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FAQs

This should do the trick. We've compiled a list of almost everything you'd want to know about culture, utilities, services and activities in Israel.

First, food. 

Tel Aviv has the best culinary scene. The bars are youthful and vibrant. The ingredients are fresh as they come. So we dedicated a guide to, well, mostly food, wine and drinks. But there's adventures to be had too. Open up the doc below and plan a trip full of delight and wonder. 

Transportation

Taxi App – Uber is not a thing here (yet). You can download Gett and connect your credit card so you won’t have to deal with hailing a cab or paying with cash. Use code "GTZNJCS" for a discount on your first ride. There is no need to tip your taxi driver in Israel.

Scooters – Electric scooters such as Lime, Bird and Wind are everywhere around the city. You can download one of the apps and connect your credit card to activate your ride. I suggest riding only in designated bike lanes, if possible, and to actually wear the helmet attached to the scooter.

Bikes – You can also easily rent bikes! You will see that most Tel Aviv locals get around by scooter or bike, especially in the summers since it doesn’t ever rain. Regardless of whether or not you’re planning on renting a scooter or bike, be aware of other fellow riders while walking the streets. To locals, designated lanes are often a suggestion.

Buses & Trains – A convenient and cheap way to get around. You can download the app Moovit to look up what lines to take and where the bus stops are. (Google maps works too but doesn't show real time data.) To pay, you can download HopOnRav-Pass and simply scan the QR code once you’re on the bus.

Cars – Of course if you want to rent a car that’s an option too (Hertz, Budget, Sixt etc.) but I don’t suggest doing that if you’re staying in Tel Aviv - finding parking is very difficult in the city!

Walk – Tel Aviv is not such a big place and you should be able to walk most places you want to go. Best walk – start at Bograshov Beach, walk south to Jaffo along the coast the entire way, end at Vista Coffee Bar and have a draft beer or an iced coffee.

Emergency Contacts

Emergency Numbers (although rumor has it if you dial 911 you will reach an ambulance)

Police 100

Ambulance 101

Fire Service 102

Health

COVID-19It's not really a thing anymore. But, you can stay updated on corona related issues here (FOR NOW THERE ARE NONE!). Recommended to get travelers’ insurance regardless! There are no longer requirements for testing upon arrival or departure and the 24hr quarantine period upon arrival has been lifted. However, you are able to obtain a free COVID PCR test at the airport upon arrival if you so wish. It will be possible to take the test at Ben Gurion Airport 24/7 free of charge, at the reception hall, after collecting the luggage and exiting customs control  (level G counters 20-21). Upon arrival in Israel, some international travelers will receive a personal text message, asking them to go to the complex and get tested before exiting Ben Gurion Airport. Please note this is not mandatory at all.

Doctors / Medical Care – ​

TEL AVIV DOCTOR

Tel Aviv Doctor is a private medical clinic that provides services to travelers in Israel. They offer private lab tests with fast results, urgent appointments, and English speaking doctors. They also offer doctor’s home visits anywhere in Tel Aviv and the surrounding area, including at hotels.

Basel St 46, Tel Aviv-Jaffa

 

BIKUR ROFEH

Bikur Rofeh is Israel’s leading clinic in private emergency medical services. There are clinics all over the country and they operate 24/7. The clinic accepts all types of travel insurance.(You can always contact them by dialing *6101)

Yigal Alon St 90, Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Beit Hadfus St 22, Jerusalem

TEREM

Terem has emergency health clinics all over Israel. They provide emergency medical services to tourists visiting Israel. They are open 24/7. The cost for private patients is 480 NIS

Levinski St 108, Tel Aviv-Jaffa

Gdud Ha’Ivri St 4, Jerusalem

THE FAMILY MEDICAL CENTER – WOLFSON

The Family Medical Center – Wolfson offers extensive services for tourists coming from abroad. They offer a variety of medical services as well as lab tests with same day results, X-rays, and a pharmacy.

Diskin St., Merkaz Shalom Mayer, 3rd Fl. – Jerusalem

Money, Taxes and Tipping

Credit Cards & Cash – Most, if not all, major US credit cards are accepted in Israel. Paying with cell phones/ Apple Pay is almost always available. The only places you may need to pay in cash are at markets like the Carmel market, the flea market in Jaffo, or the market in Jerusalem. USD cash is not accepted in most places. You can exchange your dollars for shekels either at the airport or at one of the money exchange shops around the city. Simply google “USD to NIS” (new Israeli shekel) to see if you’re getting a good deal (usually at the airport it’s not).

Tipping – When dining in Israel, if you have good (or even OK) service it is customary to leave a 12% tip. If you liked your waiter/waitress then 15% is even better! Unlike in the US, when you hand over your card to pay for the meal you need to tell the server how much tip you want to add before they swipe the card (unless you plan to leave cash, there is no way to add a tip on the receipt afterward). Don't tip cab drivers. We just don't do that.

VAT/Taxes – If you make any big purchases during your trip, Car Rentals, Hotels, and any shopping as a tourist you do NOT have to pay the 17% VAT (Tax). At a hotel or car rental location, you can show the Blue ticket that you get with your passport when entering the country (Israel doesn't stamp passports). Please do not lose this ticket as you will most likely be asked to present it at the hotel. For all other shopping that you want to try to get the VAT taken off, you will need a tax exemption form given by the store as well as the original receipt and the item that can be refunded at the airport. Please give yourself an extra half hour at least for this step.

General

What adapters do I need to bring?

You can read about which adapters to buy/bring here. It's the same as Europe (not UK).

How do I order food? 
Wolt
is the food delivery app in Israel (like Uber Eats). If you are planning on ordering food to your hotel, your beach location, park spot etc. you can download the Wolt app and use code "SQCB2" for a discount on your first order. 
 

How do I book reservations? 

We suggest making reservations through their websites 1-2 weeks in advance or you can use Ontopo (click the globe and choose English) it is the Israeli version of OpenTable. You can always talk to your hotel as well.

Where should I buy groceries? 

The Tel Aviv supermarket chain “AM:PM”, “Super Yuda” or “Tiv Tam” has everything you could possibly need and is open 24/7 (including Shabbat). 

Do people speak English?

Most Israelis have strong English. You won't need to worry. If you want to sharpen your Hebrew check out this link!

When are things open?

Israelis work Sunday to Thursday. Most of the country “shuts down” from Friday evening to Saturday evening as it is the day of rest. While there isn’t any public transportation and the malls and shops are indeed closed (including the main markets), in Tel Aviv you can still sit at most of the cafes, restaurants, and bars and order cabs to get around. Parks, movie theaters, gyms, etc are all open.

What's up with hot water?

If you're staying in an Airbnb, most residences in Israel require you to turn on a hot water heater before showering. The water heater is called a dood. The dood can (usually) be found near the bathroom door. If the dood is solar powered you won’t need to use it in the summer at all. If not, you should turn it on 10-15 minutes before your shower. Just always make sure to turn it off when you’re done!

Can I drink tap water in Israel?

Yes. Perfectly fine.

Airport

  • Website to check how busy it is at Ben Gurion AirportThe security to leave Israel is much the same sometimes the queues at the airport can get quite long so we recommend checking out the website to see the average wait times. In order to be safe, we recommend giving yourself 3 hours before take-off!  ​

  • If you have never been here before, you should know that you'll have to go through a secondary security screening at your gate. It is not a big deal so do not worry and be confident in your answers or it will take longer (they like to mess with naïve travelers!)

  • When you arrive you will typically first go through an automated passport screening (just follow the people that look like they know what they are doing) and you may not even have to speak to anyone! They will not stamp your passport but you will be given a blue “visa” keep this with you, if you lose it, it is not the end of the world but typically Israeli hotels will ask for it when you check-in. Additionally, if you would like any kind of VAT refund it is important.

  • Taxis from Ben Gurion should be between 100-160NIS depending on the amount of bags, day and time you arrive, etc. Go to Floor 2 of Ben Gurion Airport, exit at Door 23 and there you can use the Gett Taxi app to order a cab. Otherwise, you can walk straight out of arrivals and to the left. There are cabs waiting and you can pay cash. Always tell them to use the meter.

Beaches

Even if you're just walking around the city, never forget sunscreen or water! August is hot.

Beaches along the coast of Tel Aviv are all free! If you would like to rent a chair/umbrella etc. you can pay in cash or through the Beaches Tel Aviv (Android Version) app. Costs roughly 12NIS a chair. Of course you can always just bring a towel/ tapestry to sit on.

There are lifeguards on duty during the day but usually not at night. Also note: glass bottles are prohibited on the beach.

Tours & Trips

We will set up a 2.5-hour walking tour of Tel Aviv/ Old Jaffa to hear stories, walk through the alleyways, and view the landscape that makes up this incredible gem of a city. 

Jacob is a great guide for all things Israel, and his number is +972 54 9248302.

For a complete list of tours, trips and worthwhile excursions, click here.

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