratuity for exemplary service. The going rates for gratuities (for meals purchased on your own) is 10-15%.
Breakfast and dinner are included. Lunch can be bought for approximately US$12 – US$20 per person per day as we tour the land.
Israel Work Week
In Israel, the workweek is Sunday to Thursday. Shops and businesses are normally open on Fridays but close early afternoon for the Jewish Sabbath (or Shabbat). The Jewish Sabbath lasts from after sundown Friday to after sundown Saturday. Shops closed Saturdays for the Sabbath tend to open up Saturday night. Muslims and Christians observe their own Sabbaths on Friday and Sundays, respectively.
Learn a little Hebrew
Three languages are spoken in Israel: Hebrew, Arabic and English.
Communication should not be a problem, but here are a few Hebrew phrases that will be helpful to know.
- Hello/Goodbye – SHALOM
- Good Morning – Boker Tov
- Good Evening – Erev Tov
- Good Night – Laila Tov
- Money – Kes-sef
- How much does this cost? – Kama ze o’le?
- The bill, please – Cheshbon, bevakasha
- Bon appetite – Beteavon
- See You Later – I’hit-rah-ote
- Do you speak English? – Ata medaber anglit?
- What is your name? – Aich korim lachca?
- Nice to meet you. – Nayim Mayod
Even more Hebrew
- Please – BEHVAKASHA
- Thank You – Toda Raba
- Excuse Me – S’leecha
- Do not understand? – Ani lo mevin (a) (f)
- Yes – Ken
- No – Lo
- Maybe – Ooh-lie
- All right/ok – B’seder
- Left – Smol
- Right – Yamin
- When? – Ma-tai
- Where? – Eifo
- Why? – Lama?
- A little – Katzat
- Today – Ha-yom
- Yesterday – Et-mol
- Tomorrow – Ma-khar
- Ice cream – Glida
- Water – Mayim
- A cup of tea – Cos tay
- A cup of coffee – Cos ka-feh
- Milk – Kha-lav
- Restrooms – Sherutim
- Market – Shuk
- Friend – Chaver (m), Chavera (f)