I have had the chance to go on a few trips, thanks to being a flight attendant (and thanks to the very serious ailment of wanderlust), but going to Israel was a 7-day adventure that holds a special place in my heart. Just slightly over a year ago, Celessa, from The Everyday Jumpseater, and I had the chance to go on tours, learn about the history, see a varied and diverse landscape, and meet some of the most amazing, kind, and incredible individuals I have ever had the chance to meet.
There are many ways to travel; from pre-booked tour packages to strictly backpack style, mid-range, solo, or in a group. Israel is not a budget destination per-se, but through the collective efforts of a group of entrepreneurs—with a heart for travel and sharing their beautiful country— Israel can be an affordable and safe trip for even the most novice of adventurers. Every trip that I have ever embarked on has had its unique and memorable aspects, but the trip to Israel truly stands out. It is one of the most diverse, intriguing, fascinating, deep, surprising, wonderful, and lovely places I have ever traveled.
So, if you are thinking of where to go next, I would suggest Israel. You’ll find some tips (based on my own experiences and research) as to how to make the most of your time and money when traveling to this dynamic destination.
When I first began researching Independent Travel in Israel, I stumbled upon a website called Tourist Israel. This is THE BEST resource for independent travelers. When I say independent travelers, I am talking solo female wanderers, flight attendants, cabin crew, backpackers, or anyone who doesn’t want to be part of a large tour that would restrict travel spontaneity. If that includes you, or doesn’t, visit that website. There is just so much valuable information on the country, what to do, what’s happening, and all the details you need to make the most out of your experience.
When arriving to TLV—
Sheruts— shared Mini-van taxis— have long been available to take those who land at Ben Guron International Airport, going to Jerusalem and Haifa, but until just last week, the only convenient and quick way to get from the airport into Tel Aviv was by private taxi. This was pricey, costing upwards of $50. Now, backpackers have the budget (yet classy) option of taking FloShuttle, a door-to-door shuttle from TLV to the city and back. With 24/7 operation, there are many options available—not just Ben Guron and Tel Aviv— for points of departure and arrival. The best part? Using the shuttle not only saves on transportation, but can also result on discounts for tours! Which leads me to…
Things To Do—
- Free Walking Tours: Free walking tours are available in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, many of which offer a ‘pick-up’ from the hostel. I’ve always enjoyed free walking tours— one, because they are free and two, because it gives a nice outline of a city so I can figure out what I want to do on my own later.
- Booked Tours: Abraham Tours is such a great option for the independent, budget, or solo traveler. One can simply go to the website, find the tours that interest them, discover more information, and book directly. Celessa and I got to go on quite a few tours, which we really enjoyed. They were interesting, informative, and allowed us to meet some fun travelers. I’ve included the tours that I liked the most below.
- Activities at the Hostel (Abraham Hostel Jerusalem/Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv): Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv was not open yet when Celessa and I visited, but it’s neighbor brother establishment— Abraham Hostel Jerusalem— had some of the best activities, from Hummus Workshops to Open Mic nights, it was a great atmosphere to be part of and experience.
It’s important to have a nice, safe, fun, and inviting place to sleep. ILH is a network of hostels throughout the country where you can find guesthouses and budget travel accommodations. During our time in Israel, Celessa and I had the chance to stay at:
- Abraham Hostel Jerusalem: Large and social budget option close to everything. The staff is super friendly and the atmosphere really comfortable.
- Fauzi Azar Inn: A warm and welcoming guesthouse in the Old City of Nazareth. Sunrise on the balcony is quite beautiful and the courtyard is decorated with plants.
- Golan Heights Hostel: Here, you instantly feel like family. I LOVED this place so much!
- Sheraton Tel Aviv: I stayed at Sheraton Tel Aviv through a friend’s discount, as the $300 a night rooms are waaaaaaay over my budget. If this is also your story, I would recommend staying at Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv. I would have stayed there too, but it JUST opened in February 2016. When you do go, say hi to the lovely staff for me and let me know how you like it!
Wherever your next adventure takes you (and hopefully it is to Israel), remember to always be open to possibility, opportunity, and new friendships. With an attitude like that, it is certain to be a memorable and amazing experience.
YES. I LOVE FALAFEL.
Disclaimer: All thoughts in this post are solely that of The Flight Attendant Life and not sponsored by any brand or company. The trip to Israel in February 2015 that Kara and Celessa took was in partnership with Abraham Hostels, Abraham Tours, and Tourist Israel.