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Tel Aviv boasts over 25 miles of bike paths, making it one of the quickest (and cleanest) ways to travel during the day!
All of Israel follows IST or Israel Standard Time, which is two hours ahead of UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). Israel is 2 hours ahead of London, 7 hours ahead of New York, 8 hours ahead of Chicago, and 10 hours ahead of Los Angeles.
Jerusalem’s visa requirements for travelers are the same as Israel’s. Travelers must obtain a travel waiver from any of the countries associated with the Israel Diplomatic Missions. You can find a detailed list of, and appropriate forms for, those countries here.
Non-Israeli citizens who have been in China during the week prior to their departure will must present a negative PCR test result (performed up to 72 hours before the flight) to the airline before boarding, whether the departure flight is from China or not.
According to the U.S. Embassy, “this requirement does not apply to a permanent or temporary resident of Israel (A5 visa holder); a spouse or minor child of an Israeli citizen or permanent resident; and a non-Israeli flying on a connecting flight through China, provided that they do not leave the terminal and that the connection lasted less than 12 hours.”
Source: US Embassy in Israel
While there are three major airports throughout Israel, Ben Gurion airport is the most convenient, as it is located just 20km away. Traveling to and from the airport is a mere half-hour ride by car or public transport, but you can also use rentable city bikes and scooters to get to and fro in an hour and a half.
Tel Aviv is home to the hub of transportation to all of Israel. There is an extensive highway system that leads through the city to the city’s next best mode of transportation, air travel. The highway leads directly to Ben Gurion International Airport, the county’s largest airport.
Cycling has been growing in popularity within recent years with the mass production of electronic and curbside vehicles ready to use at the press of an app.
Tel-O-Fun, an app-based bike-sharing system started in 2011 that allows rentals for everyone over the age of 15. Since 2016, the system has grown to more than 2,000 bikes and over 200 convenient docking stations.
In 2021, Tel Aviv started construction on the Ofnidan, a cycling network that connects seven biking routes in the greater Tel Aviv area. Some segments of the routes have already been opened.
Scooters have been popping up on Tel Aviv streets for years now. The popular mode of transportation among city dwellers offers an easy, hop-on-hop-off style of travel. Multiple app-based scooter companies have convenient scooters and docking stations along the city.
Bus and Rail Systems:
Among the most popular modes of transportation for long-distance travel. The bus system is one of the largest in Israel but only a few lines are dedicated to transportation within Tel Aviv. Most of the lines focus on access to neighboring towns and cities for access to Tel Aviv. The central bus terminal, called the 2000 Terminal, is the second most important hub of transportation in the city and is located right next to the Tel Aviv Central Railway Station.
The Railway system is an ever-growing centralized route of trams and trains meant to connect almost all of Israel to Tel Aviv. There are an estimated one million people that use the railway system to get to Tel Aviv and the surrounding cities each month. Most trains on the railway stop at the Tel Aviv station with the exception of two lines.
In March of 2021, Israel unveiled its plans for the new Light Metro system. Two lines will open by March of 2023, the Red Line which will pass through south-central Tel Aviv and Jaffa, and the Green Line that will pass right through the heart of Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv is among one of the safest cities in Israel. However, there are a few important things to keep in mind when visiting. Like most cities, pickpocketing is a huge issue especially for those that “look like tourists” in the minds of locals. When traveling through the city, be wary of crowded bus stations and common tourist traps, keep your important belongings close to you and be aware of those around you.
With the recent terrorist attacks from Gaza-based groups, Tel Aviv has seen some rockets fly overhead from neighboring countries. When traveling in a time of high tension between Israel and Palestine, it should be understood that one may need to leave at a moment’s notice should things go array. However, it is not likely that Tel Aviv will be a victim to a large-scale terrorist attack and that should not deter anyone from visiting.
Traveling alone when female is easy and relatively safe to do in Tel Aviv. Being a beach town, modesty is not strictly enforced as in other cities with higher religious affiliation. There are some southern districts that you should not travel alone in at night, but by being safe and understanding your surroundings, Tel Aviv is the place to be as a solo traveler.
Tel Aviv is known for its pleasing Mediterranean climate. Long summers and short winters are some of Israel’s bragging points. In Tel Aviv, the weather is especially appreciated due to the high volume of beachgoers.
Hebrew is the primary language spoken in Tel Aviv, though most venues will be able to communicate in English as it is a popular tourist destination. Other popular languages commonly spoken by Israeli natives include Russian and Arabic.
Some basic phrases in Hebrew that will help you during your stay are:
- Shalom: Could mean “hello,” “goodbye,” or “peace” depending on the context.
- Sababa: A slang term for “cool,” or “great.”
- Ken: “Yes”
- Lo: “No”
- Slicha: “Sorry,” or “excuse me”
- Ma-yim: “Water”
- Bevakasha: “Please”
- Ayfo Ha Shirootim: “Where is the bathroom?”
- Yalla: a slang term that could be used in a variety of different ways. Depending on the context, most popularly Yalla is used to mean “let’s go,” or “yeah, right.”
Like in most cities, it’s important to understand your surroundings. Try to be courteous to those around you, the sidewalks in Tel Aviv streets could sometimes be small so making way for fellow pedestrians is a must! If you need to stop to check your phone or a map, be conscious about stepping to the side.
Tel Aviv residents or Israelis, in general, are often high-energy, positive, and loud people. Physical touch and smiles play a huge role in understanding one’s body language and welcoming demeanor. It’s common for Israelis to shake hands, kiss, or put an arm on your shoulder while in casual conversation.
In regards to dress, do research beforehand about the dress code for the location where you are going. In Tel Aviv, life is a lot more casual than in other heavily religious areas of Israel. Female travelers particularly should pay close attention to the customs regarding the dress code of venues they are visiting, as some locations may be more religious and conservative in their views than others.
1 US Dollar = 0.29 shekels.
Shekel coins: ½, 1, 2, 5, 10
To exchange money, visit a currency exchange at any corner in Israeli cities, any post office, and in the airport when you arrive.
In Tel Aviv, tipping is expected and not included in the bill, with the average tip sitting at 12%.
The standard voltage is 230 voltage, with 50 Hertz Frequency like most of the countries in Europe. If you’re coming from Europe, you probably won’t need a converter, but you will need one if you’re coming from the US. Although most newer hotels will have the European power sockets, but Israel’s traditional power socket uses plug type H, which is three round holes that looks like this:
Water supply in Israel has seen a recent shortage as the country’s weather contributes to chronic droughts and water shortages. The problem has gotten so severe that the government has warned that in the coming years there may not be enough water to supply households with constant water flow. Population growth and the demand for water for growing agriculture have contributed to the problem.
In terms of water cleanliness, Israel is the world leader in water recycling, by reusing and cleaning almost 80% of sewage water (over 400 billion liters a year). 100% of the sewage from the Tel Aviv metropolitan area is purified and repurposed for agricultural and public works irrigation.
Free Wi-Fi is available through Tel Aviv at 80 locations across the city. The integration of fast and free Wi-Fi gained Israel notoriety as the first city in the world to do so in 2011.
GETT- Israel’s “UBER” works the same way uber does. You connect your credit card and order yourself a GETT!
Taxis- some GETT drivers are also taxi drivers. Most taxis, however, take shekels only, which is why GETT is so convenient.
Limes/birds/winds: these are scooters to travel around most Israeli cities. All three are separate apps; scan the barcode and scoot! Wherever you want to stop, hit end ride and leave the scooter right where you got off!
Israel is among the most progressive countries in the Middle East when it comes to LGBTQIA+ rights and acceptance. Members of the community are allowed to serve in the military. However, same-sex marriage is not allowed in Israel, yet is recognized if done elsewhere. Similarly, LGBTQIA+ couples have the right to jointly adopt following a landmark case in 2008. In 2014 a monument was erected in Tel Aviv honoring the lives of LGBTQIA+ members lost in the Holocaust.
Tel Aviv is credited as one of the most gay-friendly cities in all of Israel, some even calling it the “gay capital of the Middle East.”
Israel’s motto is “reduce, reuse, recycle” when it comes to waste. Israel is one of the leading countries in eco-science and environmental sustainability; they are constantly creating new ways to help save our planet. All throughout Tel Aviv are recycling bins to help collect plastic waste. There are also plenty of eco-friendly tours and hotels to stay in Tel Aviv, as well as green travel options.
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