A Rav-Kav card, as seen on the company’s website, is similar to a Debit Card, in that anyone can purchase a card for a flat fee. You can load money onto the card at different stations and shops. You can travel through Israel on a budget by only putting a certain amount on the card at a time, or purchasing a weekly or daily pass. Your trip to Israel just got a lot easier! Now, when getting onto the bus, all you have to do is scan your card on a screen (you cannot miss it, as it is right at the front of the bus and in the center). You have paid your bus fee and can get to where you need to go. This card replaces the need for individual bus tickets, and is eco-friendly as it eliminates the need for paper shekel.
Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa are three of Israel’s largest cities, all of which have buses that can take you from place to place. The buses operate within their own respective cities, in addition to being able to take you from one city to the next. There are three kinds of bus lines: Ma’esef stops at many places and picks up a lot of passengers, making the rides somewhat longer. Express lines stop at fewer places, and direct lines; usually operating for further journeys–take you straight from one place to the next without any stops. If you have to transfer from one bus to the next, you may have to pay for each bus separately. It is important to remember that from Friday night to Saturday night, in observance of the Sabbath, buses typically do not run. However, there is a free “Shabbat bus”–a coach bus, that operates for free on Shabbat. It is limited, though. To figure out which bus you need to take, and which bus stop to go to, I recommend the Moovit App, it is very simple and easy to understand.
Buses to Eilat
Buses to and from Eilat can have reserved spots, which can be done over the phone or online. Buses usually run late into the night, and the schedule can be found here on their website linked above. There are central bus stations in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem.
Trains are a quite efficient way of navigating between cities in Israel, and they move pretty fast, too. A train ticket will cost not much more than the bus fare and will help you avoid traffic around the cities. Before you run to the train station, though, it is important to know that most of the train signs are in Hebrew and it can be difficult to navigate with a low level of Hebrew. The main train lines that are used by travelers are the train from Tel Aviv to the airport (link to article how to get to the airport), Train between Tel Aviv and Haifa, and the new train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that includes a very easy train swap at the airport. You can find the full train schedule and fares at their website linked above.
Shared Taxis on your Trip to Israel
Taxis are a reasonably priced way to travel around Israel, as well. There are many available, I took a taxi from Ben Gurion Airport directly to my apartment in Tel Aviv. In Tel Aviv, taxis operate on Shabbat, even when buses do not. They are a helpful alternative. There is usually a meter that tracks how much one owes, and drivers typically accept physical Shekel as well as RavKav cards. Splitting taxis with other people will help you save money and visit other parts while on your trip to Israel.
Gett is Israel’s number one car service. Download the Gett app and for a small fee, a driver will pick you up and take you to the exact address you plug in. It is like your own, personal taxi that will take you anywhere you need to go. Of course, the farther you travel the more expensive a Gett will be, however sharing a car with friends will help each of you get around on your trip to Israel. Prices are comparable and sometimes cheaper than taxis. Instead of having to hail a cab, you can order a car straight to your door. Gett is the Uber of Israel.
The “bubble Dan” app is similar to Gett, except passengers share a van with others, making it cheaper. It is similar to New York City’s Via app. This app operates only in Tel Aviv, so when planning your trip to Israel, make sure you download this before making your way to the largest city in the country. If you are looking for a place to stay in Tel Aviv for a great price, look here! If you are looking for fun activities in Tel Aviv, check out this page.
The “Tik Tak” app offers the same things as bubble Dan, but it works solely in Jerusalem. Your trip to Israel has to include the holy city of Jerusalem, so this car service app is necessary to aid you in your travels. If you would like to see Masada or the Dead Sea while there, book a great tour!
Lime is a company that provides bikes and scooters to travelers for a small fee. People utilize these modes of transportation as an alternative and fun way to get around Tel Aviv. If you download the Lime app, you can rent a bike or scooter for a small fee. You are charged by the hour. Your trip to Israel will feel just like home, these bikes and scooters are very similar to New York City’s famous Citi Bikes.
Finally, Make your trip to Israel Simple By Traveling on Foot!
During your trip to Israel, you will be amazed by how much can fit into such a small country! Since so much is squeezed into a small land space, within major cities, a good amount is walkable. Apps such as Moovit or Google Maps will typically give you a walking route to a destination. Get to your destination while also exploring the city!