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Info for those travelling to Israel! - some tips from my trip last wkend


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Just got back from a trip to Israel last wk. Thought I'd give some bullet points for those travelling:


- you'll get questioned about stamps in the passport from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and maybe Egypt.

- it's not uncommon for frequent travellers to be questioned. I got questioned upon leaving, asking my activities, who I had met, where I had stayed. Stay friendly and relaxed and keep info to a minimum. Don't just drop in the name of the bloke you met in the pub in Beer Sheva. They are really asking about whether you have significant links to the country.

- when arriving you will NOT get an Israeli stamp in the passport, instead you receive a credit card sized 'ticket' as your visa. As you may know, Israeli stamps prevent you travelling to other middle east countries so it is now standard practice not to stamp the actual book.

- Israel isn't as cheap as you might think, probably similar to London/UK prices. From airport to Tel Aviv centre is 30 GBP, for example (150 shekels). Hiring a car for two days cost us 500 shekels (100 GBP), not including gas and capped at 500km distance.

- Israel is very hot right now. 30+ deg all the time I was there.

- on that, Israel is more liberal and westernised that you might expect. Tel Aviv and other beach towns, lots of people dress in beach clothes and it's pretty normal. Feels like Spain.

- To get to Beer Sheva, train or bus. Please know that several train/tram stations in Tel Aviv (where you might fly into) are closed for construction/improvement at the moment. Don't plan on paper how to get around, be flexible. The reality is that some of these works might not be announced. From their website it seems most trains are running from Ha Hagana station to Beer Sheva.

- Israel's weekend starts Friday and ends Saturday, the Sabbath (they pronounce it "sabbat").

- As a general rule nothing is open on Sabbath, including buses, cafes, shops. Some buses do run, these are special ones and you'll need to ask around. E.g. a selection of Jerusalem-Tel Aviv buses run on sabbath.

- The sabbath begins Friday night around 6pm and ends Saturday 6pm.

- Israeli's love football even if the quality isn't great.

- common sense as with every travel is required, but know that Israeli's are friendly

- everyone speaks English. Really. I went all over and hardly met someone that didn't speak English. beer Sheva has a big university so anyone youngish will definitely speak English.


Hope it helps.


Get in touch if you've got more Qs about the country...

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When I went last year, leaving from Luton , I flew with El Al, the customs guys took me aside before flying and interviewed me for over an hour.


Also took swabs of all my belongings and clothes. It was a right pain in the arse.

All because I had a lap top with me that had been in for repair about a month earlier and so I couldn't account for its whereabouts for about 2/3 days.


Surprising really as I have such an angelic face.

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