Contrary to what you may have heard, you can travel to Israel on a budget. All it takes is proper planning and the right strategies. It’s possible to enjoy all of the culture, food and everything else Israel has to offer without spending a small fortune.
Travel in the Off-Season, But Avoid Holidays
Traveling during off-season will always save you money – no matter where you visit. Off-season traveling will get you cheaper airfare and accommodations, but unlike other countries, Israel’s attractions do not close down for winter.
But before you book your trip, check to make sure it does not coincide with an Israeli national holiday. Prices for airfare and hotels will be much higher if you choose to visit during a holiday, and the attractions will be extra-crowded.
Take Advantage of Low-Cost Flight at Ramon Airport
If you’re looking for even bigger savings, consider booking a flight through Ramon Airport, which is due to open in 2018. Ramon will be used much like Ryanair, so if you plan to visit neighboring areas, it may be cheaper to fly through Ramon.
Dine on Street Food, or Visit Local Markets
If you stay in a hostel or rent accommodations through Airbnb, you may have the option to cook your own food during your stay. The cost of food is very cheap in Israel, particularly for fruits and vegetables.
But the prices in restaurants are typically much higher.
If your accommodations do not offer a kitchen, you can always dine on street food. Israel has amazing street food, and you can fill up for less than 10 euros a meal. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you will be happy to find that most dishes are free of meat or animal products.
Use Public Transportation or Walk
Taxis are an option when traveling in Israel, but the local public transportation system is also a good option. Buses and trains do not run from Friday afternoon through Saturday night, so keep this in mind.
If you do take a taxi, do not try to negotiate. Tell the driver ‘on the meter.’ Some cab drivers have been known to charge tourists three to four times the meter price.
If all else fails, you can always rely on your own two feet. Many cities in Israel are very walkable, and you’ll get the chance to slow down and really take in the scenery around you.
Guided Tours are Worth It
Sure, you can explore Israel’s attractions on your own, but understanding the history and the stories behind these attractions is important. A guide will be able to share tidbits of information, some you may not be able to find elsewhere.
You can choose to book a private guide, or you can join a guided group tour. There are budget-friendly tours available as well, so you can stay on budget while learning about Israel’s rich history.
In Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, you will find some companies that offer free 2-3-hour walking tours. Ultimately, these tours really aren’t free, but rather, they are tip-based. Keep this in mind before you opt to join a group.