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? asked in TravelAfrica & Middle EastIsrael · 7 years ago

Traveling to Jerusalem?

Was wondering if you guys could help me out. My husband and I have never traveled out of country but being a Christian, Jerusalem is a must for me. If you could recommend any of the following I would appreciate it very much:

- Cost of food (2 adults for 3 days)

- Safe transportation? (Should we rent a car)

- Safe hotel? (I found Jerusalem Gold)

- How far does the U.S dollar go in Israel?

Overall is Jerusalem safe? I've heard nothing but great reviews so far.

We are coming from the U.S and are just trying to plan out this trip ( a little tough for it being our first out of country trip). If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them! Thank you so much! :)

7 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 6
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    - Cost of food. Jerusalem is expensive, but the experience is worth it. If you plan to eat at restaurants for 3 days then exchange a good few hundred USD to NIS.

    - Safe transportation. Don't rent a car. Parking in Jerusalem is... competitive. If you're staying for three days then I'd recommend that you take taxis. Like anywhere, beware of taxi drivers who add extra distance for a fast buck. Public transport is affordable and very safe, but taxis are more suitable for tourists who want to go from place to place. Walking through the Old City is an amazing experience and is half the reason why I even go to Jerusalem.

    - Almost every hotel in Jerusalem is safe. All I'd say is get a convenient price and check that you're in a good part of Jerusalem in terms of travel distance. Jerusalem Gold is absolutely fine.

    - The US Dollar doesn't go quite so far because Israel is as expensive as it is... Jerusalem is a tourist destination so it's even worse. You should feel free to negotiate prices in markets/gift shops.

    - Jerusalem is very safe... the place is highly guarded by Israeli security personnel and so trouble is rare. Also the crime rate is less than New York. If you look Western then it's best not to wander into East Jerusalem at night, but often nothing happens. Also don't enter any holy site or religious area with revealing clothing or trousers (religious people occasionally kick a fuss especially if a woman is wearing trousers rather than a long dress).

    The good reviews are for real, Jerusalem is a fascinating experience. Just make sure you don't fall into any tourist traps; you can buy herbs and spices back home and Dead Sea products can be found for cheaper if you shop around. Also don't fall into the trap of buying any "holy water" or "holy air".

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Hi Ashly,

    You've got a few good answers below and probably the best would be a combination of all. Jerusalem is safe, hotels are safe and there are very good ones. If you decide to go by yourselves check for hotel reviews / restaurant reviews etc.

    I wouldnt recommend renting a car as indeed parking is difficult as well as finding your way in Jerusalem. taxis are a good solution. No matter the cost of travelling, the US Dollar is still 3.5 - 4 times stronger than the IL Shekel so you'll be fine with a no more than $250 a day (depending on your choice of stay and food).

    What I would whole heartedly recommend is taking a tour guide / using a travel company that specializes in Christian tours such as . The experience won't be the same without the insights and explanations of a guide. It will make a difference between simple sight seeing to a profound understanding of Jerusalem.

    Enjoy your journey

  • 7 years ago

    - Food costs about 150% what it costs in the US

    - Do not rent a car, as Israelis drive very differently than in the US

    - All hotels are perfectly safe

    - Israel cost of living is a little higher than America, but not by much

    Western Jerusalem is perfectly safe, the Eastern Arab part is less safe and you might want a guide from the hotel for that area. The old city within the walls is safe.

    Be prepared for people shouting and not smiling - it doesn't mean anything bad is about to happen, or even that they are mad at you. Also be prepared to get special higher tourist prices for taxi rides or trinkets in shops - don't take it personally and don't be afraid to argue if you think the price doesn't make sense. I would strongly suggest visiting Tel Aviv as well.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Hi there.

    Food costs are a little higher there, at least they always seem to be, so I'd budget out a little bit more than you'd normally do within the States. I don't know if you want restaurants of are fine with street vendors (which can also be good), which also makes a difference.

    I'd not rent a car. Personally, Jerusalem, particularly the religious sections you'd be interested in, isn't so car friendly due to it's ancient character. It'll be a hassle and there is a charm to the city that you can get by walking. It's my recommendation to take taxis when you need to, but unless you are visiting the rest of Israel it's not necessary.

    Jerusalem Gold should be fine. Really, with Jerusalem, if it has a good rating on a respectable site it's fine.

    If you can get 1 shekel (Israeli currency) for 4 bucks you're doing alright. On that note the dollar seems to be weak compared to the shekel now, but not too terribly much so, but it does mean you will have to pay a little bit more than what's normal. But, who knows - it could be that the dollar is stronger when you go over there. The dollar generally goes as far as it does in the US.

    Overall Jerusalem is a safe place. It has a bad rep due to the 2nd Intifada, which happened over a decade ago; but, Israelis take their security very seriously and as such have secured it well. It has a relatively low crime rate and you should be fine assuming you don't go to the bad part of town late at night and through all the dark alleys.

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  • 7 years ago

    A meal from a fast food outlet in the streets of Jerusalem will be betwen 20-30 shekels (current exchange rate is around 3.5 shekels to the dollar)

    If you are only going to be in Jeruslaem don;t bother with hiring a car. Everyone takes busses and there is a light rail in the center of Jerusalem that is very efficient. Intercity busses and trains are frequent and efficient. I visit Israel regularly and have never hired a car, always relying on public transport (the last time I was there was October last year).

    Dunno the Jerusalem Gold hotel- but being in Jaffa street it will be handy to ether busses ot light rail as it is a central artery in the city. It may also mean that it is noisy, never having stayed there I don't know. It should be safe though.

    As for the dollar to the shekel- it goes quite far if you are careful with your spending. Their are a LOT of shops that cater to tourists with very high proves- especially around the center of Jerusalem which sees a lot of tourists year round. If you shop in normal supermarkets and are careful with your purchasign you can make the dollar stretch. A good piece of advice- don't expect it to be exactly the same as you are used to at home. People traveling sometimes make the mistake of thinking that the rest of the world shares the same norms as they do, realise that you are in a foreign country with a different culture and it will make your trip far better by not coming to it with preconceived ideas

  • 7 years ago

    @Skyline and @tno have basically covered everything just wanna mention that the bus system is very good and you can get all around the country with busses and taxies are for traveling local. The US dollar is currently at 3.5279 that means you get for every dollar 3.50 shekel which is quite normal comparing to the last year... The culture is very dif from the usa so you should read a lil online about it.

    Oh! Just one more thing, try to negotiate on prices wherever you go, this is the most normal thing there, Especialy when they see tourist they can sometimes make things more expensive, you can sometimes get things for less then half price...

    Source(s): A New Yorker currently in school in Jerusalem. If you need any more info, feel free to contact me via email which you can do on my Y!A profile
  • 7 years ago

    Best thing if you are a Christian and have never traveled out of the country is to find a Christian all inclusive tour and just go with them.

    Unfortunately, I can't recomend anything specific.

    Maybe your church can help.

    Overall -- find official Israeli tourism sites - read through recomendatinos there and see if you can follow through links.

    Regarding money -- the "picturesque" parts of Jerusalem are a tourist trap.

    Imagine New York city - fifth avenue.

    Once you get out of the tourist trap areas -- the dollar does quite well - for food at least.

    But again - you gotta know the lay of the land.

    Safety -- largely - like any other big city.

    Again -- best thing is to go with a tour if you don't know anything about it.

    You're largely interested in the Old City - which is essentialy a fortress surrounded by lovely parks and a mall.

    Inside though ..,its a bit of a warren in places ...for a Jew it would not be safe to be in the Muslim quarter.

    But I think a Christian should be fine.

    Traveling by car is tricky just because the roads in Jerusalem are ... not like American roads, not like American signage (even though there is English).

    I do travel by car -- but do not recomend to a newbie.

    Even some Israelis don't drive in Jerusalem.

    But you can do most of Israel quite well by bus.

    And recently Jerusalem got the most amazing tram system.

    Again think about driving around New York city vs using public transportantion.

    Also -- there is the difficult politics of Israel-Palestine.

    If you go outside the "1949 border" in Jerusalem there can be issues or if you go out of Jerusalem to visit Bethlehem or the like - there could be issues.

    Find a tour group and let them worry about it.

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