Gordon Tours Israel Blog

The 4 Best Ways to Tour a New City or Country

Icon March 12, 2019
Icon By Shai Navon
Icon 0 comments

Visiting a new city or country can be exciting, but it can also feel overwhelming. How do you make the most of your stay, learn, see and experience everything a new place has to offer, so you can truly feel like you’ve been there, and done that? Here are the 4 best ways you can enhance your experience as you tour any new city or country, with real-life examples you can try out on your next trip to Israel.

#1 – Study up

Western Wall

Before venturing to a new place, it’s a good idea to take some time and learn about what makes this place truly special and unique. When traveling to Israel and any of its cities, learn about the rich history behind their establishment, the many sites and attractions you can visit, and cultural norms and no-nos you may encounter. For instance, when visiting the Western Wall, the historic ruins of the Jewish Second Temple and a current prayer site, it is customary that women cover their shoulders and upper arms, and not wear shorts, as a sign of respect for the holiest place in the country. Being aware of these type of customs can help take away the stress from visiting a new place for the first time, allowing you to be relaxed and fully focused on the experience itself.

#2 – Talk to strangers… but choose who you talk to wisely

Jerusalem

When visiting a new city or country, it’s a great idea to chat with locals and find out which places are must-sees, which you should avoid, where to get the most bang for your buck, and where being a foreigner will likely mean you’ll be overcharged. But heed your mother’s advice wisely – give any stranger a once-over before approaching, to make sure you’re initiating contact with someone likely to keep you safe. In Israel, a good rule of thumb is to approach a person in uniform, like a police officer or IDF soldier, a merchant behind a marketplace booth, or a woman holding a child (who isn’t in the middle of a tantrum). This traditional form of social proof will be instrumental during your visit to Israel and will give your experience a unique, local feel.

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#3 – Take public transportation

Train

Traveling via public transportation will not only save you lots of money, but it will immerse you in the local culture, and help you discover new sites and sights you may have not known about, as you travel along your way. In Israel, you can purchase a day pass and hop on and off buses and light rail trains as you please, adding an air of spontaneity and excitement to your day. That way, if Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market catches your eye while you’re on your way to the beach, you can add it to your itinerary and enjoy its magnificence as you travel towards Tel Aviv’s legendary waterfront.

#4 – Try the local food

Sabich

A great way of getting to know any new city or country’s culture and traditions is by tasting the local cuisine. Some dishes may initially sound weird to a visitor, like Israel’s sabich (fried eggplant and pita sandwich), or shakshuka (eggs poached in tomato or other sauce), while other dishes like fresh hot hummus or malawach pizza (pizza made on a fried dough) may be more familiar with tourists. With so much variety available to satisfy any carving or diet restriction, food is a truly wonderful way to connect with the local culture and people, creating amazing memories and friends along the way.

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