After finding out we have 2 days off (Tuesday and Thursday) at the beginning of December I turned on my “travel alarm” and just a couple of months before December we found this very good deal to flight to Tel Aviv, direct from Madrid with Iberia, for 250 euros. Just like that, I started planning our “Israel-Palestine-Petra trip” with my friend Caroline.
I read lots articles, contact the embassy of Israel in Spain to ask for recommendations, which they kindly replied, talked to friends that have been before in Israel, and finally planned our itinerary, taking into account that the “Petra by night” visit only runs every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week, and that Shabbat, one of the holiest day for Jews, is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night. It varies from place to place, but during Shabbat, most shops and restaurants are shut, many museums and tourist attractions are also closed, whilst most of the outdoor places are open and busy.
Around 2-3 weeks before our trip, we booked our Airbnbs rooms in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Eilat, our hotels in Ein Gedi and Petra and we rented our car. So everything was ready for our marvelous trip.
Our 10 days itinerary was:
Day 10: Tel Aviv to Madrid at 6:00 am
Here is the map I created for this travel, and also here is some useful info to know before traveling to Israel, Palestine and Petra (Jordan).
|Category||Amount (per 2)||Per person|
|Restaurants||597,9 €||298,9 €|
|Flight||500,0 €||250,0 €|
|Hotel / Airbnb||492,6 €||246,3 €|
|Taxis||343,4 €||171,7 €|
|Car||222,2 €||111,1 €|
|Tickets||217,1 €||108,5 €|
|Visas||192,6 €||96,3 €|
|Gas||143,6 €||71,8 €|
|Others||86,1 €||43,0 €|
|Parking||2,6 €||1,3 €|
|Bus||2,1 €||1,0 €|
|Total||2.799,9 €||1.400,0 €|
Carrying a Spanish passports means I didn´t need visa to go to Israel, But anyway I called the embassy to double-check.
For Jordan, I was able to applied for the 3 days visa at the border with Israel.
The Israeli currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS). Colloquially, it is called a shekel (plural: shkalim) or sha-kh. Each shekel is divided into 100 agorot. The common symbols for the shekel are ש״ח or ₪.
The Jordan currency is the Jordanian Dinar.
In Israel, Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages. Hebrew is most commonly spoken. 20% of the population are Israeli-Arabs who speak Arabic as well.
In Jordan, the official language is the Arabic.
Spring: One of the more beautiful times to visit Israel, as the country will be in full bloom from the winter rains. Hiking, especially in the north, is encouraged. Humidity can reach uncomfortable levels in the Tel-Aviv area in the day time, but evening temperatures are moderate.
Summer: Temperatures in the summer can reach uncomfortable levels. Activities such as hiking, especially at Masada, should be done early in the morning in order to avoid heat stroke and dehydration. That being said, the country offers incredible beach weather in the Tel-Aviv area, as rain is extremely rare. In the north, conditions will be hot and humid.
Autumn: While the landscape will be in desperate need of water, autumn provides similar temperatures to spring. The rainy season will begin around early October, and will continue through the season.
Winter: Rain will be moderate in the winter, and there can even be snow at higher altitudes, especially in the north. Temperatures will vary widely, especially in the south. Day temperatures could provide enough warmth to take a visit to the beach, while night temperatures may necessitate a heavy jacket. As the winter is not uniform, bouts of rainy, cold days can and usually will be followed by successive days of comfortable sunshine, often allowing summer clothes to be worn. Bring clothing for any weather and any temperature.
Wi-Fi is pretty common in hotel and some restaurants.
It was really easy to buy a Sim Card at the airport. We paid 169 ILS, but honestly I don´t remember which plan we bought, I just can tell you it was good enough for 10 Days, even sharing the internet among 2 phones and using google maps to navigate.
ATM and Credit Cards:
ATMs are available everywhere. Credit cards of all kinds are widely accepted, especially the AMEX in Israel, which is not common to be accepted everywhere. Anyway, we each withdrawn 800 ILS the first day to have some cash, which was enough for 10 days.
You can get VAT refunds when leaving the country, though be prepared to queue at the airport. Additionally, VAT refunds are only available for individual receipts in excess of ₪400. Eilat is a VAT-free city for citizens as well as for foreigners, but being a resort city it is often more expensive to begin with.
It is also easy to find taxis around in any of the cities, but for sure they will try to sell you a whole touristic ride, and even if you insist, they will tell you that it is impossible to walk to wherever you want to go next, but most of the time it´s not true. The best way to avoid this is by having your own Sim Card to do your research before taking any taxi. Also, if you google the address, google maps will tell you the expected taxi and Uber ride´s price.
Also, be aware that taxis can be shared in some parts of Israel.
In Jordan, we met a really nice taxi driver in the border that took us from the border to our hotel (2 hours) and then came back the next day to take us back to the border. Jordanians are extremely kind people in general.
Always 10%. It is like in the US, they will ask for it if you don´t leave it.
- As usual, Google Maps will be your best friend while traveling
- Gett for taxis, although I am more prone of using Uber
- I usually use TripSplitter for the shared expenses but this time I tried SplitWise, I am not sure which one I like better, they both have low and highlights
- Airbnb to rent a room or house and to then easily contact your host
- XE for the currency conversion, which works even if you don´t have internet (it calculate the change with the latest price updated)
The voltage in Israel is 230V, and the frequency is 50 Hz. They use type H and C, where type H is a unique Israeli three-pronged standard use in old houses, and type C is the rounded European two-pronged plugs, which is the most common one in Israel.
Renting a car:
3 weeks before our flight we checked some web pages about renting cars in Israel and they all offer more or less the same prices. So, we called AVIS and rented the car with them to also add some miles to mind Iberia Plus account. The price was 225 euros for 5 days. We took our own GPS (our phone with the downloaded maps from google maps) and we rechecked with our credit card supplier that paying the car with it will included the complete insurance, so didn´t have to pay an extra insurance with AVIS.
Note that you can´t cross the border with Jordan by car. To go to Palestine, Avis told us that we were allowed but if anything happen to the car they could´t go help us.
In summary, don´t be afraid of doing this trip, it was an amazing experience to me.
Also, don´t forget to read my post about “some interesting facts about Israel“.