Helpful Travel, Health, and Cultural Information for
All Visitors to the Region
Simple courtesy, warmth, and friendliness will help you be a good guest in almost all situations. Much of what follows will be instinctive to most travelers, but the ground rules below are important, as there are particular norms of behavior specific to this culture.
Introductions and Greetings
You are sure to be very warmly welcomed throughout this journey. Your simple greetings and thanks spoken in Arabic will be much appreciated and help build trust and connection.
The standard words of greeting are “Assalaamu Alaykum,” which means “Peace be upon you.” This works in any situation, formal or informal.
The proper response is “wa Alaykum assalaam.” If you can’t remember this, then simply
“Salaam” (Peace) would be fine either as a greeting or in response.
The other word that everybody should know is “shukran” – thank you.
A phrase that you will often hear is “Ahlan Wa Sahlan” – which literally translated means “family and ease.” It is used as the mantra of welcome throughout the region, and would be well rendered into English as “relax and make yourself at home in my country/town/house/shop, etc.”
The proper response to this is “Ahlan Feek,” if speaking to a man, or “Ahlan Feeki,” if speaking to a woman. You could also say “Ahlayn,” which means something like “And a double ahlan back to you.”
In general, clothing should be modest and not revealing. Shorts and sleeveless shirts are not acceptable for men or women. As a general guide, be sure that knees and shoulders are covered. Should you have any questions, please ask us!
For Men and Women
Cultural expectations and etiquette
The following health information is for general guidance only. You should contact a professional health advisor prior to travel.
Before you travel, be sure to refer carefully to the information provided here by the Israeli Ministry of Health for the most current COVID-19-related protocols. You need to be clear on pre- and post-travel requirements as well as the protocols required should you test positive for COVID-19 while on your trip.
There are no mandatory immunizations to enter the country, but it is recommended that you are up to date with immunizations against hepatitis A, polio, tetanus, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever.
Rabies is present but rare. The risk of encountering an infected animal is slight, but a vaccine is available if you are concerned about this.
All participants should have valid health insurance before they travel. Check your current insurance policy, and ask your agent about the need for additional coverage to cover emergencies such as medical evacuation.
The following websites all provide information about travelers’ health issues:
You can find pharmacies in the West Bank but nonetheless, we recommend you bring the following medications, often helpful:
The most common health problem that is likely to be encountered while traveling is travelers’ diarrhea. Take care with food and water hygiene. Be sure to drink bottled water rather than tap water. Avoid high-risk foods such as salads, shellfish, raw/undercooked meat and fish and unpasteurized dairy products. Bottled water will be easily available.
If you do get diarrhea, drink several liters of fluids every day to avoid dehydration. Oral rehydration solutions in sachets help to minimize the debilitating effects of dehydration. Continue to eat if hungry but avoid fatty foods.
You may wish to consider taking a treatment pack with you containing an anti-diarrhea agent such as loperamide. This option may be useful if you absolutely must travel, though instant recourse to drugs is not always the best option, as they paralyze the body’s ability to rid you of the infection.
Some treatment packs also contain an antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin. Most cases of travelers’ diarrhea are self-limiting to 3-4 days. A single dose of 500 mg of ciprofloxacin can often reduce this period to one day. Do note that a prescription is needed.
The Palestinian climate is Mediterranean and often sunny. The days are warm, but nights can be chilly.
Mean temperatures during July:
Jerusalem 15/30 59/86
Jericho 24/37 75/99
Bethlehem 14/31 57/88
Nablus 15/30 59/86
The sun is intense here, and the risk of sunburn is high. It is recommended that you wear long sleeves and a hat and that you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Bring sunscreen with a high protection rating, and apply it often.
The currency in both Israel and the West Bank is the shekel. As of April 2022, 1 euro is worth about 3.5 shekels; 1 U.S. dollar is about 3.2 shekels.
The dollar and the Euro may also be used for some payments.
It is best to exchange your money in major cities or to use an ATM. Debit cards may have lower fees for cash withdrawals. Please talk to your bank/credit card vendors regarding overseas usage, and also notify them of your dates of travel so that they do not put a hold on your account. Do not rely only on credit/debit cards; bring some cash with you. ATMs are not always available, and if you have difficulties withdrawing from the ATM, you will have nothing to fall back on. Make sure to keep your passport, credit cards, and cash in a secure place, and always have it with you.
The West Bank is located in zone GMT +2.
The electrical current is usually 220 volts. The sockets are round as in Europe. Bring a plug converter, which you can find at your local travel store or online, to use with your dual-voltage electronics.
For information on dialing international phone numbers, please see here.
Your cell phone may or may not work abroad. If it does, calls may be very expensive. Please contact your service provider for more information. If your phone is unlocked, you may buy a SIM card in Palestine. You may buy a phone card or SIM card from a phone store.
It is rare to find internet cafes in the villages, but there will be internet access in the hotels in Jerusalem and in some homestays in Bethlehem.
The post offices are generally open until 2:00.
Essentials Packing List
Pack light! You will regret heavy luggage when moving from place to place. Learn to live with less. Bring clothing that you can easily wash, layer, and wear repeatedly. You may also need room in your luggage to bring back gifts and souvenirs.
Our Responsible Tourism Policy
Additional information about traveling in Palestine
– The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism provides detailed information about the country.
– Siraj Center offers a range of other alternative tourism programs in Palestine.
– For UK nationals, the Foreign Office provides up-to-date travel information here.
– For US citizens, the US Department of State offers up-to-date travel information here.
– The following websites provide up-to-date information about travel health issues:
In case of Emergency, please contact: