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Old 04-13-2011, 07:31 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
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First time international traveler here, going to Tel Aviv on business. I have my passport, but other than that I feel completely unprepared. There's so much I don't know!
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:22 AM
 
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Tel Aviv is a very modern and cosmopolitan city. It is easy to walk around the city or take a city bus to all parts of the city. There is a nice promenade by the beach with restaurants & hotels. You can sit at Tel Aviv outdoor cafes on its main streets - Dizengoff or Ibn Gabirol. You can also go the Habima Theater which I believe provides headsets with English translation/interpretation of its plays. If you are interested in shopping go to the Dizengoff Shopping Mall with its modern stores, movie theatres & restaurants and a branch of Israel's main dept. store chain "Hamasbir". Also visit the Shalom Tower which used to be Israel's tallest bldg. It too has a big dept. store in the lower floors of its bldg. You should visit the Diaspora (Beit Hatufuzah) Museum located at Tel Aviv Univ. Also not to missed is the old port section of Jaffa (which is part of Southern Tel Aviv) with its cobbled streets and beautiful fish restaurants on the shore line.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Olympus Mons, Mars
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I've been there... it's ridiculously expensive, take LOTS of cash or a credit card with high limits, you'll need it. Don't miss the long walk along the beach to Old Jaffa, it's pretty nice!
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by k374 View Post
I've been there... it's ridiculously expensive, take LOTS of cash or a credit card with high limits, you'll need it. Don't miss the long walk along the beach to Old Jaffa, it's pretty nice!
Prices in Tel Aviv are similar to those in NYC (meaning they are quite expensive). You can get Israeli cash directly from Israeli bank machines/ATMs (with an American debit or credit card) which is better than going to exchange actual dollar bills at local banks.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Eretz Yisrael
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If you have a passport card, bring it with you. This way you dont have to carry your passport book around as ID. The card is acceptable for the random ID checks in certain parts of the city. Bring one Visa and one MasterCard (Discover & Amex dont work everywhere). Do bring cash as there still places that take Isracard only for credit. If you use credit there be aware you will get hit with a 3-6% transaction fee when you get back to US. If you use a ATM then the fees will be higher. Bring cash and convert some at the airport. For the flight wear compfy cloths/shoes. Pack a change of cloths in your carry-on so you can be business-casual when you get off. Are you flying cattle class or business class?
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:23 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
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I don't know the flight arrangements yet, but I'm assuming it's cattle class, which is fine with me. The last two posts seem to contradict each other. Could you let me know what the fees are for the different options for getting cash?
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:51 AM
 
Location: Eretz Yisrael
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Quote:
The last two posts seem to contradict each other. Could you let me know what the fees are for the different options for getting cash?
I travel to the ME regularly for IT. I bring cash ($1k) for incidentals and company cc for their transactions. It can be a real PITA to find fee-less ATM machines. But if you are bringing an ATM/Debit card be prepared when you get home that on your bank statement will be upwards of three fees depending on your bank. They are the flat-fee ATM charge, the international transaction fee and the international conversion fee. If you bringing a personal cc, call your bank and tell them the dates the cards will be out of the country and to adjust the due date so you don't have a missed payment while you are out of the country.

There are a few posters here who are posting old information because they havent traveled out of the country within the past two years and thus dont know the banks have changed their charging practices.

Personally I dont use ATM/Debit cards. Instead I usually end up with a counterpart who pays for things in their currency and I reimburse them in dollars.

You may want to check with your company to see if you work an American workweek or an Israeli workweek. Again there are some posters who state Israel works on a 5 day week. This is not true for numerous companies. Their workweek hours wise is similar, but days are 5 full days and 1 half day. Also find out if your company will allow you a few extra days to do touristy stuff. If not, dont expect much to be open on Friday afternoon nor on Saturday.
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:26 AM
 
32,089 posts, read 32,994,562 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilVA View Post
I travel to the ME regularly for IT. I bring cash ($1k) for incidentals and company cc for their transactions. It can be a real PITA to find fee-less ATM machines. But if you are bringing an ATM/Debit card be prepared when you get home that on your bank statement will be upwards of three fees depending on your bank. They are the flat-fee ATM charge, the international transaction fee and the international conversion fee. If you bringing a personal cc, call your bank and tell them the dates the cards will be out of the country and to adjust the due date so you don't have a missed payment while you are out of the country.

There are a few posters here who are posting old information because they havent traveled out of the country within the past two years and thus dont know the banks have changed their charging practices.

Personally I dont use ATM/Debit cards. Instead I usually end up with a counterpart who pays for things in their currency and I reimburse them in dollars.

You may want to check with your company to see if you work an American workweek or an Israeli workweek. Again there are some posters who state Israel works on a 5 day week. This is not true for numerous companies. Their workweek hours wise is similar, but days are 5 full days and 1 half day. Also find out if your company will allow you a few extra days to do touristy stuff. If not, dont expect much to be open on Friday afternoon nor on Saturday.
If one uses an American debit/ATM card, you will be charged a foreign ATM flat-fee and a currency conversion fee per each withdrawal (this was the situation a year ago). As already mentioned you should contact your bank before leaving the USA to check what the current fees are exactly and to notify your bank that you will be using your card outside the USA (or else they may freeze your card as a protection against fraud).
The Israeli workweek starts on Sunday (which is a full work day). Most offices aren't open on Fridays but many businesses are open a half day on Fridays (until 1-2PM). On Friday, banks are open until noon, most post offices until 1PM and many supermarkets until 2PM. There is no public transportation (except taxis) between Friday late afternoon until Saturday night (starting about an hour after sunset).
In Tel Aviv it is possible to find some restaurants and movie theaters open on a Friday night, but the majority of businesses are closed.
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:34 AM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
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I was aware of the workweek before taking this job, fortunately. I've worked in international logistics for years, so it was key for me to know that the Tel Aviv warehouse wasn't open on Friday.. Are restaurants still open on Saturdays, at least in the more cosmopolitan areas?
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:52 PM
 
32,089 posts, read 32,994,562 times
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Originally Posted by sonarrat View Post
I was aware of the workweek before taking this job, fortunately. I've worked in international logistics for years, so it was key for me to know that the Tel Aviv warehouse wasn't open on Friday.. Are restaurants still open on Saturdays, at least in the more cosmopolitan areas?
In Tel Aviv and Haifa you can find some restaurants open Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. In Beersheva you can find some small restaurants open Friday night and there is a mall that has movie theaters that are open on Saturday afternoons.
I don't think that you can find anything open in Jerusalem on Saturdays before sunset.
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