How to Save Money on a Trip to Israel
Here are some top tips for saving money if you are visiting Israel on a budget. You can save money in many small ways when you travel to Israel. Make your trip to Israel low-cost using these budget travel tips.
Visit Israel in the Off-Season but not During Holidays
If you travel to Israel in the off-season you will get cheaper airfares and cheaper hotels. Unlike some countries Israeli attractions do not close down in the winter. You’ll find it is business as usual throughout the country no matter what time of year you visit. Not only that but the weather is hot most of the year so traveling off-season will not mean missing out on outdoor activities. Be careful not to book during one of the Israeli national holidays when prices soar, hotels are booked up and attractions are crowded.
Free Attractions in Israel
One of the best ways to discover Israel is simply to take a walk through the streets or countryside. You can enjoy many sites for free in Israel like the Old City in Jerusalem where you can see the Wailing Wall, Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre all for free. In Tel Aviv you can enjoy Jaffa and the Bauhaus architecture of Tel Aviv just by going for a walk. The same goes for rural areas where there are well signposted hike trails to follow for free. Israeli beaches are free and there are many beautiful parks to enjoy for free.There are almost no free museums in Israel although some museums are free for those under 18 years. Visitors can tour the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa for free and in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem there are a few free guided walking tours. Some tickets to attractions in Jerusalem can be bought as “bundle tickets” giving you entrance to several places with the same ticket.
National Parks CardIf you enjoy the outdoors and if you will be visiting several national parks it could be worthwhile buying a National Park membership. You will need to work out if this is cheaper than paying individual entrance fees depending on the places you want to visit. For example Masada (cable car not included), Bet Guvrin, Caesarea and Ein Gedi are national parks. You can buy the tickets from the entrance of any national park. Available tickets include the Blue Card which allows you entrance to three sites within two weeks for 78 ILS; the Green Card which gives you entrance to six sites within two weeks for 110 ILS and the Orange Card which gives you unlimited visits within two weeks for 150 ILS.
Israeli Public TransportIsrael has an excellent public bus system which can get you to most parts of the country. The train system is rather limited yet reasonably priced. You can save money by avoiding taxis and sticking to public transport. There are “sherut” buses, which are shared minibus taxis that travel a set route but will pick up and drop off travelers anywhere along the way. Sherut buses can be useful especially on Shabbat when bus services are limited. If you have chosen to rent a car then shop around for the best gas prices. You’ll find different prices depending on the gas company and depending on whether you fill-up your gas tank by yourself or have the petrol attendant do it for you.
Budget Accommodation in IsraelLike other top travel destinations Israel offers a wide range of accommodation options from luxury hotels to hostels and even Airbnb. Try the Airbnb options as well as IYHA hostels which are of a high standard and well located for tourists. You can get cheaper hotel accommodation in Israel by traveling in the off-season and shopping around for the lowest price online.
Eating in Israel on a Budget
Israel has some amazing street food; you’ll find humus, shawama and falafel available at very reasonable prices. If you eat mainly from Israeli falafel and shawama “fast food” outlets instead of sit-down restaurants you’ll save a lot of money. For a snack or coffee try Cofix, a chain of coffee shops where all the prices are kept at about 5 ILS. You can also buy your meals at a local market. In Tel Aviv visit Carmel Market and in Jerusalem try Machane Yehuda Market. At Israeli markets you can find low-cost fresh produce, cheese, baked goods and more.