Practical Information

Below is some information to facilitate planning your trip.  This information may give you an idea of what to expect when you are in the Holy Land.

Religious Holidays

When planning your trip to the Holy Land, you should always take into consideration the religious holidays of the region and its people.  Since the Holy Land represents Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (in addition to Druze, Bahai, & Samaritans,) there are many holidays that affect your trip.  Christmas, Easter and Jewish Holidays affect the cost of a tour and the flexibility of visits to certain churches and sites.  For a calendar of religious holidays, please click on the following link:

The Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) is the official weekend in Israel.  Friday is the official weekend in Palestine.







The Holy Land enjoys long, warm, dry summers (April-October) and generally mild winters (November- March), with somewhat drier, cooler weather in hilly regions, such as Jerusalem and Safed. Rainfall is relatively heavy in the north and center of the country with much less in the northern Negev and almost negligible amounts in the southern areas. Regional conditions vary considerably, with humid summer sand mild winters on the coast, dry summers and moderately cold winters in the hill regions, hot dry summers and pleasant winters in the Jordan Valley, and year-round semi-desert conditions in the Negev 

For the latest weather update:

What to Pack


sun glassesA small day pack is indispensable for making short trips and day tours.  The Holy Land is chilly in the winter, and even summer evenings in many areas are cool enough to need a sweater.  A sleeping bag is only necessary if you are going to sleep outside. Hostels usually provide sheets and blankets.

Also necessary:
A sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, water canteen and comfortable walking shoes.
Bathing suit - also in winter for bathing in Eilat and the Dead Sea.
In summer - clothes suitable for the hot climate.
In winter - a raincoat and warm clothing in hilly areas.

When visiting religious sites, take care to be modestly dressed.  


The currency of Israel is the New Israeli Sheqel(NIS) (plural sheqalim). It is also the used currency in Palestine.  Each sheqel is divided into 100 agorot (singular agora). Bank notes circulate in denominations of NIS 200, 100, 50 and 20sheqels and coins in denominations of 5 sheqels, 10 sheqels, 1 sheqel and50 and 10 agorot. One may bring an unlimited amount of local and foreign currency into the country in cash and travellers checks.  In Israel and Palestine most places accept the dollar, the euro and the Sterling Pound.  Keeping that in mind, we still recommend that you exchange some of your currency to New Israeli shekels.  To know the exchange rate of the New Israeli Shekel please click on the following link

credit cardsMajor credit cards (American Express, Diner’s Club, Visa and Mastercard/Access/Eurocard) are widely accepted throughout Israel. Holders of Visa or Mastercard/Access/Eurocard credit cards may withdraw funds at the foreign currency counters of affiliated banks or at certain automated teller machines(ATMs). You can withdraw up to 1,000 shekel a day from the ATM's with a credit card or ATM card.


Money Exchange - Do not exchange your money in a bank! The commission charged is astronomical!  The solution is to go to "Change" shops scattered around most city centers. They take no commission and equal the bank rates.

Value Added Tax (V.A.T) - Value Added Tax (17%) is levied on all goods and services and is included in the quoted price. Tourists are exempt from V.A.T on the following services: accommodation (hotels, youth hostels, field schools and camping); organized tours; tourist car hire with driver-guide; car rental; flights and tours operated by domestic aviation companies; meals provided by tour operators during organized tours; meals eaten in hotel restaurants by guests (and included in the hotel bill, paid for in any currency, including NIS.) 

V.A.T Refunds - Goods may be purchased in all currencies including the New Israeli Sheqel.  Tourists who purchase goods exceeding $100 (including V.A.T) in value at shops listed by the Ministry of Tourism and shops participating in the V.A.T refund program are entitled to a V.A.T refund at the port of departure. Shops offering this service display this sign:


This provision does not apply to tobacco products, electrical appliances, cameras, film or other photographic supplies.  Please be sure to obtain a special invoice for the purpose of V.A.T refund at the time of purchase. This invoice and the goods purchased should be placed in a bag which is then sealed. The bag may not be opened until after departure.  On arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport and all other departure points, please go to the Change Place office in the departure lounge. The official will open the sealed bag, verify the contents, stamp the invoice and refund the V.A.T in any currency less commission. The refund can be sent to your address abroad as indicated on the invoice for payment of a special fee.


Electrical Appliances


The electric current in this region of the world is 220 volts AC, single phase, 50 Hertz.  Most local sockets are of the three-pronged variety but many can accept some European two-pronged plugs as well. Electric shavers, traveling irons and other small appliances may require adapters and/or transformers which can be easily purchased.




 telephonePublic Telephones are operated with a plastic credit card size phone card, available at post offices and your hotel newsstand. Cards of 20, 50 and100 units are available . A reasonable way to communicate. You may access AT&T, MCI and Sprint for overseas calls from pay phones by dialing a 177 (toll-free)number - check for your service's number before you leave. Overseas operator and overseas directory information is available by dialing188. Domestic directory information is available by dialing144 (free from public phone). For collect calls within Israel, dial 142.  You can also use your hotel phone for all your local, long distance and overseas calls.

The international dialing prefix for Israel is 972. (which can be used for Palestine too)  When direct dialing from overseas, omit the # 0 in the local are code. For example, to call (02) 1111111 from abroad, dial the relevant international access code, followed by 972-2-1111111.

Cellular Telephones: Very popular and reasonable. You can rent them at Ben Gurion International Airport or contact your hotel concierge. If you bring your own cellular phone that accepts SIM cards, you can buy a local SIM card and get a local number.  This is worth the money if you are staying in the country for a long time and will be needing a phone regularly.

It is illegal to drive while holding a cell phone.


Weights and Measures


The metric system is used exclusively.  A kilometer is a bit over 1/2 mile (.62 miles).  A kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.



Passports and Visas


Every visitor to Israel must hold a valid passport; stateless persons require a valid travel document with a return visa to the country of issue. Visitors may remain in Israel for up to three months from the date of arrival, subject to the terms of the visa issued. Visitors who intend to work in Israel must apply to the Ministry of the Interior for a special visa (B/1).passport

Visitors' Visas: Citizens of the following countries will be issued visitors’ visas (or transit visas - see below) free of charge at port of entry in Israel:

Europe: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany (Persons born after 1.1.28), Gibraltar,Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Asia & Oceania: Australia, Fiji Islands, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea

Africa: Central African Republic, Losoto, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland

The Americas: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, St. Kitts, & Nevis, Surinam, Trinidad, & Tobago, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic, Uruguay, U.S.A.

Transit Visas: Visitors interested in stopping over in Israel en route to other destinations may request five-day transit visas that may be extended for a further ten days on arrival in Israel.

Cruise ship passengers visiting Israel will be issued Landing Cards allowing them to remain in the country as long as their ship is in port. No visa applications are required.

Entering Israel: You'll receive an AL-17 form upon entry. Save it until departure.


Health Regulations


There are no vaccination requirements for visitors entering Israel.
Pets: Dogs or cats accompanying visitors must be over four months old, inoculated against rabies and bear a valid official veterinary health certificate from the

country of origin. 

Vaccinations: Not required for tourists entering the country.

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