A: Don’t believe everything you see on T.V. or the internet (except for this site, of course!) Israeli security is top knotch, and you will see it from the moment your flight begins its approach into Tel Aviv, through the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, and everywhere in between. They have mastered making its citizens and visitors alike feel safe while not feeling like you are in a prison. You are more likely to experience harm in a medium-sized city in the U.S. than in Israel.
A: Simple: take their initial offer, divide it by 4, and make that your counter-offer. If you negotiate up to half of the original price, you’re generally doing O.K. Don’t pay more than half of what the original offer was, and be prepared to walk away! They will try to put something in your hands & let you feel like you’ve taken ownership of something…don’t fall for it!
A: Tours in Israel can be grueling affairs. It can be hot; there is a lot of inclines and declines; the days can be long. Be prepared for a lot of walking, and always remember to stay hydrated. If you are not regularly exercising, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to at least start walking regularly several weeks before your trip!
A: In most cases, yes. Most restaurants and many shops accept Visa, MasterCard, and some even accept American Express. Just be sure that your credit card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee! There are plenty of ATM’s around, both privately-owned and bank-affiliated.
A: Shabbat falls from sundown on Friday evening until sundown on Saturday evening. Almost all public transportation ceases, many stores will close, and depending on where you are, it will be very quiet. Some restaurants will remain open, and there are taxis still taking customers.
A: You should check with your local carrier to see if your phone is unlocked; if so, you could purchase a local SIM card and use your phone in Israel. Many carriers also have international plans if you are interested. My recommendation? Download an app called “WhatsApp”. Each hotel should have free wifi, at least in the lobby; many cities (like Tel Aviv and parts of Jerusalem) have free public wifi; the tour bus will have free wifi. Using WhatsApp, you can call (audio and/or video) and chat with family and friends around the world that have the app. Plus, it’s an Israeli app!