Before traveling to Israel I really didn’t had any clue what to expect. At first I didn’t feel really reassured to travel there due to the ongoing tensions. However, right before leaving shit hit the fan here in Brussel and I felt like I rather be in Israel than in Belgium (remember the terrorist threats).
I wanted to share some tips and information with you because there were certain things that I would’ve like to have known upfront.
- Prepare yourself to cue for at least an hour at border security. They are really strict in Israel and you shouldn’t try to make a joke or anything.
- Ask to receive your visa stamp upon entry outside of your passport. Normally they already give you a separate little document for this, but just ask it to be sure. If you have a stamp from Israel in your passport it is likely that you cannot travel to Arabian countries anymore with that passport.
- There are militaries with their firearms everywhere. And by everywhere I really do mean everywhere. You should know that every Israeli needs to serve the army for an X number of years. If I’m not mistaken 3 for guys and 1 for girls, straight after high school. So the reason why you would see them in transportation is because they are a.o. commuting
- The weekend in Israel is on Friday and Saturday. Saturday is Shabbath, their resting days.
- Depending on the tension at the moment you might want to hold off on visiting certain cities or sightseeing’s. I for one, really wanted to see Jerusalem. But when we were there, there had just been an attack on tourists and therefore the embassy strongly advised against going.
- You will see multiple times per day three helicopters with huge firearms that fly along the coast. It is just regular patrols.
- When leaving the country you will need to answer to a lot of questions before you can even check-in your luggage.
- When your cueing to go through security random people will be picked out of the cue to go to another security check. Don’t worry, I had this happening to me. I was so scared and thought I did something wrong. But it is completely random and you just get checked a little bit more than others. Meaning: you’ll need to empty your carry-on luggage and wait for about 45 minutes.
Other than that, Israel is so worth the visit. If not for the beautiful country then for the great food (HUMMUS)!