Israel is an amazing place to visit and a place that travelers won’t soon forget. Filled with religious sites and historic attractions, many who visit walk away feeling awed and amazed. While you may have a trip of a lifetime in Israel, it’s important that you learn more about the customs of the region and what to expect before taking off.
Religious sites are important to Israeli natives, and local custom dictates that visitors should always dress modestly when visiting one of these sites. Appropriate clothing for female visitors includes long or three-quarter length sleeved shirts, long pants, skirts that fall to at least the knee and closed toe shoes. Male visitors must dress modestly as well, with long pants and shirts. Though some visitors may feel more comfortable wearing sandals, local custom dictates that visitors cover themselves as much as possible. Some religious sites may require that both male and female visitors cover their heads.
Though you will need a passport to visit Israel, you don’t necessarily need to get your passport stamped when you arrive. Having this stamp on your passport can severely limit your ability to visit nearby Arab countries. Those countries can and will ban you from entering once immigration officials see an Israeli stamp on your passport. You may have the chance to drive yourself or take a cab to a city in a neighboring country without showing your passport first, but keep in mind that Israeli drivers cannot legally take you to sites like Bethlehem.
Some travelers worry about entering Israel because they see immigration officials denying certain people from entering the country. Those people denied entrance are usually those with more than traveling on their minds. Officials working at the airport are responsible for checking passports and ensuring that those who enter the country are travelers and not those who might cause problems. Being polite and courteous when you arrive, answering all the questions they ask in a responsible way and showing that you are a tourist ensures you get into Israel.
Plan for Weekdays, Not Weekends
When you travel to many countries, you make plans to hit up museums and other attractions on the weekends, but you cannot necessarily do that when visiting Israel. As there are a large number of Jewish residents who own local shops and restaurants, you may have a difficult time finding things to do in the area. Those who closely follow the Jewish faith typically shut down their businesses on Friday nights and do not open again until Sunday afternoon. The front desk at your hotel should give you some tips on what to do and where to go when you’re there on the weekends.
Getting Around Israel
There are a few different ways to get around Israel, including by shuttle, rental car or cab. Cab drivers may not work on the weekends, and those who do usually charge a higher rate. Though shuttles are available at the airport and from some other locations, you will need to call and arrange your transportation in advance. Some prefer renting a car from one of the agencies in or near the airport, but you need to use caution when driving through crowded city streets. Following these tips can help you stay safe and happy on your trip.
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