Hey Everyone, hope you are all having a good 2019 so far. I certainly had a good one. To start my year off, I went to visit Tel Aviv ahead of the contest in May. In this post, I will be writing my experience travelling in and out of Tel Aviv.
Please note that everything mentioned below is of my own experience and please take my opinions and experience with a grain of salt. Any further insights and tips that Eurovision fans should know travelling into Tel Aviv would certainly be welcome.
Arriving in Ben Gurion Airport
This trip to Tel Aviv was a present from my parents (quick shout out to Mum and Dad for supporting my Eurovision work!!!), so I chose to fly with Easyjet. Leaving the UK is normal, flew from Luton Airport.
Upon arriving at Ben Gurion, all passengers that arrive will head into Terminal 3 for immigration. If you are flying a Low Cost Carrier (LCC) such as Easyjet, Wizzair, Ryanair, Israair etc. you will be taking a bus from your aircraft into Terminal 3. If you are flying with other carriers, you could be landing in Terminal 3 and it’s just walking to immigration control.
When I got to immigration control, there are two different queues one for Israeli passports and one for other passports. Going through immigration control was okay. It took about 20 minutes but it’s not bad.
I did notice that they do have E-Passport Gates. I’m not sure if non-Israeli passport holders are able to use them. If you have the answer to this, it would be very beneficial to know for everyone travelling to Tel Aviv.
Getting around Tel Aviv
There are various ways, in which you are able to travel in Tel Aviv. During my visit in Tel Aviv, I personally used trains and buses. In order to ride the bus and the trains, you would need a Rav Kav Card (which is equivalent to an Oyster Card in London.)
Obtaining a Rav-Kav card was straight forward. You are able to obatin one in most of the train stations. Because I am not an Israeli resident, I had to obtain an anonymous Rav-Kav Card. This cost 5NIS, and you are not able to register them. So please be careful, as if you lose it, it may potentially be costly.
You are able to use the Anonymous Rav Card in a variety of ways:
- Pay As You Go – Just top up the card with the desired amount, and tap the card whenever you are on the bus. If you are using it on the train, you have to validate the journey before you have to go to the ticket barriers. Taking the train in between the 3 Tel Aviv stations cost me around 6NIS (around £1.24) per journey and a single bus journey costs 5.90 NIS (around £1.22)
- Weekly Tickets – You are able to buy integrated tickets (which you are able to use both on the bus and the trains). Prices start from 64.00NIS (around £13.22) depending on which zone you would want to use it for.
Departing at Ben Gurion Airport
After a couple of days it was unfortunately time to say goodbye to Tel Aviv. I do have a history of missing a flight, so I now endavour to make sure I am in the airport PLENTY of time (even if it means I beat my aircraft to the airport).
Before my trip has even started, Easyjet already e-mailed me to inform me about hand baggage allowances and also to ensure that I am at the airport really early as to avoid issues.
You can click here, to find out which terminal your airline flies from, but it is best to check directly with the airline you are flying with.
Going through Ben Gurion Airport is no problem, (if you are there early). I was there really early that I gone through formalities quickly and the bag drop for my flight was not even open yet.
One little tip though, security was very thorough going to Departures. Speaking from experience, try and carry less things in your carry on (if possible). I know for some of us this will be impossible. For me, I had a lot electronics with me (Laptop, Phone, Tablet, 2x Power Banks etc.) so this took a while and I apologised to the people behind me cos I was worried that they were going to miss their flight.
Once through Security at Terminal 1, there was not much going on. There was of course a Duty Free shop, some well known sports brands and a toy shop. One thing I would suggest, is that if you are able to eat before heading to the airport, then please do so. The choices at Terminal 1 is slim pickings and everything is pricey.
I hope that my experience helped you in making your plans for Tel Aviv whoever decides to go to Israel in May. Have you got any other opinions and hacks that could be useful for fans travelling to Tel Aviv? Let us know in the comments below or at social media @ESCXTRA.