Now that you’ve got flights to Israel, let’s talk about where to stay. Wherever you go in Israel, there are several options for where to stay:
- with friends or family
The first option is something that you’ll have to find for yourself. If you have friends and family in Israel, and they are willing to host you, this is obviously the cheapest way to go. Of course, it’s always nice to bring a nice hostess gift, flowers for Shabbat, and/or ask what you can bring from your home country for them! But compared with the cost of renting a room, it is cheaper. It’s important to keep in mind your plans, your temperament, and your hosts’ temperament(s), and make a realistic plan. If you want to go out at all hours and have someone to escort you around, you probably won’t get that from an 80 year old great aunt.
An option for a single or smaller family is a hostel. What the word means can vary somewhat, but it often denotes minimal furnishings, possibly sharing a room, and a small storage space. It’s good for people who will be out all day and just need a place to sleep, and those who want to meet up with others in public spaces. One good resource is hostels.com. A few options in Jerusalem are the Abraham Jerusalem hostel (with several tour options leaving right from the hostel including Masada and the Dead Sea), the Jaffa Gate Hostel, and the Jerusalem Hostel. I don’t have any experience or recommendations, and there are many options out there, so do some research to find out what options will work for you.
Hotels abound in Israel, especially in popular tourist areas. You can find fancy, basic, or somewhere in between, and expensive to cheap. Several resources to find them are here: Go Jerusalem’s Hotel List, Trip Advisor’s Hotel List, or the back of your Israel travel book. You can look at bargain sites, too.
An apartment is a good option for families or longer stays. With a family like mine (4 small kids!), we chose an apartment. We loved having a kitchen, and having a washer and dryer made packing easier. Having extra rooms for the kids to split up made life a lot easier, too. For about $150 a night, we had a three bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment about 20 minutes’ walk from the Old City!
Here’s the site where we got our apartment: At Home in Israel. The apartment wasn’t perfect, but they came back to fix the issue (bathroom needed better cleaning) and we were very happy overall. It was otherwise clean and we had three full bedrooms, extra bedding, towels (including enough to take to the Dead Sea), two bathrooms, Shabbat plata and water urn, full kitchen with kosher AND treif dishes (although you’ll have to decide if you use them), washer and dryer, and a balcony. And the extras were fantastic: a DVD player, fast wifi included, a telephone with all calls within Israel included, a parking space, and more.
*************If you rent an apartment from them, please use my referral code (AH3523) so we can start saving up for our next trip back!**********
There are some other apartment sites as well (I browsed, but I never used these):
You can choose to stay in one place or move around (we did one – so much easier for the kids, and we didn’t have to move the suitcases and car seats).
Does anyone have anything to add?