Apps can make travel much easier. Before traveling abroad, I always try to figure out which apps the locals use because I know I might benefit from them, too. So, if you’re coming to Israel, I want to share with you some of the best apps for travelers in Israel, including apps that we use here almost daily.
Featured image credit: Pixabay.
Apps for public transportation in Israel
One of the best apps for public transportation in Israel is Moovit. You can use it to find your way from one place to another using public transportation. It shows you possible routes and the expected time of arrival of buses, light rail trains, and trains to your station.
Recently, Moovit also added an option to pay for public transportation directly through the app. You will need a stable internet connection for that.
I use it very often, but beware – it gives you travel duration estimates that are usually far from reality. It seems like it doesn’t consider the huge traffic jams in Israel. So, if it tells you that it will take half an hour to arrive somewhere, add at least 15 minutes to its estimate. Sometimes, it can even take an hour. If you have to be on time, take enough extra time.
Here’s a short video about Moovit by Moovit:
Another app I often use for navigating around Israel with public transportation is Google Maps. Compared to Moovit, I feel it is more accurate in terms of travel duration estimates.
Like Moovit, you can choose your departure point and destination and view possible routes. It also shows how long it would take for the bus to arrive at your station. And if you’re navigating on foot, it’s also good to use the Offline Maps feature in Google Maps, which enables you to download offline maps in advance and use them later when there’s no internet connection.
Rav-Pass by HopOn
If you have an internet package and want to easily pay for public transportation, one of the best payment apps is HopOn. Its main focus is paying for public transport, but it also has a route planning feature.
Using the app, you can easily pay for the bus, the train, or light rail trains by simply scanning a barcode or choosing your departure station. And it also has the option to pay for parking, bike rent, and shared vehicles. Instead of purcahsing a travel plan in advance, it calculates all your payments and charges you based on all your travel during the month. The payment goes down your credit card.
Just make sure you have enough battery in your phone when you use it, so the ticket inspectors won’t tell you that you’re missing your ticket if your phone dies.
Rav Kav App
If you like traveling old-school and don’t want to mess around with payment apps, you can get a Rav Kav transportation card when you land in Israel. You can read more about the Rav Kav here. You can load it with an initial amount of money when buying it, but if you need to reload it, you don’t have to find a place that loads Rav Kav cards. You can download the Rav Kav App and reload it with money through the app. Your phone will need to have NFC for it to work.
Taxi apps in Israel
In Israel, you can halt a taxi on the street, but you won’t always get a good price. The driver will often give you a much higher rate than the rate you’ll get when using a meter, and if you ask him to use the meter, he might not take you at all. That’s illegal, but it happens a lot. So, the best way to get a taxi in Israel is to use an app.
You can use Uber in Israel, but it’s like ordering a regular taxi.
The most popular Uber alternatives in Israel are Gett and Yango.
Gett finds taxi drivers fast, and they arrive within a few minutes to your location. They know where you need to go, and they have to use the meter, so you get a good price.
Yango is also a great app. It shows you the estimated cost of the ride, so the taxi driver can’t fool you. And it also gives you the option to order a taxi for someone else. The only problem with Yango is that it doesn’t operate everywhere in Israel. It’s much more popular in Tel Aviv than in Jerusalem, for example.
Driving apps in Israel
If you’re planning on traveling Israel by car, you can use navigation apps to find your way around. Google Maps is an option, but most people in Israel use Waze because it provides you information about policemen, speedometers, and other problems on the road.
The only problem with Waze is that it might take you on weird routes that take much longer than the normal routes. Sometimes it even takes you on dangerous routes. So, it’s best to check the route before you start driving and see if there’s a better option.
Watch this video by Waze:
Pango or Cello
Before renting a car in Israel, I recommend reading about parking in Israel. You will need to pay for parking if you park your car next to a sidewalk painted blue and white. To pay for parking, you can use either Pango or Cello (formerly CelloPark). And then, you can easily renew the parking payment directly from your phone.
Apps for hiking
If you like hiking, there are hundreds of hiking trails all around Israel. There are day hikes and longer hikes that can last about 2 months. Read more about the best hikes in Israel. While you can find paper maps in travel shops throughout Israel, I believe the best way to navigate your way on the trails is by using hiking apps. Here are two hiking apps I like to use when hiking in Israel:
Israel Hiking Map
This is my favorite hiking app. It shows you updated hiking routes all around Israel and your location on the trail. But what I like most about Israel Hiking Map is that it allows you to measure distances and view an elevation chart, which makes it easier to plan your hikes. You can also share your hiking map with others, so if you have hiking companions or want to update your family about your hiking plans – you can easily share your plans.
Amud Anan is another lovely hiking map, though I think it’s less convenient for planning the hiking route. What I like about Amud Anan is that it tells you about places along the way. It’s a social app that allows people to pinpoint a location on the map and write about it. So, there are thousands of points that tell you about water springs, historical sites, and even problematic points along the trail. The problem for English speakers is that most of the things written there are in Hebrew.
Apps for communicating
I don’t know which communication app you use back home, but in Israel, most people use Whatsapp. So, if you want to communicate with people around here, it’s best to download Whatsapp and use it during your trip. Whatsapp allows you to both text and call people – free of charge.
Instagram is less about communicating with the locals and more about communicating with your family and friends back home. Or, to be more precise – sharing your experiences with them. At the end of the day, after a day full of beautiful views and exciting experiences, you can connect to your accommodation’s WiFi and share your photos with the world. Don’t forget to tag #backpackisrael 😉
In my opinion, those are the best apps for travelers to Israel. If you’re exploring Israel by foot and public transportation, you’ll surely need apps like Google Maps and Moovit. About the others – it depends on what you plan to do. In any case, I hope the list will help you make the most of your trip to Israel!
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