Traveling to new destinations isn’t just fun – it has tons of health benefits, too. It can open your mind to new lifestyles and values that will give you a better outlook on life. It decreases stress levels and may even help stave off some physical ailments!
Taking your kids abroad gives them a head start on all of these benefits. A family trip to Israel is perfect for learning about a rich culture, a historical venue, and a relaxing ambiance. Read on to learn some tips for travel to Israel and what destinations you and your family can’t miss.
Travel Tips for a Fun Family Trip to Israel
To travel to Israel, everyone going abroad must have a valid passport. This is even true for infants and toddlers. US citizens don’t need any additional Visa if they only plan to stay up to 90 days, so you likely don’t need to worry about this paperwork for a family vacation.
When you get to the airport in Tel Aviv, all family members will get a stamp that certifies legal entry to Israel. For the past several years, Israel has stamped a separate sheet of paper that you can tuck into your passport rather than the pages of the booklet themselves. This stops other countries from denying you entry because they see an Israeli stamp.
At this point, you’re free to explore the beautiful and historic nation with your loved ones.
There are many common misconceptions surrounding safety in Israel, but it remains one of the safest travel destinations on the globe. It has a grade of A in the overall safety index. There are only four countries safer for tourists.
This makes it a perfect place to take rambunctious, fun-loving kids. You’re unlikely to be accosted by police.
Still, it’s a good idea to stay away from the Gaza Strip. These areas have quite a bit of civil unrest and may not be the best areas for kids. Like every country, Israel has safer places and others where you need to exercise more caution.
What to Pack
One reason that travel to Israel is ideal for families with kids is its casual dress code. You won’t need to bundle kids up in long sleeves despite extremely hot weather. Short-sleeved shirts are the norm, as are lightweight materials like cotton, bamboo, and linen.
Both children and adults should pack T-shirts, tank tops, and jeans. Shorts are permitted, but they’re not the norm. Dresses and skirts are also great for women and girls!
Swimwear is also important for both kids and adults. Israel’s beaches are beautiful, and the clear Dead Sea with its black-sand beaches makes an extremely memorable experience for kids. You want to let them go out into the water and experience it to the fullest.
You’ll also want to pack sturdy shoes that work well for walking long distances. This isn’t because flip-flops aren’t allowed – no, you’ll still want sandals for beach days. But if you want to hike along historic sites or visit historical areas, you’ll do a lot of walking.
Bring some sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and a loose pashmina to keep safe from the sun. Carry water bottles with you everywhere to stave off the heat. This is especially important for kids who will experience heat exhaustion sooner.
As with all family trips, it’s also important that you bring things to entertain kids while at historic sites that may bore them if they’re too young. You don’t want to miss out on temple visits and amazing architecture because your kids aren’t interested. Try to get them involved in your visit, but hand them a book or a coloring page if they get worked up.
85% of the people in Israel speak English. You and your kids will be able to communicate almost anywhere. However, it’s a good idea to learn some basic words in Hebrew, too.
Hebrew is the national language of Israel, and it’s almost everyone’s first language. Learning some key phrases is a sign of respect, and it’s good to teach your children to embrace other languages and cultures fully. Just learn to greet people and introduce yourself – the effort will show people you care.
People in Israel are extremely friendly and will try to chat with you about their culture, so you’ll have a lot of positive interactions for your family to remember. Let elderly people tell your children stories of their youth so that they can live history vicariously.
Israeli families also may mingle with yours on beaches or in parks. This is a great chance for both you and your kids to get to know someone from Israel and learn more about life there! They may even make some lifelong friends along the way.
Destinations for Cherished Memories
Food is an extremely important part of Israeli culture, so you should plan some family outings to authentic restaurants. There will also be several carts and stalls selling street food in cities. It’s delicious and handmade, so get your kids some falafel when they say they’re hungry!
Your hotel will also probably have a restaurant, assuming that you choose a high-quality place to stay. Get somewhere close to the places you plan to frequent. Old City Jerusalem views are great, as are Tel Aviv beach resorts where you can enjoy a cocktail as the kids play in the pool.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is one of the most interesting bodies of water in the world. It’s an extremely salty saltwater lake and has no life inside of it. This means you won’t find fish, seaweed, algae, or coral under its incredibly clear surface.
This is how it got its name!
Because of the high salt content, you can easily float on the sea’s surface. Kids and parents can have a fun time floating around together without the assistance of inner tubes or floaties. It’s a unique experience for families to share.
Kids will also love covering themselves in the black mud surrounding the lake. This may sound gross, but Dead Sea mud is extremely rich in vitamins and minerals. They’re said to have healing properties because of how therapeutic and detoxifying they are.
Plus, since kids can shower at the beach, you won’t need to worry about tracking the mud into your hotel.
Dolphin Reef Eilat
On the shore of the Red Sea is the Dolphin Reef Eilat. This is a unique location in Israel where bottlenose dolphins spend their day-to-day lives.
The dolphins play and socialize with each other, but they’re also free to spend time with human visitors. Kids and adults alike can get close to them from floating piers. Sometimes, they may even let children pet them since they’re friendly and used to people!
You can also take a guided swim or dive in the same area as the dolphins. This gets your family up close with the animals and makes for an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Rosh HaNikra Grottos
Want to take your kids underwater? In Northwestern Israel, there are beautiful majestic cliffs in the area known as Rosh HaNikra. Underneath these cliffs are a huge series of underwater caves, also known as grottoes.
You’re free to explore the area with your family all day. Just make sure to pack wet shoes for everyone, including the kids. You don’t want squelchy socks, but going barefoot could cause serious injuries.
The Israel Museum
Jerusalem is filled with historical sites, and the Israel Museum aims to showcase their history and meaning. It contains over 5,000 years of artifacts from the Middle East, many of them with some relevance to Judaism.
You can see mummified animals, silver amulets, menorahs, mummies, and all sorts of other objects that kids will be interested in learning about. You can then discuss them later and bond over the experience!
The Israel Museum is also home to the Shrine of the Book, which houses the famous Dead Sea scrolls. They date back to 132 BC, so they’re one of the oldest things on Earth.
The Western Wall
The Western Wall is a unique Israeli location that’s considered the holiest place in the world by the Jewish people. It’s an amazingly large structure with a lot of history, and just looking at it is an incredibly moving experience. Make sure to have a talk with kids before visiting about being quiet and respectful of those praying there.
If you’re religious, you can also say a prayer by the wall. Many people say that they can feel the presence of God there.
Beyond the Top Things to Do in Israel With Kids
A trip to Israel is amazing whether you plan to travel alone, with friends, or with your kids. Now that you have some family-friendly travel tips that will make your experience amazing, it’s time to begin planning your adventure.
Israel Atlas is committed to providing you with top tips for your upcoming trip to Israel. We’re here to help you navigate this rich nation, from the beaches of Tel Aviv to the historical sites of Jerusalem.