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Travel to Israel

I am planning a trip to Israel in 2018 (I always start planning my trips a bit early) - the week after Passover/Easter - so likely April 8 to end of April. I will be travelling with 2 maybe 3 other women. My initial planning has us flying to Tel Aviv (from Calgary, AB) - hotel for one night; travel to Jerusalem, rent an apartment for 2 weeks; back to Tel Aviv - one night in a hotel; fly to Rome, rent an apartment for 1 week; fly back home to Calgary.
What I'm hoping for is some advice on the following: what area in Jerusalem would be the best (quiet, not too touristy) to look for an apartment; any recommendations on best flights (without hours upon hours of layovers); any recommendations on private tour guides; thoughts on renting a car for a few days?

Rome: my daughter is married to an Italian and has been a few times to Italy, but if anyone has any suggestions for Rome, please advise. I appreciate all responses. Thank you!

Posted by
15634 posts

Hi Pat. Here are a few things to consider.

About a week after Passover ends, we observe Shoah Remembrance Day. About a week later we observe Memorial Day. Both are solemn and restaurants and entertainments are closed in the evening. At the end of Memorial Day, is Independence Day - a national holiday. It's a special time to be here with lots of people celebrating in the streets. On Shabbat (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset), there are no buses or trains and many sights are closed or have short hours.

Without traffic, Jerusalem is a 40-minute drive from the airport. Tel Aviv is 20 minutes. There is no reason to stay in Tel Aviv to be near the airport. There are both shared taxis and private taxis between the airport and Jerusalem 24/7.

If you want to spend all your time in Jerusalem, then staying there for 2 weeks makes sense. If you want to see more of Israel, then you need to spend nights in other areas. The only places you can reasonably day-trip to from Jerusalem are the Dead Sea and Tel Aviv.

If you PM me with your email, I can send you a pdf "personal guide" that a friend of mind wrote. It will give you a start on planning.

Posted by
260 posts

Chani is a great tour guide (g). What she says about where to stay is true. I went on a tour, and we stayed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and the Golan Heights. I especially loved the Golan Heights - we stayed at the most wonderful Kibbutz-owned resort - Peace Valley Lodge. Individual cabins - mine slept two, others may be appropriate for more. View was spectacular. It was a highlight of the trip. Israel is remarkably diverse - and it was gorgeous in April (I came home the day Passover began - all the airport bustle was for people coming in, not going out).

Posted by
11294 posts

For flights, look at Kayak and see what comes up when you search YYC to TLV for your dates. Just looking at the Wikipedia page for Calgary airport, it looks like you can use British Air via London, Air Canada via Toronto, or KLM via Amsterdam. Other routes are likely to involve more than one transfer, but look at the specific results for your dates to be sure.

There aren't as nearly many flights to Israel from North America as to places further west in Europe, and many of them leave from New York, which in turn doesn't have good connections to Calgary. So, your options may be more limited than you'd like, and the length of the layover may not be totally under your control.

In addition to any replies you get here, the TripAdvisor Israel forum seems to be the most active online, so look there as well: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g293977-i1733-Israel.html

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you all for your help/suggestions. I will definitely check out all of them. So grateful.

Posted by
13 posts

I am also traveling to Israel, only this year-- I am also traveling to Rome beforehand and staying over in Europe afterwards. I booked Alitalia from FCO to TLV, roundtrip for about $390 USD. It departs Rome at 11:30 a.m. Return flight from Tel Aviv is at 2:55 pm. I believe that Alitalia has multiple flights daily in and out of Tel Aviv.

Booking a place near Termini would probably be the most convenient for you-- that way you could walk over to the train station to get the Leonardo Express train from there to the airport. It's also central to the main sights within Rome. Venere.com (it's a subsidiary of Expedia) is one of the better ways to book lodging since it and Booking.com carry a more extensive array of hotel choices. The Piram Welcome Hotel and Best Western Universal are reasonable choices. Rome has some wonderful (and very expensive) hotels. Also a lot of places that most traveling Americans would substandard. My choices are between the two. Good luck with your trip!

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks very much Jethro for your advice. I will definitely check out the hotels, but I'm also considering renting a flat for the week. As there are three (maybe four) traveling together it may be more economical to do that and we may need a little space from each other by the time we're in Rome. :o)
Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Posted by
4 posts

I'm leaving for Israel this month. When I booked my flight, I used Google Flights. I wanted to fly Delta, but Air France had the same flight for about $200 less. I called to make sure they would credit my skymiles as they are part of the same partnership. Turns out when you call Air France in the states you are talking to Delta. I encourage you to search on Google Flights and put a watch on it. I had also previously researched international flights and learned that the best prices are about 5 months before you leave. Hope that helps.

Thanks to others for their info on Israel. I appreciate it!

Posted by
8 posts

I would like to visit Israel, Mount Sinai in Egypt, and Mount Nebo in Jordan in early March of 2018. I am planning to fly from Orly Airport in Paris. I was thinking of flying into Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and renting a car. Is this feasible? What do I need to know and what extra preparations must I make (if any)? Is there any problem with driving a car with Israeli plates into Egypt or Jordan? Do I need a visa? How far ahead do I need to make any reservations? Any advice will be appreciated.

Posted by
487 posts

humblehiker, you really should start your own thread with your questions.

You cannot take a rental car from Israel into Jordan and vice versa, you would need separate rentals in each country. I don't know about taking rentals into Egypt, but it is really not recommended to travel over land in the Sinai peninsula right now due to security concerns. It would be better to fly between Egypt and one of the other countries.

Posted by
15634 posts

I would like to visit Israel, Mount Sinai in Egypt, and Mount Nebo in Jordan in early March of 2018. I am planning to fly from Orly Airport in Paris. I was thinking of flying into Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and renting a car. Is this feasible? What do I need to know and what extra preparations must I make (if any)? Is there any problem with driving a car with Israeli plates into Egypt or Jordan? Do I need a visa? How far ahead do I need to make any reservations? Any advice will be appreciated.

You cannot cross the Israel/Jordan border in a rental car. You cannot cross the Israel/Egypt border in a rental car. From Paris you fly to Ben-Gurion Airport which is between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but closer to Tel Aviv. Whether you need any visa in advance for Israel, Jordan or Egypt depends on what passport you have (which country) and where you enter each country. I don't know how you get to Mount Nebo once you are in Jordan. I do know that "Mount Sinai" is in the middle of nowhere. AFAIK you can get there by crossing the land border between Eilat and Taba or by flying to Sharm El-Sheikh (no clue where you'd fly from, maybe Amman, maybe Cairo). You may be able to rent a car at either. It's about a 3 hour drive either way. Then a 3 hour climb up the mountain.

Posted by
8 posts

I apologize for my ignorance. I have never in my life posted to a forum before. Thank you for your responses. I just noticed where I can open a new discussion. I will start there if I have any more questions. Thanks again.