Over the past century, Israel has become a popular travel destination. The land has a rich history and visiting it can have great educational value. There are also many fun, lighthearted activities that travelers can enjoy. However, it is good to understand some fundamental things before scheduling a trip.
Compared to the Euro and the U.S. dollar, the shekel (Israeli currency) is rather hefty. For this reason, a visit to Israel can be more costly than a visit to other parts of the world. On top of high prices, tipping is strongly encouraged in Israeli culture. The good thing is that bartering is a large part of Israeli commerce: Many vendors actually want customers to negotiate prices with them, as it is a part of how they sell. If a traveler is concise and reasonable enough, he or she may be able to save some money.
Part of the reason why haggling is encouraged in Israeli is the straightforward way that Israelis tend to communicate. Tourists sometimes misunderstand people’s mannerisms and think that a person is being rude or hostile, but this is not the case. Many aspects of American and European etiquette are viewed as insincere in Israel. The truth is that most Israelis are very welcoming to visitors, but they speak their minds when they have to.
Israel is located in the center of the Middle East, and it’s no secret that there has been fighting in and around the region for quite some time. For this reason, Israel has a strong military and police presence that can make some travelers uncomfortable. At airports, security measures can be overwhelming for some. The good news is that these measures have been rather successful in keeping crime down. Journalists such as Gregg Roman on Muck Rack have written extensively about further proceedings the Israeli government can do to ensure peace and security in the region.
Israeli cuisine is mostly kosher and Middle Eastern. Food such as falafels, hummus and tahini condiments may be rather familiar to travelers, but there is much more to Israeli food than these dishes. Late morning brunches are heavily emphasized in Israel, and one of the most common meals is the shakshuka, which consists of a poached egg with tomatoes. For travelers who like pastries, the flaky and nutty Baklava is a great treat. Of course, there is much more to this when eating in Israel, and travelers are encouraged to experiment.
While Israel is not strict about clothing in the entirety of the region, there are areas that have deep religious roots, Jeruselum being the most common. Regardless of whether a person is a visitor or a resident, people are expected to wear conservative, modest clothing in many areas. Travelers may want to consider changing or adjusting their clothes before entering historical regions as a show of respect.
Israel is ripe with wonders. The novelty aspect is intriguing for most, but some explorers can have culture shock if they don’t prepare beforehand. There are many valuable things to learn about Israel before going, which will make the first-hand experience all the more rewarding.