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Israel on a Budget

by Bea December 16th, 2013 | Budget Travel, Destination Highlight
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Falafel, Baingan Bharta, Eggplant DipSome countries make it difficult to get by on a budget, but Israel offers plenty of options to save a few dollars.

First, you have to get there. Getting to Israel cheaply can be hard if you’re limited by certain times of the year. There are a decent number of flights going into Tel Aviv. Low cost carriers are also pretty popular, so you could always find a flight to Europe and then take another to Israel at a low price. The most important factor in finding cheap flights is that you need to be flexible.

Israel has some budget friendly hotels, but your best option is a hostel. Now, lucky for you, the definition of a hostel in Israel is a lot different than your typical European adventure. Israel takes pride in its high end hostels. They offer really nice accommodations and services for extremely low prices. For more information about hostels in Israel, check out this article.

In terms of food, one of the best things you can do instead of going to a supermarket is to go to an Israeli market. Almost every major city has a market, also known as a shuk, where you can get native foods for low prices. These markets sell pretty much anything that you want and you will certainly not walk away from one empty-handed! Be prepared to haggle the prices.  Some of the cheapest food options include falafel (pictured) and hummus. Have you seen those nuts and pretzel stands in New York City? That is how Israel feels about their falafel and hummus. If you get it from a street vendor it will be a great value and a yummy meal. If you want something other than falafel or hummus, check out their schnitzel, shwarama, and bourekas (a pastry filled with different fillings).

As for getting around, there are a few different options. The first is that you could walk everywhere that you want to see. There are so many things to see and a walk is one of the best ways to experience the city without spending money. If it looks like it’s a bit too much for a walk, try out the public transportation system.  They have a pretty strong public transportation infrastructure that will get you from A to B to C at low costs. The buses are clean, safe, and modern. You can also take a sherut, which are shared taxis. Another option is to join a specialist tour. There are tours out there designed for budget travelers and they’ll give you the materials that you need to get the most out of your trip. For example, they might give you a reading guide for sites that you might have otherwise gotten a tour guide for.

Another great budgeting tip is to watch how you change money. Be aware of what stores offer what rates, and which stores are legitimate. Don’t change too much of your money at the airport at home, wait until you get to Israel to get better rates.

Israel is somewhere that will allow you to save some money without sacrificing the quality of your experience.

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