Our Honeymoon In Israel

Romance and adventure in the Middle East.

Category: Resources

Everything You Need To Know About Travelling to Israel

Working out the logistics of a trip to a country as controversial as Israel can be a bit of a nightmare. You might be lucky enough to have an amazing travel agent to manage it all for you. If not, never fear: we’ve got it all in one place on Our Honeymoon in Israel. This is our guide to everything you need to know about travelling to Israel.

Visas to Enter Israel

For Australian and Kiwi tourists travelling on an Aust/NZ passport: you don’t need to apply for a visa ahead of time. Upon arrival, you’ll fill out some forms, and they will issue you a three-month tourist visa on the spot (free of charge). They might also ask you a few questions about why you’ve come to Israel, what you plan to do there, and when you’ll be leaving. You’ll receive a tiny slip of paper (it looks like a fancy EFTPOS receipt), and you need to keep this on you at all times. We kept ours tucked inside our passports, and we were asked to show them on several occasions. You’ll also need it to depart without problems.

Israel has similar arrangements with a number of other countries (including the U.S., U.K., and much of Europe), but it’s always best to double check with your Israeli embassy or your own government before jetting off. If you’re one of the unlucky ones that does need to apply in advance, there’s a visa application form available online, which needs to be sent ahead along with copies of your passport and roundtrip ticket (and, of course, a small fee).

Bear in mind that these rules apply for tourists only: if you’re planning to work or live (>3 months) in Israel, you’ll need a different visa.

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The Secret to Booking a Better Honeymoon

I’ll be honest: when it comes to travel, I’ve always been a DIY kind-of gal. I’ve spent hours scouring websites for airline deals, and I’ve plunged the depths of accommodation reviews. Doing the legwork had never been an issue for me… until it came time to book a honeymoon in Israel. Holy moly. Enter the secret sauce for a honeymoon that is both unforgettable and hassle-free: an amazing travel agent.An amazing travel agent will take you anywhere in the globe

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Managing Money in Israel

It probably won’t come as any great shock to those of you who have followed this blog for a while, but… we didn’t do a great job in preparing ourselves for our honeymoon. One thing that we really should have locked in ahead of time is managing money in Israel. There were a lot of tips and tricks that, had we known before we left, would have made the trip much smoother. Here’s everything with which we really should have armed ourselves before we jetted off, put all together in one place, just for you!

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Formally, Israel’s currency is the Israeli New Shekel, but pretty much everyone calls it by its former name: the New Israeli Shekel. This gets abbreviated to “NIS” a lot. Technically, the NIS breaks down into “aragot” (100 aragot to the NIS, so it’s the exact equivalent of cents in the dollar), but we didn’t see prices in aragot all that often. Most prices are rounded off.

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Everything You Need To Know About Choosing An Unusual Honeymoon Destination

Believe it or not, selecting an unusual honeymoon destination ain’t all beer and skittles. People will ask you questions, they will have opinions, and it’s left entirely up to you and your spouse-to-be to shut that shit down and stay true to your vision.

Maybe you’re considering Israel as a location for your own honeymoon. Maybe you’re on the fence about some other unusual adventure. Maybe you’re our family and friends and you’re just here to figure out why the fuck we made such a ridiculous choice. Whatever your bent, we present to you: the pros and cons of nominating an unusual destination for your honeymoon.

(FYI, we heretofore and hereafter consider an “unusual” destination to be any other than: Hawaii, Jamaica, Mexico, Tahiti, France, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Greece, Puerto Rico, Belize, Spain, and anywhere else frequented by a Kardashian.)

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The Itinerary

To save you the trouble of combing through our travel diary to note down our travel arrangements (as I’m sure you were planning to do), here’s our complete itinerary for our honeymoon in Israel.

A couple of things to mention:

(1) Pulling something like this together yourself is hard. The first flights that we looked at took us via London, included three legs and cost somewhere in the vicinity of $5k each. We ended up throwing ourselves at the feet of an amazing travel agent, and it was one-thousand-percent the better option. If that’s not your style, Lonely Planet has a guide to planning your trip to Israel that may come in handy.

(2) In my former life, throughout the planning of this honeymoon, I was a personal assistant at a corporate venture capital firm, which meant that most of my days involved planning the travel and diary logistics of two other people. About a week into planning, I came home in tears and declared once and for all that I Was Done. I was not going to spend 10-12 hours a day making travel arrangements for my bosses, and then come home to do more of the same… which meant that if the husband-to-be wanted to go on a honeymoon, he’d have to do the whole damn thing himself. And he did. Brides, I strongly recommend this course of action; it saved countless hours of arguments and heartache, and I can think of nothing better than getting through the stress of a wedding only to depart on a beautiful fully pre-paid honeymoon that you didn’t have to lift a finger to arrange. Find yourselves a groom that can do it all!

So, with those fun facts in mind, I present to you The Itinerary.

Departing Flights

Cathay Pacific CX156
Departing Brisbane 22 May 2017 at 12:55AM (Cabin Class: Economy)
Arriving Hong Kong International Airport 22 May 2017 at 7:35AM

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Departing Hong Kong International Airport 23 May 2017 at 1:00AM (Cabin Class: Economy)
Arriving Tel-Aviv Yafo Ben Gurion International Airport 23 May 2017 at 7:40AM

Our airfare was around $2,000 pp return, which is very reasonable. Flights to Israel can blow out exponentially, in terms of both cost and travel time; this is largely due to a moratorium on flights to Israel from Muslim countries (so, one could not catch a flight to Tel Aviv from anywhere in the UAE, for instance, even though that’s the most logical stop-over point when flying from Australia). These flights took us via Hong Kong, which was great, and both landed early in the morning local-time at each destination, which every traveller knows is a real coup. If you’re doing it yourself, you can find flights (and sort by cost and/or by flight time) at Skyscanner.

Accommodation: Hong Kong

Ovolo Noho Hotel
Check In: 22 May 2017
Check Out: 23 May 2017

At the strenuous recommendation of both sets of in-laws, we availed ourselves of the opportunity to rest and recuperate for the second leg of the journey in a hotel room during the 20-odd hours that we were in Hong Kong.

Accommodation: Tel-Aviv Yafo

The Diaghilev Live Art Boutique Hotel
Check In: 23 May 2017
Check Out: 27 May 2017

Day Tour: Old Jerusalem

Booked: 26 May 2017 (10 hours)

This was a very kind wedding gift from one branch of our family, a tour of Old Jerusalem round-trip from our accommodation in Tel Aviv. We saw the most sacred and historical sites of Jewish and Christian traditions, including the Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Hall of the Last Supper, Tomb of King David, The Wailing Wall… (you can read a complete account in our travel diary here). If you’re after a great guide to everything to see and do in Jerusalem, this link will take you to an awesome offering from the folks at Lonely Planet.

Accommodation: Ein Gedi (Dead Sea)

Ein Gedi Kibbutz Hotel
Check In: 27 May 2017
Check Out: 29 May 2017

This was somewhat of a weekend beach-getaway, plonked into the middle of our honeymoon. We had planned to transfer on public transport, but there was a major flaw in that plan (see our travel diary for all of the hilarious details) – we ended up renting a car for three days to road trip it ourselves. Lonely Planet has a guide for this too!

Accommodation: Tel Aviv-Yafo

The Diaghilev Live Art Boutique Hotel
Check In: 29 May 2017
Check Out: 1 June 2017

Returning Flights

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Departing Tel Aviv-Yafo Ben Gurion International Airport 1 June 2017 at 1:50PM (Cabin Class: Economy)
Arriving Hong Kong International Airport 2 June 2017 at 5:10AM

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Departing Hong Kong International Airport 2 June 2017 at 9:10AM (Cabin Class: Economy)
Arriving Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport 2 June 2017 at 8:10PM

And finally, it must be said that neither of us could have pulled this thing together and actually got it off the ground without the generous love and support of our wonderful families/in-laws, not to mention our ever-patient and brilliant travel agent. We are forever indebted to all of them!

If you have any questions about our itinerary, you can check out our Resources tab or send us a message using the form below: