Israel may be a small country, but there’s no shortage of things to see and do. Modern travelers expect to be able to share their experiences with their loved ones back home, whether it’s over a phone call or through posts on social media.
Although there are arguments that you should be in the moment – saving your stories and photos for when you arrive back home – it’s almost impossible to resist the temptation to share your wonderful experiences with the people who matter most.
If you’re traveling to Israel from the U.S. or another country, you may be in for a very expensive surprise if you just continue to use your phone as normal. Yes, your phone will probably work, but you’ll also be paying international rates – which can be as high as $5 per minute.
Israel has different cell phone providers, with the main ones being Orange and Pelephone. For convenience and the sake of your sanity, it may be better to buy a prepaid SIM card while you’re in Israel or before you leave.
Keep in mind that you’ll need an unlocked phone for this to work. Many travelers find that it’s easier and cheaper to just buy an unlocked phone from eBay or another second-hand phone service. While this can come with its own risks and issues, it’s a great option if you’ll be traveling often and can find a reputable seller.
You also have the option of renting a phone at the Ben-Gurion Airport. When you’re done with your trip, you can simply drop it back off at the same place before your flight leaves.
If you’re traveling from the States and plan to bring your own phone, you’ll need an adapter for your charger. Israelis typically use type H plugs, which is unique to Israel and the West Bank. The H plug is grounded with three round pins, and the H socket has three round pin holes that accept type H plugs.
Modern hotels will usually have C sockets, which ar ecommon in South America, Europe and some parts of Asia. If you’re traveling from one of these countries, you may not need an adapter. Those visiting from the UK and the US will need adapters for their chargers.
If your phone doesn’t have the option of accepting 230 volt supply, then you’ll also need to buy a power transformer to keep your phone from overheating while charging.
Being able to make calls and charge your phone is important, but what about data? If you plan to share things on social media, you’ll want to ensure that you’re connected to Wi-Fi to minimize data usage. If you’re in major cities, like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, it won’t be an issue to find free Wi-Fi. There are plenty of coffee shops, restaurants and public places that offer Wi-Fi throughout the country, particularly in major cities. But you may have some issues accessing Wi-Fi in places like Golan Heights and the Dead Sea.
It’s hard to resist the temptation of sharing experiences with loved ones when you’re traveling in Israel. Understanding how cell service works, how to stay charged and how to access Wi-Fi will allow you to post those photos of your time in Tel Aviv without spending your life’s savings.