Visiting a foreign country can sometimes be a struggle but here are 10 apps to make your visit to Tel Aviv (or Israel in general) a breeze!
This app is great for all forms of public transportation. If you put in your desired destination and your starting point it will tell you exactly what buses and/or trains you can take to get there. You can choose routes that involve the least walking, shortest time or least transfers to find whatever suits you best. It will show you how to get to the bus station you need and exactly how long until your bus is set to arrive, saving you lots of time and headaches! It can also live track your progress during the trip, telling you exactly when youve arrived at your stop and to get off the bus/train. (Moovit also works in other cities, so keep it on your phone and use it for your own local subway, train or bus!)
Sometimes the live timing of the buses is not connected to Moovit (it usually is but some bus lines are less up to date than others). This app is connected to the buses through the official Ministry of Transport, so it always has up to date live timing for all lines. Once you are at the bus stop, simply open the app and click the stop and it will show you the wait time for all upcoming buses.
Tel Aviv recently made a change in that you can no longer pay for a bus ride on the bus with cash. Everyone (including tourists) must have a Rav Kav (a pre-loaded card that you swipe when you get onto the bus). If you either don't have a Rav Kav or you run out of money on the card, HopOn is a great backup. HopOn is an app that allows you to scan a QR code that is on every bus to pay for your ride. It's really easy to run out of money and not realize it until the machine on the bus beeps at you and tells you you have insufficient funds, so I highly recommend HopOn!
Helpful notes about Rav Kav: You can buy it at Ben Gurion Airport when you arrive for 5 shekels (about $1.50 USD). If you don't do it at the airport, you can also go to any train station in Tel Aviv. If you need to re-charge the card, you can do it at most ATMs and convenient stores around Tel Aviv (and beyond). You will see the little Rav Kav symbol (bright green background with a purple little cartoon guy) in the window or on the ATM and you will know! You can also use your Rav Kav on the train, but unlike the bus, you can get a single disposable ticket as well if you choose.
If public transport isnt really youre thing, download Gett! It's like the Israeli version of Uber, but uses actual taxis, not random drivers. The great thing about Gett is that you can enter your credit card into the app so that when you order, you don't have to worry about having cash to pay the driver. The also offer flat fees to the airport, which can often be a money saver.
If you're feeling extra Tel Avivian, download Lime! Electric scooters are hugely popular here in Tel Aviv and you can find them absolutely everywhere. It's a quick and easy way to get around the city for cheap. (Lime also has plenty of competitors around if youre interested, including Bird, Wind, and Leo)
Be careful about riding electric scooters on the sidewalk...it's actually not allowed in most places around Tel Aviv and the police can (and often do) pull you over and give you a fine! It's best to find places with bike lines, but if you can't find them, be extra cautious driving on the streets. People tend to drive a bit wild here!
If you are planning to drive in Israel, downloading Waze is a must! Waze (which is now bought out by Google) was invented in Israel and is a crowdsourced map. It gives you the quickest way to your destination based on current traffic, as well as where traffic cameras are located, police, speed traps, accidents and more. It works especially well in Israel because everyone uses it, so it's always extremely accurate.
BONUS APP- Rav-Kav Online: This app was invented after I originally wrote this blog post but it's now my most used app! As I mentioned above (see Traveler Tip for App #3) in Israel, you cannot pay your bus fare in cash, you have to pay on a pre-paid card called a "Rav-Kav". They have now made the app we have all been waiting for: Rav-Kav Online. You can download the app and re-load your Rav-Kav from anywhere! The app is in English, and you can simply hold your Rav Kav up to the back of your phone, and the app will scan it, tell you how much money is left, and re-load it if you need (you will put in your credit card details just one time and it saves them for you). It's a SERIOUS life saver...so highly recommend!
Think of this as like the Israeli version of Uber Eats. They deliver right to your door from tons of restaurants in Tel Aviv, so no matter what you're craving, they've got you covered. You can search for every type of food, from sweets to vegan to pizza to Mexican and choose from hundreds of dishes. You can also translate all the local menus into English, to make your cravings easier than ever to satisfy! They also have great English customer service inside the app if you have any questions.
You can use my referral code when you sign up to get up to three deliveries free! WT6GY
8. Vegan Friendly
Now, no matter if you're vegan or not, Tel Aviv is considered the vegan capital of the world and while you're here, you would be remiss not to try some of the fantastic options. Vegan Friendly has a map of Tel Aviv and marks all of the vegan restaurants, including vegan-friendly restaurants (not 100% vegan but have good vegan options), which is great if you're in a group and some people want to eat vegan and others don't. The app also includes ratings of the restaurants. Note: this app is in Hebrew, but using the map and pictures of the food, you can get by without understanding the language!
9. Google Translate
As with most travel, Google Translate is a must here in Israel. Although in Tel Aviv, most people will speak English, not everyone does and if you want to travel outside of the major cities, you may want some translation help. In Hebrew, the app offers translation of pictures (super helpful for menus!) and you can record conversations.
Remember to download the Hebrew language package within Google Translate before arriving! This means that even without good cell service/internet access, you can still translate!
If youre planning to stay long term, or are just interested in learning a bit of the language while youre here, Duolingo has a great Hebrew class! You can complete lessons on your computer or right on your phone and can be really helpful during your time in the Holy Land.
Happy Tel Aviv-ing friends!